Crimes of Violence
Colorado Crimes of Violence
Some serious Colorado felonies are accompanied with a separately charged "Crime of Violence" designation. A conviction for a Crime of Violence carries a mandatory prison sentence, meaning that the judge has no choice but to sentence you to prison if you are convicted. The judge can increase the sentence, but cannot reduce it below the minimum mandatory defined by the statute. A Crime of Violence conviction requires that you serve a prison sentence that is at least at the midpoint of the "presumptive range" for that offense. For example, a Second Degree Assault charge carries a presumptive sentence of two to eight years. The midpoint of this range is five years. Therefore, if the Assault is charged as a Crime of Violence, then a conviction makes the five year prison sentence mandatory.
If you are facing Crime of Violence charges, you should call a lawyer that practices criminal defense in Colorado right away. Many factors will complicate your "exposure," or possible sentence, and the possible sentences could be much more severe then you might imagine. For example, sentences for Crimes of Violence must be served consecutively, that is, one sentence must be served before the second sentence can be started. In a case where the District Attorney has charged multiple Crime of Violence counts, convictions will result in stacking the mandatory minimum sentences on top of each other. For example, two Second Degree Assault charges, each with a mandatory five year minimum, create a mandatory ten year sentence. The judge has no choice, and your criminal defense lawyer has no power to prevent this if you are convicted.
A Crime of Violence Designation also doubles the maximum sentence available to the judge. In the Second Degree Assault example above, the judge could sentence you to sixteen years prison (eight years doubled) if he chose to.
Crimes that are frequently charged as Crimes of Violence include:
- First or Second Degree Assault
- Aggravated Robbery
- Sex Offenses
- Crimes against At-Risk Adults or Juveniles
If a "Dangerous Weapon" was used in the commission of the offense, there is an additional five year mandatory sentence, which must also be served consecutively to the sentence for the underlying charge(s).
Sex Offenses are Often Charged as Crimes of Violence
The District Attorney may charge sex offenses as Crimes of Violence if there is any bodily injury, or if any threats, force, or intimidation are alleged in the case. Bodily injury can be established merely by pain alone under Colorado law, and no actual physical injury need be present. There are also sex offenses not involving bodily injury or force that are nonetheless sentenced as Crimes of Violence. Sentences for multiple offenses must be served consecutively. For more related to sex offenses, please visit our Sexual Assault page.