Colorado Felony Sentences Chart
Predicting what a client's possible "exposure" on a case might be is an important part of a criminal lawyer's job. It is an often difficult task which calls upon knowledge of the law and hands-on experience in similar cases.
Here is an online guide to prison sentences in Colorado criminal cases. Of course, some cases might result in Probation or other non-prison sentences.
Keep in mind that this guide is not meant to be a substitute for the opinion of a qualified Colorado criminal defense lawyer. Nevertheless, since a qualified Colorado criminal defense lawyer may not always be available to everyone at all times, using this guide is better than hoping the answers to your questions will magically appear before you.
If you follow the steps here you should have an accurate idea of the maximum and (in many cases) the minimum amounts of jail time faced by an accused. Given that most people are interested in the jail time associated with criminal cases, it is the jail time aspect of sentencing that we have targeted in this calculator.
Keep in mind, however, that laws, especially sentencing laws, have a tendency to change. It is quite possible that the laws may change before we have an opportunity to update the page.
I have attempted to reflect accurately the current sentencing laws, but cannot guarantee that a typographical error has not escaped my attention.
The results of using this calculator should be treated by you as a first step in a process of seeking information. Get a second opinion. Confirm what you find here with a live criminal defense attorney qualified in Colorado. You could even call me for that live opinion.
Step One - The Offense Level
Colorado grades felonies from 1 to 6. The most serious is Class 1 with Class 6 the least serious. Keep in mind that the least serious felony is punishable by more than one year in a Colorado State Prison. Each felony is also labeled normal or extraordinary risk. Some felonies are also labeled crimes of violence. Usually the rating of violence is related to actual violence involved in the crime but not always. Certain sex offenses, for example, are considered "violent" crimes even though violence may not be a factual aspect in any given sex case.
Commonly charged felonies and their offense levels (Not Inclusive):
Class 4 Felony - extraordinary risk and violent crime
Class 5 Felony
Class 3 Felony (but sometimes class 2)
Class 4 Felony (but sometimes class 3)
Class 4 Felony
Class 3 Felony (sometimes crime of violence)
Class 3 or 4 Felony (depends on $ loss)
Vary from F4 to F2- some are extraordinary risk
Sentencing for these is very different. See Sexual Assault Cases
Step Two - Determine whether "Presumptive Range" Applies
Generally, a person may be sentenced in a "presumptive range" triggered by the type of felony, but factors such as when the felony was committed (while on bond or probation for other offense), specific statutes designating crimes of violence, or other statutory reasons may enhance sentences beyond this range.
Step Three - Consider Intangibles, such as Prior Record, Nature of Offense,
Defendant's Attitude, Etc.
Within any given range, the actual sentence will depend on a host of factors that the Court considers, such as criminal history, victim impact and input, behavior while on bond, denial or acceptance of responsibility, work history, family history, indicators of risk, remorse, etc.
Step Four - Determine Possible Sentence From Chart
Min: Life in Prison
Max: Death Sentence
Min: 8 years prison
Max: 24 years prison
Min: 4 years prison
Max: 12 years prison, 16 years prison*
Min: 2 years prison
Max: 6 years prison, 8 years prison*
Min: 1 year prison
Max: 3 years prison, 4 years prison*
Min: 1 year prison
Max: 18 months prison, 2 years prison*
* If "extraordinary risk crime".
** In any case where a Court finds "exceptional aggravation" or "exceptional" mitigation, the range can be high as twice the presumptive maximum or as low as one half of the presumptive minimum. Also, so-called "violent crimes" and other factors may trigger "mandatory minimums" or other sentences outside the ranges.
*** All prison sentences are followed by different periods of mandatory parole.
This chart does not cover every possible situation and is not presented as a substitute for legal advice from a qualified criminal defense attorney. It is not meant to cover every possible situation. It is designed to demonstrate jail time exposure under Colorado State sentencing guidelines current as of 2002.
It is NOT a complete sentencing chart. It does not include any discussion of parole or post release supervision. It does not include Youthful Offender or Juvenile Offender guidelines. It does not include Habitual Offender sentencing or most Felony Sex Offender Sentencing. Furthermore, it does not include some rarely used theoretical exceptions to some of the guidelines listed below. In short, this chart is not a substitute for having a real live qualified experienced criminal defense attorney consult with you.
Nevertheless, everyone doesn't always have access to counsel from a criminal defense attorney. This chart is a starting point to get some initial sense of what the sentences in Colorado might be.