Denver Colorado Criminal Sentencing - Questions and Answers

Colorado Criminal Sentencing Basics

What Are the Common Components of Sentencing in Colorado Courts?

Colorado courts consider punitive sanctions, rehabilitation and restitution in their sentencing decisions. Punitive sanctions involve punishment and possible jail or prison time, and community service. Rehabilitation involves orders of the court to effect change in a criminal defendant. Commonly, our lawyers see orders for drug or alcohol treatment, mental health counseling and probation supervision. The idea is to fix whatever problems contributed to the crime occurring, so that it is less likely the defendant will reoffend. Finally, restitution involves making the victim whole. This generally involves orders that the defendant pay money for whatever he or she took or damaged, and that they pay for any counseling of the victim.

What Are the Differences Between Colorado Felony and Misdemeanor Sentencing?

The biggest difference in Denver County, Arapahoe County and other Colorado counties between felony sentencing and misdemeanor sentencing is the possibility of prison sentence in felonies. Prison is run by the Colorado Department of Corrections. Prison sentences can be as long as the lifetime of the defendant, while misdemeanor jail sentences for any one crime generally do not exceed two years.

How Do Domestic Violence Charges Affect Sentencing Options for the Court?

Domestic violence is a label which attaches to ANY felony or misdemeanor offense. It generally involves a crime against someone the defendant has previously been with in an intimate relationship. Colorado domestic violence laws require a 36-week series of standardized classes. Also, domestic violence will affect a person's right to possess a firearm ever again, even after the case is closed.

How Do Theft Charges Affect Sentencing Options for the Court?

Theft charges routinely involve monetary restitution and a repayment schedule. Also, it is common and relatively easy for a victim to obtain a civil judgment for the restitution ordered by the court. This means that the victim of the crime can independently collect the restitution through property seizures, liens, bank garnishments and wage garnishments. In the event a defendant fails to make restitution, the Probation Department will file a motion to revoke the defendant's probation and seek a jail sentence.

How Do Sex Offenses Affect Sentencing Options for the Court?

Colorado sex offenses in Arapahoe County, Douglas County and other Colorado counties are treated with the greatest of care. This type of offense causes judges, district attorneys and probation officers great concern for their careers. Public safety is also an important factor, because the future behavior of sex offenders is difficult to predict. Therefore, a standardized treatment program through the Sex Offender Management Board is required in all sex cases. These protocols are strict, overly harsh and unyielding to concerns for family ties and parenting responsibilities. In most instances, defendants convicted of the mildest crimes involving sex will not be allowed to have contact with any children, even their own. Finally, lifetime imprisonment, or indeterminate sentencing, is authorized for sex offenses. It is essential that you involve an experienced criminal defense attorney from our office if you are charged with a sex offense.

How Can You Be Protected From Colorado's Harsh Sentencing Structure?

If you, a loved one or someone you know has been contacted by the police or is involved in a Colorado criminal case, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent and call our office immediately, at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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