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Photo Of Kyle B. Sawyer

Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

At-Risk Adults & Juveniles

Colorado At-Risk Adults And At-Risk Juveniles

The term “disability” generally means a person is less equipped than the majority of Colorado citizens to defend themselves either physically or mentally from the unlawful actions of others. With this in mind, Colorado lawmakers have stepped up the severity of punishment for persons convicted of crimes with victims who fall within special classifications called “at-risk adults” (similar to at-risk elder) and “at-risk Juveniles,” C.R.S. 18-6.5-103.

Definition Of At-Risk Adults In Jefferson County And Arapahoe County, Colorado

To be classified as an at-risk Adult in Jefferson and Arapahoe County, a person must be seventy years of age or older, or a person who is eighteen years old and older with a special disability, such as: missing a hand or foot, blindness, deaf, mute, unable to walk, unable to breath without mechanical assistance, or mentally/intellectually disabled. The term “at-risk elder” is now virtually the same as at-risk adult, with the 70 year old age requirement.

At-Risk Juvenile Defined For Douglas County And Adams County Court

An at-risk juvenile in Douglas and Adams County is a person who is not yet eighteen years old and possesses a disability such as: the loss of a hand or foot, blindness, deafness, mute, unable to walk, unable to breath without mechanical assistance, or mentally/intellectually disabled.

The Importance Of At-Risk Classifications In Denver County And El Paso County Court

If any serious crime is committed by negligence against an at-risk adult or juvenile, the crime will be classified from a class 4 to class 6 felony, depending on the degree of harm caused to the at-risk person. Otherwise, crimes such as the following, are subject to heightened punishment if the victim is in Denver or El Paso County and an at-risk person:

  • Assault in the First Degree, C.R.S. 18-3-202
  • Assault in the Second Degree, C.R.S. 18-3-203
  • Assault in the Third Degree, C.R.S. 18-3-4
  • Robbery, C.R.S. 18-4-301
  • Theft, C.R.S. 18-4-401
  • Caretaker Neglect, C.R.S. 18-6.5-102(6)
  • Sexual Assault, C.R.S. 18-3-402
  • Unlawful Sexual Contact, C.R.S. 18-3-404
  • Sexual Assault on a Child, C.R.S. 18-3-405
  • Sexual Assault on a Child – Position of Trust, C.R.S. 18-3-405.3
  • Sexual Assault on a Client by a Psychotherapist, C.R.S. 18-3-405.5
  • Criminal Exploitation, C.R.S. 18-6.5-102(10)

At-Risk Law Problems: Our Prisons More Full

As you can see from the list above, this law generally deals with physical and sexual assaults, and property loss matters. There are many other crimes in our state, but these few have risen to the top of the list of our legislators as needing special protection. Our concern is that lawmakers assume persons committing crimes against at-risk persons will stop, read these tougher punishments, and decide it is not worth the risk of getting caught. However, rarely in our 40 years of combined experience as criminal defense lawyers, have we heard of defendants studying the law and being aware of potential punishments. As a result, the practical effect of these crimes will be to fill our prisons with men and women who had no clue the law was this tough on their type of offense.

When facing serious consequences like county jail or prison, you need an experienced lawyer who understands the mindset of judges, juries and deputy district attorneys in Colorado. After over 40 years of combined experience practicing criminal law in the Denver Metro area, we understand the system. When you have been accused or charged with a crime involving at-risk persons, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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