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Colorado Sexual Assault Penalties

Posted on 06/27/23

In the state of Colorado, sexual assault penalties can be severe and life-altering. Understanding the nuances of the law is crucial in order to fully grasp the consequences that could follow if charged with and convicted of this crime.

Sexual Assault in Colorado

Sexual assault in Colorado is defined as non-consensual sexual penetration, which can include vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse. This type of assault occurs when there is an acknowledged lack of consent from the victim:

“(1) Any actor who knowingly inflicts sexual intrusion or sexual penetration on a victim commits sexual assault if:

  • The actor causes submission of the victim by means of sufficient consequence reasonably calculated to cause submission against the victim’s will; or
  • The actor knows that the victim is incapable of appraising the nature of the victim’s conduct; or
  • The actor knows that the victim submits erroneously, believing the actor to be the victim’s spouse; or
  • At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is less than fifteen years of age and the actor is at least four years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim; or
  • At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is at least fifteen years of age but less than seventeen years of age and the actor is at least ten years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim; or
  • The victim is in custody of law or detained in a hospital or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim and uses this position of authority to coerce the victim to submit, unless the act is incident to a lawful search; or
  • The actor, while purporting to offer a medical service, engages in treatment or examination of a victim for other than a bona fide medical purpose or in a manner substantially inconsistent with reasonable medical practices; or
  • The victim is physically helpless and the actor knows the victim is physically helpless and the victim has not consented.”

Some key components to understand about sexual assault include:

  • The use of force, threats, or coercion to initiate unwanted sexual intercourse
  • The act is intentional, as opposed to accidental or non-purposeful touching
  • The victim may be unable to resist due to physical or mental incapacity

Sexual Assault Without Force 

In Colorado, sexual assault is considered a felony, regardless of the specific circumstances. Sexual assault without force is graded as a class 4 felony. Sentences for convictions range from 2 to 8 years in prison and/or fines of between $2,000 and $500,000. The defendant will also have to register as a sex offender.

Sexual Assault by Force or Drugging

Sexual assault by force or drugging involves the use of physical force or violence, drugging a victim without their consent, or making a believable threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to the victim or another person. 

This is classified as a class 3 felony. In these cases, defendants may face even harsher penalties of 4 to 16 years in prison, and/or fines ranging from between $3,000 and $750,000.

Gang Rape/Serious Injury/Use of a Deadly Weapon

When sexual assault is committed with the aid of one or more persons, the assailant was armed with a deadly weapon, or the victim suffers serious bodily injury, it is considered a more severe form of the crime. This is classified as a class 2 felony. 

The penalties depend on whether a weapon was used. If there was no deadly weapon, the sentence for this ranges from 8 to 24 years in prison and/or $5,000 to $1,000,000 in fines. 

The defendant also has to register as a sex offender.

However, if a deadly weapon was used during the attack, the sentence can be significantly increased, with a range of 16 years to life imprisonment and/or fines of $5,000 – $1,000,000.

Long-term Implications Beyond a Criminal Sentence

Sexual assault convictions have lasting effects on an individual’s life that extend far beyond the criminal sentence. It is important to recognize that being found guilty of this crime can change every facet of a person’s existence.

Background Checks: Employment and Housing

One of the long-term implications for someone convicted of sexual assault in Colorado is that the conviction appears on their background check for eternity. This can have a significant impact on the individual’s ability to gain employment and secure housing.

Employers and landlords often conduct background checks before offering jobs or renting out properties. A rape conviction appearing on a background check can severely hinder the individual’s opportunities, as many employers and landlords will be unwilling to accept someone with such a record.

Losing Gun Rights

Another important consequence of a rape conviction in Colorado is the loss of gun rights for the convicted felon. According to Colorado law, individuals found guilty of felonies, including sexual assault, lose their right to own or possess a firearm: 

Any person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country, or of an offense enumerated in subdivision (a), (b), or (d) of Section 23515, or who is addicted to the use of any narcotic drug, and who owns, purchases, receives, or has in possession or under custody or control any firearm is guilty of a felony.”

Deportation: Non-Citizens Face Removal from the United States

Rape is also considered a deportable offense in the United States, and non-citizens convicted of this crime face the possibility of being removed from the country. This consequence can have life-altering repercussions for individuals who have established lives, relationships, and careers in the U.S.

It is crucial to understand that the repercussions of these consequences can last a lifetime. For help, contact our criminal defense attorneys today to schedule a free consultation.