December 9, 2023
If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony in Colorado, it is normal to feel confused, anxious, or worried about the future. Felonies are the most serious type of crime in our state, but a felony charge does not mean you will be convicted and sent to jail for years.
Your best chance at protecting your rights and your future is to fight your charges with the strongest defense possible. Learn more about felonies below to assess your options.
Important Things to Know about Colorado Felony Charges
What Types of Crimes are Considered Felonies?
There are a wide range of felony crimes in Colorado, from possessing small amounts of specific drugs to first degree murder. Other crimes become felonies after an individual has committed them multiple times (DUI). And still other crimes can become felonies due to the high amount of drugs, stolen items, and so on that are involved.
Some common felonies in our state include:
- Theft of over $1,000 worth of goods or merchandise
- Felony DUI (a 4th DUI offense)
- Possession of Schedule V drugs (2nd offense)
- Possession of any Schedule I or II drugs, including methamphetamines
- Sexual Assault
What Are the Penalties for Felonies?
Penalties depend on the type of crime you have committed, as well as other aggravating or mitigating factors. The general sentencing guidelines are as follows:
- Class 6 Felony: 12-18 months in prison; between $1,000 and $100,000 in fines.
- Class 5 Felony: 1-3 years in prison; between $1,000 and $100,000 in fines
- Class 4 Felony: 2-6 years in prison; between $2,000 and $500,000 in fines
- Class 3 Felony: 4-12 years in prison; between $3,000 and $750,000 in fines
- Class 2 Felony: 8-24 years in prison; between $5,000 and $1,000,000 in fines
- Class 1 Felony: Life imprisonment, death penalty
Can I Vote As a Felon?
While you are incarcerated or on parole, you may not vote. However, once you have finished your sentence, your right to vote is restored. All ex-felons should register to vote immediately upon finishing their sentence.
What Else Can’t I Do With a Felony Record?
One of the biggest consequences for felons in Colorado is the loss of your 2nd amendment rights. No one with a felony record is allowed to possess, use, or carry a firearm in the state of Colorado.
In many states, a felony record also takes away your ability to apply for government benefits. In Colorado, your ability to receive benefits depends on the type of benefits you would like to receive.
For example, Colorado allows felons to apply for SNAP benefits, or food stamps, provided that you meet certain requirements. However, you may not apply for Colorado Works, a cash assistance benefit to families with children or for pregnant mothers.
Having a felony on your record can also affect you when you apply for employment or housing, because felonies show up on background checks and are typically looked down upon by employers and landlords.
Can I Get Felonies Expunged?
If you were simply arrested or charged with a felony, it is possible to get those charges taken off of your criminal record through expungement. However, things get tricky if you have been convicted.
Certain drug crimes may qualify, but not all felony charges can be erased from your record. Talk to a lawyer about whether or not you can seal your criminal record through expungement.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Felony Charges?
In short, yes. As mentioned above, felonies are the most serious crimes in Colorado and quickly add up on your criminal record. Each felony case is different, so different defense strategies will be more or less appropriate depending on the specifics of your case. Contact a Denver felony crimes lawyer today to get started on your defense today.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.