Colorado’s Enhancement Policies on Violent Crime Penalties

When you commit a crime in Colorado, state and federal guidelines establish a sentence for the offense. The guidelines used in sentencing specify a range of penalties that a judge can hand down to you after a conviction. For instance, a Class 2 felony conviction can result in between 8 and 24 years in prison.

However, if you are found guilty of what Colorado considers a violent crime, then you can face more serious penalties. That’s because, under Colorado law, certain crimes are given enhancements that can adjust the range of time you spend in jail.

Here’s what you need to know about Colorado’s enhancement policies and how they can potentially impact penalties for violent crime.

Crimes Considered Violent in Colorado

Under Colorado law, there are certain crimes that are considered to be violent offenses. That means one of two things.

Either, as the crime was planned or was being done, a deadly weapon was possessed or used (or threatened to be used), or you caused death or serious bodily injury to someone who wasn’t your accomplice in the crime.

Crimes that are considered violent and eligible for enhancements are:

  • Murder
  • Unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the first or second degree
  • First or second-degree assault
  • Criminal extortion
  • Kidnapping
  • First-degree burglary
  • Some sex crimes such as sexual assault and rape
  • First-degree arson
  • Sexual offenses where intimidation, threat, or force was used
  • Sexual offenses where the victim suffered a serious bodily injury
  • Any crime perpetrated against an at-risk juvenile or at-risk adult
  • Aggravated robbery

When you are convicted of a violent crime, then you will be sentenced by a judge. If you are found guilty of what Colorado considers to be a violent crime, then you can face an increased prison sentence. Learn how below.

How Enhancements Work After a Colorado Violent Crime Conviction

The court is required to sentence you to prison for a minimum of the midpoint of the sentencing range for the offense and a maximum of twice the normal maximum for an offense in the same class of crime.

For example, if you are convicted of robbery in Colorado, then it is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to six years in prison as well as fines up to $500,000.

However, if you use a weapon in the commission of the crime of robbery, it’s considered aggravated. This will enhance the penalty for the crime, bumping it up to a Class 3 felony and can be punished by fines up to $750,000 and up to 12 years in prison.

When Coloradoans Are Convicted of Multiple Violent Crimes

When one crime is committed, it’s not unheard of for another (or several) other crimes to happen concurrently. If the court finds you guilty of more than one violent crime at once, then you cannot serve the sentences for each concurrently. Instead, the sentences will be serviced consecutively.

For example, if you’re convicted for armed robbery and are sentenced to 12 years but are also convicted of second-degree assault and sentenced to six years, you could spend up to 18 years in prison.

Are There Any Exceptions to Colorado’s Enhancement Rules?

Denver Violent Crimes Attorney

There have to be extenuating circumstances established in court to modify the sentencing for a violent crime. It’s unlikely this will occur and only is granted in exceptional cases, but should that happen to you, then you still cannot be released any sooner than 119 days after you were placed in custody.


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 recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020 and is Lead Counsel rated.