What It’s Like to Be on the Sex Offender Registry in Colorado

The justice system is founded on the premise of rehabilitating offenders. Individuals are sentenced to punishments deemed to fit the crime.

Once a sentence is carried out, offenders are said to have paid their dues. Yet there are some crimes that continue to cause harm to ex-offenders long after their sentence is over. Sex crimes are one of them.

Unique because offenders may be sentenced to register on the sex offender registry, the handling has come under some controversy. The heart of the matter? Offenders must remain registered long after they’ve reformed and paid their dues.

Let’s take a closer look…

Denver Judge Cites Cruel and Unusual Punishment

A man from Washington State unknowingly solicited sex – once – from an underage prostitute. The man was convicted and sentenced to prison from 1986-1992.

Since being released, the man has found difficulty seeking employment, often declined after a background check. The four times the man found a job, he was fired once his criminal history was discovered.

He’s also had trouble finding a home. After moving in, his photo quickly circulates the neighborhood, effectively painting a target on his back.

The offender stated “I will never be given a second chance. It doesn’t matter how long I don’t re-offend, I will always be a sex offender in everyone else’s eyes.”

A federal judge stated that the registry inflicts cruel and unusual punishment not by the state, but by the hands of fellow citizens.

The Definition of “Sex Offender” in Colorado Is Categorically Broad

While some crimes warrant punishment as lasting as a life sentence, not every sex crime fits into that category. Yet, the law considers a sex offender an individual guilty of any of the following:

  • A sex offense (which includes 25 different types of felonies and misdemeanors)
  • Any criminal offense if a person has previous convictions of a sex crime in Colorado or another state
  • Any criminal offense in Colorado with an underlying basis involving a sex crime

It’s easy to see how broadly the law defines these kinds of crimes. Three bullets to cover every deviant and criminal sexual act.

Note, however, not every sex offender has to register.

Lifetime Supervision Act Says Who Must Register and How Long in Colorado

Since the severity of sex crimes can vary greatly, the crimes are classified across various degrees of felonies and misdemeanors.

The Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act requires supervision for most sex crimes that are considered Class 2, 3 and 4 felonies.

If you have questions regarding the Class of sex crime charges that you or someone you know is facing, reach out to an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney for advice.

Colorado Sex Offender Registry Requirements

Sex offenders are advised during the court process whether they will be required to register on the sex offender registry. Those who are must register with their local law enforcement agencies where they reside.

When an offender moves to a new address, they are required to register the new address with local law enforcement again.

Petitioning for Sex Offender Registry Removal in Colorado

Non-violent sex offenders can begin petitioning to remove their names off the registry 5-20 years after the end of the supervision period, depending on the severity of their sex crime conviction.

Violent sex offenders are unable to remove their names from the registry for the rest of their lives. They must comply with registry regulations indefinitely.

Juveniles may petition to remove their names off the registry immediately after the conclusion of their supervision period.

Sex crimes carry severe penalties and being convicted of one can land you on the Sex Offender Registry. These processes can be long and arduous – both registering and petitioning to be removed from the registry.

Colorado Sex Offender Defense Attorney

Until then, offenders carry this “scarlet letter” into every job interview and it can appear on every housing and loan application they complete. The best way to stay off this registry is to fight back before conviction.


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.