What Makes a Colorado Crime Violent?

In Colorado, several types of offenses are seen as violent crimes under the law. For violent crime charges in the state, you may receive very harsh penalties that include mandatory sentencing and steep fines.

It’s important to understand what is considered a violent crime in Colorado and what types of penalties come with a guilty verdict. Here’s what you need to know.

Types of Violent Crimes in Colorado

What is considered violent crime in Colorado? The most common acts include:

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault involves sexual penetration of a victim under specific circumstances, meaning it involves:

  • Sexual penetration against the victim’s will
  • A physically helpless victim
  • A victim who doesn’t understand the nature of what is occurring
  • A victim who mistakenly believes you are their spouse
  • Sexual penetration under the guise of medical treatment
  • A victim coerced into cooperation by an authority figure
  • A victim under the age of 14 and at least four years younger than the perpetrator
  • A victim aged 15 or 16 who is minimum 10 years younger than the perpetrator

For sexual assault to be considered a violent crime, one of the following factors must be fulfilled:

  • The victim sustained injury.
  • The perpetrator was armed with a deadly weapon.
  • Another person aided the perpetrator in the crime.


In Colorado, assault in the first degree involves the use of a weapon to cause injury — or threatening someone with the intent to do so. Assault can be considered a violent crime if:

  • The victim was injured in a serious way.
  • A deadly weapon was employed in the threat.
  • A deadly weapon was actually used in the attack.
  • The perpetrator was armed with a deadly weapon.

Crimes of Harm to Another

Acts that harm another person can be considered a violent crime. Murder certainly falls under this category. Other crimes with the potential for harm include:

  • Kidnapping
  • Escape
  • Extortion
  • Unlawful termination of a pregnancy
  • Aggravated robbery
  • First-degree arson
  • Crimes against at-risk adults or minors

For any of these crimes to be considered violent, a deadly weapon must be used, threatened, or possessed during the commission of the crime. The crime is also considered violent if it results in death or serious bodily injury.

What About Property Crimes?

Most of the time, property crimes are not considered violent crimes. However, just as with assault, if a deadly weapon is used, threatened, or on the person when committing the crime, it could be considered a violent crime. Also, any serious bodily injury to a victim can classify a crime as violent in the state.

CO Penalties for Violent Crimes

If you’re convicted of a violent crime in Colorado, you will face enhanced sentencing. For felony convictions, the maximum sentence may be doubled, and you cannot serve less than the midpoint of the sentence. For the perpetration of a sex crime, you may be sentenced to life in prison.

Let’s say you are convicted of assault, and it is deemed a violent crime. Instead of six years in prison with fines up to $500,000, you could serve up to 12 years in prison.


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.