In Colorado, violent crimes such as murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, and sex crimes are treated with utmost seriousness. If you’re facing such allegations, it’s crucial to secure expert legal representation. The Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC, is your best choice in Colorado Springs and Denver. Our seasoned criminal defense attorneys and violent crime specialists have a proven track record of navigating Colorado’s legal landscape. We dedicate ourselves to understanding every facet of your case, ensuring the best defense strategy is crafted to uphold your rights in the Colorado legal system.
Violent Crimes: Understanding the Gravity
In Colorado, crimes of violence can lead to longer prison sentences compared to non-violent felonies of the same category. However, only specific offenses are classified as crimes of violence, such as rape, aggravated robbery, and kidnapping. Enhanced penalties apply if, during these crimes, the defendant used a deadly weapon, caused significant injury or death, or in the case of certain sex crimes, employed threats or force.
The statute CRS 18-1.3-406 outlines that individuals convicted of violent crimes face stringent sentencing rules. Essentially, they can receive a sentence ranging from the midpoint to twice the maximum of the presumptive range set for the crime.
Examples of crimes of violence in Colorado include, but are not limited to:
- First and Second-degree murder
- Various forms of assault and sexual assault
- Aggravated robbery
- First-degree arson and burglary
However, for these crimes to be considered violent, the defendant must have either:
- Used or threatened with a deadly weapon
- Caused grave injury or death (excluding harm to accomplices).
Having professional legal guidance ensures that individuals charged with such offenses understand the intricacies and implications of Colorado’s legal provisions.
Mandatory Sentences for Violent Crimes in Colorado
- Basics of Sentencing:
- Midpoint to Maximum Sentencing: If someone is found guilty of a violent crime, their sentence won’t be arbitrary. Instead, it’s framed within specific boundaries.
- Minimum: The minimum sentence will be the halfway point of the set range for that crime, ensuring a basic penalty even in the most lenient cases.
- Maximum: The harshest sentence can be up to twice the maximum limit of the set range. This allows for considerable flexibility, ensuring that particularly grievous instances of the crime can be punished more severely.
- Why This Range Matters: This sentencing structure strikes a balance. It ensures that individuals convicted of the same crime won’t receive vastly different sentences, providing consistency in the justice system.
- However, by setting a range rather than a fixed duration, the court can consider the specific circumstances and severity of each case, tailoring the punishment accordingly.
- Offenses After July 1, 2023:
- Convictions for multiple violent crimes from the same incident generally result in consecutive (back-to-back) sentences. However, after a specific duration (between 2 to 5 years), individuals can request a review or modification of their sentence.
- The court may adjust these sentences if they find substantial evidence of the defendant’s rehabilitation efforts and if certain mitigating factors are present.
- Sex Offenses:
- Convictions for violent sexual offenses after November 1, 1998, result in an indefinite prison term. This can range from a specified duration to a life sentence, depending on the offense’s severity.
- Concurrent Sentences:
- Under specific conditions, the court might allow concurrent (overlapping) sentences for multiple violent crimes from the same incident. This is generally possible if certain criteria about the nature of the crime and the defendant’s history are met.
- Jury Role:
- In trials, the jury or judge must determine if the defendant used or threatened to use a weapon, or caused injury or death. This finding influences the applicability of mandatory violent crime sentencing.
- Weapon Enhancement:
- If a dangerous or semi-automatic weapon was used in the crime, an additional 5-year sentence is added. This is served consecutively to the main sentence and isn’t eligible for suspension or probation.
Resources for the Accused: Colorado’s Violent Crimes Framework
- Colorado Revised Statutes | Violent Crime Code: Dive deep into Colorado’s violent crime laws. Benefit from the expertise of our violent crime lawyers to understand the offenses and penalties.
- Colorado State Court System: Gain perspective on how Colorado’s judiciary operates and the roles of district and county courts, as seen through the eyes of experienced violent crime attorneys.
Why Choose Clifton Black for Violent Crimes Defense?
- Specialized Strategies: With years of experience in various violent crime cases, our attorneys craft unique defense tactics tailored to each situation.
- Client-Centered Approach: We prioritize keeping you informed and empowered, offering support every step of the way.
- Diverse Case Expertise: Whether it’s assault with a deadly weapon or sexual offenses, we provide unmatched representation for any charge.
Facing violent crime allegations can be both legally challenging and emotionally draining. You need more than just a lawyer; you need a compassionate ally. At the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC, our attorneys not only bring vast legal expertise but also genuine understanding. We stand firmly by your side, defending you vigorously while ensuring you feel valued and supported.