Misdemeanor Sexual Assault in Colorado – CRS 18-3-402

Learn more about misdemeanor Sexual Assault charges in Colorado.

When you hear a person has been charged with Sexual Assault – C.R.S. 18-3-402, most people think it is a serious, felony offense. And, in most cases, it is. But, there is a provision in the law in which Sex Assault is charged as a misdemeanor in Denver, Arapahoe, and Adams County. Felony Sexual Assault is subject to indeterminate sentencing, sex offender registration, and sex offender intensive supervised probation, like many of sex crimes. The misdemeanor is not subject to indeterminate sentencing, however. A conviction of this offense vs. felony sex assault can mean the difference between a lifetime in prison and living a regular life. Let’s take a look at Colorado criminal law in order to understand.

Misdemeanor Sexual Assault: What the Law States

Simply put, Sexual Assault is charged whenever a person has sex with someone against their will, or when they are unable to give consent. Usually, Sexual Assault is a felony. But, in some cases it is charged as a misdemeanor. The law states:

At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is at least fifteen years of age but less than seventeen years of age and the actor is at least ten years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim.”

In this type of scenario, the alleged victim must have given consent for the sexual encounter. It is charged a class 1 misdemeanor extraordinary risk crime, rather than a felony offense.

The Age of Consent in Colorado

When an adult has sexual contact with someone under the age of fifteen, they will be charged with Sexual Assault or Sexual Assault on a Child – whether or not the alleged victim consented. This is because, in Colorado, teens under the age of fifteen cannot legally give consent. Even if a boyfriend / girlfriend has a consensual sexual relationship, the older person in the relationship will be charged if their lover is under the age of fifteen. The age a teenager can legally give consent to a sexual relationship with an older adult (as long as the adult is not in a position of trust) is seventeen. If the child is 15 or 16 and the defendant is at least ten years older, it is charged as a misdemeanor offense as opposed to the harsh felony which is usually imposed. Misdemeanor Sexual Assault is still a sex offense requiring sex offender registration and sex offender treatment, but the maximum jail time is two years – as opposed to a possible lifetime sentence for felony Sexual Assault. Misdemeanor Sexual Assault can only be charged if the sexual contact was consensual; forced contact will result in a felony charge in El Paso, Douglas, or Jefferson County.

 

Age of Alleged Victim

Forced or Consensual

Crime

Under 15 Doesn’t Matter Felony Sexual Assault, or Sexual Assault on a Child
15 or 16 If Consensual and Adult was at Least 10 Years Older Misdemeanor Sexual Assault
15 or 16 If Consent Given and Within 10 Years No Crime
17 Consensual, No Age Limit No Crime
15 and Up Forced Felony Sexual Assault

Why You Need a Lawyer for Sexual Assault Charges

It is noteworthy that the law hinges so much on something as subjective as age. Sometimes, it is difficult to accurately predict a teen child’s age. If the age difference is outside of the parameters by even a day, felony charges will come into play – and an indeterminate sentence could be imposed. The age of consent is made even more confusing considering our culture’s obsession with sex. Children are becoming sexually active at younger ages than ever before, yet the laws have not caught up to society.

 

Child Prostitution charges can be serious - consult a criminal lawyer to defend you.

Sex Offender Treatment

Child Prostitution charges can be serious - consult a criminal lawyer to defend you.

Sex Offender Registration

 

A conviction of misdemeanor Sexual Assault still results in sex offender registration and sex offender treatment. And often, the Domestic Violence sentence enhancer is added, which will aggravate the sentence. Because so much is at stake in your Sexual Assault case, it is vital that you work with a hard-hitting criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight to protect your future. You will be alone in the courtroom without a lawyer by your side. Choose an attorney who has a passion for defense and will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

If you or a loved one has been charged with Sexual Assault, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the O’Malley Law Office for a free consultation at 303-830-0880.
Together, we can protect your future.