I have been a criminal defense attorney specializing in sex crimes for over twenty years. Yet still, I am surprised at how a misdemeanor can become a felony when it comes to Unlawful Sexual Contact charges. Let's take a closer look at this sex offense in Adams, Jefferson, and El Paso County in order to understand what I mean.
Unlawful Sexual Contact Usually a Misdemeanor Offense
Unlawful Sexual Contact – C.R.S. 18-3-404, is usually a class 1 misdemeanor, which results in a possible county jail sentence. Normally, this crime is charged when a person touches another person's intimate parts (or the clothing covering their intimate parts) without their permission. Unlawful Sexual Contact charges are often the result of a drunk man grabbing a woman's breast or butt in a bar. But, in some situations, this crime becomes more serious and is charged as a felony. Let's look at the two circumstances where this is true.[pullquote align=”center” textalign=”center” width=”60%”]Situations Where a Misdemeanor Becomes a Felony in Unlawful Sexual Contact Cases:[/pullquote]
Unlawful Sexual Contact + Force = Mandatory Prison Sentence
One way in which Unlawful Sexual Contact is charged as a felony is where force, threats, or intimidation are a factor in the case. For example, if a man forcefully holds a woman down while he touches her in a sexual way, he is sentenced more harshly than someone who does the touching without force. Let's make this simple: Force/threats/intimidation + unwanted sexual touching = mandatory prison sentence. In this situation, Unlawful Sexual Contact is a class 4 felony. This makes sense, but the law goes a little too far in our opinion, by not allowing possible probation in extenuating circumstances.
Unlawful Sexual Contact + Medical Personnel = Felony
Another situation where Unlawful Sexual Contact is charged as a felony is when medical personnel (such as a nurse or a doctor), “engages in treatment or examination of a victim for other than bona fide medical purposes or in a manner substantially inconsistent with reasonable medical practices.” In other words, if a doctor, nurse, or other person in the medical field examines someone for reasons other than a legitimate medical one, they will be charged with class 4 felony Unlawful Sexual Contact.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Unlawful Sexual Contact Charges
If a person is convicted of a felony sexual crime in Arapahoe, Denver, or Douglas County, they will have to undergo sex offender treatment, jail or prison time, sex offender registration, potential mandatory prison sentences, probation, and restrictions on contact with children (even your own). Colorado's Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) utilizes a ridiculous “one size fits all” strategy which doesn't help anyone in the system. There are a few judges and District Attorneys who realize the absurdity of applying one-size-fits-all treatment, and agree to tailor it to an individual's specific circumstances. Unfortunately, most do not. An outstanding criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you when you go to court so that you get the best possible outcome in your criminal case. You don't want to be overcharged and let a misdemeanor become a felony in your Unlawful Sexual Contact case.Request a Free Consultation