In the Colorado Revised Statutes 18-1.3-1004, crimes that are subject to indeterminate sentencing in Denver, Jefferson, Arapahoe, and Larimer County include certain sex crimes. Life in prison is always a possibility upon conviction, a guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendere (no contest) to any of these crimes in Weld, Douglas, or Adams County:
- Sexual Assault – C.R.S. 18-3-402
- First Degree Sexual Assault – C.R.S. 18-3-402, as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
- Second Degree Sexual Assault – C.R.S. 18-3-403, as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
- Felony Sexual Assault in the Third Degree – C.R.S. 18-3-404, as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
- Felony Unlawful Sexual Contact – C.R.S. 18-3-404
- Sexual Assault on a Child – C.R.S. 18-3-405
- Sexual Assault on a Child by a Person in a Position of Trust – C.R.S. 18-3-405.3
- Aggravated Sexual Assault on a Client by a Psychotherapist – C.R.S. 18-3-405.5
- Enticement of a Child C.R.S. 18-3-305
- Incest – C.R.S. 18-6-301
- Aggravated Incest – C.R.S. 18-6-302
- Patronizing a Prostituted Child – C.R.S. 18-7-406
- Internet Luring of a Child – Class 4 Felony – C.R.S. 18-3-306
- Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child – C.R.S. 18-3-405.4
Attempt to Commit Crime
Sex offense is further defined and included as the criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the sex crimes listed above. The criminal attempt, conspiracy or solicitation would be considered a class 4, 3, or 2 felony as well.
Misdemeanor and Felony Sex Offenses: The Difference
Many sex offenses which are classified as a felony are included under the indeterminate sentencing model. A few of these crimes may be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. The class is determined by different factors including the age of victim and actor, threatened submission, pattern of abuse, whether the person is in a position of trust, and others. Because the possibility of life in prison may come down to these small discrepancies, it is important to have a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to protect your best interests.
Crimes Committed by HIV Infected, and Against Children
Broad categories that may help explain which sex offenses are subject to indeterminate sentencing include any crime against a child, or crimes of violence. Also, if it is found that the sex offender committed a sex crime against someone else and knew themselves to be infected with HIV, they will be subject to indeterminate sentencing.
The Purpose of Indeterminate Sentencing
Indeterminate sentencing takes much of the sentencing length decision away from the judge presiding over the case and instead gives decision-making power to bureaucrats who do not have any association with the case. Sex offenders are frequently lost in the legislative shuffle and forgotten, which ends up costing tax-payers money and taking up space in prisons. The stated purpose of an indeterminate sentence is to protect the community. The idea is to keep convicted offenders in custody until they have completed treatment and there is strong evidence the offender will not reoffend. No longer can an offender refuse treatment and be released at a required date once their sentence is served in full.
Unfortunately, an unintended consequence has resulted from this new law. With no scheduled release date, the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) feels no rush to begin to rehabilitate sex offenders. They believe the lie that sex offenders will never be cured and should probably never return to society. So, they hire a minimal number of sex offender treaters and ignore the long list of offenders anxious to begin treatment. The problem has become epidemic as thousands wait for a chance to get into treatment classes.
At the O’Malley Law Office, we understand that mistakes or bad decisions happen, but people can change for the better. Just because there was a sex crime in your past does not mean you should have to resign yourself to this “no cure” philosophy. Every sex offense case is different and the majority involve people who will never reoffend or those who are truly innocent.
Lesser Known Sex Offenses Which Result in Indeterminate Sentences
Receiving a life sentence for a sex offense is a very real possibility in Colorado. Any sex crime has serious implications for your freedom and well-being, but perhaps the chance of an indeterminate sentence. Be aware of these crimes as well which are subject to indeterminate sentencing per C.R.S. 18-3-412 (for those who are classified as an Habitual Offender):
- Trafficking in Children – C.R.S. 18-3-502
- Sexual Exploitation of Children C.R.S. 18-6-403
- Procurement of a Child for Sexual Exploitation – C.R.S. 18-6-404
- Soliciting for Child Prostitution – C.R.S. 18-7-402
- Pandering of a Child – C.R.S. 18-7-403
- Procurement of a Child – C.R.S. 18-7-403.5
- Keeping a Place of Child Prostitution – C.R.S. 18-7-404
- Pimping of a Child – C.R.S. 18-7-405
- Inducement of Child Prostitution – C.R.S. 18-7-405.5
- Any criminal criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the acts specified above.
Indeterminate Sentencing and Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been contacted by the police regarding one of the crimes listed above, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. If you are convicted, you could spend the rest of your life in prison, awaiting treatment. There is a shortage of treatment providers, so many sex offenders are waiting far past when they were eligible for parole. Don’t gamble with your future. Colorado responds harshly to sex offenses committed in Denver, Adams, and Arapahoe County and across the state. You need an advocate in the courtroom who can fight to protect your future.