When you are faced with felony charges, your freedom and your reputation hang in the balance. It is imperative that you retain a skilled, veteran attorney who can advocate for your rights. The Burnham Criminal Law team is here for you. We are former prosecutors and public defenders with extensive experience navigating Colorado’s criminal justice system.
Like all states, Colorado divides crimes into felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are more serious crimes, punishable by state prison terms of one year or more. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes, punishable by county or local jail terms of up to 18 months.
Most felonies in Colorado are designated as Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. Some felonies in Colorado are unclassified. For unclassified felonies, the sentence is set out in the criminal statute. If no penalty is fixed, then a felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. In addition, Colorado law provides different penalties for drug felonies.
Class 1 Felonies
Class 1 felonies are the most serious crimes in Colorado, punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty. Examples of class 1 felonies include: first degree murder, first degree kidnapping and treason.
Class 2 Felonies
Class 2 felonies in Colorado are punishable by eight to 24 years in prison, a fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000, or both. Examples of class 2 felonies include: sexual assault, second degree murder, and trafficking of illegal aliens.
Class 3 Felonies
A conviction for a class 3 felony can result in a state prison sentence of four to twelve years, a fine of $3,000 to $750,000, or both. Examples of class 3 felonies include: vehicular homicide and first degree assault.
Class 4 Felonies
Class 4 felonies are punishable by two to six years’ imprisonment, a fine of between $2,000 and $500,000, or both. Examples of class 4 felonies include: manslaughter and theft of property worth between $20,000 and $100,000.
Class 5 Felonies
Colorado’s laws impose a sentence of one to three years in prison, a fine of $1,000 to $100,000, or both, for a class 5 felony conviction. Class 5 felonies include: third degree burglary, criminally negligent homicide and forgery.
Class 6 Felonies
Class 6 felonies are the least serious felonies in Colorado, punishable by one year to 18 months in prison, a fine of $1,000 to $100,000, or both. Examples of class 6 felonies include: criminal impersonation and criminal possession of a forged instrument.
Colorado law treats drug felonies differently than other felony offenses, dividing them into levels 1, 2, 3, and 4. Drug felonies committed on or after October 1, 2013 are punishable as follows:
- Level 1: Between eight and 32 years in prison, between $5,000 and $1,000,000 in fines, or both.
- Level 2: Between four and eight years in prison, a fine of between $3,000 and $750,000, or both.
- Level 3: Two to four years in prison, between $2,000 and $500,000 in fines, or both.
- Level 4: Six months to one year in prison, a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000, or both.
Statutes of Limitations
For many crimes, there is a time period, called the statute of limitations, during which the state must begin criminal prosecution or the defendant can have the case dismissed. For many felonies in Colorado, the state has three years from the date the crime is committed to begin criminal prosecution. Very serious felonies, such as murder, kidnapping, treason, and sex offenses against children, have no statutes of limitations and the state can begin criminal prosecution at any time.
Getting The Legal Representation You Need
Felony convictions can have life-long consequences. If you are charged with a felony, talk to an experienced Burnham criminal defense attorney about your case. An attorney can explain the charges you are facing, the defenses that might apply, and the different options available to you. A good lawyer can help you navigate the criminal justice system and protect your rights.
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