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CHAPTER 5: SUBSTANTIVE CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Table of Contents

5.1 - Sources of Criminal Law and Procedure5.2 - Criminal Law - Title 185.3 - Criminal Procedure - Statutes and Rules5.4 - Juvenile Proceedings5.5 - Traffic Offenses - Title 425.6 - Municipal Ordinance Violations5.7 - Penalties5.8 - Federal Criminal Law5.9 - Defenses in Criminal Cases

5.7 PENALTIES

The basic penalties for felony offenses are set out in C.R.S. § 18-1.3-401. A discussion of the process of sentencing, specific punishments applicable to certain specific offenses, the granting or denial of probation, and community corrections alternatives to prison incarceration can be found in Chapter 7.8. This section sets out the general penalties applicable to various levels of offense. Felony sentences are generally served in the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC), i.e. the state penitentiary system.

Colorado¹s felony sentencing scheme divides felonies up into six classes, with class 1 being the most serious and class 6 the least serious. Each class of felony has a presumptive sentence. A sentencing court that denies probation will sentence the offender to a sentence within this presumptive range unless the court finds exceptional circumstances. Exceptionally mitigating circumstances may justify a sentence as low as half the presumptive range and exceptionally aggravating circumstances may justify a sentence as high as twice the presumptive range. In addition, certain offenses have been declared to be extraordinary risk (ER) crimes. The upper end of the presumptive range is increased as to those crimes that have been designated extraordinary risk crimes. In addition, all classes of felony except class 1 carry the possibility of a fine. The basic penalties are set out below.

Felony

Exceptional Minimum

Presumptive Minimum

Presumptive Maximum

Exceptional Maximum

1

 

Life Imprisonment

Death

 

2

4 years

8 years - $5,000

24 years - $1,000,000

48 years

3

2 years

4 years - $3,000

12 years - $750,000

24 years

3ER

2 years

4 years - $3,000

16 years - $750,000

32 years

4

1 year

2 years - $2,000

6 years - $500,000

12 years

4ER

1 year

2 years - $2,000

8 years - $500,000

16 years

5

6 months

1 year - $1,000

3 years - $100,000

6 years

5ER

6 months

1 year - $1,000

4 years - $100,000

8 years

6

6 months

1 year - $1,000

18 months - $100,000

3 years

6ER

6 months

1 year - $1,000

2 years - $100,000

4 years

 

Every felony sentence except a life sentence, includes a mandatory period of parole. The length of parole is based on the class of felony. Sentences for class 2 and 3 felonies include a five years of parole; sentences for class 4 felonies include three years of parole, sentences for class 5 felonies include two years of parole, and sentences for class 6 felonies include one year of parole.

The basic penalties for misdemeanor convictions are set out in C.R.S. ¤ 18-1.3-501, and for petty offenses in C.R.S. ¤ 18-1.3-503. Misdemeanor sentences are generally served in the county jail, not the penitentiary. Misdemeanors are divided into three classes, with class 1 being the most serious and class 3 being the least serious. Just as with felonies, a court may impose a fine in addition to, or instead of, a jail sentence. And there are some extraordinary risk misdemeanors that carry a greater penalty. The basic penalties are set forth below:

CLASS

MINIMUM PENALTY

MAXIMUM PENALTY

Class 1 Misdemeanor

6 months - $500

18 months - $5,000

Class 1 Misdemeanor - Extraordinary Risk

6 months - $500

24 months - $5,000

Class 2 Misdemeanor

3 months - $250

12 months - $1,000

Class 3 Misdemeanor

N/A - $50

6 months - $750

Class 1 Petty Offense

N/A - $50

6 months - $500

Class 2 Petty Offense

See specific offense

See specific offense

 

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