Being charged with a crime of violence in Colorado is quite serious — if convicted, you will face mandatory prison time.
Should you ever be accused of a violent crime, your first call should be to speak with a violent crime defense attorney. An experienced legal professional will listen to your side of the story, and craft the best possible defense strategy to fight back against your charges.
It’s also best to be well-informed, and know what you’re up against if you’re charged with a violent crime. So we’ve put together a guide covering violent crime in Colorado, and how to fight back against these serious charges.
Colorado Crime of Violence Defined
- First-degree assault
- Second-degree assault
- Sex crimes
- Burglary of an occupied dwelling
- Crimes against at-risk victims
- Use or threatened use of a deadly weapon in the commission of any criminal offense
Violent Crime Sentencing and Penalties: Expect Mandatory Prison Time
When someone is convicted of a felony crime in Colorado, judges can sentence them to probation, community corrections, or incarceration. However, when the felony is a crime of violence, the judge has no choice but to sentence you to incarceration.
Furthermore, the judge cannot reduce your sentence even in the presence of mitigating circumstances. Instead, they are required to sentence you to at least the midpoint of the presumptive sentence for the offense.
For example, if you are convicted of a Class 2 felony, this would have a presumptive sentence of 8-24 years in prison. If this is a crime of violence, the judge would be required to sentence you to no less than 16 years of imprisonment, which is the midpoint.
On top of this, the judge is allowed to increase the sentence up to double the maximum presumptive sentence. For example, a judge can sentence you to up to 48 years in prison for a Class 2 felony, for which the presumptive sentence is 8-24 years.
Scary, right? This is why having a tough legal team in your corner is a necessity, not just a suggestion.
Violent Crime Defense Strategies
Fortunately, there are a number of defense strategies that can be used to beat or lessen the violent crime charges against you. Here are some of the most common defenses Colorado courts consider.
When a Violence Offense Was Not Intentional
Most criminal charges in Colorado require that the offense was committed deliberately and in a culpable state of mind. If you can prove that your actions were an accident or unintentional, this could be used as a defense strategy.
The Accused Has a Solid Alibi
If you can prove that you were somewhere else at the time of the alleged offense, this is known as an alibi. This raises a reasonable doubt that you were at the scene of the crime. This can include testimony from people with you during the crime’s occurrence, surveillance video showing you somewhere else, or receipts from credit card purchases.
The Defense Proves a Confession Was Coerced
Police interrogations of crime suspects are notoriously unfair. If you can prove that you were coerced into confessing your guilt, this can undermine the case against you. For example, if the police physically beat you during your interrogation, continue to question you after you’ve requested an attorney, trick you into confessing, or deprive you of food or sleep, this is considered coercion.
A Preponderance of Evidence Points to False Accusations
Many criminal charges are filed based on false accusations when the alleged victim is seeking revenge against the supposed perpetrator. False accusations are common in breakups, child custody disputes, or between neighbors.
These are only a few of the most common elements that may be used in an overall defense strategy. They are not the only ones. Don’t face violent crime charges alone. An experienced legal team can evaluate the specific circumstances surrounding your case and develop a unique defense to present to the court.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.