This should be an easy answer. Back in 2019, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that defendants could not be sentenced to prison and then have to subsequently go through probation in the same case.
While it was a big surprise to the legal system at the time, it was pretty clear cut: no, someone cannot get prison time and probation for the same crime.
Fast forward to the present day, though, and the Court just made things more complicated. While most defendants can’t face prison followed by probation, the rules are now different for sex offenders.
That’s because this past June, the Supreme Court ruled in a pair of cases that sex offenders should be exempted from that 2019 decision.
So, can a sex crime in Colorado get you prison time and probation?
As of right now, that answer is a resounding yes. If you are convicted of a criminal act that legally labels you as a sex offender, you can absolutely end up dealing with both prison and probation.
What Types of Colorado Sex Crimes Put You on the Sex Offender Registry?
Since the label of “sex offender” changes the way you can be punished in our state, it is important to understan which illegal acts come with this label.
According to the Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act:
- “Any person who was convicted on or after July 1, 1991 of an unlawful sexual offense as defined in 18-3-411 C.R.S. is required to register in Colorado.
- Any person who was convicted on or after July 1, 1991 in another state or jurisdiction of an offense that, if committed in Colorado, would constitute an unlawful sexual offense as defined in 18-3-411 C.R.S. is required to register in Colorado.
- Any person who was convicted or released from the Department of Corrections on or after July 1, 1994 for unlawful sexual behavior is required to register in Colorado.
- Any person convicted of an offense in any other state or jurisdiction, for which the person is, was, has been, or would be required to register if he or she resided in the state or jurisdiction of conviction is required to register in Colorado.
- Any person convicted of an offense in any other state or jurisdiction, for which the person would be required to register if convicted in Colorado, is required to register in Colorado.
- Any person who is convicted of a sexual offense and who “lacks a fixed residence” is required to register in Colorado.
- Sexually violent predators and/or adults convicted of the most serious sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders for life in Colorado with no possibility to discontinue the registration requirement.”
Of course, that doesn’t completely answer the question, and doing so more thoroughly gets a bit complicated.
One answer is that if you are convicted of any “sexual offense” and don’t have a fixed residence, you have to register. In some cases, even juvenile offenders have to register.
For those who do have a fixed residence, however, the definition is more narrow. It covers criminal acts listed in 18-3-411 C.R.S. which, while extensive, largely boils down to sex crimes against minors. You can read the full list here.
Why Is It Important to Know Which Colorado Sex Crimes Come with Sex Offender Status?
Bottom line? You need to know what you are up against. Whether you are facing sex offender charges or not will impact your defense strategy.
Moreover, charges are not set in stone. With a strong defense, it is sometimes possible to get charges changed or even dropped altogether.
Understanding the impact of facing certain charges allows you to put your focus on the most severe ones to give yourself the best chance of minimizing the damage and getting your life back on track.
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.