If you fondle or grope someone without their consent, the state of Colorado considers that to be unlawful sexual contact. In some states, it’s called sexual battery.
Under state law in Colorado, unlawful sexual contact is more akin to sexual assault – it’s viewed as a forcible sex crime. Because of that, being charged and found guilty of it can follow you around for the rest of your life.
If you’ve been charged with this crime, it’s important to understand what it is exactly and what types of penalties can be given if found guilty. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Unlawful Sexual Contact in Colorado?
Unlawful sexual contact is not as serious as sexual assault. In sexual assault, there is intrusion or penetration of the victim, while unlawful sexual contact involving groping, fondling, and other unwanted touching.
The types of things prohibited under the law include:
- Purposefully touching the intimate parts of someone else without consent
- Purposefully causing another person to touch your intimate parts without consent
- Enticing a child to have sex with another person or to show their intimate parts for the purpose of your sexual gratification
Penalties of Unlawful Sexual Contact
In most circumstances, unlawful sexual contact is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, it’s also considered a crime of extraordinary risk, which makes the maximum sentence much harsher than other Class 1 misdemeanors.
In most cases, unlawful sexual contact is punishable by as many as two years in prison and fines of as much as $5,000. If the victim was compelled to submit by force to the contact, or if they were drugged, intimidated, or threatened, then it’s a felony charge. Felony unlawful sexual contact can result in up to eight years in prison and fines of as much as $500,000.
If a deadly weapon was used in the commission of the crime, then the sentence can be increased to as much as life in prison.
Sex Offender Registration
If you are convicted of either misdemeanor or felony unlawful sexual contact, you will be required to register as a sex offender in Colorado. This registry, kept by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, includes personal identifying information like your name, address, birth date, photo, physical description, date of convictions, crimes committed, and whether or not you are considered a sexually violent predator.
This information is available to the public and can have an impact on where you live and work, as well as some professional licensures. Failure to register as a sex offender is a crime itself, considered a Class 6 felony in Colorado. If you fail to register, you can face an additional 18 months in prison and fines of as much as $100,000.
There are only very narrow circumstances under which you can have your name removed from the sex offender registry in the state; for instance, if you are under 18 at the time the crime took place, or if it’s your first offense for a misdemeanor crime. However, it’s up to the discretion of the court.
Otherwise, you will be on the sex offender registry for at least 10 years after you are released from prison, and you must not commit any other sex crimes during that time.
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.