Most states, including Colorado divide crimes into two categories, 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 jail terms of up to 18 months.
Felonies in Colorado are divided into six classes, Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.
Class 1 felonies are the highest level in Colorado, punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) First degree murder and First Degree Kidnapping are examples of a class 1 felonies.
Class 2 felonies in Colorado are punishable by 8 to 24 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) Attempted 1st Degree Murder and 2nd Degree Murder are examples of class 2 felonies.
A conviction for a class 3 felony can range in a prison sentence of 4 to 12 years and a fine of $3,000 to $750,000. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) For example, 1st Degree Assault is a class 3 felony.
Class 4 felonies are punishable by a range of 2 to 6 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) 2nd Degree Assault is an example of a class 4 felony.
Colorado law punishes class 5 felonies with a sentence of 1 to 3 years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000 for a class 5 felony conviction. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) Felony Menacing is a class 5 felony.
Class 6 felonies are the least serious felonies in Colorado, punishable by 1 year to 18 months in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) False Information to a Pawn Broker is an example of a class 6 felony.
In Colorado pursuant to C.R.S. 18-1.3-406, certain crimes are considered “per se crimes of violence”, these include:
A crime being designated as a “crime of violence” means that the presumptive sentencing range listed above is increased. The sentencing range increased to a minimum of the mid-point of the presumptive range, up to two times the maximum of the presumptive range. It’s important to remember that the presumptive sentencing range for a specific offense, may be different than whats listed above. For instance, second degree assault is a class four felony. While normally, the presumptive sentencing for a class four felony is 2-4 years in prison. However, because second degree assault is a crime of violence, that means it falls into an “enhanced crimes” range of sentencing, and the sentencing range is 5 years up to a maximum of 16 years, assuming that the violent crimes enhancement is given because of the use of a deadly weapon.
I was hired in this case to represent a client accused of Second Degree Assault, Robbery, Domestic Violence and Harassment. With the exception of the Harassment charges, everything else was a very serious felony. After many months of protracted litigation and our own independent investigation, the District Attorney dismissed the case in its entirety on the morning of the first day of trial.