If you have a felony record in Colorado and are arrested, beware. Under Colorado’s draconian habitual offender law, your sentence could be as much as four times the length of the typical sentence for the crime you’ve been charged with. If you ever needed a good habitual offender attorney, it’s now.
Colorado’s lawmakers, between 1979 and 1994, saw fit to pass laws mandating enhanced sentences for habitual offenders. It was expected that these long, scary sentences would have a deterrent effect on crime. Unfortunately, the law of unintended consequences has also been at work, filling the state’s prisons beyond capacity with criminals who in many cases are serving sentences out of proportion to the severity of their crimes.
The Colorado prison system is currently operating at 116 percent capacity, with 14,835 inmates —about 2,000 more than its buildings are designed to house.
While Colorado’s habitual offenders laws are controversial, they are a fact of life. If you have a record of a felony offense above Class 6 and commit another offense, if convicted, you’re facing many years in prison. The system is complex, and you will need to have a very knowledgeable and effective defense attorney if you are to avoid what could amount to lifetime incarceration, depending on the nature of your crime and the number of prior serious felony convictions.
While Colorado has a “three strikes and you’re out” law on the books, it is the state’s other habitual offender laws that are typically invoked.
Under Colorado’s “little habitual” offender law, if you’re convicted of a Class 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 felony and have been convicted of two felonies within the previous ten years, you can be adjudicated a habitual offender, with a mandatory prison sentence of triple the maximum sentence for the presumptive range for your most recent crime.
An offender convicted of a fourth felony, regardless of the felony class, will be adjudicated a habitual offenders under the “big habitual” statute. In this case, the prison term mandated is four times the maximum sentence in the presumptive range.
It gets worse. Anyone convicted and sentenced under the big habitual statute who is released and later convicted of any violent felony becomes a habitual offender under the “bigger habitual” statute, which comes with a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for at least forty years.
The law is certainly daunting, and if you find yourself in a position where a conviction will put you away for the remainder of your life or at least a major chunk of it, you understand the importance of hiring an aggressive, bright, and skilled lawyer who understands the penal system, knows the judges and prosecutors and has earned their respect, and is a dedicated and passionate advocate for the accused.
In Colorado Springs, there is no better choice than criminal defense attorney Steven T. Rodemer. Steve’s reputation has grown rapidly as his record of successful outcomes has become widely recognized throughout the legal community. A former prosecutor, Steve has intimate knowledge of the workings of Colorado’s criminal court system. He knows the prosecutors, knows the judges, and enjoys their respect. He knows how to investigate a case, how to identify problems with the arrest, and how to raise a reasonable doubt at trial. He knows when it is in your best interest to enter into a plea bargain, and when you should go to trial. If a plea bargain is your best option, he will aggressively push for the most favorable disposition for you. If you opt for a trial, he will fight for you aggressively, using every available defense and employing the tactics that have earned him the gratitude of so many of his clients whose charges have been dismissed or reduced through his efforts.
When your freedom and your future are at stake, call the Law Offices of Steven T. Rodemer in Colorado Springs for unrivaled representation by one of Colorado’s most effective criminal defense attorneys.