Sex offenses are high-level policy, media, and community issues that transverse all levels of society and are present across all countries. Even before the #metoo movement, sexual assaults were high-profile issues that were taken seriously. As a result, governmental agencies spare no expense in prosecuting these offenses.
However, sex offenses encompass significant legal complexities. These include the offense the State charges you with, the nature of the situation, the impact upon the alleged victim, and your demographics. As a result of these considerations, outcomes vary widely.
Thus, if you are facing such charges, you should consult with an experienced and skilled sexual assault defense attorney in Boulder. The Boulder sexual assault defense lawyers at The Ferrell Law Firm, PLLC, have extensive experience successfully handling these criminal cases. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
What Are the Major Sex Offenses in Colorado?
Those charged with a sexual offense should contact a sexual assault defense lawyer in Boulder to learn about the nature and potential consequences of these crimes. Colorado law classifies sex offenses into three primary categories: sexual assault, sexual contact, and sexual assault on a child.
Under the Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-402, a person commits sexual assault when they subject another to sexual intrusion or penetration against that person’s will. Sexual assault includes offenses involving the following:
- Statutory rape,
- Forced oral sex,
- Penetration with a foreign object, and
This conduct is deemed non-consensual if one party is unconscious or intoxicated.
Under C.R.S. § 18-3-404, a person commits unlawful sexual contact if you fondle, touch, or grope another without their consent. Examples of unlawful sexual contact include the following conduct:
- Groping, and
- Sexual battery.
This crime is less serious than sexual assault but carries significant penalties.
Sexual Assault on Child
Under C.R.S. § 18-3-405, a person may be found guilty of sexual assault on a child if they do the following:
- Fondle a child under 15, or cause the child to fondle them, and
- The perpetrator is at least four years older than the victim.
While the offense is referred to as sexual assault, it is the underage equivalent of the state’s unlawful sexual contact statute.
Other Sex Offenses in Colorado
In addition to these offenses, Colorado maintains several other statutes that govern sex offenses. For example, the criminal code covers crimes related to the following:
- Failure to register as a sex offender,
- Failure to verify location as a sex offender,
- Internet sexual exploitation of a child,
- Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification,
- Sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust,
- Sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist, and
- Unlawful sexual conduct by a peace officer.
It is important to note that the age of consent in Colorado is 17. If the victim is older than 17, then the primary issue is whether the sexual act took place and, if so, whether the person knowingly and willingly consented to the act.
Sexual Harassment vs. Assault
It is important to note that in Colorado, sexual harassment is not a criminal offense unless it involves sexual assault or battery. These offenses typically fall under the civil system, and the victim may pursue a claim for compensation.
Sexual Assault Penalties
In Colorado, sexual assault is a felony. Those convicted of rape or other similar conduct can face a fine of up to $750,000 and a minimum of 4 to a maximum of 12 years in state prison.
In addition, while sexual assault is generally a class 4 felony, the penalties and felony class can increase if aggravating factors exist. Some aggravating factors include the following:
- The victim was under 14 years old,
- The victim was 10 years younger than the accused,
- The victim sustained serious bodily injury,
- The accused has a history of violent crime, or
- The victim was pregnant.
Aggravating factors can increase the penalty and length of incarceration.
Collateral Consequences of Sexual Assault Conviction
In addition to incarceration and fines, sex offense convictions carry significant collateral consequences such as the following:
- Compulsory rehabilitation treatment,
- Loss of parental rights,
- Mandatory drug testing,
- Professional license revocation,
- Sex offender registry, and
- Suspension from higher education institutions.
Further, sex offense arrests, charges, and convictions can cause familial distress and damage your reputation, which could negatively impact several areas of your life.
Role of Sexual Assault Defense Attorney in Boulder
In responding to sexual assault allegations, the criminal justice system often fails to address the accusation adequately. Further, law enforcement can skirt the accused’s constitutional rights to validate the victim’s claims. As such, if the State accuses you of sexual assault in Colorado, it is highly recommended that you consult an attorney to determine your potential defenses.
Defenses to Sexual Assault Charges in Colorado
When accused of sexual assault, some common defenses include the following:
- No sexual penetration or intrusion took place,
- The sex was consensual,
- You are the victim of mistaken identity,
- You were falsely accused,
- The victim regretted the sex and later claimed it was rape, or
- Law enforcement engaged in an unlawful search and seizure.
Additionally, if you plead or are found guilty, an attorney can help mitigate the consequences of your conviction. For example, an attorney can help educate the judge and jury about relevant mitigating factors during sentencing. Further, a skilled Boulder sexual assault lawyer can present a compelling argument that the court should examine your conduct by evaluating your psychology, well-being, mental health, familial relationships, upbringing, and education. These arguments can reduce the severity of your sentence.
Speak with a Dedicated Boulder Sexual Crimes Defense Attorney to Get Started Working on Your Defense Today
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a sex offense, your next move should be to call one of the experienced Boulder sexual assault defense lawyers at The Ferrell Law Firm, PLLC. We understand the seriousness of the charges you’re facing and will do everything possible to ensure the best possible result in your case. And, as a former prosecutor, Attorney Ferrell knows how the government is going to see the case and can anticipate their every move.
To schedule a free consultation, give us a call at 720-687-2795. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.