Indeterminate Sentencing for Sex Offenses in Colorado
If an individual is convicted of a sex offense, they will be required to return to the court in order to receive their sentence. The judge will determine the sentence, the severity of which will depend on the type of sex offense as well as the circumstances surrounding it. Additionally, the convicted will also be added to the Colorado sex offender registry.
The Colorado judicial system has provisions for both determinate and indeterminate sentencing. Those convicted of a sex offense will often receive an indeterminate sentence. If you’ve been accused of a sex offense or convicted of one, it’s important to understand what indeterminate sentencing is and how it can affect your life.
What is Indeterminate Sentencing?
While some states use a determinate sentencing structure for most sex offender crimes, Colorado often does not. A determinate sentence means that (unless there are mitigating circumstances), the convicted will serve the entire term set by the judge. Jessica’s Law, for example, which is in use in several states, mandates a 25-year sentence for perpetrators who are convicted of sex crimes upon minors under a certain age. This law has not been enacted in Colorado.
Indeterminate sentencing, however, works differently. The Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act of 1998 made it so that nearly every conviction for a felony sex offense (classes 2, 3, or 4) would require a sentence of lifetime supervision. This is especially true if the court determines the convicted is likely to commit further sexual crimes in the future.
These could include unlawful sexual contact, sexual assault on a child, sexual exploitation, or trafficking children. The odds are also higher for an indeterminate sentence if the victim was someone previously unknown to the convicted or someone who was groomed to have a sexual relationship with the convicted.
How Long Can an Indeterminate Sentence Be?
In Colorado, indeterminate sentences state that the convicted may be under supervision for the rest of their life. This supervision could come in the form of either incarceration or probation. There is no mandatory release date from incarceration for the prisoner if the sentence is indeterminate.
Someone might, for example, be convicted of sexual assault as a class 4 felony. This carries a sentence of 2 to 6 years to life. If the convicted was sentenced to 2 years, they would then be eligible for parole at 2 years. However, they are not guaranteed to be released at the end of 2 years, or even at the end of 6. They can be held for an indeterminate amount of time—up to their entire lives.
Once a convicted felon is released from prison, they will receive probation. Depending on the crimes for which they were convicted, their minimum probation term is 10 to 20 years. However, the court is under no obligation to terminate the probation even at the 20-year point. Unless the sentencing court makes a decision to end probation, the convicted will remain on probation for the rest of their natural lifetime. It is unusual for the court to decide to end the probation period prematurely.
The seriousness of the consequences that result from a sex offense in Colorado, including the potentially life-altering possibility of an indeterminate sentence, mean that it’s vital for anyone accused of a sexual crime to engage an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Contact Anaya McKedy Today
Here at Anaya McKedy, we are well equipped to navigate the intricacies of Colorado sex crime law. We can provide you with an attorney who understands the law and is willing to fight for your rights. We’re also familiar with sentencing and will work with dedication to ensure that your sentence is as short as possible.