Retaliation Against a Witness in Colorado
CRS 18-8-706

In Colorado, retaliating against a witness or victim of a crime as retribution is a criminal offense. Retaliating against a juror in a criminal or civil trial is also a crime. Retaliating against a witness, victim of a crime, or juror is a class 3 felony. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:

In Colorado, retaliating against a witness or victim of a crime as retribution is a criminal offense.

1. What is retaliation against a witness?

It is a crime in Colorado to retaliate against a witness to a crime or victim of a crime. Retaliation or retribution is done for the purpose of getting back at the victim or witness and includes:

  • Making threats;
  • Using harassment; or
  • Acts of harm or injury

Retaliation can be directed at the victim, witness, family member of the witness' or victim's family, person in a close relationship with the victim or witness; or an individual who lives in the same household.1

“Harassment” includes any annoying or harmful touching, making verbal or written threats, or obscene gestures with the intent to annoy, harass, or cause alarm to another person. Harassment can include:

  • Touching, hitting, kicking, or poking;
  • Making obscene gestures in public;
  • Following someone around in a public place;
  • Making threats through the phone;
  • Making threats through text, social media, email, or other electronic medium;
  • Making repeated phone calls and hanging up; or
  • Taunting, challenging, or insulting another person in a way to provoke a violent reaction.2

2. Who are considered witnesses and victims of a crime?

A witness to a crime includes any person who:

  • Has knowledge of facts relating to a crime;
  • Has made a declaration under oath for use as evidence in a criminal case;
  • Reported any crime to a peace officer;
  • Has been served a subpoena by the court; or
  • Any person who would reasonably be believed to be any of the above.3

A “victim” includes any person against whom any crime has been perpetrated or attempted. This could include sexual assault, robbery victims, burglary victims, or victims of fraud.4

3. What is retaliation against a juror?

Under C.R.S. 18-8-706.5, an individual commits retaliation against a juror by using a threat, harassment, or act of harm or injury directed at a juror who has served on a criminal or civil trial in retaliation for their actions as a juror. This includes actions directed at or committed upon a juror, member of the juror's family, individual in a close relationship, or individual residing in the same household.5

A “juror” means any person who is a member of a jury or grand jury serving on a jury panel by any court in Colorado. It also includes any person who has been selected or summoned to attend as a prospective juror.6

4. What are the penalties for retaliation against a witness or juror?

Retaliation against a witness or victim of a crime is a class 3 felony.7 Retaliation against a juror or prospective juror is also a class 3 felony in Colorado.8 The penalties for a conviction of retaliation against a witness, victim, or juror include 4 to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. In addition, there is a mandatory parole period of 5 years.

In addition to fines and jail time, a conviction for retaliation against a witness or victim could subject the defendant to civil liability. Under C.R.S. 18-8-708, victims of intimidation or retaliation are eligible for damages suffered as the result of intimidation or retaliation. In a civil proceeding, witnesses or victims, or members of their family, may recover damages for any injury or property damage. They may also be eligible to receive treble damages and attorney fees.9

5. Related Offenses

5.1. Bribing a Witness C.R.S. 18-8-703

In Colorado, offering money or other benefit to a witness or victim of a crime to influence their decisions is bribing a witness. Bribing a witness is a felony. The penalties for bribery of a witness or victim includes up to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

5.2. Intimidating a Witness C.R.S. 18-8-704

In Colorado, making threats against a witness or victim of a crime in order to influence their decisions is a criminal offense. Intimidating a witness is a felony, with increased felonies if the witness is intimidated by the use of a deadly weapon.

5.3. Witness Tampering C.R.S. 18-8-707

Tampering with a witness involves attempts to get a witness to withhold testimony, testify falsely, or be absent from an official proceeding. Tampering with a witness is a class 4 felony, with penalties including 2 to 6 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.

5.4. Bribing a Juror C.R.S. 18-8-606

Bribing a juror involves offering or agreeing to offer money or any other benefit upon a juror to influence the juror's vote or opinion. Bribing a juror is a class 4 felony, with penalties including 2 to 6 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.

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If you have been accused of retaliating against a witness or victim, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been charged with criminal offenses. We are among the best Colorado criminal defense attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.

Legal References

  1. C.R.S. 18-8-706(1)
  2. C.R.S. 18-9-111
  3. C.R.S. 18-8-702(2)
  4. C.R.S. 18-8-702(1)
  5. C.R.S. 18-8-706.5(1)
  6. C.R.S. 18-8-601(1)
  7. C.R.S. 18-8-706(2)
  8. C.R.S. 18-8-706.5(2)
  9. C.R.S. 18-8-708(2)

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