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Are registered sex offenders allowed to travel to Colorado?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Dec 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Colorado sex offender registry laws usually permit convicted sex offenders from other states to travel to Colorado. However, visitors are considered temporary residents and must therefore register in Colorado if they either:

  • stay for more than 14 days, or
  • stay for more than 30 days in a calendar year

Note that visitors must comply with the registration rules in their home state even while they are visiting out of state. And if their home state forbids them from leaving that state, then they may not go to Colorado or any other states.

Obligations of Colorado sex offenders

Registered sex offenders in Colorado need to update their information annually (unless they are convicted of a quarterly offense, which requires updates every three months). In addition, they must re-register within five business days whenever they move or change their name.

Note that local jurisdictions often have rules restricting where registered sex offenders may go or reside. So people should always educate themselves ahead of time about the local rules before traveling to or staying in a new city or town in Colorado.

Failing to register as a sex offender in Colorado

Penalties are steep for not registering as a sex offender in Colorado. In fact, it is considered a Colorado “extraordinary risk” crime, which increases the maximum possible sentence.

Misdemeanor failure to register

People convicted of a misdemeanor-level sex offense who then fail to register in Colorado face prosecution for a class 1 misdemeanor. The sentence for misdemeanor failure to register is:

  • 6 to 18 months in jail, and/or
  • a fine of $500 to $5,000

Felony failure to register

People convicted of a felony-level sex offense who then fail to register in Colorado face prosecution for a class 6 felony. The sentence is:

Note that a second or subsequent failure to register for a felony sex offense is prosecuted as a class 5 felony, carrying:

  • 1 to 4 years in prison, and/or
  • a fine of $1,000 to $100,000

Failure to verify a location

People convicted of a sex offense who do not have a fixed residence and fail to follow registration instructions face prosecution for a misdemeanor. A first or second offense carries a sentence of up to 30 days in jail. Subsequent convictions carry up to one year in jail.

Juvenile failure to register

Children under 18 who were not tried and convicted as an adult face lesser penalties for failing to register as a sex offender.

Juveniles adjudged delinquent of a misdemeanor-level sex offense face 30 days detention for failing to register. For a felony-level sex offense, the detention period is 45 days. And for a second or subsequent failure to register for a felony-level offense, the punishment is one year of detention.

Fighting charges for failing to register as a Colorado sex offender

The prosecutor should drop charges for failure to register if the defendant can show the following:

  • Uncontrollable circumstances precluded the defendant from registering;
  • The defendant did not cause these circumstances in reckless disregard of the obligation to register; and
  • The defendant registered as soon as these circumstances ended

Alternatively, prosecutors should drop charges for failure to register if the state or local government made a clerical error which falsely showed that the defendant was non-compliant.


Legal References

Colorado Revised Statutes 16-22-102(8)(c) C.R.S.

Colorado Revised Statutes 16-22-108(5) C.R.S.

Colorado Revised Statutes 18-3-412.5 C.R.S.

Colorado Revised Statutes 18-3-412.6 C.R.S.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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