Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Colorado DUI Laws to learn more.
Does Colorado use concurrent or consecutive sentencing?
Colorado judges generally have discretion over whether to impose concurrent- or consecutive sentencing unless a specific statute mandates otherwise. Concurrent means that the defendant serves two or more separate sentences at the same time. And consecutive means that the defendant serves the separate sentences one-after-the-other.
When are consecutive sentences mandatory in Colorado?
Consecutivesentences are mandatory in the following five circumstances:
The defendant has been convicted at least two crimes of violence (COVs) arising out of the same incident. Examples of crimes of violence include murder, rape, and first-degree assault, but they are considered COVs only if the defendant used a deadly weapon or caused serious bodily injury or death.1
The defendant was convicted of a crime of violence and sexual assault as a class 2 felony.2
If the defendant was convicted of a crime of violence using a dangerous or semi-automatic assault weapon, the defendant must serve an additional five-year sentence.3
If the defendant gets convicted of escaping from custody, the sentence must be consecutive to the underlying sentence he/she was serving.4
If the defendant violates bail, the sentence for “bond jumping” must be served consecutive to the sentence for the underlying crime.5
What factors determine who gets concurrent or consecutive sentences?
When determining whether separate criminal sentences should run concurrently or consecutively, Colorado courts typically consider the following:
Whether the separate crimes arose out of the same conduct. If so, judges are more likely to opt for concurrent sentencing unless a statute mandates otherwise.
Whether the defendant intended to commit separate offenses. If so, judges are more likely to opt for consecutive sentences to punish the defendant for his/her criminal intent.
Whether the defendant was on probation or parole at the time of the crimes. If so, judges are more likely to punish the defendant by imposing consecutive sentences.
Whether the multiple crimes targeted the same victim. If so, the judges are more likely to impose consecutive sentences for hurting the same person repeatedly.6
In addition, courts consider whether the case has mitigating circumstances justifying a concurrent sentence or aggravating circumstances justifying a consecutive sentence. Examples of mitigating factors include:
The defendant had a clean criminal record prior to the current case.
The defendant had a difficult childhood where he/she was abused, impoverished, neglected, or otherwise underprivileged.
The defendant was not the principal of the crimes and merely acted as an accomplice or an accessory.
The defendants’ crimes were “victimless”, and no one was hurt.
The defendant was experiencing extenuating emotional or physical circumstances prior to the crimes, such as going through a divorce or losing a job.7
Meanwhile, examples of potential aggravating factors include:
The defendant used a deadly weapon.
The defendant caused death or serious bodily harm.
The defendant tortured the victim.
The defendant presented a high risk of harm to society.
The defendant was on parole or probation at the time of the crimes.8
Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.
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