People convicted of certain sex crimes must register as sex offenders in Colorado. And adults convicted of felony sex crimes are publicly searchable on Colorado’s Sex Offender Tracking and Registration System (“SOTAR”).
The majority of offenders are required to update their information once a year. But the most serious offenders have to re-register every three months. Failing to register (CRS 18-3-412.5) is a separate felony carrying up to one and a half years in Colorado State Prison.
Offenders who avoid further sex crime convictions may be eligible to get removed from the registry after a minimum time period:
Colorado sex crime
When offenders may petition to get off the registry
|Sexually violent predators (SVPs); or |
Felony sexual assault or incest; or
At least two convictions of unlawful sexual behavior
|Other class 1, 2, and 3 felonies||After 20 years|
|Other class 4, 5, and 6 felonies; or |
Class 1 misdemeanor sexual assault or sexual contact
|After 10 years|
|Other misdemeanors||After 5 years|
|Failure to register||After 1 year (in addition to the required years for the underlying sex crime)|
|Deferred sentence and adjudication; or |
The defendant was a juvenile
|After dismissal of the case|
Below our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss:
- 1. Who is required to register as a Colorado sex offender?
- 2. What is the sex offender registry used for?
- 3. What information do offenders have to provide?
- 4. What sex offender information is disclosed to the public?
- 5. When must sex offenders register?
- 6. Who has to register quarterly?
- 7. Where can offenders live in Colorado?
- 8. How long must offenders remain on the registry?
- 9. How do offenders get off the registry?
- 10. What if offenders do not register?
- 11. Do sex offenders live near me?
Also see our article about sentencing sex offenders.
1. Who is required to register as a Colorado sex offender?
People convicted of committing – or attempting to commit – any of the following Colorado crimes must register as a sex offender:
- Sexual assault (CRS 18-3-402)
- Unlawful sexual contact (CRS 18-3-404)
- Sexual assault on a child (CRS 18-3-405).
- Sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust (CRS 18-3-405.3)
- Sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist (CRS 18-3-405.5)
- Enticement of a child (CRS 18-3-305)
- Incest (CRS 18-6-301)
- Aggravated incest (CRS 18-6-302)
- Trafficking in children (CRS 18-3-502)
- Sexual exploitation of children (CRS 18-6-403)
- Procurement of a child for sexual exploitation (CRS 18-6-404)
- Indecent exposure (CRS 18-7-302)
- Soliciting for child prostitution (CRS 18-7-402)
- Pandering of a child (CRS 18-7-403)
- Procurement of a child (CRS 18-7-403.5)
- Keeping a place of child prostitution (CRS 18-7-404)
- Pimping of a child (CRS 18-7-405)
- Inducement of child prostitution (CRS 18-7-405.5)
- Patronizing a prostituted child (CRS 18-7-406)
- Sexual conduct prohibited under CRS 18-7-701
- Wholesale promotion of obscenity to a minor (CRS 18-7-102(1.5))
- Promotion of obscenity to a minor (CRS 18-7-102(2.5))
- Class 4 felony internet luring of a child (CRS 18-3-306 (3))
- Internet sexual exploitation of a child (CRS 18-3-405.4)
- Public indecency (CRS 18-7-301(2.b)): Third or subsequent offense, or second offense committed within five years of a previous offense;
- Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification (CRS 18-3-405.6)
- Second-degree kidnapping (CRS 18-3-302(3)(a)
People who finished serving their sex offense sentences prior to July 1, 1991 may not have to register. But they should check with their attorneys to make certain.
People in Colorado also must register if they were convicted of a similar crime in another state.1
2. What is the sex offender registry used for?
The registry is a public safety and community notification service. It allows the general public to search for convicted sex offenders living in their area. And law enforcement uses it to keep track of offenders in their jurisdictions. The police get notified whenever:
- An offender fails to register; or
- An offender re-registers in another jurisdiction
The registry also shows whether a particular offender is an SVP. This is short for “sexually violent predator.” SVPs are the most high-risk class of Colorado sex offenders.
3. What information do offenders have to provide?
The Colorado sex offender rules require registrants to provide the following information to the county sheriff’s office:
- Name (including aliases)
- Instant messaging and chat room identities
- Registration status
- Date of birth
- Place of employment
- Physical description
- Full set of fingerprints2
4. What sex offender information is disclosed to the public?
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation website reveals the following sex offender registration information about offenders:
- Residential address (including county)
- Custody status
- Hair color
- Eye color
- Scars, marks, and tattoos
- Crimes and conviction dates
- Whether they are sexually violent predators
- Modus operandi information (details of predatory habits), if known
- Whether they ever failed to register as a sex offender
The local police department / local law enforcement agency may also post this information about registered sex offenders on their website.
Note that the following offenders are not publicly searchable on the registry:
- People adjudicated as a juvenile, or
- People convicted only of a misdemeanor3
5. When must sex offenders register?
Most offenders must update their information annually within five business days of their birthday. But certain offenders are required to re-register every three months. (Scroll down to the next section for more information about these “quarterly offenses”.)
In addition, offenders must re-register whenever they:
- Change an address;
- Add an address;
- Move their trailer or motor home (if applicable); or
- Legally change their name
There are also rules for offenders who attend, volunteer, or work at an institution of higher education. They must re-register when they begin their work or study. And they must re-register anytime they change their work status or location at the institution.4
6. Who has to register quarterly?
The following people are required to register as a sex offender every three months in Colorado.
- Sexually violent predators;
- People convicted out-of-state if their the conviction would require quarterly registration in Colorado; and
- People convicted as an adult in Colorado of:
- felony sexual assault;
- sexual assault on a child;
- sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust;
- sexual assault on a child by a psychotherapist;
- incest; or
- aggravated incest
Otherwise, they are required to register annually.5
7. Where can offenders live in Colorado?
State law does not restrict where sexual offenders may live. But many local ordinances do prohibit offenders from living near
- parks, and
- daycare centers.
8. How long must offenders remain on the registry?
It depends on what they were convicted of. Each crime has a corresponding number of years offenders must register under Colorado law:
Colorado crime requiring sex offender registration
Minimum years offender must register
|Sexually violent predators (SVPs – people with a high level of risk)||For life|
|Felony sexual assault||For life|
|Sexual assault on a child||For life|
|Sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust||For life|
|Sexual assault on a child by a psychotherapist||For life|
|Aggravated incest||For life|
|More than one conviction of unlawful sexual behavior||For life|
|Other class 1 felonies||20 years|
|Other class 2 felonies||20 years|
|Other class 3 felonies||20 years|
|Other class 4 felonies||10 years|
|Other class 5 felonies||10 years|
|Other class 6 felonies||10 years|
|Class 1 misdemeanor sexual assault||10 years|
|Class 1 misdemeanor sexual contact||10 years|
|Other misdemeanors||5 years|
|Deferred sentence and adjudication||Until the case is dismissed|
|The defendant was under 18 at the time of the offense||Until the case is dismissed|
|Failure to register||1 year|
Once they register for the minimum number of years, they may file a petition with the court seeking to get off the registry.
Note that sexually violent predators must remain on the Colorado sex offender registry for life.6
9. How do offenders get off the registry?
To be eligible for removal, people first must register for the required number of years. (See the above section for time frames.) And they cannot have been convicted of any other sex offenses.
Then they need to complete a form to discontinue sex offender registration. Before filing it, they must notify:
- The law enforcement agency they are required to register with;
- The prosecuting attorney in the jurisdiction of that law enforcement agency; and
- The prosecuting attorney who convicted the offender
There is no filing fee for Colorado residents. Out-of-state residents must pay a $235 filing fee. And there may be fees for obtaining copies of necessary records.7
10. What if offenders do not register?
Failure to register if the underlying sex crime is a felony is a class 6 felony. Penalties in the state of Colorado include:
- $1,000 to $100,000 in fines, and/or
- 1 to 1 ½ years in Colorado State Prison
A second or subsequent offense is a Colorado class 5 felony. Penalties include:
- 1 to 3 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of $1,000 to $100,000.
Failure to register is an extraordinary class 1 misdemeanor if the defendant was convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense or its equivalent in another jurisdiction or juvenile court. The punishment is.
- 6 to 18 months in jail, and/or
- A fine of up to $1,000
Convictions will also be noted on the person’s registry profile page.8
11. Do sex offenders live near me?
Go to the Kids Live Safe website, which allows you to search by zip code for nearby registered sex offenders.
See our related article, Colorado Sex Offender Rules – 4 to know
In California? See our article on the California sex offender registry information.
In Nevada? See our article on the Nevada sex offender registration laws.
- Colorado Revised Statutes 16-22-103; Laws Governing Sex Offenders in Colorado, Colorado Legislative Council Staff (December 2016); Jamison v. People (1999) 988 P.2d 177.
- CRS 16-22-105.
- CRS 16-22-103.
- CRS 16-22-108.
- CRS 16-22-113.
- Same; see also Curtiss v. People (2014) COA 107, 410 P.3d 539 (Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division Seven, 2014).
- CRS 18-3-412.6 & CRS 18-3-412.5; see also CRS 16-22-115. Prior to March 1, 2022, extraordinary risk class 1 misdemeanors carried 6 to 24 months in jail, and/or a fine of $500 to $5,000. SB21-271.