CRS 18-8-108 - The Crime of Compounding in Colorado

CRS 18-8-108 is the Colorado code section that defines the criminal offense of compounding in Colorado.

The crime of compounding occurs when a person accepts or agrees to accept a monetary benefit in exchange for agreeing not to:

  • prosecute an offender; or
  • report a crime, suspected crime, or information relating to a crime to law enforcement authorities.

Affirmative Defense

Under CRS 18-8-108, it is an affirmative defense if the benefit received by the accused person did not exceed an amount that the accused person reasonably believed to be due as restitution or indemnification for harm caused by the crime (money or benefit to "make it right").

For this defense to apply, the compensation can only be to actually compensate the person harmed, not a "bribe" to prevent the report of a criminal offense to police.

Penalties

The crime of compounding is a Class 3 misdemeanor in the State of Colorado. The penalties for this offense include:

  • up to 6 months in jail; and/or
  • a fine of $50 up to a maximum possible fine of $750.

Related Offenses

  • Extortion (18-3-207): Threatening someone in order to get a person to do something or not do something against his or her will; commonly called "blackmail." Class 4 Felony: 2-6 years in prison; $2,000-$5,000 fine.
  • Bribery (18-8-302): Offering money or another benefit to a public official to influence his or her actions. Class 3 Felony: 4-12 years in prison; up to $75,000 fine.

Below, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about the crime of compounding for Colorado residents:

Cash bribe under table ss
The crime of compounding occurs when a person accepts or agrees to accept a monetary benefit in exchange for agreeing not to prosecute an offender, or report a crime, suspected crime, or information relating to a crime to law enforcement authorities.

1. What is the crime of compounding in Colorado?

The crime of compounding occurs when a person accepts or agrees to accept a monetary benefit in exchange for:

  • agreeing not to prosecute an offender; or
  • agreeing not to report a crime, suspected crime, or information relating to a crime to law enforcement authorities. 1

The crime can occur between two regular "civilians" or it can occur when attempting to influence a public official. However, if a person attempts to influence a public official, more serious crimes and penalties may apply.

1.1 What is an example of this crime?

Example: Jonathan commits a robbery at a local convenience store. Before he managed to get his mask on, Frank saw his face. Frank was Jonathan's high school English teacher and recognizes him. Jonathan approaches Frank and offers him $1,000 not to call the police and not to report his identity. If Frank accepts the money and does not report Jonathan, he is guilty of the offense of compounding.

2. Is there an affirmative defense to this crime?

Under this code section, it is an affirmative defense when:

  • the benefit received by the accused person
  • did not exceed an amount
  • that the accused person reasonably believed to be due
  • as restitution or indemnification for harm caused by the crime (money or benefit to "make it right"). 2

For this defense to apply, the compensation can only be to actually compensate the person harmed, not a "bribe" to prevent the report of a criminal offense to police.

Further, thieves are specifically under a legal and moral duty to recompense the owner for the loss he or she experienced from the theft. This compensation is an affirmative defense to a charge of compounding.3

2.1 What is an example of when this could happen?

Example: As part of a high school prank, a group of students egg a teacher's car. The egg causes damage to the car's paint, requiring a substantial amount of money to fix. The students do not want to get reported to law enforcement for criminal mischief, so offer to pay the entire cost of the repair if the teacher will not report them. The teacher agrees and accepts from the students an amount of money that fixes the issues with the car. This would be an affirmative defense situation to the crime of compounding.

3. What are the penalties for compounding in Colorado?

The crime of compounding is a Class 3 misdemeanor in the State of Colorado. The penalties for this offense include:

  • up to 6 months in jail; and/or
  • a fine of $50 up to a maximum possible fine of $750.

4. What related offenses exist in Colorado law?

In Colorado, certain offenses are closely related to the crime of compounding in Colorado, like extortion and bribery.

Extortion (18-3-207): Threatening someone in order to get a person to do something or not do something against his or her will. This is also commonly referred to as "blackmail."

  • Class 4 Felony: 2-6 years in prison; $2,000-$5,000 fine.4

Bribery (18-8-302): Offering money or another benefit to a public official to influence his or her actions.

  • Class 3 Felony: 4-12 years in prison; Fine of up to $75,000.5
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Call us for help...

For questions about the offense of compounding or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled Colorado criminal defense attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us.

We represent clients in and around Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, and several nearby cities.


Legal References:

  1. CRS 18-8-108(1).
  2. CRS 18-8-108(2).
  3. Giles v. De Cow, 30 Colo. 412, 70 P. 681 (1902); Lomax v. Colo. Nat'l Bank, 46 Colo. 229, 104 P. 85 (1909).
  4. CRS 18-3-207 (Extortion).
  5. CRS 18-8-302 (Bribery).

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