Extraordinary Risk Crimes in Colorado Criminal Law

Under Colorado law, an extraordinary risk crime is a crime that represents a substantial risk of harm to society. If convicted of this kind of offense, the individual charged with the crime (the defendant) will face more severe sentencing.

Types of Extraordinary Risk Crimes

There are 10 types of felonies that have been labeled as extraordinary risk crimes in Colorado.

  1. Aggravated robbery
  2. Child abuse
  3. Unlawful distribution, manufacturing, dispensing, sale, or possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell, distribute, manufacture, or dispense
  4. Crimes of violence
  5. Stalking
  6. Sale or distribution of materials to manufacture controlled substances
  7. Felony invasion of privacy for sexual gratification
  8. Human trafficking for involuntary servitude, a third-degree felony
  9. Human trafficking for sexual servitude, a third-degree felony
  10. Assault in the second degree

There are also 10 types of misdemeanors listed as extraordinary risk crimes in Colorado.

  1. Assault in the third degree
  2. Sexual assault
  3. Sexual assault in the second degree
  4. Sexual assault in the third degree
  5. Unlawful sexual contact
  6. Child abuse
  7. Second and all subsequent violations of a protective order
  8. Misdemeanor failure to register as a sex offender
  9. Misdemeanor invasion of privacy for sexual gratification
  10. False reporting of an emergency

What This Means for Sentencing

If convicted of an extraordinary risk crime, you could face harsher sentencing than other crimes within the same class. Colorado classifies crimes as:

  • Class 1, 2, or 3 misdemeanors; and
  • Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 felonies.

Each class has a standard range of sentencing option for Colorado judges. If the crime charged is an extraordinary risk crime, the penalty could be harsher.

Below, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about extraordinary risk crimes for Colorado residents:

Jail 20neglect 20hands 20ss
An extraordinary risk crime is a crime that represents a substantial risk of harm to society under Colorado law.

1. What is an extraordinary risk crime?

An extraordinary risk crime is a crime that represents a substantial risk of harm to society under Colorado law. These crimes are thought to inflict an extra risk to:

  • human health;
  • the safety of Colorado residents; and
  • life.

If convicted of this kind of offense, the individual charged with the crime (the defendant) faces harsher sentencing. These crimes are listed specifically under Colorado statutes for enhanced punishment.1

2. What are the felony extraordinary risk crimes in Colorado?

There are 10 types of felonies that have been labeled as extraordinary risk crimes in Colorado.

  1. Aggravated robbery, as defined in section 18-4-302
  2. Child abuse, as defined in section 18-6-401
  3. Unlawful distribution, manufacturing, dispensing, sale, or possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell, distribute, manufacture, or dispense, as defined in section 18-18-405
  4. Any crime of violence, as defined in section 18-1.3-406
  5. Stalking, as described in section 18-9-111(4), as it existed prior to August 11, 2010, or section 18-3-602
  6. Sale or distribution of materials to manufacture controlled substances, as described in section 18-18-412.7
  7. Felony invasion of privacy for sexual gratification, as described in section 18-3-405.6
  8. A class 3 felony offense of human trafficking for involuntary servitude, as described in section 18-3-503
  9. A class 3 felony offense of human trafficking for sexual servitude, as described in section 18-3-504
  10. Assault in the 2nd degree, as described in section 18-3-203(1)(i).2

2.1 What is a felony?

Felony crimes are the most serious offenses with which you can be charged. They are more serious than misdemeanors and petty offenses.

Felonies are divided into six basic classes:

Certain felonies are unclassified with the specific punishment set forth in the statute for that crime.

2.2 What are the felony sentencing ranges for each class with extraordinary risk crimes?

As stated above, each class of felony has a standard range of sentencing options. If the defendant is convicted of an extraordinary risk crime, the range for the class of felony increases.

To note, sentencing ranges in Class 1 or Class 2 felonies are unchanged by the extraordinary risk crime designation.

The chart below shows both the standard sentencing ranges for felonies and the increased penalty set forth for extraordinary risk crimes in that same class. 3

Felony Class Normal Sentencing Range Extraordinary Risk Crime Sentencing Range
Class 1 Life imprisonment or death penalty Life imprisonment or death penalty
Class 2 8 - 24 years 8 - 24 years
Class 3 4 - 12 years 4 - 16 years
Class 4 2 - 6 years 2 - 8 years
Class 5 1 - 3 years 1 -2 years
Class 6 1 year - 18 months 1 year - 2 years

2.3 Example of Sentencing Differences for Felonies

Example: Sam is charged with and later convicted of aggravated robbery. Colorado law states that aggravated robbery is a Class 3 felony and is also an extraordinary risk crime. Normally, Sam could be sentenced with 4 - 12 years in prison under typical Class 3 felony rules. However, because his charge is an extraordinary risk crime, his maximum sentence increases to a possible 16 years in prison.

3. What are the misdemeanor extraordinary risk crimes in Colorado?

There are 10 types of misdemeanors identified as extraordinary risk crimes in Colorado.

  1. Assault in the third degree, as defined in section 18-3-204
  2. Sexual assault, as defined in section 18-3-402
  3. Sexual assault in the second degree, as defined in section 18-3-403, as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
  4. Unlawful sexual contact, as defined in section 18-3-202
  5. Sexual assault in the third degree, as defined in section 18-3-404, as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
  6. Child abuse, as defined in section 18-6-401(&)(a)(V)
  7. Second and all subsequent violations of a protective order as defined in section 18-6-803.5(1.5(a.5)
  8. Misdemeanor failure to register as a sex offender, as described in section 18-3-412.5
  9. Misdemeanor invasion of privacy for sexual gratification, as described in section 18-3-405.6
  10. False reporting of an emergency, as described in section 18-8-111. 4

3.1 What is a misdemeanor?

Misdemeanor crimes are those offenses that are deemed less serious than felonies but more serious than petty offenses in Colorado.

Regular misdemeanor offenses are classified as follows:

3.2 What are the misdemeanor sentencing ranges for each class with extraordinary risk crimes?

Each misdemeanor class has a sentencing range associated with it. An extraordinary risk crime increases the class penalty range by an additional 6 months. 5

The following sentencing chart shows the misdemeanor sentencing ranges and the applicable extraordinary risk increased range.

Class of Misdemeanor Minimum Penalty Maximum Penalty
Class 1 6 months - $500 fine 18 months - $5,000 fine
Class 1 (Extraordinary Risk) 6 months - $500 fine 24 months - $5,000 fine
Class 2 3 months -$250 fine 12 months - $750 fine
Class 3 $50 fine 6 months - $750 fine

3.3 Example of Sentencing Differences for Misdemeanors

Example: Marie is charged with and later convicted of unlawful sexual contact. Under Colorado law, unlawful sexual contact is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is also an extraordinary risk crime. Normally, she would face between 6 - 18 months in jail. However, because her charge is subject to the enhanced penalty, her maximum increases to a possible 24 months in jail.

4. What do I do if I have been charged with an extraordinary risk crime?

If you have been charged with an extraordinary risk crime, you face steep punishments greater than other crimes in the same classification.

To avoid these harsher penalties, you should contact an experienced criminal law attorney as soon as possible.

4.1 How can I defend myself against extraordinary risk crimes in Colorado?

In many cases, extraordinary risk crimes are overcharged. The alleged conduct may often be more appropriately defined by a less severe crime.

When this happens, a criminal defense attorney can:

  • challenge the evidence as insufficient for the charge;
  • file motions to exclude evidence improperly obtained;
  • negotiate a plea agreement that reduces the charges;
  • present defenses for a finding of not guilty, such as self-defense; and
  • present reasonable doubt to the jury in order to show you are not guilty.
Phone operator

Call us for help...

For questions about extraordinary risk crimes 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. C.R.S. § 18-1.3.-401(10)(b) (felony classification); C.R.S. § 18-1.3.-501(3)(b) (misdemeanor classification).
  2. C.R.S. § 18-1.3.-401(10)(b).
  3. C.R.S. § 18-1.3.-401(10)(a).
  4. C.R.S. § 18-1.3.-501(3)(b).
  5. C.R.S. § 18-1.3.-501(3)(a).

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370