Sexually Violent Predators in Colorado


Sexually violent predators (SVPs) are a class of convicted sex offenders in Colorado. Unlike other sex offenders, SVPs must register for life. They must also update their information four times a year.

SVP designation is for sex offenders who:

  1. Were convicted of sexual assault or unlawful sexual contact;
  2. Were prosecuted as an adult;
  3. Victimized a stranger; and
  4. Are at high risk of reoffending

SVPs may not get off the sex registry early. And failing to register (18-3-412.5 C.R.S.) is a class 6 felony. Maximum penalties include 1.5 years in Colorado State Prison and up to $100,000 in fines.

In this article, our Denver criminal defense attorneys discuss:

Also see our article about sentencing sex offenders.

hand cuffs and "sex crimes" stamped on the image
SVPs must register for the rest of their life in Colorado.

1. What is a sexually violent predator (SVP) in Colorado?

SVPs are a sub-class of registered sex offenders in Colorado. SVPs are people who meet all of the following four criteria:

  1. They were at least 18 years old at the time of the sex offense. Or they were juveniles prosecuted as an adult.
  2. The victim was a stranger to the defendant. Or the victim was a person the defendant formed a relationship with in order to victimize him/her sexually.
  3. A risk assessment screening indicates they are likely to re-offend.
  4. They were convicted of one of the below offenses on or after July 1, 1999. Or they were convicted of an attempt, solicitation, or a conspiracy to commit one of the below offenses on or after July 1, 1997:

Therefore, the following people would not qualify as SVPs:

  • Defendants who victimized their significant other, friend, or close family member;
  • Defendants who were under 18 at the time of the offense and were not prosecuted as an adult;
  • Defendants whose risk assessment indicates they are unlikely to commit another sex offense; or
  • Defendants not convicted of sexual assault or unlawful sexual contact

Note that a person can be an SVP whether they were convicted by taking a plea or being found guilty at trial.1

2. For how long must SVPs register?

Sexually violent predators must register for life in Colorado.2

sex offender label
Colorado's sex offender registry provides the address and identifying information of every SVP.

3. How often to SVPs have to register?

Sexually violent predators must confirm their information every three months (quarterly). Such information includes their:

  • Address,
  • Place of employment, and
  • Online identities

SVPs must also update their information every time they move or legally change their name. Even SVPs living in trailers or motor homes must update their information whenever they change location. And SVPs who attend or work at a college must re-register every time they:

  • Begin their work or study;
  • Change their work status; or
  • Change location at the institution3

4. Can SVPs get off the registry early?

No. But if the conviction ever gets overturned, the defendant should get off the registry immediately.

5. What information about SVPs is public?

Colorado's Sex Registry reveals the following information about SVPs:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address (including county name)
  • Photograph
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Scars, marks, and/or tattoos
  • Crimes (and dates of conviction)
  • Offender designation (that they are classified as an SVP)
  • Modus operandi (details of predatory habits), if applicable
  • Whether they ever failed to register as a sex offender

This information is available online. Or people can call the Colorado Bureau of Investigation at (303) 239-4201.

stop sign that says "sex offender location map"
Failing to register as a sex offender is a felony in Colorado. Providing false registration information is also a felony.

6. Where can SVPs live?

Colorado state law places no restrictions on where SVPs can live.4 But many local laws do prohibit sex offenders from living near schools, parks, and daycare facilities. So SVPs should check county and municipal ordinances.

Whenever SVPs change addresses, the local police issue a "community notification." This entails:

  • Posting information about the SVP on the police website,
  • Informing neighbors and businesses in the area, and
  • Informing surrounding law enforcement agencies

And if SVPs move to another state, they must follow that state's laws for registering.

7. What if SVPs fail to register?

Failure to register as a sex offender is a class 6 felony. Providing false information while registering is also a class 6 felony. A conviction carries:

  • 1 to 1 ½ years in Colorado State Prison, and/or
  • $1,000 to $100,000 in fines5

The defendant's online profile on the sex registry will also show this conviction.

If the defendant was on parole at the time, failing to register may also cause the defendant to serve more prison for the underlying sex crime.

7.1. Defenses

A "failure to register" charge may be dismissed if these three circumstances are true:

  1. Uncontrollable circumstances prevented the defendant from registering;
  2. The defendant did not recklessly cause these circumstances; and
  3. The defendant registered as soon as these circumstances ended
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Call our Denver criminal defense attorneys. Reach us 24/7 at 303-222-0330. We offer free consultations.

Call a Colorado criminal defense attorney...

Accused of a sex offense in Colorado? Call our Denver criminal defense attorneys at 303-222-0330. Consultations are free.

We fight to get our clients' charges reduced or dismissed. Our goal is to try to keep you out of prison and off the registry.

We can often negotiate a favorable resolution with no trial. But we are always prepared to fight for your innocence in front of a jury.

In California? Learn about SVPs in California.

Legal References

  1. 18-3-414.5. C.R.S.; see People v. Hunter, 307 P.3d 1083 (2013).
  2. 16-22-108 C.R.S.
  3. Same; Laws Governing Sex Offenders in Colorado, Colorado Legislative Council Staff (December, 2016).
  4. Jessica Porter, "The number of sex offenders living near Denver schools will shock you", ABC Denver Contact7 (March 20, 2019).
  5. 18-3-412.6 & -412.5 C.R.S.

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