How the "Sex Offender Registry" Works in Colorado



People convicted of 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 (18-3-412.5 C.R.S.) 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:

Also see our article about sentencing sex offenders.

hand cuffs and "sex crimes" stamped on the image
Most sex offenders may be eligible to eventually get off the registry in Colorado.

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:

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 service. It allows the general public to search for 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?

People who register as sex offenders must provide the following information:

  • Name (including aliases)
  • Instant messaging and chat room identities
  • Registration status
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Place of employment
  • Physical description
  • Photograph
  • Full set of fingerprints2

4. What information is disclosed to the public?

Colorado's sex offender registry reveals the following information about offenders:

  • Name
  • Birthday
  • Residential address (including county)
  • Vehicles
  • Custody status
  • Headshot
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Height
  • Weight
  • 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

Local police stations may also post this information 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
stop sign that says "sex offender location map"
Misdemeanor sex offenders are not publicly searchable on the Colorado sex offender registry.

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.

  1. Sexually violent predators;
  2. People convicted out-of-state if their the conviction would require quarterly registration in Colorado; and
  3. 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, offenders are required to register annually.5

7. Where can offenders live in Colorado?

State law does not restrict where sex offenders may live. But many local ordinances do prohibit offenders from living near schools, parks, and daycare centers.

8. How long must offenders remain on the registry?

It depends on what the offender was convicted of. Each crime has a corresponding number of years offenders must register:

 Colorado crime requiring sex offender registration

Minimum years offender must register

Sexually violent predators (SVPs)

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


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 offenders 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, offenders 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 offenders 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 as a sex offender is a class 6 felony. Penalties include:

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

Convictions will also be noted on the offender's registry profile page.8

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Call our Denver criminal defense attorneys. Reach us 24/7 at 303-222-0330. We offer free consultations.

Call us for help...

Have you or a loved one been charged with a Colorado sex offense? We invite you to contact us for a free consultation. 

Simply fill out the form on this page. Then one of our experienced Colorado criminal attorneys will respond to you promptly to discuss your case.

Or call us at our Denver office:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 222-0330

In California? See our article on the California sex registry.

In Nevada? See our article on the Nevada sex registry.



Legal References

  1. 16-22-103 C.R.S.; Laws Governing Sex Offenders in Colorado, Colorado Legislative Council Staff (December, 2016); Jamison v. People, 988 P.2d 177 (1999).
  2. 16-22-105 C.R.S.
  3. 16-22-103 C.R.S.
  4. 16-22-108 C.R.S.
  5. Same.
  6. 16-22-113 C.R.S.
  7. Same; see also Curtiss v. People, 2014 COA 107, 410 P.3d 539 (Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division Seven, 2014).
  8. 18-3-412.6 C.R.S. & 18-3-412.5 C.R.S; see also 16-22-115 C.R.S.

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