Soliciting Unlawful Compensation in Colorado (CRS 18-8-304)

CRS 18-8-304 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of soliciting unlawful compensation.

A person commits this offense when he or she is a public servant and requests a pecuniary (monetary) benefit for the performance of an official action

  • knowing that he or she was required to perform that action without compensation; or
  • knowing that he or she was required to perform that action at a level of compensation lower than requested.

What is a public servant?

A public servant is defined as:

  • any officer or employee of the government, whether elected or appointed; and
  • any person participating as an advisor, consultant, process server; or
  • any person who otherwise performs a governmental function.

What are the penalties if I am convicted?

Soliciting unlawful compensation is a Class 2 misdemeanor in the State of Colorado. If convicted, a person faces:

  • 3 months in jail up to a maximum of 12 months in jail; and/or
  • a maximum possible fine of up to $1,000.

Defenses to the Charge

If charged with soliciting unlawful compensation, a person could raise the following defenses:

  • The defendant is not a public servant.
  • The compensation is appropriate under the law.
  • The defendant did not request the pecuniary benefit.

Below, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about soliciting unlawful compensation for Colorado residents:

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Soliciting unlawful compensation is a Class 2 misdemeanor in the State of Colorado.

1. What is soliciting unlawful compensation in Colorado?

CRS 18-8-304 is the Colorado code section which defines the offense of soliciting unlawful compensation.

A person commits this offense when he or she is a public servant and requests a pecuniary (monetary) benefit for the performance of an official action

  • knowing that he or she was required to perform that action without compensation; or
  • knowing that he or she was required to perform that action at a level of compensation lower than requested.1

2. What is a public servant?

A public servant is defined as:

  • any officer or employee of the government, whether elected or appointed; and
  • any person participating as an advisor, consultant, process server; or
  • any person who otherwise performs a governmental function.2

Public servants include, but are not limited to:

  • mayors
  • police officers
  • state senators
  • city clerks
  • judges
  • publicly employed attorneys
  • firefighters, or
  • other employees of a city, county, state, or the federal government.

3. What are the penalties if I am convicted of this offense?

Soliciting unlawful compensation is a Class 2 misdemeanor in the State of Colorado. If convicted, a person faces:

  • 3 months in jail up to a maximum of 12 months in jail; and/or
  • a maximum possible fine of up to $1,000. 3

4. What defenses can I raise if I am charged with soliciting unlawful compensation?

If charged with soliciting unlawful compensation, a person could raise the following defenses:

  • The defendant is not a public servant: If the person accused of soliciting unlawful compensation is not a "public servant," then he or she cannot be charged under this code section. While it is rare that a Colorado prosecutor would charge someone who is not a public servant, it is entirely possible.
  • The compensation is appropriate under the law: Public servants are not allowed to accept any compensation above that which they are entitled to under the law or public agency policy. If the amount the defendant requested is appropriate for the work involved, and is not prohibited by a law or policy, then asking for compensation is not illegal.
  • The defendant did not request the pecuniary benefit: This code section requires the public servant to "request" compensation. If the compensation is given without request of any kind, i.e., a "gift," it is not a violation of this section. However, there may be other policies which prohibit a public servant from accepting gifts for jobs he or she is obligated to perform.
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For questions about soliciting unlawful compensation 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.


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