Colorado Violent Crimes Sentencing
(18-1.3-406 C.R.S.)

Increased penalties for Colorado violent crimes

If you are convicted of a crime that is designated a Colorado “violent crime,” you will face a mandatory enhanced prison sentence.

For a felony, you will serve not less than the midpoint of the possible sentence for crimes of that class. The maximum potential sentence will also be doubled. And if the crime of violence was a sex crime, you might even be sentenced to life in prison.

What are crimes of violence in Colorado?

Crimes of violence carrying enhanced sentences include any of the crimes listed below if during the planning or commission of the crime:

  • You used, possessed, or threatened the use of, a deadly weapon; or
  • You caused serious bodily injury or death to any other person (other than an accomplice).

Crimes subject to the violent crimes enhancement are:

  • Any crime against an at-risk adult or at-risk juvenile1;
  • Murder;
  • First or second-degree assault;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Certain sex crimes (including rape / sexual assault and sexual contact);
  • Any additional sexual offense in which threat, intimidation, or force was used or the victim suffered a bodily injury;
  • Aggravated robbery;
  • First-degree arson;
  • First-degree burglary;
  • Escape;
  • Criminal extortion; or
  • First or second-degree unlawful termination of pregnancy.

Consequences of a violent crime conviction

Increased prison sentence

If you are convicted of a crime of violence, the court must sentence you to a term of incarceration of:

  • A minimum of the midpoint of the presumptive range for such offense, to
  • A maximum of twice the ordinary maximum for offenses of that class.


Ralph loans money to someone who doesn't pay him back. Ralph threatens the person with a baseball bat and when the guy insults him, beats him with the bat. Ralph is charged with assault in the second degree under section 18-3-203 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

Second-degree assault is a Colorado class 4 felony. Ordinarily, a class 4 felony carries a sentence of:

    • 2-6 years in prison, and/or
    • A fine of $2,000-$500,000.

But because a baseball bat is a deadly weapon, the assault is also classified as a violent crime. Ralph's prison sentence increases to:

    • 4-12 years in prison.

Four years is the midpoint of 2-6 years, and twelve is twice 6 years, the ordinary maximum for a class 4 felony.

Sex crimes

If you commit a sex crime that is also a crime of violence, the court must sentence you to an indeterminate term of at least the midpoint in the presumptive range for the class of offense up to a maximum of life in prison.

Consecutive sentencing for multiple violent crimes

If you are convicted of two or more separate crimes of violence arising out of the same incident, your sentences must be served consecutively rather than concurrently. The only exception is that the court may (in its discretion) order that your sentences be served concurrently (at the same time) if one of the violent crimes was:


Let's say, in the example above, that while Ralph is threatening his victim with a baseball bat, he also gropes his victim's genitals and threatens to rape him. That makes Ralph guilty of sexual contact (and possibly other crimes as well). However, since one of the crimes arising out of this incident was assault in the second degree, the court may (but is not required to) allow Ralph to serve the sentences for the assault and the sexual contact concurrently.

Exception to mandatory sentencing

In exceptional cases in which the court finds unusual and extenuating circumstances, the judge may modify the sentence or even place you under probation. However, in the unlikely event this occurs, you will be released no earlier than one hundred nineteen days after you have been placed in custody.

Call us for help…

Colorado's mandatory violence crime sentencing laws require long prison sentences for those who commit crimes of violence. If you have been charged with a violent crime, it is critical that you call the best violent crimes attorney you can as early in the process as possible.

Our Colorado criminal defense attorneys include some of the best Denver violent crimes lawyers available. So if you have been accused in Denver or elsewhere in Colorado, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

For the fastest response, just fill out the form on this page. One of our caring Colorado violent crimes lawyers will get back to you promptly to discuss your case and possible defenses.

Or, if you prefer, call us at our convenient Denver home office:

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

Legal references:

  1. “At-risk adult” means any person who is seventy years of age or older or any person who is eighteen years of age or older and is a person with a disability as said term is defined in subsection (11) of this section. 18-6.5-102(2) C.R.S.

    “At-risk juvenile” means any person who is under the age of eighteen years and is a person with a disability as said term is defined in subsection (11) of this section. 18-6.5-102 (4) C.R.S.

    16-6.5-102 (11) provides: “Person with a disability” means any person who:

    (a) Is impaired because of the loss of or permanent loss of use of a hand or foot or because of blindness or the permanent impairment of vision of both eyes to such a degree as to constitute virtual blindness;
    (b) Is unable to walk, see, hear, or speak;
    (c) Is unable to breathe without mechanical assistance;
    (d) Is a person with an intellectual and developmental disability as defined in section 25.5-10-202, C.R.S.;
    (e) Is a person with a mental illness as the term is defined in section 27-65-102(14), C.R.S.;
    (f) Is mentally impaired as the term is defined in section 24-34-501(1.3)(b)(II), C.R.S.;
    (g) Is blind as that term is defined in section 26-2-103(3), C.R.S.; or
    (h) Is receiving care and treatment for a developmental disability under article 10.5 of title 27, C.R.S. 


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