Contact Us
    Contact Us

    Please use the contact form to send us an email - and receive a response within 12 hours.

    Emergency? Call 720-220-2277 (24/7)








Map To Our Office
Read Out Blog
Case Evaluation
Charged With A Crime?
Colorado At Risk Sentencing Enhancers

Colorado At Risk Sentencing Enhancers

Colorado At Risk Sentencing Enhancers – When The Alleged Victim Has Special Victim Status Under Colorado Criminal Law

By H. Michael Steinberg – Colorado Theft Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney

Colorado At Risk Sentencing Enhancers – When The Alleged Victim Has Special Victim Status Under Colorado Criminal Law.  Several sections of Colorado law provide complex felony sentence enhancers for certain crimes committed against so called “at risk” victims.  This article addresses which victims “qualify” for this enhanced protection and the laws that are triggered for a conviction in this context.

The “At Risk” Victim Under Colorado Criminal Law

An at risk victim under Colorado law means that the victim named in a criminal charge is entitled to added protection. What that means to an individual accused of such a crime – is that the at-risk adult or at-risk juvenile is the sentence will be enhanced – or – more aggravated than a sentence where the victim of the crime does NOT have this status.

It is believed that at-risk adults and juveniles are not able to protect themselves against persons committing crimes against them. The impact of the crime is often more severe… In these cases the normal defenses and mitigation factors are more difficult to assert, the results at sentencing can be more severe

Colorado At Risk Sentencing Enhancers- Who Is An At Risk Victim?

Under Colorado law – C.R.S. 18-6.5-102  an at-risk adult is anyone who is 70 years of age or older and any person who is 18 years of age or older who has a disability. At-risk juveniles are those under the age of 18 who have a disability.

What Is A Disability?

A disability is anyone who: ( Link to the At Risk Legal Definitions Section – Colorado At Risk Legal Definitions Section)

        • is impaired because of the loss of a hand or a foot or the loss of the use of a hand or a foot
        • is unable to walk, see, hear, or speak;
        • is unable to breathe without mechanical assistance;
        • is developmentally disabled.
        • Is  a person with a mental illness
        • is mentally impaired
        • is blind, or
        • is receiving care and treatment for a developmental disability.

Examples of Crimes That Are Enhanced By Naming An “At Risk” Victim

Colorado law – 18-6.5-103 provides for harsher sentences for the following crimes committed against at-risk victims..

        • criminally negligent homicide,
        • first degree assault,
        • second degree assault,
        • third degree assault,
        • robbery,
        • sexual assault on a child,
        • sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, or
        • sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist..

…are increased by one level when committed against an at-risk victim. Here is a link to the entire statute – Colorado Classifications of At Risk Crimes.

Increasing a crime “one level” means taking the normal sentence for the crime and “enhancing” it up to the next more serious level. For example taking a  class 5 felony to a class 4 felony.

Colorado At Risk Sentencing Enhancers – At Risk “Neglect Cases”

The Colorado laws discussed in this article for the most part enhance the punishment for existing crimes and do not establish any new Colorado crimes. One of these laws – however – is new.  C.R.S. 18-6.5-103(6) provides for a new crime of Neglecting An At Risk Person – “ any person who knowingly neglects an at-risk adult or at-risk juvenile or knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical or mental welfare of an at-risk adult or at-risk juvenile commits a class one misdemeanor.” (see below)

Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury – Or Uses or Threatens To Use A Deadly Weapon Against An At Risk Victim

Colorado law 18-1.3-406 provides that if the crime against an at-risk adult or at-risk juvenile causes serious bodily injury or death to the victim and uses or possesses and threatens to use a deadly weapon commits a crime of violence. This means the sentence has to be to prison and must be in the enhanced range – that is the midpoint of the presumptive sentencing range.

Sentencing In Colorado For Extraordinary Risk Crimes

The Fast Tracking And Prioritizing Of At Risk Criminal Cases In The Colorado Courts

Under the following Colorado law –  C.R.S. 18-6.5-103.5 the alleged victims of at risk crimes can be deposed using a videotaped deposition to make certain there is evidence at trial if the victims becomes “unavailable” for trial under Colorado Rule of Evidence under 804(a).

At Risk Cases have a trial priority pursuant to C.R.S.18-6.5-105 which provides that these cases have a priority on the court’s dockets as soon after they are filed as possible.

All Normally Available  “Legal Privileges” Of Confidentiality Are Nullified

Under Colorado law C.R.S. 18-6.5-104 certain “recognized privileges” – husband – wife (spousal), attorney-client, clergy-parishioner, physician-patient, and psychologist-patient do not apply to these cases as a means to preventing, excluding or refusing testimony in the State’s case for a crime that is committed against an at risk adult or juvenile.

Here Are Some Charts Listing ALL Colorado At Risk Crimes – Penalties – and Levels

Colorado Crimes Against At Risk Victims – 1

Colorado Crimes Against At Risk Victims – 2

And Here Is A Breakdown Of The Elements Of The Colorado Crimes Of Crimes Against At Risk Victims Provided By The Colorado Criminal Jury Instructions

§18-6.5-103(2) C.R.S. –  The elements of the offense of crime against an at risk [adult] or [juvenile] are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. negligently engaged in conduct,

4. that caused [bodily injury] [serious bodily injury] [death],

5. to an at-risk [adult] [juvenile],

6. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number ______________.]

Sentencing:

An F4, if death occurs.

An F5, if serious bodily injury occurs.

An F6, if bodily injury occurs.

Crime Against an At-risk Adult or Juvenile (Neglect by Caretaker)

§18-6.5-103(6), C.R.S.  – The elements of the crime of crime against an at-risk [adult][juvenile] are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. knowingly,

4. neglected,

5. an [at-risk adult] [at-risk juvenile],

6. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number ________.]

Sentencing: An  M-1

§18-6.5-103(6), C.R.S. –  Crime Against an At-risk Adult or Juvenile (Injurious to Physical or Mental Welfare)

The elements of the crime of crime against an at-risk [adult][juvenile] are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. knowingly,

4. acted in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical or mental welfare of another person, and

5. that person was an [at-risk adult] [at-risk juvenile],

6. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number ________.]

Sentencing: An M – 1

Colorado At Risk Sentencing Enhancers – Conclusion

If you are the target of a Colorado at risk crime it is almost a certainty that the Colorado Department of Social Services will also be involved. The suspects in these crimes often focus – unfairly, on family members, friends, and caretakers of the alleged victims of these crimes.

Family members are often accused of  “taking advantage” either financially or physically – of at risk older adults or disabled children in the family. 

If you are the target of one of these investigations or you have already been charged – call H. Michael now. These cases require careful handling and proactive investigation and defense. Do not delay in retaining a qualified and experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer.

COLORADO FELONY SENTENCING CHART

Colorado At Risk Sentencing Enhancers

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael SteinbergEmail The Author  – A Denver Colorado Theft Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer  – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.

If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about Colorado At Risk Sentencing Enhancers, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

H. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience –  specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range.  He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options.  Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case.  Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases.

Contact A Lawyer with Three Decades of Experience as a Denver Criminal Attorney at The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm Today.

Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg provides solid criminal defense for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the City and County courts of Adams County, Arapahoe County, City and County of Boulder, City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver, Douglas County, El Paso County – Colorado Springs, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Larimer County, and Weld County,…. and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving …Colorado At Risk Sentencing Enhancers.

 


Other Articles of Interest:

If you found the information provided on this webpage to be helpful, please click my Plus+1 button so that others may also find it.

___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
DTC Quadrant Building
5445 DTC Parkway, Penthouse 4
Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111
Primary Web Site:  http://www.HMichaelSteinberg.com
Colorado Criminal Law Blog:  www.Colorado-Criminal-Lawyer-Online.com
Main:  303.627.7777
Cell:  720.220.2277
24/7 Pager:  303.543.4433
FAX (Toll Free):  1.877.533.6276
Always investigate a lawyer's qualifications and experience before making a
decision to retain that lawyer or, for that matter, any professional ...in any field.