Is sexual assault a felony?

Sexual assault in Colorado is a very serious offense.  While certain sexual crimes may incur a less serious misdemeanor charge, a charge of sexual assault will carry with it a felony charge ranging in severity between class 6 felony and up to a class 2 felony.  Don’t be fooled, all crimes of a sexual nature come with long-ranging serious consequences, that can deeply impact your life for many years to come.

Understanding Colorado Sex Crimes

Colorado crimes of a sexual nature are grouped into three separate categories that define the acts that occurred.

The category of sexual assault includes sexual acts of penetration or intrusion.  Furthermore, this category includes the specific acts of rape, anal rape, forced oral copulation, and/ or forced penetration with an object.

If you are a loved one who has experienced forced sexual contact that did not include actual rape, do not be afraid to speak out as the second category of unlawful sexual coercion is sexual contact which is defined as touching.  Specific acts as defined by this category include sexual battery, groping, and fondling against the victim’s will.

The final category is sexual assault on a child.  This encompasses an act of sexual assault towards a child under the age of fifteen.  The assailment must be four or more years older than the victim.

Understanding the Age of Consent

In Colorado, the official age of consent is when a person turns 17.  Thus, if a victim is 17 or older a case for sexual assault will be based upon whether a sexual act took place and whether the victim was able to knowingly and willingly give consent.  A person is a victim of sexual assault if they were not able to give consent due to a lack of understanding or factors such as being unconscious or asleep at the time of the sexual contact.  Additionally, if the victim explicitly said no and subsequently had unwanted sexual activity perpetrated against them, they will be a victim of sexual assault or contact.  Other factors such as being drugged by the perpetrator, receiving treatment or a medical exam that went beyond professional medical practice, or coercion by an authority figure such as a doctor/patient relationship or inmate/guard relationship will be considered a sex crime.

Penalties of Sexual Assault

If you face a conviction for sexual assault in Colorado you will receive a felony.  Acts of rape, penetration, and intrusion include hefty penalties such as fines and prison time.  Consequences will vary in severity depending upon the unique circumstances of your case.  Penalties will be extra severe in situations where the victim was under the age of consent, significant bodily injury was incurred, there was use or threatened use of deadly force against the victim, the perpetrator had a prior history of violent crime, the perpetrator had an accomplice, the assailant faced prior charges for another felony or was already on parole, probation, or bond, and/or the victim was with child at the time of the assault.  For any of these extenuating circumstances, the perpetrator may face increased consequences.

Other Penalties

If you are convicted of rape in Colorado you will suffer more consequences than mere jail time and fines.  You may lose your parental rights, have no rights in whether your child conceived by the rape is adopted (you won’t even have the right to know about the child), you may face community supervision, polygraph testing, mandatory treatment, mandatory drug testing, and be required to have your name placed on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s felony sex offender registry.

If you are a victim of sexual assault or have been accused of a sexual crime, don’t hesitate to contact a skilled criminal law attorney.  A competent attorney can help ensure a fair and just resolution to your case whether you’re a victim or if you have been falsely accused of sexual assault.