How Are Crimes Classified in Colorado?

Criminal defense lawyers in Colorado Springs explain that crimes fall under four different categories and are prosecuted by various offices:

  • Felonies: They are the most serious criminal violations, with examples being murder, rape, and possession of illegal drugs for sale. The felonies range from fines to prison sentences of 6 months to life imprisonment, depending on the case specifics.
  • Misdemeanors: They are less severe than felonies and cover many offenses. The penalties vary depending on various elements, such as the severity of the offense and aggravating factors.
  • Petty offenses: They are the least severe criminal under Colorado state laws. Examples are littering or public or private property and third-degree criminal trespass.
  • Municipal ordinance violations and infractions: Municipal ordinances are laws enacted by the City Council. Violations include curfew violations, defacing property, petty theft, disorderly conduct, interference with a peace officer, non-alcohol traffic violations, and open container violations.

You may not have to make a court appearance when charged with an infraction. However, if you’re facing charges for misdemeanor or other serious crimes, consider retaining skilled misdemeanor defense lawyers in Colorado for legal counsel and representation.

How Are Misdemeanors Classified in Colorado?

Colorado laws divide misdemeanors into three categories: drug misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and traffic misdemeanors. Under each category, the crimes are designated a Class 1 or 2 or level 1 or 2. The penalties for these misdemeanors are:

  • Class 1 misdemeanors: These crimes are the most severe misdemeanors and are punishable by up to 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Examples are unlawful sexual contact, violation of a protection order, theft of property, or criminal mischief.
  • Class 2 misdemeanors: They carry a possible jail term of 120 days, a fine of up to $750, or both. Examples of crimes under this category are invasion of privacy, theft of property between $300 and $1,000, and criminal trespass.
  • Level 1 drug misdemeanors: They carry a sentence of 6 to 18 months in jail, possible fines of between $500 and $5,000, or both. The law may provide alternative sentencing for certain possession charges, including probation and shorter jail time.
  • Level 2 drug misdemeanors: A conviction for a level 2 drug misdemeanor can attract a sentence of up to 365 days in jail, a fine of between $50 and $750, or both.
  • Class 1 and 2 traffic misdemeanors: The penalties are 10 to 364 days in jail, $300 to $1,000 in fines, or both. Class 2 attracts 10 to 90 days in jail, $150 to $300 in fines, or both.

Numerous crimes can attract misdemeanor charges in Colorado. Misdemeanor defense lawyers in Colorado Springs say that some crimes are more common than others, such as domestic violence, DUI, assault, theft, drug possession, trespassing, and disorderly conduct.

What Are the Potential Long-Term Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction in Colorado?

One potential long-term consequence of a misdemeanor conviction is that it stays on your criminal record forever unless you hire skilled misdemeanor defense attorneys in Colorado Springs to help delete the record. A criminal record may significantly affect your ability to get employment.

An employer could check your criminal record for the past seven years as provided under the law. If the charges or conviction happened more than seven years ago, they may not hold it against you in making an employment decision. However, it would be better to have the record expunged unless the crime was a sex offense, domestic violence, DUI, or traffic misdemeanor.

Luckily, if the crime was a low-level charge and you don’t have a previous criminal record, the charges could be reduced to a citation, community service, probation, or some other form of punishment.

Jail Time

Most misdemeanor convictions attract jail time, which can significantly affect your life. When you stay behind bars, you could lose your employment or business. Incarceration can sever your social relationships. With so much at stake, you want to put the best defense forward, which skilled criminal defense attorneys in Colorado Springs can help you do.

Impact on Your Immigration Status

Some misdemeanor convictions can impact your immigration status, depending on the circumstances of the case. You risk deportation if convicted for high-level misdemeanors such as assault, domestic violence, and drug and firearm possession.

Restraining Orders

If a restraining order is issued against you for a high-level misdemeanor offense such as assault or domestic violence, it means you can no longer have contact with the alleged victim. It can keep you from other family members and loved ones, especially your children.

How Can I Defend Myself When Facing Misdemeanor Charges?

Take misdemeanor charges with the seriousness they deserve to protect your rights and future. Consider hiring aggressive misdemeanor charges attorneys in Colorado Springs to help you do the following:

  • Gather evidence that contradicts the prosecutor’s claims
  • Identify witnesses to corroborate your defense statements
  • Evaluate whether to negotiate a plea agreement
  • Prepare for trial
  • Create the best defense strategy

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Helping You Avoid the Long-Term Consequences of a Misdemeanor Charge

Misdemeanor charges can seem trivial, but the consequences can be long-lasting and life-changing. If you face such charges, consult with skilled criminal defense lawyers to assess the risks and legal options. Early legal intervention in the case can be crucial in influencing a desirable outcome.

The Lux Law Firm is a Colorado Springs criminal defense law firm with experienced misdemeanor charges lawyers who can fight aggressively for your rights. We won’t relent until we get the best possible outcome for you. We aim to have the charges against you dropped or the penalties reduced to help you move on with your life. Call us at 719-451-7469 to schedule a FREE case evaluation.