What is unlawful sexual contact in Colorado? How can you be charged with unlawful sexual contact? What are the penalties associated with a charge of unlawful sexual contact?
First of all, there are varying degrees of unlawful sexual contact. It is also very important to keep in mind that a charge for unlawful sexual contact can follow you for the rest of your life. The impact can be massive, so it is important to know everything you can.
What is a 18-3-404 Class 1 Misdemeanor of Unlawful Sexual Contact?
(1) Any actor who knowingly subjects a victim to any sexual contact commits unlawful sexual contact if:
(a) The actor knows that the victim does not consent; or
(b) The actor knows that the victim is incapable of appraising the nature of the victim’s conduct;
(c) The victim is physically helpless and the actor knows that the victim is physically helpless and the victim has not consented; or
(d) The actor has substantially impaired the victim’s power to appraise or control the victim’s conduct by employing, without the victim’s consent, any drug, intoxicant, or other means for the purpose of causing submission; or
(f) The victim is in custody of the law or detained in a hospital or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim and uses this position of authority, unless incident to a lawful search, to coerce the victim to submit;
Potential Penalty for Class 1 Misdemeanor Unlawful Sexual Conduct
The above is a class 1 misdemeanor and extraordinary risk crime with a presumptive sentencing range of a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 24 months in jail. This offense is not subject to lifetime supervision sentencing, but sex offender registration is required if found guilty of unlawful sexual contact. Offenders who are convicted of misdemeanor sexual conduct may face fines ranging from $500 to $5,000.
What is a 18-3-404 Class 4 Felony of Unlawful Sexual Contact?
(1.5) Inducing or coercing a child under the age of 18 to expose intimate parts or engage in any sexual contact, intrusion, or penetration with another person for the purpose of the actor’s own sexual gratification
(1)(g) Sexual contact that occurs when an actor engages in treatment or examination of a victim for other than bona fide medical purposes or in a manner substantially inconsistent with reasonable medical purposes.
(2)(b) Using force or threat of force to induce or coerce a child to expose intimate parts or engage in any sexual contact, intrusion, or penetration with another person for the purpose of the actor’s own sexual gratification.
The Potential Penalty for Class 4 Felony Unlawful Sexual Contact
Each of the above scenarios makes the charge a class 4 felony with a presumptive sentencing range of a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 8 years in prison. These offenses are subject to lifetime supervision and require sex offender registration. Felony unlawful sexual contact offenders may also receive fines ranging from $2,000 to $500,000.
How is “Consent” Defined?
“Consent” means two or more people cooperated in an action or mindset pursuant to an exercise of free will, understanding clearly what the outcome will be in that instance. If someone submits to an act under pressure of fear, it is not deemed as consensual within the Colorado court system. Another situation that isn’t seen as consensual is the existence of a relationship prior to an event occurring.
Is There a Difference Between “Sexual Assault” & “Unlawful Sexual Contact” in Colorado?
In short, yes, there is a difference. Colorado, like many other states, catalogs crimes based on certain criteria. While sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact may seem similar on the surface, there is one major difference: sexual assault requires penetration, while a person can be charged with unlawful sexual contact without penetration.
What Does “Violent Crime Enhancement” Mean in Colorado?
In Colorado, sexual contact is deemed a violent crime if the offender, while carrying out the offense:
- Used, possessed, or threatened the use of a deadly weapon
- Caused serious bodily injury or death to someone else (other than an accomplice in the crime)
If your offense is designated as a violent crime, you could face 5 years to life in prison.
Bring the Law Offices of M. Colin Bresee Onto Your Team
What do you do now?
As you know, these crimes are very serious and require the expertise of a successful criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. M. Colin Bresee has experience defending these kinds of offenses, as well as many years prosecuting them. He knows the tips and tricks of the trade. Contact our office so Mr. Bresee can help you protect your rights and advise you on your unique case.