A violation of Colorado’s child molestation laws is a grave offense. A conviction for any of Colorado’s child molestation offenses means you could go to prison and have to list your name in the Sex Offender Registry. To protect your rights, you should act quickly to retain a highly qualified Colorado child molestation criminal defense lawyer.
The Colorado criminal defense attorneys from Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., believe everyone deserves a strong advocate to give them a voice. With decades of actual trial experience, they have proven they are not afraid to fight for their clients in court. Even though most people cringe when they hear someone faces child molestation charges, we don’t shy away from tough cases even though the offense might spark outrage or disgust—that is what advocating for a client truly means. Contact us today.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit on when the police can charge you with a crime. It is a safety net to prevent you from having to defend against charges after the time set by statute has passed.
Statutes of limitations are based on fundamental fairness. Trying to defend yourself against something that happened a long time ago is unfair. Witnesses who could have helped you might not be around and physical evidence might be gone as well if the police charge you with a crime after several years.
Not all crimes have statutes of limitations. For example, like most states, Colorado does not have a statute of limitations on homicide or murder. Other crimes might not have a statute of limitations so that people do not get away with heinous crimes. One of those crimes in Colorado is felony child molestation.
According to Colorado Revised Statutes section 16-5-401(1)(a), any sex offense committed against a child has no statute of limitations. Likewise, crimes like conspiracy, attempt, and solicitation to commit a sexual offense against a child have no statute of limitations. There is an exception to that general rule.
No one can face a misdemeanor child molestation charge in Colorado if the police do not file charges within five years, according to Colorado Revised Statutes section 18-3-411.
The statute of limitations stops running or tolls when the police file charges in court and give the accused formal notice that the police filed charges.
Misdemeanor Child Molestation Charges in Colorado
The crime of unlawful sexual contact with a minor is a misdemeanor in some circumstances. A person who induces or coerces a child to expose their private parts or to engage in sexual contact with another person for sexual gratification commits unlawful sexual contact. Under this law, a child is a person under 18.
This offense is a class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is 18 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. This crime is subject to the statute of limitations.
However, the offense can become a class 4 felony. It is not subject to any statute of limitations if the accused drugged, forced, threatened, or intimidated the victim to engage in unlawful sexual contact. A class 4 felony conviction carries between two and eight years imprisonment and fines between $2,000 and $500,000. A conviction for either charge requires you to register as a sex offender in Colorado.
Felony Child Molestation Charges
Colorado law lists three additional child molestation crimes as felony offenses. They are sexual assault on a child, sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, and internet exploitation of a child. We will look at each of these individually.
Sexual Assault on a Child
Colorado Revised Statutes section 18-3-405 describes the crime of sexual assault on a child as sexual contact with a person under 15 years old when the accused is more than four years older than the victim. Typically, sexual assault on a child is a class 4 felony, which carries a penalty between two and six years in prison and a fine between $2,000 and $500,000. However, acts such as using force, making threats of pain or severe harm, kidnapping, or committing a sexual assault during a pattern of child abuse make the crime a class 3 felony. Class 3 felonies in Colorado carry a prison sentence of between four and 12 years, along with fines ranging from $3,000 to $750,000.
Sexual Assault on a Child by a Person in a Position of Trust
Sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust is a class 3 felony when the victim is younger than 15 or the offense is part of a pattern of conduct. The crime becomes a class 4 felony if the victim is 15, 16, or 17 years old and is not a part of an abusive pattern.
The term “persons in a position of trust” encompasses several categories of people. For example, a parent, guardian, and person responsible for child care are positions of trust. Other positions of trust include foster parents, people providing childcare, family care, and institutional care.
Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child
According to Colorado Revised Statutes section 18-3-405.4, using a computer, data network, text message, or instant message to entice a child under 15 when there is at least a four-year age difference is a Class 4 felony. This crime applies when someone entices a child under 15 to expose or touch their or another’s private parts while communicating with the adult. Alternatively, the crime occurs when an adult sends nude photos or videos to the child.
Contact Us Today to Learn What Is the Statute of Limitations on Child Molestation in Colorado?
Your future hangs in the balance if someone accuses you of molesting a child. Where can you turn for help protecting your rights? The criminal defense lawyers with Gerash Steiner Blanton have decades of trial litigation experience and know how to fight. Many prestigious legal organizations awarded our lawyers numerous accolades due to our client-first approach. No matter what circumstances you face, we will be there to protect your rights and defend your freedom. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.