I Was Charged with a Crime of Violence – What Does That Mean?
Being charged with a crime of violence in Colorado is a serious matter—you are facing mandatory prison time.
If you are convicted of a felony crime in the state of Colorado, the presiding judge has three sentencing options: probation, community corrections, or incarceration. However, if the felony you’re charged with is designated a “Crime of Violence,” the judge has no choice but to send you to prison.
Furthermore, the judge is prohibited from reducing your prison sentence, and is required to sentence you to at least the midpoint of the “presumptive sentence” for that offense. The presumptive sentence is the range of prison time recommended for that crime under the State’s sentencing guidelines. For instance, if you were convicted of a Class 2 felony, which has a presumptive sentence of 8 to 24 years in prison, the judge would have to sentence you to no less than 16 years (the midpoint).
While judges are prohibited from sentencing someone convicted of a violent crime to less than the midpoint of the presumptive sentence, they are ALLOWED to increase the sentence up to double the maximum presumptive sentence. In other words, if you are convicted of a Class 2 felony (8 to 24 years), you could be sentenced to a term of up to 48 years. If you are convicted of multiple felony counts, each individual sentence must be “stacked,” meaning your time in prison must be served consecutively—not concurrently.
For example, someone convicted of three counts of a Class 2 felony—each requiring a mandatory 16-year sentence—would have to finish serving the first 16-year sentence before serving the second 16-year sentence, followed by the third sentence of 16 years (48 years in all).
It goes without saying, but if you are ever accused of a violent crime in Colorado, you should speak to a defense lawyer immediately.
Common Crimes of Violence
The following offenses are charged as crimes of violence in Colorado:
- First-degree assault
- Second-degree assault
- Aggravated robbery
- Sex offenses
- Crimes against at-risk adults or juveniles
Possible Defenses for Charges of Crimes of Violence
An experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., will have a number of strategies for getting the charges against you dropped or reduced, or thrown out of court altogether. We go to work to prove:
- Lack of intent to do harm
- Acting in public duty (authorized by police to use force)
- Duress (another party forced you to use force)
- Justification or choice of evils (when force is used in an emergency situation to avoid imminent private or public injury)
Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged with a crime of violence can jeopardize your freedom and reputation, as well as drastically alter your life and your family’s lives. It is not something to be taken lightly. If you or a family member has been charged with a crime of violence, it is vital that you seek the representation of a skilled violent crimes defense lawyer in Colorado Springs.
Attorney Timothy Bussey of The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., is a former county prosecutor who has tried cases on both sides of the law. He and his seasoned legal team are familiar with prosecution tactics and strategies, and will mount the best defense possible in your case. Call our office for a free consultation at (719) 475-2555.