Denver Child Sexual Assault Lawyer

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Denver Child Rape Attorney

Colorado’s government considers any violent crime involving a child to be especially heinous. When a child is harmed by a sex crime, a defendant can expect to be bombarded with intense questioning and a combative prosecution. This is to ensure that all child victims stay safe and the individuals who hurt them are held accountable. If you are accused of statutory rape, you can also expect to see your life shift in an instant. Discuss your current situation with our Denver team at The Law Center P.C.

Denver Criminal Defense for Child Sex Crimes

Sexual assault convictions carry some of the most drastic punishments of any legal offense, especially when a child is involved. At the Law Center P.C., our defense team is composed of multiple accomplished attorneys who have spent their lives working with the law. We have worked on numerous sex crime cases involving children and have the insight needed to defend our clients properly in a court of law. In a case as serious as a statutory rape offense, it’s critical that you retain a criminal defense team as soon as possible. For unbiased legal aid in Denver, visit The Law Center P.C.

What Is Statutory Rape?

Statutory rape is a sex crime that occurs between an adult and a minor. In Colorado, the legal age of consent is set at 17 years of age. This means that a minor under 17 legally cannot consent to sexual intercourse with an adult, even if they want to. While there are a few exceptions, statutory rape is generally defined as when an adult has sexual intercourse or uses penetration/intrusion with a minor under the age of 17. Statutory rape cases can involve both consensual and nonconsensual scenarios. This is because regardless of a minor’s consent, the state believes they do not have the capacity to properly consent to a situation of this weight. Statutory rape can occur in two general situations:

  1. Sexual intercourse of some form took place between a victim who was under the age of 14 and a defendant who was at least 4 years older than them.
  2. Sexual intercourse of some form took place between a victim who was 15 or 16 and a defendant who was at least 10 years older than them.

Statutory Rape vs. Sexual Assault on a Child

Understanding the varying laws that Colorado has to define child sex crimes is essential if you or someone you know has been accused. The main laws detailing the difference between sexual assault on a child and statutory rape include the following:

Sexual Assault on a Child (CRS 18-3-405)

Child sexual assault and child rape are two offenses that are often confused with one another. This is because sexual assault cases involving adults can include intrusion/penetration. However, sexual assault on a child in Colorado is a different charge than when an individual knowingly penetrates a child victim. Sexual assault on a child occurs if an adult knowingly coerces or forces a child under the age of 15 into any sort of sexual behavior. Sexual assault on a child can include:

  • Inappropriate sexual contact or touching of a child.
  • Coercing or manipulating a child into touching you.

If the defendant accused of assault was in a “position of trust,” where they could easily take advantage of their child victim, their charge would then be intensified. Instead of a misdemeanor, the defendant would face a charge known as ‘sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.” This is a felony, and a conviction can result in prison time.

Statutory Rape (CRS 18-3-402)

Rape is a distinct violent offense that is also sexual assault. In Colorado, child rape is more commonly referred to as statutory rape. This charge varies from sexual assault on a child because it does not matter whether the victim consented due to the offense being illegal in all scenarios. According to Colorado legislation, it is unlawful for any adult to have sexual intercourse with or penetrate a minor under the age of 17. Statutory rape is charged similarly to aggravated sexual assault, with the aggravating factor being that the victim was a minor. If an adult is found guilty of statutory rape, they can face a felony conviction and have to register as a sex offender permanently.

Colorado’s Romeo and Juliet Law

In some cases of statutory rape, the individuals involved share a relationship. This can cause a case to become extremely convoluted as the prosecution will always want to protect the victim from their alleged abuser. In certain scenarios where two individuals share a consensual relationship, they may be exempt from statutory rape charges. These exemptions are outlined in the state’s “Romeo and Juliet” law.

Colorado’s Romeo and Juliet law is also referred to as the “close-in-age” statute. This legislation states that minors of specific ages have the right to engage in consensual sexual conduct with their partner. The relationships must be consensual in order for the case to qualify as exempt. There are two scenarios where the Romeo and Juliet law may apply:

  1. Minors who are 15 or 16 years of age have the right to consent to sexual conduct if their partner is less than 10 years older than them.
  2. Minors who are under the age of 15 have the right to consent to sexual conduct if their partner is less than 4 years older than them.

Consequences of a Colorado Statutory Rape Conviction

Statutory rape in Colorado is categorized as a felony. However, there may be additional consequences a defendant faces if they are ultimately convicted of a sex crime involving a child. For individuals arrested for statutory rape in Denver, the penalties of a conviction can look like either of the following:

A Class 6 Felony + Additional Charges

The age of the victim plays the largest role in determining what kind of felony you may be charged with. In cases of statutory rape where the victim was aged either 15 or 16 and the defendant was at least 10 years older, the offense is categorized as a Class 6 felony. If convicted of this kind of statutory rape, you can receive penalties like:

  • Prison time ranging from 12 to 18 months
  • A fine anywhere between $1,000 and $100,000
  • Mandatory registration on the state’s sex offenders list
  • Probation or parole after your release
  • Possible loss of child custody, your right to be near children, or to be near locations where children gather

A Class 4 Felony + Additional Charges

When a victim is under the age of 15, the law legally sees them as a child. When an individual is at least 4 years older than a victim who is younger than 15, they commit statutory rape if they engage in any form of sexual intercourse with the victim. This law applies to both adults and individuals who are under the age of 18 and rape someone that is at least 4 years younger than them. This is a Class 4 felony in Colorado and carries harsh penalties, including:

  • Prison time for a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 8 years, depending on if the charge was aggravated
  • A fine anywhere from $2,000 to $500,000
  • Mandatory registration on the sex offenders list for the rest of your life
  • Probation or parole for multiple years after your release
  • Probable loss of child custody, your right to be near children, or your right to be anywhere near locations where children gather

Do You Always Have to Register as a Sex Offender After a Statutory Rape Conviction?

Any person that was convicted of sexual assault involving a child is legally required to register on Colorado’s Sex Offender Registry. This makes their conviction public, meaning that anyone from their future employers to their neighbors may be able to view this information. Because statutory rape is a felony offense against a child, individuals convicted of it in Colorado must stay on the registry for the remainder of their lives.

This helps law officials not only be aware of a sex offender’s prior charges and their information, but it also helps them keep tabs on them in case any issues occur. If you are required to register on Colorado’s sex offenders list, you will have to periodically re-register every few months with your current information. Generally, you should just have to keep your current address up to date.

If an individual who has been charged with statutory rape does not register as they are required, they can face additional felony consequences. Colorado law states that a person convicted of a felony child sex crime must register as they were ordered; otherwise, they may be charged with an additional Class 6 felony. Any failure to register properly after your first incident will then be categorized as a Class 5 felony, which can end in multiple years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.

FAQs About Denver, CO Child Sexual Assault Law

Can Statutory Rape Charges Be Expunged in Colorado?

Not all criminal convictions can be expunged from your Colorado criminal record. This is because expungement is an opportunity only granted to eligible individuals who were convicted of certain charges. In Colorado, almost all sex crimes are ineligible for expungement. This means that both statutory rape and sexual assault on a child cannot be expunged from your record. You may also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

Can You Be Charged with Statutory Rape If Someone Lied About Their Age?

An individual can still be charged with statutory rape in the state of Colorado if the victim lied about their age. This is because Colorado’s legal age of consent is 17 years old, meaning anyone under that age does not legally have the right to consent to sexual conduct with an adult, even if they lied about their age. Colorado law also states that whether or not the defendant knew the age of the victim does not impact the charge.

Is There a Statute of Limitations on Child Sex Crimes in Colorado?

While most criminal offenses carry with them a statute of limitations, any sex crime committed against a child does not have one. This means that a victim and the state have the right to take legal action against someone for a child sex crime, even if they decide to do it years from when the actual incident took place. Because child sex crimes are violent and often not reported for years, the state decided it would be optimal to put no limit on the length of time a victim has to file a claim.

What Does It Mean to Be in a Position of Trust?

When an adult is considered to be in a “position of trust” with a child, it means that they share a relationship with the child that they could easily take advantage of. The law defines a position of trust as any position where an adult is responsible for the welfare or general care of a child and builds a relationship with them. For example, teachers, daycare employees, camp counselors, and athletic coaches are often in a position of trust in the lives of the children they work with. This can make it easy for the adult to manipulate or coerce a child into sexual conduct, oftentimes when they are too young to understand.

What The Law Center P.C. Can Do for You

Being arrested for a sex crime such as statutory rape is no light matter. Here at The Law Center P.C., our defense attorneys share decades of knowledge between them. It’s understandable that any defendant facing a statutory rape charge is frightened and confused, which is why we work to provide impartial legal support for people who find themselves in these situations. Retaining one of our defense attorneys is essential as soon as you or your loved one are arrested. Contact the Law Center P.C. to find out more about Colorado sexual assault laws and your options in a Denver case.

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