Understanding Colorado Sentencing: What are “Special Sentencing” Categories?

After a person is convicted of a Colorado felony crime, the court will usually impose a sentence. Colorado sentencing law is complex and it often requires the court to consider the individual facts of the case and the life circumstances of the person being sentenced.

While Colorado felony sentencing is based on the six categories of felonies that dictate a minimum imprisonment length, the amount of time a person convicted of a felony might spend in jail or prison is lengthened if the court finds the conviction falls into one of five “special sentencing” categories.

According to the Colorado Legislative Council, the five “special sentencing” categories are:

  • Crimes of violence;
  • Crimes with sentence-enhancing circumstances;
  • Crimes with significant mitigating factors;
  • Crimes with significant aggravating factors; and
  • Crimes that present an “extraordinary risk of harm to society.”

Many of the crimes under Colorado law may fall into more than one category, depending on the facts of the case. The court uses information in the pre-sentencing report and information provided at the sentencing hearing to decide whether any of the “special sentencing” categories apply. If at least one category applies, the court may increase the maximum sentence the convicted person is required to serve, including extra time for parole after any jail or prison sentence is complete.

The penalties for Colorado felony conviction are often strict and if a crime is found to have “special sentencing” factors, the convicted party may find themselves in prison for many years. If you’ve been charged with a felony in Colorado, contact an experienced Colorado Springs felony defense attorney at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. who can help build an aggressive defense to fight for the best possible outcome in your case. For a confidential consultation, call us today at (719) 475-2555.

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