Facing First Time Felony Charges in Colorado

Facing criminal charges can be scary and anxiety-inducing under any circumstances, whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony offense

However, first-time felony charges can be particularly concerning given the severity of the penalties if you are convicted.

At Miller Leonard, PC, we have years of experience providing personalized criminal defense strategies to clients facing both misdemeanor and felony charges, and we can begin working with you today to tailor a defense strategy to the specific circumstances surrounding your felony arrest. In the meantime, we want to provide you with additional information about facing first-time felony charges in Colorado.

What Are Felony Charges in Colorado?

There are numerous types of criminal offenses in Colorado that can be charged as felonies. As you may know, felony charges are much more serious than misdemeanor charges, and they result in much steeper penalties.

Colorado has six different felony classes, with Class 6 felonies being the least serious and Class 1 felonies being the most serious. Examples of common first time felony charges in Colorado include but are not limited to the following:

  • Drug possession;
  • Property theft;
  • Forgery;
  • Animal cruelty;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Manslaughter;
  • Vehicular homicide;
  • Identify theft;
  • Sexual exploitation of a child;
  • First-degree assault;
  • First-degree arson;
  • Human trafficking; and
  • Murder.

Some general offenses, such as drug possession, can be charged either as misdemeanor or felony offenses depending upon the amount and type of the drug. Similarly, theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the amount of property alleged to have been stolen.

Options Available to First Time Offenders Felony

If you are facing felony charges as a first time offender, there may be options available to you that are not available to people with previous criminal records. You should speak with your criminal defense attorney about first-time offender and diversion programs under both federal and Colorado state law. Possibilities may include:

  • Federal First Offender Act: This program allows certain individuals who are facing federal drug charges to enter into a federal diversion program. If you are facing certain federal drug charges and do not have any prior convictions at the state or federal level for drug charges, you may be eligible. To participate, you must plead guilty to the charges or have been found guilty. Then, after successfully completing a year of probation, you can be eligible to have the charges against you dismissed without a criminal conviction.
  • Pre-trial Diversion for Adults in Colorado: If you are facing certain types of criminal charges in Colorado and are a first time offender, you may be eligible for the state’s adult pre-trial diversion program. For first offenders facing particular charges like drug charges, you can enter into a diversion agreement that may include probation supervision and other requirements. If you successfully complete the terms of your diversion agreement, you will not have a criminal record. However, it is important to know that certain kinds of offenses are ineligible for pre-trial diversion, including felony sex crimes charges.

Pre-trial diversion is also an option for first time offenders who are juveniles. Whether you are facing Colorado state or federal felony charges, you should speak with a Colorado criminal defense attorney about whether a diversion program may be an option for you.

Penalties for a First Time Felony Conviction

If you are convicted of a felony offense, even as a first time offender, it is important to know that you will face a prison term of at least one year (and potentially a much longer prison term). In addition, you may be required to pay a significant monetary fine of up to $100,000.

Once you complete your sentence, you will have a felony criminal record that can prevent you from getting hired for a particular job or even obtaining certain loans.

Felony penalties range from one year in prison (Class 6 felonies) up to life imprisonment or the death penalty (Class 1 felonies).

Seek Advice from a Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are a first time offender facing felony charges, do not wait to speak with a Colorado criminal defense lawyer. An attorney at our firm can speak with you today about options that may be available to you. Contact Miller Leonard, PC for more information.

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