Understanding Statutory Rape and Age of Consent in Colorado

Statutory rape is a specific crime that is charged under Colorado’s sexual assault statute (Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-402).

Statutory rape concerns something known as the age of consent. Generally speaking, the age of consent in Colorado is 17 years old. Anyone who is under the age of 17 usually cannot consent to having sex according to the law.

If you are accused of having sex with a person who is under the age of 17 in Colorado, you may be charged with statutory rape.

An aggressive Colorado criminal defense attorney can examine the facts of your case and can work with you to build a strong defense.

Statutory Rape Colorado

Defining Statutory Rape Under Colorado Law

Colorado recognizes two different definitions of statutory rape, which include the following:

  • Victim is under the age of 15 and the actor (the person accused of statutory rape) is at least 4 years older than the victim and is not married to the victim; or
  • Victim is under the age of 17 (but is at least 15 years old) and actor (the person accused of statutory rape) is at least 10 years older than the victim and is not married to the victim.

With these definitions, there are numerous scenarios in which a person may face statutory rape charges. For example, if a 26-year-old person has sex with a 16-year-old person, even if the 16-year-old says that she or he consents, the 26-year-old can be charged with a sex crime.

In another type of scenario, a 20-year-old who engages in sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old—even if the 20-year-old believes the 14-year-old is much older—can face statutory rape charges.

Penalties for Colorado Statutory Rape

In most cases, a statutory rape conviction results in one of two classes of penalties:

  • Class 4 felony, which can result in up to 8 years of imprisonment; or
  • Class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in up to 24 months in jail.

You should know that a felony statutory rape conviction also means that you will have to register as a sex offender in the state of Colorado.

Defenses to Statutory Rape in Colorado

Not knowing the age of the victim—or believing the victim was older—is not a defense to statutory rape charges. Even if the victim says she or he consents to intercourse, this is not a defense because the law says that the victim is not old enough to consent. As such, possible statutory rape defenses often include:

  • Proving that the victim is making false allegations;
  • Proving that, even though the sexual act occurred, it did not involve the defendant; or
  • Proving that there was no sexual intercourse.

Seek Help With Your Defense from an Aggressive Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being convicted of statutory rape in Colorado will change your life forever. You will be convicted of a felony offense and will be required to serve a prison sentence. Even when your sentence is completed, you will be required to register as a sex offender and will be a convicted felon.

As such, you may be unable to obtain credit to buy a home or a car, to be able to get hired for certain jobs, as well as many other limitations. A Colorado statutory rape defense lawyer can work with you to beat the charges you are facing. Contact Miller Leonard, PC to get started on your defense today.

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