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In Colorado, a person commits sexual assault when he subjects another person to sexual intrusion or sexual penetration against their will.
To prove that a defendant committed the criminal offense of sexual assault by forcing the victim to submit, the prosecutor must prove each of these elements:
The sexual assault statute makes it a crime for one person to force another person to have sexual contact with them against their will. Sexual assault is a very serious crime.
What sexual acts qualify as sexual penetration or intrusion?
C.R.S. § 18-3-402 does not criminalize behavior which only includes groping or brushing up against someone else’s intimate parts. This type of non-consensual touching of someone’s intimate parts would most likely be charged under Colorado’s unlawful sexual contact statute (C.R.S. § 18-3-404).
A fraternity brother flirts with a girl at a house party and takes her into a bedroom. Once they are inside the bedroom, they start to kiss and take off their clothes. The fraternity brother starts to take off the girl’s underwear. The girl tells him she wants him to stop, but he places himself on top of her, continues to touch her, and ends up placing a finger in her vagina before finally stopping.
A boyfriend and girlfriend decide they want to have a nice evening at home. They cook a nice dinner, eat dessert, and start watching a movie on the couch. They take off their clothes and start touching each other’s genitals. The girlfriend tells the boyfriend that she is tired and doesn’t want to have sex. The boyfriend holds her down and rubs her vagina with his penis to get her in the mood. The girlfriend gets upset and starts crying and the boyfriend stops.
Related offenses include:
There are many different types of charges that can be brought by the prosecution when they think someone has committed the crime of sexual assault. However, the essential elements of the crime of sexual assault occur when one person subjects another person to sexual intrusion or sexual penetration against their will.
Within the Colorado Criminal Code, sexual assault can be charged under the following circumstances:
Sexual assault is presumptively classified as a class 4 felony C.R.S. § 18-3-402(2).
There are some aggravating factors that can turn sexual assault into a class 3 or a class 2 felony. There are also some mitigating factors that can turn sexual assault into a class 6 felony.
Criminal defense lawyers could raise many potential defenses to the charge of sexual assault. Those defenses could include:
One common argument is that the allegations are completely false. Your lawyer could argue that the victim is fabricating her story. For this defense to be presented persuasively, your lawyer will need to investigate the case, interview witnesses, collect evidence, and present mitigation to the district attorney and the jury that helps show why nobody should believe any of her claims.
Consent may be an available defense to sexual assault. It occurs when one person voluntarily agrees to do something sexual. Consent can be implicit or explicit. Implicit consent happens when one person’s actions lead another person to believe they have given consent to perform a sexual act. Explicit consent occurs when one person tells another person they consent to a specific sexual act.
This defense could apply to certain types of sexual assault charges if it negates the mental state required to commit the crime. If mistake of fact applies, it would be an affirmative defense to the charge.
Denial – Your defense lawyer could argue that no sexual penetration or intrusion occurred.
There are several classifications and associated penalties for the charge of sexual assault.
This type of sexual charge is the most serious type, and often involves the victim suffering serious bodily injury, multiple offenders, and/or the use of a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime. The penalties for the class 2 felony of sexual assault are:
This classification of sexual assault charges is used for crimes in which the defendant impaired the victim by giving, or tricking her into taking, alcohol or drugs, or by using threats of violence against her, or in cases when the victim has not consented or has been kidnapped or made physically helpless. The penalties for the class 3 felony of sexual assault are:
This type of sexual assault charge typically includes acts involving sexual intrusion or penetration involving improper medical care, or sexual crimes committed by someone in a supervisory role over a victim who is in the custody of law enforcement, a hospital, or some other type of similar place of confinement. The penalties for the class 4 felony of sexual assault could be:
This is the least serious of the sexual assault charges and involves the sexual intrusion or penetration of a victim who is between the ages of 15 and 16 years old and at least 10 years younger than the defendant. The penalties for the class 1 misdemeanor of sexual assault could be:
Sexual Assault is a serious felony and is punishable by the imposition of an indeterminate sentence. It can carry a minimum of 2 years in prison up to the possibility of life sentence. Sexual assault convictions could have adverse and negative consequences on a person’s immigration status and professional licenses. Sexual assault convictions require people to register as a sex offenders.