Colorado’s Habitual Offender Statute Explained by a Criminal Defense Attorney

Many states, if not all, will impose harsher consequences on defendants who have prior convictions. Colorado is no exception. Whether or not this is fair is another discussion, but for now, you need to understand what this means for you if you have been charged with a crime and have prior convictions. The best thing to do is contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can so that they can begin preparing the best possible defense.

What is a Habitual Offender Under Colorado Law?

Colorado’s habitual offender laws apply only to defendants who have been charged with a felony offense and have criminal records with prior felony convictions. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you do not need to worry about being sentenced as a habitual offender (although your criminal record may result in a stiffer sentence). Prior charges that were later dismissed also do not qualify you as a habitual offender. However, misdemeanor convictions from other states that are felonies in Colorado could qualify you as a habitual offender.

Colorado’s Habitual Offender Law Is a Sentencing Statute

If you are determined to be a habitual offender, you face far harsher penalties than you would if this were your first or second offense. It will result in difficult outcomes in different situations. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the potential consequences you face if you are convicted as a habitual offender.

The “Little Habitual Offender” Law

The first habitual offender law you should be aware of is referred to as Colorado’s “little habitual offender” law. This statute will apply in the following situations:

  • Defendants who have two prior felony convictions in the past 10 years; and
  • Are subsequently convicted of a Class 1, 2,3, 4, or 5 felony or Class 1, 2, or 3 drug felony.

If you are sentenced under this statute, you can expect a prison sentence that is three times the maximum sentence that would normally be imposed for this crime.

The “Big Habitual Offender” Law

This law applies if you have three prior felony convictions from any time and in any state. Defendants who are sentenced under this law will have a minimum prison sentence that is four times the maximum sentence that would normally be imposed for their most recent offense.

The “Biggest Habitual Offender” Law

If you were previously sentenced under the “big habitual offender” law and released, a subsequent felony conviction will result in a mandatory life sentence, with a minimum of 40 years before you will be considered for parole.

Get the Help You Need Today – Call Rodemer | Kane.

If you have prior felony convictions and have been charged with another felony, your life is at stake. You need to get someone on your side as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation – the sooner you get in touch, the sooner we can help.