Some crimes are more serious than others, particularly in the eyes of the law. In Colorado, a felony is the most serious kind of criminal charge. It is reserved for activity that the government considers especially harmful or dangerous, though defendants sometimes end up charged with a more serious crime than they deserve.
Felonies carry very harsh penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and revocation of some of your most basic rights as a citizen of the United States. Your entire world can change for the worst, and without an effective defense, the consequences may follow you for the rest of your life.
Colorado’s prosecutors and police are aggressive in pursuing felony charges. Innocent people sometimes find themselves facing a terrifying felony charge simply because the police made a mistake. Similarly, small-scale misdemeanor activity is often unfairly ramped up to a felony charge because the state failed to exercise sound judgment when assessing the crime.
If you have been charged with a felony in Colorado, you need a legal advocate with an in-depth understanding of Colorado criminal law on your side.
Our defense lawyers know how frightening, embarrassing, and fundamentally unfair Colorado’s felony charges can be. We also understand that anyone can make a mistake — even good, honest people who’ve slipped up and found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Our experienced felony lawyers provide a passionate, tireless, and aggressive defense for those who need a helping hand against the Colorado justice system. Having a compassionate and experienced advocate by your side can make all the difference.
Colorado Felony Charges Must Be Taken Seriously
If you have been charged with a felony in Colorado, your future and freedom are at stake. You are facing the very real threat of a long-term prison sentence, not to mention a criminal shadow that will follow you around for the rest of your life. You must take immediate and decisive action to fully protect your rights.
Even if wrongfully accused, attempting to handle felony charges on your own could forever impair your quality of life. Tackling any serious criminal charge without experienced legal representation is an enormous mistake.
Hiring an experienced felony lawyer may be the most important thing you ever do. These cases are complicated, and the stakes are high.
Do not accept a felony charge that you don’t deserve. Let our attorneys fight for your freedom.
What Is a Felony?
There is some confusion in the general public about what “felony” means. Some people are under the mistaken belief that a felony is exclusively a federal charge. That is not true. Felonies exist under both state and federal law. The State of Colorado may charge you with a felony based purely on the state criminal code. A Denver felony defense attorney can help you understand your legal options and protect your rights if you’re facing felony charges.
People are also sometimes surprised to learn that “felony” includes a much broader range of crimes than they realized. While felonies are defined as crimes of “high seriousness,” they expand far beyond the capitol offenses that the public most readily associates with that term.
Sometimes, a mere technicality can bump a minor charge up to a felony. Unfortunately, prosecutors and police are known to sometimes exploit those technicalities in order to unfairly secure a tougher conviction. Indeed, you may find yourself facing a felony for what seems like a very low-level offense.
What Is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?
If a crime is not a felony, it is usually considered a misdemeanor or a petty offense. These latter charges are less serious than felonies, though they may still carry significant consequences that require a strong defense.
Wolf Law, LLC provides representation for a wide range of crimes, including both felony charges and misdemeanors in Colorado. You’ll find information about misdemeanors elsewhere on this website; meanwhile, the remainder of this page will explain the various felony classes in Colorado, the potential penalties, and how a felony lawyer in Denver can help.
What are the Felony Classes in Colorado?
Colorado’s criminal code divides felonies into six different classes, according to the severity of the allegations and the penalties attached.
In the outline below, each class is listed along with a “presumptive range” penalty. Please note that, in extreme or aggravated cases (as explained further below), the punishments may be far more extensive than the ranges listed below.
Class 6 Felony: 12 to 18 months in prison, plus a fine of $1,000 to $100,000. 1 year of parole.
Class 5 Felony: 1 to 3 years in prison, plus a fine of $1,000 to $100,000. 2 years of parole.
Class 4 Felony: 2 to 6 years in prison, plus a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. 3 years of parole.
Class 3 Felony: 4 to 12 years in prison, plus a fine of $3,000 to $750,000. 5 years of parole.
Class 2 Felony: 8 to 24 years in prison, plus a fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000. 5 years of parole.
Class 1 Felony: Life imprisonment or Death (Capital Punishment). Class 1 felonies are reserved the most serious crimes, most commonly first-degree murder.
In reviewing these guidelines, it is important to note that while Class 6 is less serious than Class 1, there is no such thing as a non-serious felony. Now, within Colorado there are also Drug Felony Classes as well. In the outline below, just as the Felony Classes above, these are merely a presumptive range that may change with aggravated circumstances.
Drug Felony Class 1: 8* to 32 years in prison, plus a fine of $500,000 to $1,000,000. 3 years of parole.
Drug Felony Class 2: 4 to 8 years in prison, plus a fine of $3,000 to $750,000. 2 years of parole.
Drug Felony Class 3: 2 to 4 years in prison, plus a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. 1 year of parole.
Drug Felony Class 4: 6 months to 1 year in prison, plus a fine of $1,000 to $100,000. 1 year of parole
*Unlike other provisions, a Class 1 Drug Felony requires a mandatory sentence to prison.
Keep in mind the above list does not indicate the common sentences for petty drug offenses and misdemeanors. These offenses are classified according to the weight of the drug involved and will have different offense levels, as well as different sentencing.
When Penalties Get Worse: Extraordinary Risk Crimes and Aggravating Factors
Colorado allows for even tougher penalties than those listed above when certain factors are alleged. An extraordinary risk crime is one that alleges aggravated robbery, child abuse, or certain kinds of drug-related behavior or violence. Any felony charged as an extraordinary risk crime will have a wider penalty range.
Additionally, various aggravating factors can increase the seriousness of a charge or its penalties. These may include prior convictions, parole violations, use of a deadly weapon, or commission of certain sex crimes, among other factors.
Some felonies may also have specific sentences and exceptions established in their own statutes, and these charges may fall outside the guidelines listed above.
Prosecutors have a certain amount of discretion in deciding which penalties to pursue against a given defendant, depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations and the track record of the accused. An experienced felony lawyer in Denver can help ensure that charges are applied and pursued fairly, reducing penalties for aggravated or extraordinary risk crimes to the greatest extent possible.
What Rights Will I Lose if Convicted of a Felony?
Felony convictions often trigger the loss of basic citizenship rights, which may include:
- The right to travel abroad
- The right to vote (while incarcerated)
- The right to possess firearms
- The right to serve on a jury
- Certain parental rights or benefits
- Eligibility for certain governmental assistance / supplements
- Eligibility for certain kinds of employment
This is not necessarily a comprehensive list. Remember that felony convictions will be added to your permanent record and could impact your access to employment, education, assistance, and many other resources or opportunities for the rest of your life.
Get Help from an Experienced Felony Lawyer in Denver
Being charged with a felony might seem like the end of the world, but it isn’t. Hiring an experienced felony lawyer in Denver might mean the difference between freedom and a long time spent in prison.
When you contact Wolf Law, you can rest assured that Jeffrey Wolf himself will handle your defense. He will work with you to thoroughly examine all of the evidence, including important mitigating factors, and mount an effective challenge in order to minimize the penalties you might otherwise face.
Time matters. If you need an excellent and compassionate felony lawyer in Denver, please contact Wolf Law for a free consultation today.