The age of consent is critical when it comes to sexual behavior throughout the state of Colorado. It can be the difference between no criminal record and a felony sex offense requiring prison and sex offender registration. While the age of consent in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins is 17, there are exceptions that we'll discuss in detail below. If you or someone close to you is facing an allegation of sex with a minor in Colorado, contacting an experienced criminal lawyer is a crucial next step.
Is 17 the Age of Consent in Colorado?
The age of consent throughout Colorado is seventeen. When a person reaches this age, they can consent to sex with others who are also 17 or older (or those less than 4 years younger). This law is in place to protect youth from potential predators and keep adults from pursuing intercourse with minors. The thought is that juveniles 16 or younger don't possess the decision making ability to understand the impacts of intercourse, unless it's with those close in age. STDs and unplanned pregnancy may not be the first things on a teenager's mind when it comes to sex. However, there are some other age scenarios where consent can be given.
What Are the Exceptions to Colorado's Age of Consent Laws?
The exceptions to Colorado's age of consent laws involve specific age differences. Below is a helpful outline:
- Age 15 or 16 – can consent to sexual intercourse with someone less than 10 years older,
- Age 14 or younger – can consent to sexual intercourse with another minor less than 4 years older
Additionally, minors who are legally married can consent to their spouse regardless of age difference. When teens choose to become sexually active, it is important that they too are aware of these age parameters as they begin dating or enter high school. A freshman's crush on the senior captain of the football team could lead to sexual assault.
The other exception to the age of consent in Colorado applies to those in a position of trust. Coaches, teachers, and pastors in Colorado cannot have any sexual contact with minors under 18 that they supervise, regardless of consent and age difference. For 17-year-olds, these are the only adults they cannot consent to.
Colorado Sex Crimes Related to Age of Consent
If you're facing an accusation of sexual contact with a minor, one of the following charges may apply:
- Felony Sexual Assault – C.R.S. 18-3-402,
- Misdemeanor Sexual Assault – C.R.S. 18-3-402,
- Sexual Assault on a Child – C.R.S. 18-3-405,
- Sexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust – C.R.S. 18-3-401
These crimes carry harsh consequences including incarceration, strict supervision upon release, evaluation / treatment, and sex offender registration. It is imperative that defendants in these situations contact a skilled defense attorney and NOT provide statements to police or investigators. Exercise your right to remain silent and call our office today.
If you or someone you know is facing a child sex crime charge, be smart. Contact the results-driven attorneys at O'Malley and Sawyer, LLC at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future.
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