There are a number of factors that could lead to harsher penalties for defendants, including whether or not the defendant is labeled a habitual offender. What are the habitual offender laws in Colorado? How could these laws impact your case? Here’s everything you need to know:
What is a habitual offender?
In the state of Colorado, a habitual offender is someone who has a record with multiple criminal convictions. People with multiple misdemeanor convictions will not be labeled as habitual offenders, however if you have three felony convictions on your record, you will be a habitual offender in the eyes of the law.
The law was originally established to deter those who had been convicted of committing other crimes once they were released back into the community. However, it has been criticized for being too harsh on repeat offenders.
What penalties will habitual offenders face?
The law allows the court to punish habitual offenders more severely than first-time offenders. If you have been convicted of two felonies within the last 10 years, and you are then convicted of a third felony, this means you are now a habitual offender. The consequences you face will depend on the crime that you have been convicted of committing. As a habitual offender, you could face up to three times the maximum sentence for the crime that you have committed. For instance, let’s say the crime you committed typically has a maximum sentence of 2 years behind bars. Because you are a habitual offender with three felony convictions, the maximum sentence you could face is 6 years.
If you are convicted for a fourth time, the possible penalties are enhanced even further. Fourth-time felony offenders may receive up to four times the maximum sentence. Using the previous example, this means the fourth-time offender would face a possible sentence of up to 8 years in jail.
The penalties increase again if you are convicted for a fifth time. If a habitual offender with four prior felony convictions on his record is convicted of committing a violent felony, he will face a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole for a minimum of 40 years.
If you have been charged with a felony, even if it is your first brush with the law, it’s imperative to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. We will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and defend you against the charges that have been filed. Schedule a free consultation by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.