The law outlines sentencing ranges for defendants who are convicted of felony crimes. For example, the law states that someone who is convicted of a class 6 felony can be sentenced to a minimum of one year and a maximum of 18 months in prison. However, there are a number of factors that could enhance a defendant’s sentence. One of these factors is the “special offender” status. Here’s what you should know about being labeled a special offender in Colorado:
Who is Considered a Special Offender?
The special offender status is only applied in cases involving drug crimes. A defendant can be classified as a special offender if he is convicted of a felony crime and certain extraordinary aggravating circumstances exist. Some of these circumstances include:
- Being previously convicted of at least two other drug offenses
- Having or using a deadly weapon at the time the crime was committed
- Committing the drug crime on the grounds or within 1,000 feet of a public or private school
- Soliciting or hiring a child to assist with drug manufacturing or distribution
- Being a part of a conspiracy with others to manufacture, sell, or distribute controlled substances
Enhanced Sentencing For Special Offenders
Defendants who are labeled as special offenders will face greater penalties as a result of this classification. Being labeled as a special offender makes any drug felony you are convicted of a level 1 felony. This means the defendant will face up to 32 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million because he is considered a special offender.
How Defendants Are Classified As Special Offenders
In order to classify a defendant as a special offender, the prosecution must prove that one of the aggravating circumstances was present when the defendant committed the crime.
For instance, if the prosecution believes the defendant should be a special offender because he had a firearm at the time of the crime, this fact needs to be proven to the jury. When the jury deliberates, they will be asked to first determine if the defendant is guilty. If they believe he is guilty, then they will be asked to decide whether certain aggravating circumstances were present. It is the jury, not the judge, who will decide whether or not a defendant qualifies as a special offender.
If you have been accused of committing a drug crime, contact Reisch Law Firm at once. Being convicted of a drug crime will affect the rest of your life. Let us fight these charges to protect your future. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.