Federal and state criminal law establishes sentencing guidelines for various offenses. These guidelines specify a presumptive range of legal penalties that a judge may hand down when a defendant is convicted of a crime. For example, if you are convicted of a class two felony in Colorado, your presumptive sentencing range is eight to 24 years behind bars. Sentencing enhancers or enhancements can adjust this range. Of course, enlisting the services of an experienced felony attorney in Denver, CO, will improve your chances of an acquittal. Talk to your criminal defense attorney to find out if you may be subject to sentencing enhancements in the event that you do lose your case.
Understanding Sentencing Enhancements
For many cases, judges will abide by the presumptive sentencing range for various classifications of offenses. But in some cases, aggravating circumstances may exist that call for sentencing enhancements. A sentence enhancement is any factor that allows the judge to impose legal penalties that are beyond what is ordinarily called for in the sentencing guidelines. Sentencing enhancements may be applied when the offense is considered particularly egregious, when the defendant committed the crime while out on parole or probation, or when the defendant has previously been convicted of crimes. For example, a DUI conviction will result in steeper legal penalties when the offender has already been convicted of DUI in the past. There are a few sentencing enhancers that can apply to offenders in Colorado. You can speak with your felony attorney to find out if you could be facing additional time behind bars.
Identifying Crimes of Violence
In Colorado, judges may impose enhanced sentences on individuals convicted of crimes of violence if the offenders inflicted serious bodily injury on a victim or caused the death of a victim. Sentencing enhancements also apply when the convicted offender threatened to use, actually used, or possessed a deadly weapon at the time of the crime. As your criminal defense attorney can explain to you, these crimes of violence include sexual offenses, murder, assault, kidnapping, arson, and burglary.
Assessing Extraordinary Risk Offenses
An extraordinary risk offense is one that is considered to impose the risk of substantial harm to the community. These offenses are subject to sentencing enhancement. They include child abuse, stalking, aggravated robbery, and unlawful manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance with the intent to sell.