In 1998 the Colorado legislature passed legislation called the Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act. In this act anyone convicted of certain sex crimes falls under indeterminate sentencing. An indeterminate sentence means there is no release date given at the time of sentencing. The judge will hand down a sentence range that will include a minimum amount of time to be served which is based on the crime. The maximum time the offender can serve is a life sentence. For example the judge will sentence someone to “four years to life”.
The parole board decides when the offender gets to be released from prison, if they ever are released. At the minimum sentence date the parole board will meet to determine if the individual is eligible for parole. If not, they set a new minimum date where parole will again be considered. The parole board has seven individuals who are appointed by the Governor and are confirmed by the senate. Two board members must come from a law enforcement background, one must have experience supervising inmates, and the other four positions have backgrounds in relevant fields. Their decisions reflect on the Governor. If it comes down to taking a risk by paroling an inmate or erring on the side of caution and keeping them incarcerated, the board will keep them locked up.
A recent Denver Post Article stated that of the 1,659 individuals serving an indeterminate sentence, just 66 have been paroled. To get parole, the individual must complete a certain amount of treatment. Getting treatment in the prison system can be difficult, where treatment teams do not have the resources to accommodate all inmates.
Someone who falls under indeterminate sentencing may be eligible for sex offender probation. Anyone convicted of a class two or three felony who receives a probationary sentence will be on probation for a minimum of twenty years and a maximum of the offender’s life. A class four felony carries a mandatory minimum ten year probationary term to a maximum of the offender’s life. Probation will include intensive sex offender supervision until the treatment team asks the court to place the individual on regular sex offender probation and the court agrees.
Sex offenses that carry indeterminate sentencing are as follows:
- Sexual Assault
- Felony unlawful sexual conduct
- Sexual assault on a child
- Sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust
- Aggravated sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist
- Enticement of a child
- Patronizing a prostituted child
- Class 4 felony internet luring of a child
- Internet sexual exploitation of a child
Sex crimes are treated as the worst offenses in Colorado. The system does not want any re-offenses to occur and is willing to keep people locked up to avoid this possibility.
How Do I Avoid Indeterminate Sentencing
We handle many sex assault cases and the goal for each case varies drastically. When someone says the accusations are false we push for the DA to dismiss the case and set it on the trial track. When an individual admitted to police what occurred or comes in and says they want to take responsibility for their actions our goal is to help them avoid a life sentence in prison. The goal in these situations is to work out a plea deal to an offense that does not require a mandatory indeterminate sentence. We have helped many individuals over the years avoid indeterminate prison terms.
Every case has different circumstances. If you have been charged with a crime contact our Denver Sex Assault Attorneys at Steven Louth Law Offices. We will work with you resolve your case in the most favorable way. Steven Louth was a former deputy district attorney and knows what is a fair outcome and what other people receive for similar crimes. Contact our criminal defense law firm today. We have offices in Downtown Denver and Boulder.