Sex crimes are illegal actions involving sexual misconduct, sexual assault, unlawful sexual behavior, or illegal pornography. The penalties for sex crimes can be extremely severe and can include substantial jail time, fines, and lifetime supervision.
In addition, a sex crime commission can require registering as a public sex offender. In 1994 Congress passed Megan’s Law, which requires all states to have a public sex offender registry but left it to individual states to decide which offenses require registration. All felony sex offenders can be found on the Colorado Convicted Sex Offender Search website.
How Does Sex Offender Registration Work in Colorado?
In Colorado, both adults and juveniles can be required to register as a sex offender as a part of their sex crime conviction. In addition, individuals that move to Colorado will also be required to register if convicted of a crime that required sex offender registration in another state (or if the crime committed would require registry under Colorado law).
A sex offender that occupies a dwelling (house, apartment, hotel, motel) in Colorado for more than 14 days in any 30-day period, will be considered a temporary resident and must register with the Colorado sex offender registry.
Sex offenders required to register must provide the local law enforcement office with their personal information, including fingerprints, photos, address, place of employment or school attended, registered vehicles, etc. All sex offenders must re-register annually on their birthday, however those classified as a sexually violent predator must re-register every 90 days.
In addition, those convicted of a sex crime involving a child must register all email addresses and online aliases before being allowed to use those email addresses or online aliases.
Sex offenders must notify police within 5 days whenever they move to a different Colorado county. The Colorado public can access all available data on registered sex offenders at their local police station. In addition, Colorado has an online registry that lists felony sex crime offenders and offenders that fail to properly register.
How Can I Be Exempted from the Public Sex Offender Registry?
A court can exempt a sex offender from registration if:
- The person meets certain guidelines (e.g. the person was under the age of 18 at the time the criminal act was committed); and
- The court determines that the requirement to register is unfairly punitive and that exempting the sex offender from the registration requirement would not pose a significant risk to the community.
Can I Have My Criminal Record Sealed?
In Colorado, if you have been convicted of a sex crime (either in Colorado or another state), you may be able to file a petition to be removed from the sex offender registry if you meet certain criteria. Generally, you may request the court to remove you from the sex offender registry after a period of time related to the severity of the offense:
- A felony 1, 2, or 3 requires a 20-year waiting period;
- A felony 4, 5, 6, misdemeanor 1 for unlawful sexual contact or misdemeanor 1 for 3rd degree sexual assault requires a 10-year waiting period; or
- All other misdemeanor sex crimes require a 5-year waiting period.
Note: Not every sex offender is eligible for removal from the sex offender registry. The waiting periods listed above are only prerequisites for filing a petition with the court if eligible. To discover if you qualify, read the sentencing notes from your conviction or contact a criminal defense lawyer.
Additionally, depending on whether or not you meet the necessary criteria, you may be able to seal your criminal records, otherwise known as expungement. Eligibility for expungement varies from state to state, but if you only committed a minor sex crime that did not involve violence, such as indecent exposure, you might be able to get that record expunged.
Do I Need an Attorney?
If you have been charged with a crime it is important that you seek legal assistance immediately. A local criminal defense lawyer can review your case, raise possible defenses, gather physical evidence, depose witnesses, and represent you in court.