Free Consultation (970) 485-2261

How is Jail Time Calculated in Colorado?

Posted on September 8, 2023

Calculating jail time for a criminal offense in Colorado involves several key steps and considerations.

Identify the Offense Category

One of the foremost considerations in calculating jail time is the nature and severity of the offense. For example, felonies generally lead to longer sentences compared to misdemeanors. Additionally, violent crimes tend to result in harsher penalties. Therefore, first, determine whether the offense is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Colorado Misdemeanor and Felony Sentencing Ranges

Colorado has statutory sentencing ranges for different offenses, which provide a framework for judges to determine appropriate penalties. These ranges are set by the state legislature and can vary based on the specific crime and its severity. In addition, some offenses in Colorado have mandatory minimum sentences, meaning that the judge is required to impose a certain minimum term of incarceration.

Misdemeanor Sentencing Chart

Class Possible Jail Time Possible Fines

(e.g., theft ($750 to $1,999), indecent exposure, second-degree forgery)

6 to 18 months $500 to $5,000

(e.g., theft ($300 to $749), second-degree arson, resisting arrest, violating a protection order)

3 to 12 months $250 to $1,000

(e.g., theft ($50 to 300), disorderly conduct, prostitution, fourth-degree arson)

Up to 6 months $50 to $750


Felony Sentencing Chart

Class Presumptive Minimum Presumptive Maximum Possible Fines
Class 1

(e.g., first-degree murder, child abuse causing death of a child under 12, first-degree kidnapping)

Life Imprisonment Death Sentence No fine
Class 2

(e.g., human trafficking, racketeering, second-degree murder)

8 Years in Prison 24 Years in Prison $5,000 to $1,000,000
Class 3

(e.g., first-degree burglary, first-degree assault)

4 Years in Prison 12 Years in Prison $3,000 to $750,000
Class 4

(e.g., manslaughter, identity theft, sexual assault, theft worth $20,000 to $100,000)

2 Years in Prison 6 Years in Prison $2,000 to $500,000
Class 5

(e.g., forgery, refusal to pay child or spousal support)

1 Year in Prison 3 Years in Prison $1,000 to $100,000
Class 6

(e.g., pretending to be a peace officer, animal cruelty, possessing over 12 ounces of marijuana)

1 Year in Prison

18 Months in Prison

$1,000 to $100,000

Consider Prior Criminal History

A person’s criminal record plays a significant role in the sentencing process. Repeat offenders often face more substantial jail terms. Colorado law takes into account previous convictions, including both misdemeanors and felonies, when determining the appropriate sentence.

Evaluate Aggravating and Mitigating Circumstances

Take into account any factors that may aggravate or mitigate the offense. Aggravating factors, such as the use of a weapon or the presence of violence, can lead to an increased sentence. Conversely, mitigating factors, like cooperation with law enforcement or a lack of prior criminal record, may result in a reduced sentence.

Consider Plea Bargains and Negotiated Settlements

If applicable, factor in any plea bargains or negotiated settlements between the prosecution and defense. These agreements can lead to a reduction in the proposed sentence.

Factor in Time Served and Good Behavior

For individuals already in custody, the time served may be credited toward the total sentence. Additionally, good behavior while incarcerated can sometimes lead to early release or parole eligibility.

Seek Legal Advice and Representation

It is crucial for individuals facing criminal charges in Colorado to consult a qualified Breckenridge criminal defense attorney. An experienced lawyer can assess the specific details of the case, navigate the legal process, and advocate for the best possible outcome.