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Denver Colorado Sex Offender Registration – Failure To Register Criminal Consequences CRS 18-3-12.5 – A person convicted for a crime involving Unlawful Sexual Behavior in Colorado must be aware of the requirement to register as a sex offender under 16 -11-108 and the possible punishment for not following the law.
If a person has been convicted on or after 7/1/91 in Colorado for an offense involving Unlawful Sexual Behavior, or for which the factual basis involved this kind of an offense, (listed below), or the offender was just released from the Colorado Department of Corrections having served sentence for such an offense – they must register as a sex offender under 16-11-108.
To be guilty of the criminal offense of failing to register as a sex offender, the defendant must be “[a] person who is required to register pursuant to article 22 of title 16, C.R.S [the sex offender registration statute].” § 18–3–412.5(1), C.R.S.2011.
While the stated purpose of the law is not to punish the offender – the registration requirement has exactly that result. Here is the stated reasons for the law: “The purpose of sex offender registration is not to inflict additional punishment on a person convicted of a sexual offense, but rather to aid law enforcement officials in investigating future sex crimes and to protect the public safety.”
Here are the crimes that require sex offender registration in Colorado.
1. Each person convicted of one or more of the above offenses must register within five (5) business days after becoming a temporary or permanent resident of any city, town, county, or city and county within the State of Colorado or the next business day for any DOC release.
2. They must register during business hours with the local law enforcement agency in the place of such person’s temporary or permanent residence by completing a registration form provided to such person by the local law enforcement agency.
3. The person is required, at the time of registration, to sit for a current photograph or image of himself or herself. A set of fingerprints to verify identity is also required.
4. The Colorado sex offender is required to register or re-register each time he or she changes temporary or permanent residence, regardless of whether such person has moved to a new address within the jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency with which they previously registered, or upon moving into a new jurisdiction within the state or another state.
5. A person is also required to re-register, within five (5) days, if they legally change their name, employment, or are enrolled as a student, volunteer or employee of a post secondary educational institution.
The Colorado crime of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender is not a strict liability offense – the State HAS to prove that the defendant knew he was committing the crime (knowingly). On the other hand – ignorance of the law is not a legal defense – just as it is not a defense to all other criminal laws. It is also not the kind of law that involves moral turpitude for purposes of deportation under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii).
The crime of Failure to Register is complex. What follows is the actual law itself with references and interpretations as well as cross references to other Colorado laws that bear on the prosecution of these cases.
(1) A person who is required to register pursuant to article 22 of title 16, C.R.S., and who fails to comply with any of the requirements placed on registrants by said article, including but not limited to committing any of the acts specified in this subsection (1), commits the offense of failure to register as a sex offender:
[HMS – What follows are the different ways that failure to register can be charged in Colorado:]
(a) Failure to register pursuant to article 22 of title 16, C.R.S.;
(b) Submission of a registration form containing false information or submission of an incomplete registration form;
(c) Failure to provide information or knowingly providing false information to a probation department employee, to a community corrections administrator or his or her designee, or to a judge or magistrate when receiving notice pursuant to section 16-22-106(1), (2), or (3) , C.R.S., of the duty to register;
(d) If the person has been sentenced to a county jail, otherwise incarcerated, or committed, due to conviction of or disposition or adjudication for an offense specified in section 16-22-103 , C.R.S., failure to provide notice of the address where the person intends to reside upon release as required in sections 16-22-106 and 16-22-107 , C.R.S.;
(e) Knowingly providing false information to a sheriff or his or her designee, department of corrections personnel, or department of human services personnel concerning the address where the person intends to reside upon release from the county jail, the department of corrections, or the department of human services. Providing false information shall include, but is not limited to, providing false information as described in section 16-22-107(4) (b), C.R.S.
(f) Failure when registering to provide the person’s current name and any former names;
(g) Failure to register with the local law enforcement agency in each jurisdiction in which the person resides upon changing an address, establishing an additional residence, or legally changing names;
(h) Failure to provide the person’s correct date of birth, to sit for or otherwise provide a current photograph or image, to provide a current set of fingerprints, or to provide the person’s correct address;
(i) Failure to complete a cancellation of registration form and file the form with the local law enforcement agency of the jurisdiction in which the person will no longer reside;
(j) When the person’s place of residence is a trailer or motor home, failure to register an address at which the trailer or motor home is lawfully located pursuant to section 16-22-109(1) (a.3), C.R.S.;
(k) Failure to register an e-mail address, instant-messaging identity, or chat room identity prior to using the address or identity if the person is required to register that information pursuant to section 16-22-108 (2.5), C.R.S.
[HMS -“Uncontrollable circumstances” is not defined – it is open ended and is a built into the statute as an affirmative defense to Failure To Register as a Sex Offender – this is a recent law and I have written on it – Follow this LINK.
(1.5) (a) In a prosecution for a violation of this section, it is an affirmative defense that:
(I) Uncontrollable circumstances prevented the person from complying;
(II) The person did not contribute to the creation of the circumstances in reckless disregard of the requirement to comply; and
(III) The person complied as soon as the circumstances ceased to exist.
(b) In order to assert the affirmative defense pursuant to this subsection (1.5), the defendant shall provide notice to the prosecuting attorney as soon as practicable, but not later than thirty-five days prior to trial, of his or her notice of intent to rely upon the affirmative defense. The notice shall include a description of the uncontrollable circumstance or circumstances and the dates the uncontrollable circumstances began and ceased to exist in addition to the names and addresses of any witnesses the defendant plans to call to support the affirmative defense. The prosecuting attorney shall advise the defendant of the names and addresses of any additional witnesses who may be called to refute such affirmative defense as soon as practicable after their names become known.
Upon the request of the prosecution, the court shall first rule as a matter of law whether the claimed facts and circumstances would, if established, constitute sufficient evidence to support submission to the jury.
[HMS – This next section of the law lays out what class felony is to be charged. This is dependant on the nature of the violations above.]
(2) (a) Failure to register as a sex offender is a class 6 felony if the person was convicted of felony unlawful sexual behavior, or of another offense, the underlying factual basis of which includes felony unlawful sexual behavior, or if the person received a disposition or was adjudicated for an offense that would constitute felony unlawful sexual behavior if committed by an adult, or for another offense, the underlying factual basis of which involves felony unlawful sexual behavior; except that any second or subsequent offense of failure to register as a sex offender by such person is a class 5 felony.
(b) Any person convicted of felony failure to register as a sex offender shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of section § 18-1.3-401. Felonies classified – presumptive penalties (HMS – This is the standard sentencing statute for ALL felony offenses in Colorado.]
[HMS – this section is important – it gives the judge the authority – as a condition of a probation sentence to sentence a defendant convicted of Failure to Register to Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Probation (SOISP) which includes the complete treatment regimen normally associated with the underlying charges. This is true even if the defendant has completed the entire program under the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board Standards]
If such person is sentenced to probation, the court may require, as a condition of probation, that the person participate until further order of the court in an intensive supervision probation program established pursuant to section § 18-1.3-1007. Probation – intensive supervision program.
[HMS – the same discretion to sentence in this fashion is given to the Colorado State Board Of Parole.]
If such person is sentenced to incarceration and subsequently released on parole, the parole board may require, as a condition of parole, that the person participate in an intensive supervision parole program established pursuant to section 18-1.3-1005 .
[HMS – If the underlying offense requiring registration is a felony – then Failure to Register is also a felony.]
(c) A person who is convicted of a felony sex offense in another state or jurisdiction, including but not limited to a military or federal jurisdiction, and who commits failure to register as a sex offender in this state commits felony failure to register as a sex offender as specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) and shall be sentenced as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (2).
[HMS – If the underlying offense requiring registration is a misdemeanor – then Failure to Register is also a misdemeanor.]
(3) (a) Failure to register as a sex offender is a class 1 misdemeanor if the person was convicted of misdemeanor unlawful sexual behavior, or of another offense, the underlying factual basis of which involves misdemeanor unlawful sexual behavior, or if the person received a disposition or was adjudicated for an offense that would constitute misdemeanor unlawful sexual behavior if committed by an adult, or for another offense, the underlying factual basis of which involves misdemeanor unlawful sexual behavior. A class 1 misdemeanor conviction pursuant to this subsection (3) is an extraordinary risk crime that is subject to the modified sentencing range specified in section 18-1.3-501(3)
(b) A person who is convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense in another state or jurisdiction, including but not limited to a military or federal jurisdiction, and who commits failure to register as a sex offender in this state commits misdemeanor failure to register as a sex offender as specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection (3).
[HMS – While rare – the following section applies to juveniles who are compelled to register.]
(4) (a) Any juvenile who receives a disposition or is adjudicated for a delinquent act of failure to register as a sex offender that would constitute a felony if committed by an adult shall be sentenced to a forty-five-day mandatory minimum detention sentence; except that any juvenile who receives a disposition or is adjudicated for a second or subsequent delinquent act of failure to register as a sex offender that would constitute a felony if committed by an adult shall be placed or committed out of the home for not less than one year.
(b) Any juvenile who receives a disposition or is adjudicated for a delinquent act of failure to register as a sex offender that would constitute a misdemeanor if committed by an adult shall be sentenced to a thirty-day mandatory minimum detention sentence; except that any juvenile who receives a disposition or is adjudicated for a second or subsequent delinquent act of failure to register as a sex offender that would constitute a misdemeanor if committed by an adult shall be sentenced to a forty-five-day mandatory minimum detention sentence.
(5) For purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “unlawful sexual behavior” has the same meaning as set forth in section 16-22-102(9) , C.R.S.
[HMS – Sexually Violent Offenders are subject to mandatory and immediate arrest for this offense.]
(6) (a) When a peace officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that a crime of failure to register as a sex offender has been committed by a person required to register as a sexually violent predator in this state pursuant to article 22 of title 16, C.R.S., or in any other state, the officer shall arrest the person suspected of the crime. It shall be a condition of any bond posted by such person that the person shall register pursuant to the provisions of section 16-22-108 ,C.R.S., within seven days after release from incarceration.
(b) When a peace officer makes a warrantless arrest pursuant to this subsection (6), the peace officer shall immediately notify the Colorado bureau of investigation of the arrest. Upon receiving the notification, the Colorado bureau of investigation shall notify the jurisdiction where the sexually violent predator last registered. The jurisdiction where the sexually violent predator last registered, if it is not the jurisdiction where the probable cause arrest is made, shall coordinate with the arresting jurisdiction immediately to determine the appropriate jurisdiction that will file the charge. If the sexually violent predator is being held in custody after the arrest, the appropriate jurisdiction shall have no less than seven days after the date of the arrest to charge the sexually violent predator.
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