Colorado still has some unusual crimes on the books that carry extreme penalties for the conduct they are addressing. For example, Colorado Revised Statute 18-9-115 makes it a Class 3 Felony to "Endanger Public Transportation". What exactly is endangering public transportation? Amongst other things, it means threatening any operator, crew member, attendant, or passenger with death or imminent serious bodily injury or threatening them with a deadly weapon or with words or actions intended to make someone believe you have a deadly weapon. You can also meet the elements of this crime by knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person on a public conveyance. What exactly is a public conveyance? It's a train, airplane, bus, truck, car, boat, tramway, gondola, lift, elevator, escalator, or other device intended, designed, adapted, and sued for public carriage of persons or property. So if a criminal defendant were to threaten another person by saying he or she had a gun, normally that would be the offense of Menacing, a Class 5 Felony, punishable by up to 1-3 years in the Department of Corrections. But threaten someone on a bus, and then the punishment, if the District Attorney charges this crime of Endangering Public Transportation, is for an F-3 Felony punishable by up to 4-12 years in the Department of Corrections. Normally, if a criminal defendant assaults someone as listed above by "knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury" that's a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 2 years in the County Jail. Again, do it on a bus or a plane, and the D.A. could charge a Class 3 Felony. With District Attorneys upping the stakes on criminal filings to get leverage on cases, it's important to know that it sometimes matters more WHERE a criminal defendant commits an alleged crime, than IF he or she committed the crime.
As you start progressing through a criminal case, you may find yourself wondering why you are serving a sentence before you've even gone to court. It's becoming common practice in a number of jurisdictions to place stringent pretrial supervision conditions on criminal defendants. These conditions can include GPS monitoring (ankle bracelets just like in home detention) that tracks your movements and guarantees you don't go near where the alleged victim in your case lives. The court can also place other conditions such as breath tests and urinalysis, daily or weekly check-ins and, in some cases, even counseling. If you are accused of a sex offense, be prepared for a strict no contact order that forbids any contact with children under the age of 18. The court will also likely impose a no contact order that will forbid you contact with the alleged victim of the offense, especially in domestic violence cases.
What are the hidden costs of taking a felony conviction? When criminal defendants are deciding how to best handle their case, oftentimes there are a number of collateral consequences nobody tells them about. A court and a district attorney aren't under any obligation to tell you about some of these consequences. While it's impossible to foresee every consequence from a case, there are some every criminal defendant should be aware of.