What is a Misdemeanor?
You have probably heard about felonies and misdemeanors but what do those terms actually refer to? There are eight classes of misdemeanors in Colorado:
1. Class 1 Misdemeanor: 6-18 months in jail and/or a $500-$5,000 fine;
2. Class 1 Misdemeanor (Extraordinary Risk Crime): 6-24 months in jail and/or a $500-$5,000 fine;
3. Class 2 Misdemeanor: 3-12 months in jail and/or a $250-$1,000 fine;
4. Class 3 Misdemeanor: 0-6 months in jail and/or a $50-750 fine;
5. Class 1 Traffic Infraction: 10 days-1 year in jail and/or a $100-$1,000 fine;
6. Class 2 Traffic Infraction: 10-90 days in jail and/or a $10-$300 fine;
7. Class A Traffic Infraction: $15-$100 fine; and
8. Class B Traffic Infraction: $15-$100 fine.
The most common misdemeanors in Colorado include harassment, assault, restraining order violation, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and use of certain controlled substances.
Harassment is a class 3 misdemeanor if the person intends to harass or annoy another person by shoving them, directing obscene language at them in a public place, following them in a public place, or using phone calls or text messages to threaten the person. Harassment may also be considered a class 1 misdemeanor if the person harasses another about their race, national origin, or religion.
Assault in the third degree is considered a class 1 misdemeanor (extraordinary risk crime). A person may be convicted of this crime if they knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another or if the person causes bodily injury through the use of a deadly weapon and is found to be criminally negligent.
A restraining order violation is typically considered a class 2 misdemeanor. A person may be convicted of violating a restraining order if they receive a protective order that identifies the person being protected yet continue to harass the victim. A person may also be convicted of violating the order if they hire someone to determine the victim’s location or if they purchase or possess a firearm while the order is in effect.
Criminal mischief occurs when a person knowingly damages the property of another. It is a class 3 misdemeanor when the damage is less than $300. If the damage is between $300 and $750, then it is a class 2 misdemeanor. When the damage is between $750 and $1,000, the criminal mischief is treated as a class 2 misdemeanor. Damage to property that totals over $1,000 is considered a felony.
Disorderly conduct can be a class 2 misdemeanor if the person fires a firearm in a public place while engaged in legal hunting or if the person displays a firearm in public and threatens to use it; however, disorderly conduct is a class 3 misdemeanor if the person fights another in a public place. This does not include set up amateur or professional fights.
Use of a controlled substance that the DEA has places on its schedule III, IV, or V lists is considered a class 1 misdemeanor unless the use is under the prescription of a physician legally allowed to prescribe the drug. This includes anabolic steroids, 50 mg of morphine/100 mL, or 200 mg of codeine/100 mL. Here is a complete list of drugs on each of the DEA's schedules.