AARDVARC - An Abuse Rape and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection. Colorado directory of resources for victims of crimes including domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and child abuse. Information, referrals, publications and assistance for victims.
Debt due to divorce, helping single mothers, questions about divorce, questions about joint assets, scholarships for abused women, scholarships for single moms
Download: [Crime Victims Have Rights (PDF)
Download: [Victimas de Delito Tienen Derechos (PDF)
- Colorado Victim Rights
- Crimes Covered by the Victim Rights Act
- Critical Stages
- The Victim Rights Act
- Agency Responsibilities
- Insuring Your Rights
- Restitution for Victims
- Colorado Victim Compensation Program
- Administrators by Judicial District
- Statute of Limitations
Colorado Victim Rights
The State of Colorado's Victim Rights Act - Title 24 - Article 4.1, Part III
We are sorry to learn you have been a victim of a crime. As a victim, you may have experienced injury, loss, confusion, and a disruption of your life. Feelings of shock, disbelief, fear, vulnerability, anger and frustration may result. Having information and an understanding about the system may be helpful to you at this time.
Once a crime is reported, a person who is a victim of crime becomes part of the criminal justice system. It can be a confusing and sometimes frustrating experience. There are victim/witness advocates throughout Colorado to provide support and assistance to victims during the process. This booklet has been prepared to assist you in understanding your rights and to answer commonly asked questions. Because victims are such an important part of the criminal justice process, in November, 1992, the voters of Colorado passed a resolution to include Victim Rights as part of the State's constitution.
The law states:
Any person who is a victim of a criminal act or such person's designee, legal guardian, or surviving immediate family members if such person is deceased, shall have the right to be heard when relevant, informed and present at all critical stages of the criminal justice process. All terminology, including the term "critical stages" shall be defined by the general assembly.
(Article II, Section 16A Colorado State Constitution and C.R.S. § 24-4.1-301 et. seq.)
What Crimes are Covered?
The Constitution of the State of Colorado and the laws of the state C.R.S. § 24-4.1-302 (1) guarantee certain rights to the victims of the following criminal acts:
- Murder - 1st and 2nd Degree;
- Criminally negligent homicide and vehicular homicide;
- Assault - 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree, vehicular assault;
- Kidnapping - 1st and 2nd degree;
- Sexual Assault - 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree, unlawful sexual contact, on a child, on a child by one in a position of trust, on a client by a psychotherapist;
- Robbery - aggravated, aggravated of a controlled substance;
- Incest and aggravated incest;
- Child abuse;
- Sexual exploitation of children;
- Crimes against at-risk adults or at-risk juveniles;
- Crimes for which the underlying foundation has been determined to be domestic violence;
- Careless driving that results in the death of another person;
- Failure to stop at the scene of an accident that results in the death of another person;
- Ethnic intimidation;
- Retaliation against a victim or witness;
- Tampering with a victim or witness; and
- Any criminal attempt, conspiracy, criminal solicitation, or accessory involving any of the crimes specified above.
If the victim is deceased or incapacitated, these rights may be exercised by the victim's spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, significant other, or other lawful representative.
A victim's rights in the process are related to certain "critical stages" in the criminal justice process, these stages include:
- The filing of charges
- The preliminary hearing;
- Any bond reduction or modification hearing;
- Arraignment hearing;
- Motions hearing concerning pre-plea relief or post-plea relief or evidentiary matters;
- Disposition of the complaint or charges against the person accused;
- The trial;
- Sentencing hearing;
- Appellate review or appellate decision;
- Sentence modification;
- Probation revocation hearing;
- The filing of a complaint, summons, or warrant by probation for failure to report or because location of a person convicted of a crime in unknown;
- Request for change of venue or transfer of probation supervision;
- Request for release from probation supervision prior to the expiration of original sentence;
- Attack of a judgment or conviction;
- Parole application hearing;
- Parole, release, or discharge from imprisonment of a person convicted of a crime;
- Parole revocation hearing;
- Transfer to or placement of a person convicted of a crime in a non-secured facility; and
- Transfer, release, or escape of a person charged with or convicted of a crime from any state hospital.
In addition to the right to be informed and present, the victim also has a right to be heard at hearings on bond reduction, disposition of the case, such as acceptance of a negotiated plea, and a sentencing, including modification of sentence. The victim also has a right to provide input to the court regarding continuances.
Colorado Victim Rights Act
The original Victim Rights Act became effective in January, 1993 after the law was signed by Governor Romer. The Victim Rights Act was amended in 1995, 1997, and 2000. The Victim Rights Act provides victims an active role in the criminal justice process in an attempt to balance the scales of justice. The following is a summary of the rights guaranteed by the Victim Rights Act (For a complete listing of your rights, please refer to Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-4.1-301 through § 24-4.1-304.)
- To be treated with fairness, respect and dignity;
- To be informed of and present for all "critical stages" of the criminal justice process;
- To be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse, and the right to be informed about what steps can be taken if there is any intimidation or harassment by a person accused or convicted of the crime or anyone acting on the person's behalf;
- To be present and heard regarding bond reduction, continuances, acceptance of plea negotiations, case disposition, sentencing, or modification of sentence;
- To consult with the district attorney prior to any disposition of the case or before the case goes to trial and to be informed of the final disposition of the case;
- To be informed of the status of the case and any scheduling changes or cancellations, if known in advance;
- To prepare a Victim Impact Statement and to be present and/or heard at sentencing;
- To have restitution ordered and to be informed of the right to pursue a civil judgment against the person convicted of the crime;
- To a prompt return of the victim's property when no longer needed as evidence;
- To be informed of the availability of financial assistance and community services;
- To be given appropriate employer intercession services regarding court appearances and meetings with criminal justice officials;
- To be assured that in any criminal proceeding the court, the prosecutor, and other law enforcement officials will take appropriate action to achieve a swift and fair resolution of the proceedings;
- Whenever practicable, to have a safe, secure waiting area during court proceedings;
- Upon request, to be informed when a person accused or convicted of the crime is released from custody, is paroled, escapes or absconds from probation or parole;
- Upon written request, to be informed of and heard at any reconsideration of sentence, parole hearing, or commutation of sentence;
- Upon written request, to be informed when a person convicted of a crime against the victim is placed in or transferred to a less secure correctional facility or program or is permanently or conditionally transferred or released from any state hospital;
- To view all or a portion of the presentence report of the probation department at the discretion of the District Attorney;
- To be informed of the results of any court-ordered HIV testing;
- To be informed of any rights which the victim has pursuant to the Constitution of the United States or the State of Colorado; and
- To be informed of the process for enforcing compliance with the Victim Rights Act.
Additional rights and services are provided to child victims or witnesses. Law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges are encouraged to designate one or more individuals to try to assure the child and their family understand the legal proceedings and have support and assistance to deal with the emotional impact of the crime and the subsequent criminal proceedings.
Criminal Justice agencies have certain responsibilities for assuring that victims receive their rights.
Law Enforcement Responsibilities
Law Enforcement agencies have the responsibility to provide the victim written information about:
- Community services such as crisis intervention services, victim assistance resources, legal resources, mental health services, financial services and other support services;
- The availability of financial resources such as victim compensation and how to apply for those benefits;
- The availability of protective court orders in order to obtain protection from the person accused of committing the crime;
- The availability of public records related to the case;
- Status of the case, prior to the filing of charges; and
- Translation services, assistance in dealing with creditors due to financial setbacks caused by the crime, child care to enable a victim to cooperate with the prosecution.
In addition, law enforcement agencies are responsible to:
Provide the victim with the business address and telephone number of the district attorney's office, file number of the case and the name, business address and telephone number of any law enforcement officer assigned to investigate the case and;
Keep the victim informed as to whether a suspect has been taken into custody and, if known, whether the suspect has been released from custody and any conditions imposed upon the suspect.
District Attorney's Responsibilities
District Attorney's should:
The Court is responsible to:
- Inform the victim of the filing of charges and provide an explanation of the charges;
- Inform the victim of appropriate critical stages and the date, time and place of all critical stages in the court proceedings;
- Inform the victim of the deputy district attorney handling the case and the court to which the case is assigned;
- Inform the victim of any pending motion that may substantially delay the prosecution and inform the court of the victim's position on the motion;
- Inform the victim of the availability of any benefits and/or transportation to and from court; and
- Inform the victim of any scheduling changes or cancellations, if such changes or cancellations are known in advance
- Consult, where practicable, with the victim concerning the reduction of charges, negotiated pleas, dismissal or other dispositions;
- Minimize contact between the victim and defendant before, during, and immediately after a judicial proceeding;
- Facilitate prompt return of a victim's property when it is no longer needed for evidentiary reasons;
- Provide the victim with a victim impact statement that is given to the Court;
- Inform the victim of the function of a presentence report and the name and telephone number of the probation office preparing the report, as well as the defendant's right to view the presentence report and victim impact statement;
- Explain the victim's right to attend and express an opinion at the sentencing hearing;
- Inform the victim of any hearing for reconsideration or modification of a sentence and;
- Provide information from correctional officials concerning the imprisonment and release of a person convicted of a crime.
State on the record a victim objection about any motion that may substantially delay the prosecution, prior to granting any delay that the objection was considered;
Department of Corrections Responsibilities
Acknowledge that a victim may be present at all critical stages of a criminal proceeding unless the court determines that exclusion of the victim is necessary;
Inquire whether the victim is present and allow the victim to be heard at any court proceeding which involves a bond reduction or modification, the acceptance of a negotiated plea agreement, or the sentencing of any person accused or convicted of a crime against such victim;
Inform the victim of the results of any court-ordered HIV testing;
Make all reasonable efforts to accomodate the victim upon the return of a verdict by the jury;
Determine the amount, if any, of restitution to be paid to a victim by any person convicted of a crime; and
Provide victim information to any entity responsible for victim notification after the defendent is sentenced.
Upon Written Request of the Victim:
Correction officials shall keep certain information such as address, telephone number, place of employment, or other personal information about the victim confidential; and
Correction officials shall notify the victim of the institution in which the person is incarcerated, projected date of the person's release from confinement; any release of a person on furlough, work release, or community correctional facility in advance of such release; any scheduled parole hearing; any escape transfer or release; the transfer to a non-secured facility; and the death of a person while in custody.
Upon Written Request of the Victim:
Providing information regarding:
- The location and telephone number of the probation department responsible for the supervision of the person;
- The date of the person's termination from probation supervision;
- The release of the person in advance of the originally imposed sentence;
- The date of probation revocation or modification hearing;
- Any change of venue or jurisdiction;
- Any complaint, summons, or warrant filed by the probation department for failure to report to probation or because location of the person is unknown; and
- The death of a person while under the jurisdiction of the probation department.
Keeping appropriate criminal justice authorities informed of the name, address, and telephone number of the person who should be provided information, and any changes that occur regarding this information; and
Providing a written request if the victim wants to be notified of information regarding the post-sentence process. Forms can be obtained from the District Attorney's Office, Probation Department, Department of Corrections, the Department of Youth Corrections, or the local jail.
The Process to Insure Your Rights
What to do if you feel your rights have not been provided:
Colorado state law provides that affected persons may enforce compliance with the provisions of the Constitutional Amendment by notifying the Governor's Victims' Compensation and Assistance Coordinating Committee (Coordinating Committee).
You must first attempt to seek compliance at the local level. This may include but is not limited to:
- Contacting the person you feel has not provided you with your rights and explain specifically what has not been done;
- Seeking assistance from your victim advocates, or other supportive persons such as a counselor;
- Seeking assistance from the elected official or head of the agency you feel is not providing your rights.
Contacts may be verbal or in writing. Accurate records of your efforts to seek compliance at the local level will be helpful to you and to the Coordinating Committee should a formal request be filed. If all local efforts to obtain your rights have failed, you may request assistance from the Coordinating Committee by contacting:
Division of Criminal Justice
Office for Victims' Programs
700 Kipling Street, Suite 1000
Denver, Colorado 80215
(303) 239-5743 FAX
1-888-282-1080 Toll-Free Number (Outside the Denver Metro area only)
Your local community has resources to provide you with support and assistance. A good place to start is with your victim advocate located at either the police department or sheriff's office, the district attorney's office, or a community service provider. Other statewide resources include:
Asian Pacific Development Center - Services for Asian populations
Colorado Anti Violence Program - Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Population
Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence - CCADV
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault - CCASA
Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance - COVA
Colorado Division of Criminal Justice
Domestic Violence Initiative for Women with Disabilities
Justice Information Center - Immigration Services - interpreting, translation, community resource referrals
Kempe National Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
Native American Counseling Services
Parents of Murdered Children and other survivors of homicide
Colorado Restitution for Victims
For administrative proceedings to compensate victims of crime, see article 4.1 of title 24; for restitution to victims as a condition of probation, see § 18-1.3-205; for restitution as a condition of parole, see § 17-2-201 (5) (c); for restitution to victims of theft, see § 18-4-401; for restitution by delinquent children under the "Colorado Children's Code", see § 19-2-918; for charges for bad checks received as a restitution payment ordered as a condition of a plea agreement, see § 16-7-304; for charges for bad checks received as a restitution payment ordered as a condition of a deferred prosecution, see § 16-7-404.
18-1.3-205. Restitution as a condition of probation.
As a condition of every sentence to probation, the court shall order that the defendant make full restitution pursuant to the provisions of part 6 of this article and article 18.5 of title 16, C.R.S. Such order shall require the defendant to make restitution within a period of time specified by the court. Such restitution shall be ordered by the court as a condition of probation.
17-2-201. Restitution as a condition of parole: State board of parole. (c) (I)
As a condition of every parole, the board shall order that the offender make restitution to the victim or victims of his or her conduct. The amount of such restitution shall be determined by the court pursuant to article 18.5 of title 16, C.R.S. The board shall fix the manner and time of payment of restitution as a condition of parole. Such order shall require the offender to make restitution within the period of time that the offender is on parole as specified by the board. In the event that the defendant does not make full restitution by the date specified by the board, the restitution may be collected as provided for in article 18.5 of title 16, C.R.S.
If a court has ordered an offender to pay restitution and you are not receiving payments as ordered, contact the Division of Probation Services
Crime Victim Compensation Program
Victims of crime often need financial assistance as a result of what happened to them. Financial help for costs related to medical expenses, lost employment, mental health treatment, burial expenses, the loss of medically necessary devices such as eyeglasses or hearing aids, the loss of support to dependents, and damage to home security devices such as doors, windows, and locks can be applied for through the Crime Victim Compensation Fund. Money is paid into this fund through fines against persons convicted of crimes.
How to File a Claim
Colorado's Crime Victim Compensation Program was created by state statute (CRS 24-4.1) in 1981. Colorado has a dentralized system, which means that crime victim compensation programs exist in each of the state's 22 judicial districts. The judicial district where the crime occurred is responsible for accepting and reviewing victim compensation applications. If you are the victim of a violent crime in Colorado, or if you are a Colorado resident who has been victimized in a state or country that does not have a victim compensation program, you may be eligible to receive crime victim compensation.
Victims may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 for out-of-pocket expenses not covered by insurance or other collateral. Up to $1,000 in emergency funds directly related to the crime. Funds to pay crime victim compensation claims do not come from taxpayers. These funds are collected from fines from criminals convicted of felony, misdemeanor, and some traffic offenses. Due to the number of claims and financial constraints, not every program can pay up to the statutory maximum. Again, you must contact the district where the crime occurred to determine eligibility.
Compensation Eligibility Requirements (C.R.S. 24-4.1)
For the complete Crime Victim Compensation Statute, see State of Colorado Title 24, Article 4.1
The crime must be one in which the victim sustains mental or bodily injury, dies, or suffers property damage to locks, windows or doors to residential property as a result of a compensable crime.
The victim must cooperate with law enforcement officials (district attorney, police). The police must be notified within 72 hours after the crime occurred. The injury or death of the victim cannot result from the victim's own wrongdoing or substantial provocation. The application for compensation must be submitted within one year from the date of the crime; six months for property damage claims. The Compensation Board may waiver some of these requirements for good cause or in the interest of justice.
Losses directly related to the compensable crime are eligible for reimbursement and include:
- Medical expenses
- Mental health expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of support to dependants
- Funeral expenses
- Residential property damage, including security doors
Note: Please refer to Colorado Revised Statute (24-4.1) and the program administrator in the district where the
crime occurred for a comprehensive list of compensable losses.
Victims are required to apply for Victim Compensation in the district where the crime occurred by completing an application and
submitting itemized bills directly related to the crime in the district where the crime occurred. The processing time is different for
each district, however, it generally takes 30-45 days to be notified of the program's decision. Contact the victim compensation
administrator in the district where the crime occurred for an application and more information. If a victim's compensation claim is denied or the award reduced, the victim has a right to appeal the board's decision. The victim should be notified of the right to appeal in writing.
Victim Compensation Administrators by Judicial District
Download: [Victim Compensation Application (PDF)]
First Judicial District (Golden): (303) 271-6846
Second Judicial District (Denver): (720) 913-9253
Third Judicial District (Trinidad): (719) 846-9224
Fourth Judicial District (Colorado Springs): (719) 520-6051
Fifth Judicial District (Georgetown): (303) 569-2567
Sixth Judicial District (Durango): (970) 247-8850
Seventh Judicial District (Montrose): (970) 252-4275
Eighth Judicial District (Fort Collins): (970) 498-7200
Ninth Judicial District (Glenwood Springs): (970) 945-8635
Tenth Judicial District (Pueblo): (719) 583-6030
Eleventh Judicial District (Canon City): (719) 269-0170
Twelfth Judicial District (Alamosa): (719) 589-3691
Thirteenth Judicial District (Fort Morgan): (970) 867-2877
Fourteenth Judicial District (Craig): (970) 824-7041
Fifteenth Judicial District (Lamar): (719) 336-7446
Sixteenth Judicial District (La Junta): (719) 384-8786
Seventeenth Judicial District (Brighton): (303) 655-3808
Eighteenth Judicial District (Englewood): (720) 874-8607
Nineteenth Judicial District (Greeley): (970) 356-4000 X4747
Twentieth Judicial District (Longmont): (303) 682-6801
Twenty-First Judicial District (Grand Junction): (970) 244-1632
Twenty-Second Judicial District (Cortez): (970) 565-1147
Statute of Limitations
Statute of Limitations for Prosecuting Crimes
Limitations for commencing criminal proceedings and juvenile delinquency proceedings in Colorado are generally defined in C.R.S. 16-5-401.
Except in special circumstances, under C.R.S. 16-5-401 no adult or juvenile shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any offense or delinquent act unless the indictment, information, complaint, or petition in delinquency is filed in a court of competent jurisdiction or a summons and complaint or penalty assessment notice is served upon the defendant or juvenile within the period of time after the commission of the offense or delinquent act as specified below:
Murder, kidnapping, treason, and any forgery regardless of the penalty provided: No limit
Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit murder; attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit kidnapping; attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit treason; and attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any forgery regardless of the penalty provided: No limit
Other felonies: Three years
Misdemeanors: Eighteen months
Petty offenses: Six months
In general the period within which a prosecution must be commenced shall begin to run upon discovery of the criminal or delinquent act.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Civil Suit
Personal Injury Actions: An action for personal injury must be filed within two years of the date that the injury occurred.
Special Rules for Minors: The statute of limitations begins to run on the minor's 18th birthday.
Civil Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13-80-103.7 (2001): Claims can be filed within 6 years of reaching the age of majority or 6 years of the removal of a disability as defined by the statute. Subsequent court opinions have established that the Colorado SOL is a "realization" statute; namely, that the 6-year period does not begin to run until the victim comes to a realization that not only was he or she abused, but that he or she has become injured as a result of the abuse. A survivor is disabled under the statute if he or she is unable to acknowledge the abuse or the injury. Damages are limited by statute to medical and counseling costs for claims brought more than 15 years after the age of majority.