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Petty offenses are the least serious of criminal charges, but still carry the potential for jail time and a mark on your criminal record.

Class 1 Petty offenses carry a potential sentence of 6 months in jail and fines up to $500.

Class 2 Petty offenses are sentenced according to the charge. This means that if you are charged with a Class 2 petty offense, the law concerning that particular offense will dictate your sentence. Maximum punishments are typically less than that of class 1 petty offenses.

Misdemeanors in Colorado may be designated as Class 1, 2, or 3. Some crimes are unclassified and the sentences for these crimes are set forth in the statute that defines the crime. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-1.3-505.)

A class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor in Colorado. Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by six to 18 months in jail, a fine of $500 to $5,000, or both. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-501.) 

A class 2 misdemeanor carries a possible jail term of three to 12 months, a fine of $250 to $1,000, or both. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-501.) 

Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious misdemeanors under Colorado’s laws, punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of $50 to $750, or both. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-501.) 


Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a time period during which the state must begin criminal prosecution. Charging a case after the statute has "run" enables the defendant can move to have the case dismissed. In Colorado, the state must begin prosecution of any misdemeanor within 18 months of the date on which the crime is committed.

Colorado divides crimes into felonies, misdemeanors & petty offenses. Felonies are more serious crimes, punishable by state prison terms of one year or more. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes, punishable by county or local jail terms of up to 18 months.

Felonies in Colorado may be designated as Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. Some felonies in Colorado are unclassified. For unclassified felonies, the sentence is set out in the criminal statute. If no penalty is fixed, then a felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Sentencing laws in Colorado have changed over time and the sentences set out below apply to crimes committed after July 1, 1993. (Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-1.3-401, 18-1.3-402, 18-1.3-403.)

Class 1 felonies are the most serious crimes in Colorado, punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) First degree murder is an example of a class 1 felony.


Class 2 felonies in Colorado are punishable by eight to 24 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) A second conviction for selling Schedule I or II drugs is a class 2 felony.

Class 3 felonies in Colorado are punishable by  four to 12 years in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $750,000. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) 

Class 4 felonies are punishable by two to six years’ imprisonment and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) 

Class 5 felonies are punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) 

Class 6 felonies are the least serious felonies in Colorado, punishable by one year to 18 months in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.) Possession of up to two grams of methamphetamine is a class 6 felony.

Statute of Limitations

For many crimes, there is a time period, called the statute of limitations, during which the state must begin criminal prosecution or the defendant can have the case dismissed. For many felonies in Colorado, the state has three or five years from the date the crime is committed to begin criminal prosecution. Very serious felonies, such as murder, kidnapping, treason, and sex offenses against children, have no statutes of limitations and the state can begin criminal prosecution at any time.