This morning a Colorado man led police on a high speed chase through Adams, Boulder, Denver, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties that lasted a total of two hours. The man allegedly stole three vehicles through the pursuit, including one with a 4-year old child inside. The mother of the 4-year old left her van running while going into a convenient store only to find the car stolen when she came out. During the chase, the man hit multiple cars, ran into a barrier, and hit a police officer who was setting up a speed strip. While every news outlet is reporting on this event, few are reporting on the legal ramifications. Read the full news article here.
Counties only have power to regulate criminal activity that happens within their county. If the county has the power to regulate a person’s activity, they are said to have jurisdiction over the person. A county has jurisdiction over a person if either the criminal activity or the harm that the activity caused happened within the boundaries of the county.
In this case, the man drove through a total of five different jurisdictions and allegedly committed crimes in all five jurisdictions. All five counties will bring charges against the man, but it would be ridiculous for him to appear in five different counties, especially if the offenses overlapped creating double jeopardy issues. District Attorneys in all five counties will likely argue over which county should bring the case, and the defendant will face all possible charges in one court after he waives jurisdictional issues.
After the police submit their reports about the incident, the DA will decide which charges they think they will be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The possible charges relating to this incident include:
Second degree assault of a peace officer under C.R.S. § 18-3-203(1)(f)
-Second degree assault of a peace officer occurs when a person applies force to a police officer which attempting to evade arrest.
-While many prison sentences may be stayed in place of probation or fines, Colorado law requires that a person convicted of this offense serve 5-32 years in prison.
Three counts of first degree aggravated motor vehicle theft under C.R.S. § 18-4-409
-Aggravated motor vehicle theft occurs when a person knowingly takes a motor vehicle and drives the car away. If the person causes damage or harm to someone after stealing the car, it is elevated to first degree motor vehicle theft.
-First degree aggravated motor vehicle theft is a class 4 felony which carries a required sentence of 1-16 years in prison and/or a fine of $2000-$500,000.
Second degree kidnapping under C.R.S. § 18-3-302
-Second degree kidnapping occurs when a person knowingly seizes and carries a person from one place to another.
-Second degree kidnapping is a class 4 felony which carries a required sentence of 1-16 years in prison and/or a fine of $2000-$500,000.
Numerous counts of vehicular assault under C.R.S. § 18-3-205
-Vehicular assault occurs when a person drives a car recklessly that result in serious bodily injury. Serious bodily injury is a very low threshold and is defined as any permanent injury including bruises, scars, and lacerations.
-Vehicular assault is a class 5 felony which carries a sentence of 1-4 years in prison and/or a fine of $1000-$100,000.
Resisting arrest under C.R.S. § 18-8-103
-Resisting arrest occurs when a person prevents an officer from making a lawful arrest and uses physical force to do so.
-Resisting arrest is a class 2 misdemeanor which carries a required sentence of 3-12 months in county jail and/or a fine of $250-$1000.
Concurrent or Consecutive Sentences
When a person is convicted of multiple offenses, a large issue is whether the defendant will serve the sentences consecutively or concurrently. If the man in this case is convicted of all offenses, it could mean the difference between a 5-32 year prison sentence and a 10-64 year sentence. The decision on how to run the sentences is up to the judge during the defendant’s sentencing hearing. There is no “hardline” rule for what a judge will look at, but the court will take into account the defendant’s past criminal history, the harm caused by the crime, and the likelihood it will happen again.
If you have been charged with a crime, you should consult an attorney immediately. The attorneys at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates are knowledgeable and experienced and will fight to prove your innocence. Call us today for a free consultation at (720)863-7755.