Aurora, CO Sexual Assault Lawyer

Every 68 seconds, an American becomes a victim of a sexual assault. Unfortunately, younger people aged 12 to 34 are at higher risk of being subject to sexual assault. Many of these victims may not know the difference between a sexual assault and an aggravated sexual assault. Being able to distinguish between the two plays a critical role in holding your abuser accountable and recovering the justice you’re entitled to.

Sexual assault of all degrees can cause unimaginable pain and trauma. Aggravated sexual assaults are especially unfathomable because of the level of violence associated with them. Whether you have unfortunately been the victim of a sexual assault or an aggravated sexual assault, please know you are not alone, and we are so sorry that it has happened. Please remember that you have legal rights and options. Understanding these options can help you pave a clear path to healing.

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At Bachus & Schanker, our attorneys are committed to representing victims of heinous crimes, including aggravated sexual assaults. We have made it our mission to empower victims who bravely decide to speak up about their abuse. 
Reporting your sexual assault is a difficult decision, but it is not one you have to make alone. Our law firm offers a dedicated Victim’s Advocate Team to help support sexual assault victims like you. Our Victim’s Advocates work in tandem with our Elite Litigation Group to help connect you with additional legal support and the resources you need for a successful case against your abuser and other responsible parties.

What is aggravated sexual assault?

Sexual assault of any kind is horrific. Aggravated sexual assault can be especially traumatic because of the severity of the abuse. 

According to the Colorado Revised Statute, aggravated sexual assault is a sexual assault that involves certain circumstances that make the assault especially harmful. Aggravated assault can result when harmful tactics, including violence, are used to commit the offense; if the assault was directed toward an individual because of their race, religion, or social class; or if there was a specific level of intent behind the offense.

Cases of aggravated assault typically involve a level of violence. Examples of aggravated assault offenses can include: 

  • The use of a deadly weapon during the assault
  • An assault where a victim becomes permanently disfigured
  • An assault targeted at a judge or officer of the court
  • A violent sexual assault 
  • Vehicular assault causing serious bodily injury

As with other violent offenses, a charge of aggravated assault carries with it longer prison times and steeper fines, resulting in a criminal record that could severely impact an abuser’s life. A charge of aggravated assault could impact an individual’s chances of finding gainful employment, applying for loans, renting out housing, and other critical life choices. 

The different degrees of sexual assault

Colorado Code § 18-3-402 defines the four degrees of the crime of sexual assault. They include a class 1 misdemeanor, a class 2 felony, a class 3 felony, and a class 4 felony. 

Each degree of sexual assault carries a defined charge description and a recommended punishment. 

Additionally, under Colorado law, sexual assault can be enforced as a statutory charge. This means that the sexual assault charge can be applied to a case where a victim is younger than the age of consent under Colorado law, even if the victim willingly engaged in the sexual relations. 

The different degrees of sexual assault are as follows: 

What is a 1st-degree sexual assault?

A 1st-degree sexual assault falls under a class 1 misdemeanor (statutory). This charge can apply to any person (at least ten years older than the victim) who knowingly inflicts sexual intrusion or sexual penetration on a victim between the ages of 15 and 17. The punishment for this charge includes an 8-18 month sentence and fines ranging from $500 to $5,000. 

What is a 2nd-degree sexual assault?  

Also known as a class 2 felony, this charge comes into play if the sexual assault is aided or abetted by one or more persons, if a deadly weapon was used, and/or if the victim sustained serious bodily injury.

Punishments for this charge range from 8 to 20 years behind bars, a 5-year mandatory parole, and a fine ranging from $5,000 to 1 million dollars. This punishment also applies to a class 3 felony. 

What is a 3rd-degree sexual assault?

A 3rd-degree sexual assault is identified as a class 3 felony. This charge applies if a victim is physically helpless and has not consented; the perpetrator used violence, threatened violence, death, injury, pain, or kidnapping, and the victim believed that the threats could be carried out; the perpetrator threatened retaliation; and/or the perpetrator impaired victim’s mental capacity without consent. 

What is a 4th-degree sexual assault?

A 4th-degree sexual assault is identified as a class 4 felony (statutory). This charge is applied if any person (at least four years older than the victim) knowingly inflicts sexual intrusion or sexual penetration on a victim under the age of 15. The punishment can include anywhere from 2-6 years in prison. 

How to report sexual assault

Reporting a sexual assault is one of the most difficult things a victim will have to contend with after the abuse. Victims often don’t report their assault for fear of retaliation, shame, fear of not being believed, or fear of being blamed. If you have unfortunately suffered a sexual assault, it’s essential to remember you’re not alone, and it isn’t your fault.

According to the latest data, 50% of women and 30% of men have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives. While a majority of these victims know who their abuser is, they can only hold them accountable when they find the strength to report their abuse. 

Unfortunately, the prosecution rate for rapists and sexual abusers is extremely low, primarily because of the lack of reporting. If you’ve been a victim, the following steps can help you take the critical step in holding your abuser accountable and moving forward on the path of healing.

Contact your local authorities

You can report a sexual assault at any time by contacting your local authorities. You can do this by visiting the station directly or over the phone. Today, many police departments will have dedicated officers trained in handling sexual assault cases. Not only will these officers help you navigate your report, but they can help connect you to critical resources in your community.

Contact the Rape and Incest National Network

The Rape and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s leading organization committed to helping survivors of sexual assault. If you’re uncomfortable reporting your assault to local authorities, RAINN allows you to find support in a confidential and safe environment. 

When you contact the organization, you will be connected to a trained professional who can support you. They’ll discuss available options, help connect you to different resources in your community, explore your legal options with you, and more. 

What happens after law enforcement gets involved? 

Reporting your assault to law enforcement can be intimidating, but it’s a critical step in holding your abuser accountable. After you alert your local law enforcement, a report will be filed, and detectives will be assigned to your case to investigate the assault further. Today’s advances in technology, including rape kit testing, genealogy testing, and digital data, have made it easier for victims to hold their abusers accountable. 

Speak with an Aurora sexual assault lawyer

An Aurora sexual assault lawyer writing in a journal. Next to him is a gavel.

If you have been the victim of sexual assault, you may feel alone, isolated, and unsupported. Reaching out to resources in your community, including reporting the abuse, can help you navigate the path forward during this difficult time. We know it’s difficult to take that first step in reporting the abuse, but our legal team is here to help you with the support you need. 

You are not alone, and seeking help is critical for your well-being. You have legal rights and options, and the legal team at Bachus & Schanker is here to help you understand the different legal avenues available to you.


CRS 18-3-203.

CRS 18-3-402

Health, C. 2023. 2023 Sexual Assault Statistics.

Rape and Incest National Network. (2023).

Statistics. (2023).

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Kyle is a member of the Colorado and Florida Bar associations and has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for more than twenty years in total. Over the years, Kyle has achieved justice for many clients. He has served on numerous committees and repeatedly won recognition from his peers at both the state and national level. He is proud of the role he has played in the passage of state and national legislation to protect consumers and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer.