2021 Colorado Code
Title 18 - Criminal Code
Article 9 - Offenses Against Public Peace, Order, and Decency
Part 1 - Public Peace and Order
§ 18-9-121. Bias-Motivated Crimes

Universal Citation: CO Code § 18-9-121 (2021)
  1. The general assembly hereby finds and declares that it is the right of every person, regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation to be secure and protected from fear, intimidation, harassment, and physical harm caused by the activities of individuals and groups. The general assembly further finds that the advocacy of unlawful acts against persons or groups because of a person's or group's race, color, ancestry, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation for the purpose of inciting and provoking bodily injury or damage to property poses a threat to public order and safety and should be subject to criminal sanctions.
  2. A person commits a bias-motivated crime if, with the intent to intimidate or harass another person, in whole or in part, because of that person's actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation, he or she:
    1. Knowingly causes bodily injury to another person; or
    2. By words or conduct, knowingly places another person in fear of imminent lawless action directed at that person or that person's property and such words or conduct are likely to produce bodily injury to that person or damage to that person's property; or
    3. Knowingly causes damage to or destruction of the property of another person.
  3. Commission of a bias-motivated crime as described in paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection (2) of this section is a class 1 misdemeanor. Commission of a bias-motivated crime as described in paragraph
    1. is a class 4 felony if the offender is physically aided or abetted by one or more other persons during the commission of the offense. (3.5)
      1. In determining the sentence for a first-time offender convicted of a bias-motivated crime, the court shall consider the following alternatives, which shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any other sentence received by the offender:
        1. Sentencing the offender to pay for and complete a period of useful community service intended to benefit the public and enhance the offender's understanding of the impact of the offense upon the victim;
        2. At the request of the victim, referring the case to a restorative justice or other suitable alternative dispute resolution program established in the judicial district pursuant to section 13-22-313, C.R.S.
      2. In considering whether to impose the alternatives described in paragraph (a) of this subsection (3.5), the court shall consider the criminal history of the offender, the impact of the offense on the victim, the availability of the alternatives, and the nature of the offense. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the court to impose the alternatives specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection (3.5).
  4. The criminal penalty provided in this section for commission of a bias-motivated crime does not preclude the victim of such action from seeking any other remedies otherwise available under law.
  5. For purposes of this section:
    1. “Physical or mental disability” refers to a disability as used in the definition of the term “person with a disability” in section 18-6.5-102 (11).
    2. “Sexual orientation” means a person's actual or perceived orientation toward heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgender status.

History. Source: L. 88: Entire section added, p. 737, § 1, effective July 1. L. 99: IP(2) and (3) amended, p. 795, § 5, effective July 1. L. 2005: Entire section amended, p. 1499, § 5, effective July 1. L. 2013: (5)(a) amended,(SB 13-111), ch. 233, p. 1127, § 13, effective May 16. L. 2021: IP(2) amended,(SB 21-280), ch. 372, p. 2465, § 2, effective June 28.

Editor's note:

Section 4 of chapter 372 (SB 21-280), Session Laws of Colorado 2021, provides that the act changing this section applies to offenses commmitted on or after June 28, 2021.

Cross references:

For the legislative declaration in the 2013 act amending subsection (5)(a), see section 1 of chapter 233, Session Laws of Colorado 2013.

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