In Colorado, criminal offenses are divided into felonies, misdemeanors, and petty offenses. The classification depends on the severity of the offense and the possible penalty that it carries.
Felonies carry minimum penalties that include at least one year of incarceration. In turn, minimum jail sentences for misdemeanors do not exceed 6 months; however, the most serious misdemeanors are punishable with up to 18 months of incarceration. Finally, jail time for petty offenses does not exceed 6 months. However, with felonies and misdemeanors, incarceration is not mandatory in all cases; judges have significant discretion.