DENVER (KDVR) — A lot of laws were passed and signed by Gov. Jared Polis during and after the 2023 legislative session, and they don’t all go into effect at the same time.
There are 11 laws that go into effect July 1, but here are three that might impact people the most:
1. Change to motor vehicle theft laws
SB 23-097 changes the way motor vehicle theft laws work in Colorado.
Previously, the severity of the crime was determined mainly by how much the car was worth. That meant that someone stealing a car worth more than $100,000 would be punished much more harshly than someone stealing a car worth less than $2,000.
With the new law, the severity of the crime depends on a few factors.
For example, after July 1, for someone to be charged with the highest offense — motor vehicle theft in the first degree — they need to have two prior convictions for motor vehicle theft or unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
2. Law codifying Miranda rights
HB 23-1155 essentially makes the 1966 Supreme Court decision of “Miranda v. Arizona” state law.
Miranda v. Arizona declared people have what is colloquially called “Miranda rights” under the U.S. Constitution.
So, as of July 1, it will be Colorado law that people get the warning that they have a right to remain silent, anything they say can be used against them in court and they have a right to an attorney regardless of their ability to pay one. People can also end an interrogation at any time before or during and ask for an attorney.
Without these warnings, any statements made during an interrogation can’t be used in court.
3. Criminalizing pointing lasers at aircraft
It is already a federal crime to point a laser at an aircraft, but SB 23-095 also makes it a state crime in Colorado.
Starting July 1, if someone points a laser at a plane or other aircraft, they face up to five years in federal prison, as well as between one year and 18 months in state prison.
There are exceptions, such as when someone is authorized to do it or is trying to send an emergency distress signal.
There were nearly 9,500 laser incidents reported to the Federal Aviation Administration in 2022, with just over 300 of those being in Colorado.
There are eight other laws that go into effect on July 1:
- SB 23-290 – Natural Medicine Regulation and Legalization
- SB 23-100 – Uniform Community Property Disposition At Death Act
- HB 23-1196 – Remedies At Law For Violating Colorado Youth Act
- SB 23-240 – Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Dairy Plant Fees
- HB 23-1292 – Enhanced Sentencing Colorado Commission On Criminal And Juvenile Justice Recommendations
- HB 23-1138 – Procedures Related To Adult Competency
- SB 23-285 – Energy And Carbon Management Regulation In Colorado
- SB 23-034 – Definition Of Serious Bodily Injury
Another round of laws will go into effect on Aug. 7.