Colorado Criminal Conviction Sentence Reduction Requests

Often, when an individual is sentenced in a Colorado criminal proceeding, the defendant may believe that the sentence imposed at sentencing is the last word of the trial judge as to the imposition of a sentence for the conviction. That is not necessarily the case in Colorado criminal proceedings

In addition to any appeal rights an individual has after being found guilty of a criminal offense in Colorado, it is possible for a defendant to directly request that the original trial judge reduce a sentence previously imposed upon the defendant. This can be done prior to, or after, an appeal of the conviction to an appellate court.

The standard procedure to request a sentence reduction is for a defendant’s attorney to file a motion under Rule 35. (b) of the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure. A motion for a sentence reduction, filed by a defense attorney on behalf of an individual who has been previously sentenced in a Colorado Criminal Court, must be filed within one hundred twenty-six days after the sentence has been imposed.

In the event the Case is appealed to a higher court the motion under 35.(b) of the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure must be filed within one hundred twenty-six days after the receipt by the trial court of a remittitur, issued by the appeals court, either affirming the judgment or dismissing the appeal. In the event the appeals court enters an order denying review of the conviction and sentence, or otherwise enters an order having the effect of upholding a judgment of conviction or sentence, the defendant can file a Colorado Rule of Criminal Procedure 35.(b) motion one hundred twenty-six days after the entry of that order.

Thus, a defendant can normally wait to file a Colorado Rule of Criminal Procedure 35. (b) motion, requesting a sentence reduction, until the appeal has been heard by the appellate court. With few exceptions, if a defendant does not meet the stated deadlines, the defendant is forever precluded form requesting a sentence reduction in accordance with this rule of procedure.

The trial court judge has very substantial discretion in reviewing and ruling upon a motion for sentence reduction filed on behalf of a defendant. The judge may, after considering the motion, and supporting documents that may be filed with the motion, entirely deny the motion without convening any hearing in the court. The court can also, even absent a motion so requesting, reduce a sentence on its own initiative within the time limits as authorized by Rule 35. (b) of the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure.

In reviewing a Colorado Rule of Criminal Procedure Rule 35. (b) motion the Colorado trial court may reconsider, in the interests of justice, the sentence imposed previously. The ambit of the trial court judge is broad. Under Colorado law, the sentencing judge is to reconsider the sentence in perspective of any and all relevant and material factors in the specific criminal matter that either were, or were not, initially considered by the trial court upon the imposition of the original sentence.

Thus, in submitting a motion under Rule 35. (b) of the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure, the defendant wants to argue any issues that may have been previously presented, that are mitigating, or otherwise are favorable to the defendant. In addition, in the filing of a Colorado Rule of Criminal Procedure Rule 35.(b) motion, counsel for defendant should introduce other arguments that were not previously raised, that may  be seen as positive for defendant, and present an argument as to why defendant deserves, in the interests of justice, a lesser sentence.

In Colorado post-conviction and sentencing there is essentially no risk or disadvantage of a defendant filing a Rule 35. (b) motion, with the trial court, requesting consideration of a reduction in a previously imposed sentence. Thus, a person charged with a criminal offense in Colorado needs to keep in mind that there is the substantial possibility for the trial judge to reconsider the sentence imposed even many weeks after the imposition of that sentence.

Legal Disclaimer – The information contained at this web site is not intended to be legal advice and all information regarding Colorado criminal law is general content only and should not be relied upon for any specific Colorado criminal law situation. Information on this web site is not intended to be comprehensive and does not cover all the issues, nuances or ramifications related to the topic discussed. This web site may not be updated routinely to reflect the very most current Colorado law.

Individuals should consult an experienced Colorado criminal lawyer for advice regarding an individual situation.