Rights of Colorado Criminal Defendants

Denver misdemeanor criminal lawyers understand that defendants charged with a misdemeanor or felony criminal violation have numerous rights. Colorado courts are required to accord a defendant due process, and to respect the rights of a defendant, many of which rights are set forth in the United States and the Colorado Constitutions. The Court partially meets these obligations in criminal matters by informing the defendant of many of these rights and making reasonable efforts to determine if these rights are understood.

There are a couple occasions in the process of misdemeanor and felony criminal proceedings when a Court is specifically required to describe rights accorded to a defendant. For instance, at the first appearance of a defendant in court, unless waived in accordance with law, it is the duty of the court to inform the defendant and make certain that the defendant understands the following:

  1. The defendant need make no statement and any statement made can and may be used against the defendant.
  2. The defendant’s right to counsel;
  3. If indigent, that the defendant has the right to request the appointment of counsel or consult with the public defender, if he or she qualifies for representation by the public defender, before any further criminal proceedings are held;
  4. Any plea the defendant makes in a criminal matter must be voluntary and not the result of undue influence or coercion;
  5. The right to bail, if the offense is bailable, and the amount of bail that has been set by the court;
  6. The nature of the charges;
  7. The right of the criminal defendant to a jury trial in the event the right exists in the particular matter;
  8. The right to demand and receive a preliminary hearing, if such is required by law, within a reasonable time to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that the offense charged was committed by the defendant.

Farther along in the process, a Colorado criminal court shall not accept a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere from a defendant without first determining that the defendant has been advised of all the foregoing rights listed as (I) through (VIII) above and also determining:

  1. That the defendant understands the nature of the charge, the elements of the offense to which he is pleading, and the effect of his plea;
  2. That the plea is voluntary on defendant’s part and is not the result of undue influence or coercion on the part of anyone;
  3. That the criminal defendant understands the right to trial by jury and that he waives his right to trial by jury on all issues;
  4. That he or she understands the possible penalty or penalties;
  5. That the defendant understands that the court will not be bound by any representations made to the defendant by anyone concerning the penalty to be imposed or the granting or the denial of probation, unless such representations are included in a formal plea agreement approved by the court and supported by the findings of the presentence report, if any;
  6. That there is a factual basis for the plea. If the plea is entered as a result of a plea agreement, the court shall explain to the defendant, and satisfy itself that the defendant understands, the basis for the plea agreement, and the defendant may then waive the establishment of a factual basis for the particular charge to which he pleads;
  7. That in class 1 felonies, or where the plea of guilty is to a lesser included offense, a written consent shall have been filed with the court by the district attorney.

Misdemeanor and felony defendants have numerous rights when appearing before a Colorado criminal court. In most instances individuals should consider retaining the services of an experienced and qualified defense attorney who understands and has experience in asserting these rights on behalf of his clients. Ross Koplin is a misdemeanor and felony criminal attorney who represents defendants in the Colorado counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Douglas, Weld, Boulder, Clear Creek, Broomfield, Summit, Elbert, Larimer, El Paso, and in the City and County of Denver.

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.

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