The Criminal Court Process

Being arrested for a crime is a scary time for anyone. Oftentimes the first thing on a criminal defendant's mind is — What is going to happen? This page is a great resource to learn about the criminal court process in Colorado.

Right To Remain Silent

If you are being questioned or suspected of committing a crime, exercise your right to remain silent and request an attorney.

Criminal Charges

A district attorney will review the facts and determine whether to bring criminal charges or not. You will appear in court if charges are filed and be given a copy of the charges against you. You are also advised of your rights.

Bond Determination

During your first appearance in court the judge will set bail if necessary and only if it applies to your case. Your attorney will fight for no bail or to at least lower it. A judge will consider the seriousness of the crime(s) you are accused of as well as your criminal background when making his or her decision.

Preliminary Hearing Or Disposition Hearing

If the crime is a serious felony, you will be given a preliminary hearing to determine probable cause. If the case is for a less serious crime there will be a disposition hearing where your attorney can try and work out a plea deal if you decide that is best.

If the case has been determined to have probable cause or you did not make a plea deal you will be arraigned. This is where you plead guilty or not guilty. Pleading not guilty will protect your right to a jury trial.

Your attorney will work with you to determine any and all defenses, and he or she will guide you through the trial and sentencing should you be found guilty.

As each trial is different, the use of witnesses and testimony will differ in each case and it will also depend on your defense strategy. It is always best to have a skilled attorney guide you through this process.