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Photo Of Kyle B. Sawyer

Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

Court Hearings In Criminal Cases

Court Hearings In Denver, Colorado, Criminal Cases

There are seven standard court hearings in Denver criminal court cases. These hearings are for advisement, bond, preliminary hearing, arraignment, motions, trial and sentencing. Each has a particular purpose, but sometimes miscellaneous issues that arise can be added in. Some cases don’t have all seven. Let’s look at each of these hearings and their purpose for Colorado criminal cases. They are listed in the order they occur.

Advisement Hearing In Arapahoe County Courts: The First Hearing In A Criminal Case

At your advisement hearing, an Arapahoe County judge is required to advise you on the charges against you, your rights in the criminal courts process and the potential penalties. For serious felony cases, sometimes there is a separate hearing for the filing of charges, where you can be advised of your charges and potential penalties.

Bond Hearing In Douglas County Courts – What Happens Here?

Everyone is entitled to a bond in their Douglas County criminal case, except for a very small number of cases, like murder. At your bond hearing, you will be given the amount of your bail or bond, and special conditions of your bond or protection order. These conditions normally include that you come to your court hearings, have no new violations, not leave Colorado, obey your protection order, not use alcohol or drugs, have no contact with children (if your charges involve them) and not possess a gun.

What Is A Preliminary Hearing In Adams County Courts?

For more serious felony cases in Adams County, you will be given a preliminary hearing. Here, the district attorney must prove that there is probable cause to believe you committed your felony crime. This is not a major hearing, but it is a screening hearing to ensure that there is some evidence you committed the crime. Charges will be dismissed if the DA cannot present minimal evidence that you committed the crime.

Arraignment In Jefferson County, Colorado Criminal Cases

A Jefferson County, Colorado, arraignment hearing is where the accused will plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. Most judges do not like no contest pleas, because it is seen as an unwillingness to accept responsibility. Arraignment is seen as a major indicator of whether the case will proceed to trial or not. Usually, DAs will revoke plea bargain offers to settle a case when someone pleads not guilty. If you plead guilty at arraignment, your next hearing will be sentencing.

Motions Hearing In Denver Courts – What Happens Here?

A motion is a request to a court to do something. A Denver Court motion can be for certain evidence to be admitted or kept out. It could be a discovery motion, which is a request for information from the prosecution. There are dozens of motions, and they are all designed to impact what a jury will see and hear at trial, or not see and hear. In many cases, there are court rules that determine how the judge should rule on the motion. Courts like to group all the motions in a case into one hearing where they will decide all the motions.

Trial Hearing In Arapahoe County, Colorado Courts – A Defense Lawyer’s Responsibility

At trial, the jury will see and hear evidence to decide your guilt or innocence. There is a major battle during an Arapahoe County trial for keeping evidence out or bringing it in. Evidence will decide the outcome of the case. The government will try and bring in everything you ever did or said that would make the jury think you are a bad person. This can include statements you made to the police (which is why you should never talk to the police) or someone else or prior convictions. The jury will vote at the end of your case on whether the government proved you were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sentencing Hearing In Denver Courts – Your Punishment Decided

Sentencing only occurs in Denver courts if you are found guilty by a jury (you never want a trial to a judge). Here, the judge can sentence you to probation, prison, county jail, work release or community corrections (a halfway house). In some cases, like violent crimes or sex cases, judges must sentence you to minimum times in jail or prison.

The Colorado court hearing process is complicated and governed by detailed rules. Always hire a criminal defense attorney who is experienced and committed to honestly advising you of your chances of winning at trial. Sometimes, a plea bargain is in your best interest. Come and meet with one of our defense lawyers by calling 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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