November 19, 2017

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Colorado Criminal Laws

Denver Law Firms

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you have rights. The U.S. and Colorado state constitutions provide many protections for those accused of a crime, but you do not know your rights and have someone to advocate on your behalf, the prosecution may take advantage of you in order to win their case, even if you are innocent.

The Right to Remain Silent

In most cases, you should exercise your 5th Amendment right to remain silent. If you waive that right, you put yourself at a great disadvantage. You probably already know that what you say can be used against you.

You should remain silent even if you have not been advised of your right to do so. Do not make the mistake of believing that your statement will be inadmissible, simply because you were not advised of your Miranda rights. Your defense attorney should certainly pursue that avenue when it is appropriate, but the circumstances in your case may not have required the officer to inform you of these rights.

Plea Bargaining

In most Colorado criminal cases the prosecutor will offer you the opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge with a less severe punishment than the original charge or charges.

The prosecution benefits from the plea agreement because it is a guaranteed win without the need to prove their case against you.

You should never accept a plea offer without talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if you believe that you will be convicted, there are many reasons why and ways in which your charges could be dismissed or significantly reduced.

Colorado Crime Classifications

In Colorado, criminal charges are broken down into five categories:

  • Felonies

  • Misdemeanors

  • Petty offenses

  • Traffic infractions

  • Unclassified offenses

Within those categories, they are broken down into more detailed levels of seriousness. Potential penalties are determined by the classification of the crime, with a class 1 felony being the most serious.

Bail

Bail is basically a deposit that lets you get out of jail while you await trial. The amount of bail is based on the seriousness of the charge and other factors in your case. Certain offenses, including capital offenses are not bailable.

If you pay the bail in full to the court, you will get all of your money back as long as you make all of your court appearances. If you hire a bail bondsman, you pay the bondsman a percentage of the bail, up to 15% in Colorado, and you do not get that money back. The bondman is responsible for the amount of your bail if you fail to appear in court. A bondsman may ask for some kind of collateral, such as a vehicle title.