Going through the Colorado Criminal Justice System is an arduous process. Having a brief understanding of how the process works will not only make you a better-informed citizen but can relieve some of the stress associated with being criminally charged. No matter your experience with the state’s criminal process, you will need an experienced defense attorney on your side.
A criminal trial can take various routes. It’s crucial you do not go into the process unaware of what may happen next. Retaining experienced legal counsel can make all the difference. Not only can they guide you through the process, but they can file motions, suppress evidence and advocate on your behalf.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Colorado Springs, CO
Have you been arrested or charged for a crime? Is your court-appointed lawyer not helping? Then you have come to the right place. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC has almost a decade of experience defending clients of criminal offenses, and we want to do the same for you.
Take the first step in your defense and contact Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC. Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a confidential consultation. We represent clients in counties such as El Paso County, Denver County, and Arapahoe County.
- What Happens After I’m Arrested?
- What Should I Expect During a Bond Hearing?
- What is an Arraignment?
- What Happens During a Jury Trial?
- Additional Resources
What Happens After I’m Arrested?
The majority of people have never been arrested, so many are not aware of what happens once you’re in the back of a police car. Before an officer can legally place you under arrest, they must have probable cause to believe you committed a crime. But remember, just because you are arrested doesn’t mean you are guilty. That decision is left to the Colorado Criminal Justice System to decide.
Keep in mind, an officer does not need a warrant to make an arrest, just probable cause you committed a crime. Once you’re arrested, you will be taken to the local police station where you will be booked. The booking process may involve the following:
- Taking personal information
- Confiscating and cataloging personal property
- Taking fingerprints
- A full body search
- Taking your photo
Most booking records are made available to the public. In some cases, websites and local newspapers may post your name, photo and reason for the arrest, even if you have not been found guilty.
What Should I Expect During a Bond Hearing?
You may be eligible to be released on bail following the booking process. A bond hearing will be held where a judge will determine the bail amount and whether or not you are eligible to be released. The judge may hold you in custody pending a hearing if they believe you are a flight risk. Various factors will be taken into account in determining if you are a flight risk, such as:
- The severity of the crime
- Possible sentence length
- Previous record of not appearing for court
- Danger you pose to the public
- Ties to the community
If a judge determines you are not a flight risk, they will then proceed to set the bond amount. This amount is also determined by the factors listed above as well as your financial resources and employment status. Your defense attorney will also be able to ask the court to lower the amount during the bond hearing.
Most people have a hard time coming up with a large sum of cash on such short notice. Instead, they go to a bail bond company, which will pay a portion of the bail and guarantee the full amount will be paid if you flee. In exchange, the company will take between 10 -15% of the bail amount as a fee.
Posting bail does not mean your case is over. You will still be required to attend all pending court dates. Failing to appear will result in a separate criminal charge that can result in up to a year behind bars. You will also be required to meet certain conditions set forth by the court. Some of these conditions can include not committing any additional crimes, staying in Colorado, acknowledge any restraining orders and notifying the court if you move.
What is an Arraignment?
After you are arrested, you will be asked to appear in front of a judge for an arraignment. During the arraignment, you will be informed of the charges against you and the potential penalties involved. You will have the chance to plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. Generally, you will not be required to appear at an arraignment if the case is a misdemeanor. Instead, your criminal defense attorney can appear for you.
Prosecutors may also offer you a plea bargain. Whether or not you accept this deal is up to you, but it’s best you consult with legal counsel before deciding. There are many factors in deciding if accepting a plea bargain is the best option. The deal may be a good option if the state has substantial evidence linking you to a crime. It would allow you to accept a lighter sentence and avoid maximum jail or prison time.
If you are not offered a plea bargain or decide not to accept it, you will have the chance to plead not guilty or no contest. Pleading not guilty or no contest will result in your case moving to the pre-trial phase. Keep in mind most criminal cases never make it to trial. Rather, the majority of them are handled through plea deals.
What Happens During a Jury Trial?
Your case will be heard in front of a judge and jury of your peers if it makes it to trial. This trial will typically begin with pre-trial motions. Your defense attorney and the District Attorney may try to file motions such as motions to suppress evidence and exclusion of witness testimony. Once pre-trial motions have been filed, both attorneys will then select the jury.
Once the jury has been selected, both sides will make opening statements explaining what their evidence proves. After submitting evidence to the jury, calling witnesses, experts and arguing for or against conviction, the jury will decide if you are guilty of the charges. If the jury finds you guilty, your case may move to sentencing where penalties will be determined.
A sentence can be based on a recommended sentence, your criminal record, factors of your case and mandatory minimum penalties. If you are found not guilty, the District Attorney may file an appeal on the grounds of alleged errors occurring during the trial. Alternatively, if you are found guilty, you can file an appeal.
Resources for the Criminal Process
Guide to the Colorado Criminal Justice System – Read through a guide provided by the Office of the Colorado Public Defender. You can learn about the people involved in the criminal process and an in-depth look at how the process works.
Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure – Follow the link provided to learn about the state’s criminal procedures. You can learn about the rules for preliminary hearings, proceedings following an arrest and arraignment rules. The rules can be read on the official website of the Colorado District Attorney.
Colorado Springs, CO Criminal Defense Attorney
By viewing this page, you already understand the seriousness of the charges against you. Having a quality defense attorney on your side can give you the edge your case needs. Don’t hesitate when it comes to your future. Contact the attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC today.
Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a case evaluation. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC defends those accused of crimes in areas such as Colorado Springs, Denver, and Littleton.