We are Denver criminal defense lawyers who represent clients throughout legal proceedings for both misdemeanors and felonies. Unlike many other criminal lawyers in Denver, Colorado, we entirely focused over criminal defense cases.
Our firm specializes in cases like:
- Domestic Violence Defense
- DUI / DWAI Defense
- Juvenile Criminal Defense
- Assault Defense
- Careless & Reckless Driving Defense
- Sealing of Criminal Records
- Drug Possession Defense
- Shoplifting & Theft Defense
- Traffic Ticket Defense
- Careless & Reckless Driving Defense
- Weapons Charges Defense
- DMV Hearing Defense
- Misdemeanor Lawyer
The Criminal Justice Process
Understanding the process of a criminal case can help relieve some of the stress and doubt of being charged with a crime. There are quite a few stages of the criminal justice process in Colorado. Below, I have outlined some steps that most people charged with a crime encounter.
1. The Filing of Charges: The accused has to appear at court in order to officially receive charges. The judge counsels the accused about their rights, sets a bond (bail), and sets next court appearance date. At this appearance, we can negotiate a reduction in bond on your behalf, amend protection orders and remove or amend other conditions of your bond.
2. The Preliminary Hearing (Felony matters): If the accused is charged with a more serious felony, then they are eligible for a preliminary hearing. During the hearing, the judge decides if there is a sufficient probable cause to allow further prosecution or not. It is very important that you have a Colorado criminal defense attorney present at this hearing to reveal critical discrepancies in witness testimony or to have charges dropped altogether.
3. Arraignment: At this hearing, the accused must plead not guilty in order to have a trial. Pleading “not guilty” will suddenly start the clock running on specific deadlines based on nature of the charges. Normally, deadlines apply to motions filing and the acceptance of a plea bargain. Municipal courts in the state compel the accused to pay a $25 jury fee within 21 days from the day they enter a “not guilty” plea. If the fee is not paid in the given time, the court will deny the accused a jury trial and will set the case for a bench (judge only) trial.
4. The Disposition Hearing: This may be your Denver criminal defense attorney’s first chance to talk to the District Attorney regarding your case and a probable plea agreement. It could be risky for the accused to speak directly with the District Attorney. It is best to have a qualified lawyer speak to the prosecutor to reduce the risk of something being said that can create a problem for you later.
5. Pretrial or Motions Hearings: As your case progresses, some issues may appear that must be resolved by the judge. Your attorney may want to suppress some or all of the evidence against you by filing motions. For instance, motions may be filed to disregard physical evidence or statements to the police. Also, motions can force the prosecutor to provide additional evidence or information that necessary for your defense.
6. Trial: If no satisfactory plea agreement can be reached, then your case moves ahead for a trial. Everyone accused has the right to a “speedy trial”. This means the court must hear your trial within a definite time period. Municipal courts usually work under a 90 day speedy trial rule; County and District Courts work under a 180 day speedy trial rule. During the trial, it is important to have a Denver criminal defense lawyer. The prosecuting attorney is an expert in the law and trial strategy. Pro Se or self representing individuals are at an extreme disadvantage if they decide to face a professional trial attorney alone.
7. Sentencing: If the accused is found guilty, the court will impose a sentence. In between the conviction and sentencing, the probation department in your county might be asked to write a pre-sentence investigation report that is abbreviated as a “PSI”. Our firm can petition the judge to approve consequences other than jail or incarceration, such as: Probation, in-home detention, intensive supervised probation, work release & community corrections. Check out our Colorado Criminal Sentencing Guidelines page for detailed information.
8. Appeal: An appeal is not a retrial of the case, but it serves as an inspection of the trial record to confirm that the proceedings happened impartially and within the bounds of the law. There are some strict deadlines that must be followed for appeal filing. Contact a Denver criminal defense lawyer today for more info.
Choosing the right criminal attorney is very important, but ultimately it is your personal decision. Denver Criminal Defense Attorney Steven J. Pisani is committed to offering clients with the best legal support during their tough times. When you choose the Pisani Law firm, you get frequent correspondence, personal attention, and professional wisdom at every step in your case. We will individually stand by your side at every court appearance and will describe your legal rights. We develop strong and convincing case defenses, and make all possible efforts to protect your rights and reduce your punishments.