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Criminal Law in Colorado

Criminal Law in Colorado

Posted on September 20, 2014


Crime is a major problem in Colorado and the rest of the U.S (Furman, “Chapter 3: Colorado Criminal Law”). The Colorado Department of Public Safety monitors the number of crimes perpetrated in Colorado.


The overall number of crimes had reduced between 1990 and 1995 and then rose between 1995 and 2002. In these groups, the overall number of crimes is really lower in 2002 than in 1990. Much of the change is caused by a considerable reduction in burglaries and a considerable rise in car thefts. It is imperative to observe that these statistics do not consist of the numbers for assaults or drug related offenses, two extremely vital groups, due to discrepancies in informing by law enforcement agencies.


Legal Sources

The government’s legislative branch has the duty of creating the laws that decide what behavior is unlawful. When the Governor signs, or ratified into law over the Governor’s veto, these laws are specified in the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.).


The judicial branch clarifies the laws ratified by the legislature. When a criminal statute’s precise meaning is questioned, a judge decides. If one of the parties thinks that the judge’s explanation is erroneous, that party can appeal the judgment to a higher court. The five fundamental levels of court in Colorado are: (1) municipal courts, which deals with breaches of city laws; (2) county courts, which listen to many traffic and misdemeanor cases; (3) district courts, which listen to felony cases in addition to county court appeals; (4) the Colorado Court of Appeals, which listens to district court appeals; and (5) the Colorado Supreme Court, which is the highest state court and listens to specific appeals from lower courts.


Court decisions clarifying the law, in addition to judgments ascertaining the exact processes and clarifying court rules for handling trials and pretrial issues are termed “case law.” Case law is just as significant a criminal law and procedural source as is the legislation itself.


The government’s executive branch imposes the laws ratified by the state legislature and clarified by its judicial branch, by indicting individuals who are supposed to have perpetrated crimes.


Criminal Prosecution

About every state crime is put on trial by district attorneys. The district attorney in each of Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts is chosen by the voters in that district. The district attorney then employs deputies to put crimes on trial. An extremely minute number of crimes are put on trial by Colorado’s Attorney General. The Attorney General is voted for in a statewide vote and has a number of various duties. Standing for state agencies and contending appeals in criminal cases are only two of the Attorney General’s duties.


Every person who is indicted for a crime that might lead to a jail or prison sentence is allowed a lawyer’s assistance. Individuals who do not have enough money to employ their own attorney are allotted lawyers from the Office of the Public Defender or, if the public defender cannot stand for the defendant, an attorney from the Alternate Defense Counsel. Public defenders concentrate on criminal law and deal with in excess of half of every significant criminal case in the state. Individuals who have enough money employ their own attorney to stand for them. The right to an attorney is assured the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment and Colorado Constitution’s Article II, § 16.


A few crimes in Colorado are put on trial by municipalities. Municipalities have a restricted authority to put on trial specific kinds of crimes perpetrated inside the city limits. These offenses are established in the city’s municipal code and frequently are indicated as municipal ordinance violations.

Is a Crime a Felony or Misdemeanor?

A crime is either a felony or misdemeanor based on these following factors:

  • How much economic or physical harm did the crime bring about? Taking fifty dollars worth of merchandise from a store is a misdemeanor, but taking five-hundred dollars worth of merchandise from the similar store is a felony. Bringing about physical harm to a person is usually a misdemeanor, but bringing about “significant” physical harm to a person is usually a felony.
  • The kind of individual the crime has victimized. Taking fifty dollars from a store is a misdemeanor, but taking fifty dollars from an immobilized or aged individual. Sexually assaulting an adult is a significant felony, but sexually assaulting a child is an especially significant felony.
  • Probable criminal history of the individual who perpetrated the crime. Individuals who frequently drive in breach of the law might be proclaimed “habitual traffic offenders” and might have felony charges filed against them if they keep on driving unlawfully. Individuals who have been found guilty of specific kinds of crimes are not permitted to bear weapons and might be put on trial for a felony crime if they do.



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