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What to Expect During a Criminal Case in Colorado

Posted on 07/31/23

When you’re involved in a criminal trial, it’s crucial to understand the steps that this legal process involves. In Colorado, those steps typically include the following:

Arrest Process

First is the arrest process. To be arrested for a crime, the police must have probable cause to believe that a crime has occurred. During this arrest process, officers may search and handcuff suspects before taking them into custody. 

Afterwards, they will be taken to jail where personal information is collected along with fingerprints and mugshots for booking records. 


One key aspect of the criminal case process is bail, which may be granted to some suspects who are not considered a flight risk.

In Colorado, the court assesses each case individually to determine if the suspect is eligible for bail. Bail is essentially a sum of money set by the court (though in some cases, defendants will be sent home without having to pay any bail), acting as a guarantee that the suspect will appear in court for their scheduled hearings and trial. If the suspect obliges, the bail money will be refunded. However, if they fail to appear, the full bail amount will be forfeited.


The next step in Colorado for a criminal case is the arraignment. During this stage, the defendant is informed about the charges they face and can discuss possible outcomes with their attorney.

Prosecutors may present a plea deal at this point, which the defendant can decide to accept or reject. If they reject it, the defendant will plead not guilty and the case advances.

Pre-Trial Phase

The stage following arraignment in a Colorado criminal case is known as pretrial. This includes everything that occurs between arraignment and the date your case goes to trial. Your defense attorney and the prosecutor will likely meet to exchange evidence and potentially discuss plea deals.  

It’s at this point that the defense attorney closely examines how strong or weak the prosecutors’ evidence is.

Pre-Trial Motions

Pre-trial motions are an important part of your trial. Here, both your lawyer and the prosecutor will file requests called ‘motions’ with the court if applicable.

These motions can ask for many things like excluding certain pieces of evidence or even asking for rules to guide how the trial should be managed. The judge overseeing your case makes decisions on these motions which then shapes how various parts of your trial will proceed.


Next in a Colorado criminal case is the trial. However, most criminal cases are usually sorted out before this point through pleas. If your case does go to trial, it will be held before a judge and possibly a jury. These trials can last for days or even several months.

Opening statements from lawyers will occur and then they each will present their respective evidence. The judge or jurors decide if the defendant is guilty based on this evidence and the arguments. 

Sentencing and Appeal

If a defendant is found guilty, sentencing will be the next step. Finally, if a defendant and their lawyer believe that there were errors made throughout the trial, an appeal can be initiated. 

Navigating a criminal trial in Colorado can be stressful, but having a competent criminal defense attorney at your side can make all the difference. If you need help with a criminal matter, let us help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.