The Denver District Attorney's Office files more than 6,000 felony cases a year. These cases involve the prosecution of a wide range of violations of Colorado State Statutes. There are a number of steps involved in the criminal justice process. Contact number for the District Court Unit is (720) 913-9001.
The criminal justice process for felony offenses begins with the crime, and the subsequent investigation or arrest of someone for that crime.
Once a person has been arrested for a crime, the District Attorney’s Office may file charges. Sometimes charges are filed before the defendant has been arrested. In this case, the defendant is said to be "at large." In some cases, charges are filed directly into District Court as the result of a Grand Jury indictment.
Once formal charges are filed, the defendant will appear in court for an advisement in which a judge formally advises the defendant of the charges against him or her. In Denver, this takes place in Denver County Courtroom 2100, located at the Denver Detention Center at 490 W. Colfax Avenue across from the Lindsay- Flanigan Courthouse. The judge usually sets bond at this time, and a date is set for the next court appearance. With some felony charges, the next court date may be a preliminary hearing. In the case of other charges, it may involve a dispositional hearing.
At the preliminary hearing, testimony is heard to determine if there is enough evidence against the person for a trial. In Denver, this takes place in Denver County Courtroom 2100, located at the Denver Detention Center, except in murder cases, which take place in courtroom 5H in the Lindsay-Flanigan Courthouse.
The defendant may waive a preliminary hearing if he or she wishes. If there is sufficient evidence, the case will be bound over for trial in District Court. The next court appearance is an arraignment.
At the arraignment, the defendant enters a plea. The defendant may plead guilty or not guilty, or if the District Attorney’s Office has offered a plea agreement the defendant may also accept the agreement and plead guilty. Arraignment takes place in a District Court division.
If the defendant pleaded not guilty, the next step is a jury trial. This may be preceded by hearings on motions. If the defendant is found not guilty, the case is dismissed and the defendant is free. If the defendant is found guilty, then he or she is said to be convicted of the charges. A defendant who is convicted by a jury or who pleads guilty will then be sentenced.
Once a defendant is found guilty by a jury or pleads guilty, the next step is sentencing. Sentencing can occur immediately but is usually scheduled for another date several weeks later. It is a judge's responsibility to sentence the defendant, and having the defendant return for sentencing at a later date allows the judge to gather additional information before the sentencing decision is made.
IF YOU NEED CASE INFORMATION
To inquire about a specific case being handled by the Denver District Attorney's Office, you will need to know the case number or the full name of the defendant. Call 720-913-9001 to reach the Denver District Attorney's Office District Court division. Some district court records are available through private companies for a small fee. Contact the Colorado Judicial Branch for more information.
There is free child care available to anyone having business in the court system. The Warm Welcome Child Care Center is located on the corner of Colfax Avenue and 14th Street, directly north of the Denver City and County Building. For more information call 720-913-0330.