District Attorney Office Overview
The Denver District Attorney’s Office employs approximately 250 people working on behalf of the citizens of Denver—85 prosecutors, as well as investigators, victim rights advocates, legal secretaries, and other staff.
The Office prosecutes state felony, misdemeanor, and petty offense cases in Denver County, Juvenile and District Courts, provides assistance to witnesses and victims of crime and maintains an active community education and crime prevention program.
To accomplish its work, the District Attorney's Office has several divisions, units and special programs.
GENERAL PROSECUTION DIVISIONS
The vast majority of the cases prosecuted by the Denver DA's Office are handled by the chief deputies and deputy district attorneys assigned to the County and District Courtrooms.
County Court Division prosecutes all misdemeanor cases, including third-degree assault, domestic violence, and drug-related cases, and state-level traffic cases such as alcohol/drug-related driving offenses, careless driving, and driving without a license or insurance. The deputy district attorneys in this division are responsible for prosecutions in five County Court courtrooms.
District Court Division prosecutes all adult felony cases except those routed to the Office’s specialized crime units (see below). The deputy district attorneys in this division are responsible for prosecutions in eight District Court courtrooms.
Appellate Division handles appeals in the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court, provides legal research and assistance to trial deputies, handles extradition requests, reviews requests for documents under Colorado’s open records laws, assists law enforcement with investigative matters, and provides training on legal issues affecting law enforcement and/or trial deputies.
SPECIAL PROSECUTION UNITS
Some criminal prosecutions benefit from a specialized team approach because of the issues involved with certain types of crime. Special prosecution unit cases are prosecuted mostly in Denver District Court.
Juvenile Court Unit screens and files all cases in which the defendant is between the ages of 10 and 18. Prosecutors also determine whether juvenile diversion (an alternative to formal court proceedings) is appropriate for a non-violent offender.
Family Violence Unit screens and prosecutes cases involving all aspects of domestic violence, including spouse and intimate partner abuse, child abuse, and child sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Unit/Sex Assault Specialist oversees prosecutions handled throughout the office involving sexual assaults, including college campus sexual assaults, date rape, and sexual assaults on the elderly or disabled. The oversight is intended to ensure consistency and expertise in determining whether and what kind of charges are to be filed in cases referred to the DA’s office by Denver police.
Economic Crime Unit investigates and prosecutes organized criminal activity, complex financial crimes, identity theft, theft, forgery, credit and debit card fraud, securities fraud, computer crime, embezzlement, public corruption, and election fraud. This unit also presents cases to the Denver Grand Jury.
Gang Unit prosecutes cases that involve gang-related crime such as gang membership or rivalry elements, cases in which the defendant, victim and/or witnesses are known gang members, especially those that are gang leaders, and cases in which the defendant has previously been prosecuted by the unit.
Behavioral Health Unit screens and prosecutes felony drug possession and alcohol/drug-related traffic offenders eligible for participation in Denver District Court’s Drug Court (and specialty dockets: Mental Health, Veterans, HOPE, and Triumph), and DUI RESTART programs, as well as County Court’s Sobriety Court for misdemeanor DUI offenders, all of which involve swift prosecution and tightly supervised mandated treatment of offenders. Unit prosecutors also respond to all traffic fatalities in Denver, some of which may ultimately result in a criminal filing. Unit prosecutors also represent the Office at first and second advisements, the first two court appearances for offenders arrested for, and subsequently charged with, felony offenses. This unit also participates in efforts to reduce jail population for offenders with mental health and substance abuse issues.
Elder and At-Risk Adult Abuse Unit prosecutes physical abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation crimes committed against adults over 70 and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The unit works in conjunction with the Denver Police Department’s detective unit dedicated to investigating these crimes. The unit works closely with Adult Protective Services to identify elders who need special assistance, and unit staff make educational elder fraud and protection presentations to community groups and agency and law enforcement partners.
Cold Case Unit specializes in prosecuting previously unsolved murders and rapes, often using DNA technology.
Human Trafficking Unit prosecutes cases involving commercial sexual exploitation and labor trafficking, working closely with law enforcement and community partners regarding the prosecution of exploiters and traffickers, but also assisting survivors in accessing services.
The Denver District Attorney's Office has established or administers programs to meet the needs of citizens that go beyond prosecuting criminals. These programs support the prosecution process, victims, and witnesses and provide community awareness and education opportunities about the criminal justice process.
Juvenile Diversion is an intervention program that works with eligible juvenile offenders to divert them from the criminal legal system. Diversion provides various behavioral, family and community services designed to greatly reduce the chance that the juvenile will re-offend.
Denver Anti-Trafficking Alliance (DATA) is a collaborative network housed and supported by the Denver District Attorney’s Office that works to create a victim-centered, multi-disciplinary response to human trafficking in Denver through victim services, collaborative investigation and prosecution, education and awareness, and public policy advocacy. DATA participants include law enforcement, children’s advocacy organizations, government service agencies, victim assistance organizations, private therapists, faith based organizations, and others involved in fighting human trafficking.
Victim Compensation screens requests from victims for compensation and administers funds for this purpose. Requests can vary from counseling services to burial assistance. Compensation determination is decided by a Victim Compensation Board using state-mandated criteria to make compensation decisions.
The Denver Victim Assistance and Law Enforcement (VALE) program strives to foster, enhance, and improve the responsiveness of the criminal justice system and community-based programs to victims of crime. This legislatively mandated program is funded by surcharges assessed on individuals convicted of crimes. Per state law, each judicial district fund is administered by the District Attorney’s Office and governed by a five-member board appointed by the Chief Judge of the District Court. The Denver VALE Board has been instrumental in the start-up of over 20 victim assistance programs and distributes approximately one million dollars annually in grant funds to victim-serving agencies. For more information, please go to www.denvervale.com.
Witness Protection Program provides assistance in response to threats to victims and witnesses in criminal cases, combatting intimidation through tactical witness protection strategies and victim/witness assistance services.
Stand Up Against Fraud is a consumer fraud prevention program. Presentations are free to any group or organization and provides citizens with information to better protect them from fraud, identity theft and scams. Visit our Consumer Outreach page to schedule a speaker and find out more about the program.
Courtrooms to Classrooms - is a program that has been provided by the Denver District Attorney’s Office to Denver Public Schools for over 20 years. The overarching goal of this program is for 5th-grade students to learn about the criminal justice system, develop problem-solving and decision-making skills, explore career options, and bond with positive role models. As law enforcement professionals, this office strives goal to provide the young people of our community with resources that will empower them to lead healthy, productive, and successful lives in the years ahead.
Confiscations administers funds from criminally-obtained assets and handles the requests for the use of those funds by law enforcement. By statute, assets confiscated from criminals can be used for law enforcement equipment and training.
Administration manages the operational and financial functions of the office, including policy development and direction, the establishment of agency goals and objectives, media relations and public information, grants, information technology and services, and police liaison duties.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected characteristic in the provision of services.
For information on filing a civil rights complaint see the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Civil Rights: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ocr; or call 202-307-0690.