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Do I Have a Right to a Preliminary Hearing in Colorado?

Colorado’s criminal procedure rules provide a right to have a preliminary hearing for certain criminal charges. In Colorado, a person who is charged with a class 1, 2, or 3 felony is entitled to a preliminary hearing. Also, if a person is charged with a class 4, 5, or 6-level felony that includes mandatory prison time, they have a right to a preliminary hearing. This would include crimes that are considered a crime of violence and sex offenses. Also, if a person who is charged with a felony is being held in jail, they would have a right to a Preliminary Hearing.

What is the Purpose of a Preliminary Hearing?

Due to the seriousness of being charged with a class 1, 2, or 3 felony, a class 4, 5, or 6 felony that requires mandatory prison time, or being in jail with pending felony charges, the court requires the prosecution to show probable cause to show that the defendant likely committed the offense for which that person is charged with.

A preliminary hearing is not a trial. At a preliminary hearing, the district attorney does not need to prove that the person charged is guilty but merely that there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed the crime or crimes charged.

The prosecution does need to present all its evidence or even all of its witnesses. The normal rules of evidence do not apply. For example, a police officer can testify using hearsay, statements made by other witnesses, or even other officers.

Should I Request a Preliminary Hearing?

Most often, it is a good idea to request a preliminary hearing. However, a person charged with a felony should indeed hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to make strategic decisions.

One of the benefits of conducting a preliminary hearing is to be able to see and hear some of the witnesses who may testify and may also be testifying later in a criminal trial. In addition, the prosecution’s witnesses can be cross-examined by the defendant or, more advisable, by the defendant’s own legal counsel. This can provide some insight into how strong the prosecution’s case is.

Often, a preliminary hearing is waived by the defense. Because the threshold is so low to find probable cause based on limited, and often officer, testimony, it may be advisable to waive the preliminary hearing to continue plea negotiations open with the district attorney’s office. Often, a district attorney will revoke offers, or simply not negotiate if the defense requires the prosecution to conduct a preliminary hearing, subpoena witnesses.

Should I Hire an Attorney for my Preliminary Hearing?

If a person who is criminally charged has a right to a preliminary hearing, it is obvious that the case has serious consequences that could have a negative impact on a person’s life for the remainder of their life. This includes such things as obtaining employment, housing, public benefits, and consequences of having priors if charged in the future. In virtually all situations, it would be a huge mistake not to have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing a person charged with a felony.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC, have been providing representation for clients charged with serious criminal charges throughout the State of Colorado since 2000. For a free initial consultation, please contact our office at 719-328-1616.

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For over 20 years we have represented clients in Colorado from a client-centered approach. We are experts within the areas of Cannabis Law, Criminal Defense, Family Law, and Business Law. We believe in protecting the rights of businesses and individuals with precision, exceeding client expectations with each case. Client satisfaction inspires us to strive for excellence in everything we do.

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Exceptional Experience & Results

For over 20 years we have represented clients in Colorado from a client-centered approach. We are experts within the areas of Cannabis Law, Criminal Defense, Family Law, and Business Law. We believe in protecting the rights of businesses and individuals with precision, exceeding client expectations with each case. Client satisfaction inspires us to strive for excellence in everything we do.

Schedule Your Consultation with a Trusted Attorney Today!

Need legal help in business or criminal areas in Colorado? Call Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC. Our expert attorneys focus in business law and criminal defense, providing clear advice for your specific needs. Benefit from our years of experience as we deliver targeted solutions and defend your rights every step of the way.