The process of apprehending an offender, making him stand trial for his indiscretion and enforcing punitive measures for the crime that has occurred is known as the Colorado Criminal Procedure. Like in all other states, the process starts when a suspect is taken into custody. The detention may or may not have taken place under the provisions of a warrant.
If the individual is arrested without a judicial order, he must have been picked up from the scene of the crime or when fleeing from it, or while he was in the act of committing the offense. The police need to have probable cause against this person to detain him without a court order. On the other hand, if a warrant is sought from the local criminal tribunal, this means that the investigative process has already been concluded and that there is significant proof against the suspect.
From the issue of the warrant to the hearings
A formal pre-warrant trial is held to ensure that the rights of the accused are not being compromised when the court grants cops the order to arrest him. Through this hearing, the magistrate decides if there is enough proof with the police to hold this person culpable for the crime. If this is proved through the complaint or sworn witness testimony, the arrest warrant is promptly issued.
Law enforcement agents arrest the alleged offender on the basis of the warrant; they have 48 hours at this point to question him before he has to be presented before the court. The Miranda Rights of the suspect dictate that he is not legally obligated to say anything that will be held against him during the trial. The arrestee can also ask for his lawyer to be present during questioning.
The preliminary hearings
A bail hearing is subsequently held in which the magistrate decides if the accused can be released on a surety bond and can be expected to return when and as ordered to the court. A prior criminal record and delayed response to legal provisions can lower the chances of securing bail.
The arraignment hearing comes on the heels of the bail hearing. At this court session, the defendant is told of the charges being levied against him and he is expected to enter a plea at this point. If a plea bargain has been reached, there is no trial and the case directly goes to the sentencing stage. If such an arrangement has not been reached, motion hearings may also be held in which factors that will impact the trial in any sense are discussed and decided on.
The actual trial and sentencing
All offenders have the right to a speedy trial which does not take more than 6 months from the day on which the plea was filed. Through the court proceedings, the judge assumes a monitory role, ensuring that lawyers of both sides are given the chance to argue their point. Typically, all trials held in Colorado are jury trials and there are 12 jury members who decide on felony cases as opposed to the 6 who sit through misdemeanor matters. The verdict has to be unanimous for the defendant to be found guilty or not guilty.
If the defendant is found guilty as accused, the judge retains the responsibility of sentencing him. This is done after the circumstances surrounding the criminal incident are considered in conjunction with the past crime record of the offender. Once sentenced, the criminal is delivered into the hands of the state Department of Corrections from where he is sent to one of their incarceration facilities based on a profiling done early on.