In the state of Colorado there are certain crimes which entitle you, as the defendant, to a preliminary hearing. If you are in custody and charged with a felony, you are entitled to a preliminary hearing. If you are out of custody and charged with a class one, two, or three felony, you are also entitled to a preliminary hearing. Defendants charged with a Drug Felony One or Drug Felony Two may also exercise their right to a preliminary hearing. Other felonies that carry mandatory sentencing if convicted, like sex assault on a child, also entitle the defendant to a preliminary hearing.
The importance of this stage in a criminal case is often understated. At this hearing, a skilled litigator can poke holes in the prosecution’s theory of the case, and perhaps even get a charge dismissed.
The district attorney uses this hearing as leverage in the plea-bargaining process. There are times when negotiating may lead to a favorable offer that would justify waiving your right to a preliminary hearing. There are other circumstances where the district attorney will offer the promise of future negotiations for a waiver. I refer to this “offer” as a “pie-in-the-sky” promise of absolutely nothing. This is in my opinion, a misstep, and accomplishes nothing for a client, because there is no guarantee the district attorney will offer a good deal at a later stage. In fact, by waiving for this “lick and a promise,” you may be forfeiting a major asset in the plea-bargaining process.
Before waiving your right to a preliminary hearing, it is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Please contact us for a free consultation at (720) 897-1550 or (888) 694-2093 (toll-free).
Posted in: Felony Laws