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Your Rights as a Defendant

Advisement of Rights

Please read carefully before speaking with the Judge or City Attorney.

You have the following rights:

  1. To appear before a judge and to be advised of the charge(s) against you and of the maximum penalty that may be imposed.
  2. To enter a plea of “not guilty” and have a trial by a judge, or a jury, if eligible.
  3. To hire an attorney to represent you.  If you are charged with a jailable offense and are otherwise eligible, you may ask the Court to appoint an attorney for you. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOUR TRIAL DATE TO ASK FOR AN ATTORNEY.
  4. You are presumed to be innocent of the charge(s), and if you plead “not guilty” the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  5. You have the right to request a list of witnesses to be called by the City.  You should do this at least ten (10) days before trial.
  6. You have the right to request “discovery”, that is, a copy of the City Attorney/prosecutor’s file. You only need to request discovery and the prosecutor will be obligated to produce to you any information under the prosecutor’s control that is not privileged. There is a small charge for copying. If you cannot afford that charge, you may ask to have it waived.
  7. At the trial, you have the right to confront and cross-examine (ask questions) all witnesses called by the City to testify against you.
  8. You have the right to present evidence in your own defense at the trial and to compel the attendance of witnesses by subpoenas that will be issued to you by the Court upon your request.
  9. You have the right to testify or not to testify on your own behalf.  You cannot be compelled to testify.  You cannot be prevented from testifying. The decision as to whether to testify is your decision and yours alone.
  10. Many offenses carry a right to a trial by jury.  In order to secure your right to a jury on an eligible charge, you must file a written request for a jury trial within 21 days of entering your “not guilty” plea and pay a $25 jury fee. This fee may be waived by the Court due to indigence, that is, a financial inability to pay.  You may request up to six (6) jurors. If you do not request a specific number, you will be entitled to three (3) jurors.  If you do not file the written request for a jury trial and pay the $25 fee, or request a fee waiver within the 21-day time period allowed, you will have given up your right to a jury trial.  You will still have a right to a bench trial before the Court.  
  11. You have a right to a reasonable continuance for arraignment upon showing of good cause.
  12. Any plea entered to the charges must be voluntary on your part and not the result of undue influence or coercion on the part of someone else.
  13. You have the right to appeal a finding of guilty after a trial.  The Arvada Municipal Court is a Court of record.  All appeals from this Court are appeals of the record of the case and are heard by the District Court for the First Judicial District of the State of Colorado.
  14. Sealing/Expungement of Record. Upon conviction, you may have a right to petition to seal your record pursuant to C.R.S. §24-72-708(1)(a).  If you are acquitted of all charges or all charges are dismissed, you may be eligible to have your record sealed immediately pursuant to C.R.S. §24-72-702.5. In addition, if you are convicted of a juvenile offense, you may be eligible under C.R.S.§19-1-306 (2017) to have the record expunged upon completion of all sentences and/or conditions.  
  15. The State Public Defender has compiled a list of laws that outlines collateral consequences related to a criminal conviction.  That list is available on the State Public Defender’s website at: http://pdweb.coloradodefenders.us/ 
  16. If you are serving in the United States armed forces or are a veteran of such forces you may be entitled to receive mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, or other services as a veteran.
  17. If you are not a citizen of the United States, a guilty plea or conviction may affect your immigration status possibly including deportation, exclusion from the United States, and/or denial of naturalization as a United States citizen.
  18. Body Worn Cameras: If your contact with the Arvada Police Department was recorded by a Body Worn Camera, you have 21 days to file any constitutional objection to a release of the recording. The Court will set the matter for a hearing to be held within 7 days of the objection being filed.
  19. The Court and its staff are prohibited from giving legal advice on this or any other matter.

The maximum possible penalties in Municipal Court are a jail sentence of up to 180 days for certain criminal offenses and a fine of up to $2,650; however, if it is a domestic violence charge, the maximum jail sentence is 365 days.