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What are my rights when I’m arrested and charged with a crime?

When you’re arrested, you’re not always charged with a crime at that time. Typically, in Colorado, you are arrested under suspicion of a crime, whether that is driving under the influence, domestic violence, theft, or possession of drugs. Under the Colorado process, the district attorney reviews the case to determine what the appropriate charges should be.

At the time you’re arrested, it’s possible that investigators could contact you to discuss the incident that they’re investigating. You should insist that you do not want to answer questions about the case until you’ve had time to consult with an attorney.

Usually, a bond will be set at the time of your arrest, depending on the severity of the crime. If it’s a non-bondable offense, then you will see a judge. You have the right to see a judge within 24 hours of being arrested, not counting weekends. At that time, you have the right to have an advisement of which crime you’re actually being charged with. And you have the right to have a bond set.

Once you’ve made bond, you have the right to be released the same day that you make bond. You have the right to have a court date set sufficiently far out in the future to give yourself the opportunity to obtain a lawyer.

You have the right to a reasonable amount of phone calls to arrange for bond, to contact family members, or to contact attorneys to help you get out of jail. You also have the right to request that your bond be lowered if you determine you cannot make that bond.

The judge will set a date after your release to have you meet with the district attorney and the judge to determine what path your case is going to take. You have the right to plead not guilty at any time, set the case for trial to a jury, and work with the district attorney or have your attorney talk to the district attorney to try to work out your case (which is the better way to do it). One of the benefits of hiring an attorney is that he can attend those court dates for you. This means you are missing less time from work.

A lot of people get in trouble by talking about their crime to other people in the jail. If you talk to a jail guard, or you talk to another inmate, those statements can be used against you when you go to trial. What’s best is not to talk about your crime at all with anyone until you’ve spoken to an attorney.

In Colorado, you have the right to have an attorney appointed for you if you can’t afford one. Therefore, if you can’t afford an attorney, you should fill out an application to the court for a court-appointed attorney. If the court thinks you qualify financially, it will appoint you an attorney. Again, you should not talk to anyone until you’ve talked to that court-appointed attorney.

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