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Courts | Probation | Procedures in Colorado

Courts in the state of Colorado are divided into three separate groups: County courts, district courts, and city courts (view all the courts in the state of Colorado). Let's take a look at each of these different types of courts in order to understand what offenses each handles in Denver, Adams, and Jefferson County.

There are three types of courts in Colorado: county courts, district courts, and city courts.

County Courts:

County courts are authorized to handle misdemeanor cases as well as the early stages of felony cases. This includes the setting of the bond and preliminary hearings. Common cases include traffic infractions, DUIs, assaults, Domestic Violence, and small civil cases.  In county court, cases are handled by District Attorneys.

District Courts:

District courts handle felony cases, and can also handle misdemeanor pleas. Common cases include large civil cases, domestic relations, juvenile, serious assaults, violent crimes, and mental health cases. Cases are handled by District Attorneys. Our attorneys routinely handle criminal cases in the Denver area, but often travel to other areas of CO.

City Courts:

City courts exist in cities such as Aurora, Broomfield, and Lakewood, and cities across the Denver area. They are also referred to as municipal courts. These courts across the Denver metro area handle only misdemeanor cases. City attorneys take the place of District Attorneys (who handle cases in both district courts and county courts).

Helpful Information for Colorado Courts:

Plea Bargains

Plea bargains keep the courts running smoothly. If every case went to trial, the criminal justice system would be gridlocked. Judges, District Attorneys, and criminal defense attorneys all have different goals in criminal cases, and must work to align them. This is done by negotiating plea agreements that meet each different goal. The plea bargaining process is an essential part of the criminal justice system. But, it is difficult to navigate on your own. An aggressive criminal defense lawyer knows when a plea agreement is fair, and can help you get the best possible outcome in your criminal case. Learn more about plea agreements, and how they can help you in your case.

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Record Sealing

If you have a criminal record, you know it can have a negative impact on your life. Having a criminal record can make it difficult to get certain jobs or find a place to live. It can also have a negative impact on how other people view you. In some cases, people can go through a process which seals or expunges any record of an arrest or a conviction. In fact, after your record is sealed, some provisions of the law make it unlawful for an employer to ask you about your sealed record. To learn if you are eligible for your record to be sealed, contact one of our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys. We will expertly guide you through the process.

Judge vs. Jury Trials

Our clients often ask us about whether it is better to have a judge or a jury trial in Douglas, El Paso, or Arapahoe County. It's important to understand something when you are considering this issue. When you choose a jury trial, there is more than one person deciding your fate. When you choose a judge trial (this is also called a court or bench trial), only one person makes the decision about whether you are guilty or innocent. In the great majority of cases, it is better to choose a jury trial, because there is wisdom in numbers. If you have questions about your specific case, be sure to contact one of our skilled criminal defense lawyers to take a look at your unique situation.


Probation offices are usually located within the district court building. It is important to remember that probation employees work for the state judicial department. Therefore, they do everything in their power to protect the court. They may seem to be on your side, but probation officers are government employees. Probation revocation hearings are handled by District Attorneys and probation officers.

Sex Offender Deregistration

People who are convicted of sex offenses in Colorado must register as a sex offender in the jurisdiction where they live. The law permits some of these people (depending on the underlying offense)  to deregister as a sex offender – C.R.S. 16-22-113. After a certain amount of time (depending on the offense), registered sex offenders can petition the court to discontinue their registration. It is important to understand that you simply can't stop registering at the allotted time. You must petition the court, or you will be charged with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender – C.R.S. 18-412.5. The petition to deregister can be a complicated process, which is why it is wise to contact one of our expert defense lawyers to help you smoothly complete the process.

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There are two types of warrants in Colorado – search warrants and arrest warrants. Police officers must petition a judge to issue both types. Search warrants give the police permission to search your home for evidence in a criminal case, and arrest warrants give the police permission to arrest you for a crime. Each of them is invasive to your privacy. Learn more about warrants and extradition and how working with a lawyer will ensure you can protect your future.

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The criminal justice system is complex.

It is wise to have an advocate fighting on your behalf.

Work with a Lawyer to Guide You through the Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system is complex. And, if you have been charged with a crime, you will feel alone and overwhelmed. Don't try to navigate the system or face sentencing on your own when your freedom is on the line. Hire one of the affordable criminal defense lawyers at Sawyer Legal Group to work with you and be your advocate in the courtroom. The lawyers at our office have decades of combined experience we will put to work for you. 

Get Help Now

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in the Denver area, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact the top criminal defense lawyers at Sawyer Legal Group, LLC at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future. Request a Free Consultation