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Your Colorado Constitutional Rights – The Colorado Bill of Rights and Colorado Criminal Process

By H. Michael Steinberg – Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Email

Your Colorado Constitutional Rights

Your Colorado Constitutional Rights

Your Colorado Constitutional Rights Attorney H. Michael Steinberg provides vigorous representation for his clients through every stage of the criminal defense process.

Understanding Colorado’s Constitution

The Colorado Constitution contains the rules for how our state government operates. A main premise of the Constitution is that the people of Colorado give the government its power.

The Original Colorado Constitution was written in 1876. It has changed, or been amended, over 20 times since then. The Constitution can only be changed if a majority of voters approve the change.

In Colorado, Article II1, of the Colorado Constitution outlines the “rights” of any individual accused of a crime:

The right to counsel, privilege against self-incrimination, and trial by jury have been the touchstone of due process of law rooted in the foregoing constitutional provisions. All other due process/equal protection rights emanated from this trilogy of constitutional guarantees.

The Sixth Amendment right to an attorney attaches at the initiation of the adversarial process whether by way of formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or arraignment.

At least after a formal charge has been filed an accused has the absolute right to rely upon an attorney as a constitutional buffer between him/her and the State.

The Key Amendment Never To Forget: the Fifth Amendment’s Right to Remain Silent

The foundation of the American criminal judicial process is based upon the Fifth Amendments prohibition that:

…….no individual shall be denied life or liberty without the benefit of due process and equal protection of the law.

If the citizen remembers nothing else – while they are being pressured by the police to make a statement so that the police have the “other side” of the story – they must remember this right – the right to shut up and seek the advice of a good lawyer.

The Colorado state constitution contains provisions every citizen of this state being investigated for or charged with Colorado Criminal Offenses should know and understand. This webpage summarizes those rights and seeks to assist the reader with at least a rudimentary understand of their Colorado Constitutional rights.

Your Colorado Constitution

The Colorado Constitution

Your Colorado Constitutional Rights

Article II, Bill of Rights -The Colorado Bill of Rights As They Relate To Colorado Criminal Cases

In order to assert our rights, acknowledge our duties, and proclaim the principles upon which our government is founded, we declare:

(Open Courts: Section)

6. Equality of Justice.

Courts of justice shall be open to every person, and a speedy remedy afforded for every injury to person, property or character; and right and justice should be administered without sale, denial or delay.

(Colorado Search and Seizure Protection)

Section 7. Security of person and property – searches – seizures -warrants.

The people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place or seize any person or things shall issue without describing the place to be searched, or the person or thing to be seized, as near as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation reduced to writing.

(Requirements Before Charging Someone With a Felony)

Section 8. Prosecutions – indictment or information.

Until otherwise provided by law, no person shall, for a felony, be proceeded against criminally otherwise than by indictment, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger. In all other cases, offenses shall be prosecuted criminally by indictment or information.

(Ex Post Facto Prohibition)

Section 11. Ex post facto laws

No ex post facto law, nor law impairing the obligation of contracts, or retrospective in its operation, or making any irrevocable grant of special privileges, franchises or immunities, shall be passed by the general assembly.

(Rights in Criminal Cases)

Section 16. Criminal prosecutions – rights of defendant.

In criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to appear and defend in person and by counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; to meet the witnesses against him face to face; to have process to compel the attendance of witnesses in his behalf, and a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense is alleged to have been committed.

(The Colorado Prohibition Against Self Incrimination)

Section 18. Crimes – evidence against one’s self – jeopardy

No person shall be compelled to testify against himself in a criminal case nor shall any person be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense. If the jury disagree, or if the judgment be arrested after the verdict, or if the judgment be reversed for error in law, the accused shall not be deemed to have been in jeopardy.

(Colorado Constitutional Bail Laws)

Section 19. Right to bail – exceptions.

(1) All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties pending disposition of charges except:

(a) For capital offenses when proof is evident or presumption is great; or

(b) When, after a hearing held within ninety?six hours of arrest and upon reasonable notice, the court finds that proof is evident or presumption is great as to the crime alleged to have been committed and finds that the public would be placed in significant peril if the accused were released on bail and such person is accused in any of the following cases:

(I) A crime of violence, as may be defined by the general assembly, alleged to have been committed while on probation or parole resulting from the conviction of a crime of violence;

(II) A crime of violence, as may be defined by the general assembly, alleged to have been committed while on bail pending the disposition of a previous crime of violence charge for which probable cause has been found;

(III) A crime of violence, as may be defined by the general assembly, alleged to have been committed after two previous felony convictions, or one such previous felony conviction if such conviction was for a crime of violence, upon charges separately brought and tried under the laws of this state or under the laws of any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States which, if committed in this state, would be a felony; or

(2) Except in the case of a capital offense, if a person is denied bail under this section, the trial of the person shall be commenced not more than ninety days after the date on which bail is denied. If the trial is not commenced within ninety days and the delay is not attributable to the defense, the court shall immediately schedule a bail hearing and shall set the amount of the bail for the person.

(2.5) (a) The court may grant bail after a person is convicted, pending sentencing or appeal, only as provided by statute as enacted by the general assembly; except that no bail is allowed for persons convicted of:

(I) Murder;

(II) Any felony sexual assault involving the use of a deadly weapon;

(III) Any felony sexual assault committed against a child who is under fifteen years of age;

(IV) A crime of violence, as defined by statute enacted by the general assembly; or

(V) Any felony during the commission of which the person used a firearm.

(b) The court shall not set bail that is otherwise allowed pursuant to this subsection (2.5) unless the court finds that:

(I) The person is unlikely to flee and does not pose a danger to the safety of any person or the community; and

(II) The appeal is not frivolous or is not pursued for the purpose of delay.

(3) This section shall take effect January 1, 1995, and shall apply to offenses committed on or after said date.

Section 20. Excessive bail, fines or punishment. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

(The Colorado Right to Trial by Jury)

Section 23. Trial by jury – grand jury.

The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate in criminal cases; but a jury in civil cases in all courts, or in criminal cases in courts not of record, may consist of less than twelve persons, as may be prescribed by law. Hereafter a grand jury shall consist of twelve persons, any nine of whom concurring may find an indictment; provided, the general assembly may change, regulate or abolish the grand jury system; and provided, further, the right of any person to serve on any jury shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex, and the general assembly may provide by law for the exemption from jury service of persons or classes of persons.

(The Colorado Right to Due Process)

Section 25. Due process of law

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.

Equal protection and additional due process protections were later expanded by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and made applicable to all the States:

•Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Conlcusion – Colortado’s Constitution

In Colorado, the adversarial criminal trial process commences when an individual is arrested pursuant to a warrant obtained through a complaint filed with a court. From this juncture forward, the accused enjoys the right to assistance of counsel at every “critical stage” of the prosecution. A pretrial stage is considered “critical” if the accused needs assistance in coping with legal problems or assistance in meeting his adversary. Any post-indictment police interrogation is certainly a “critical stage.”

H.Michael Steinberg is committed to providing skilled advocacy in his criminal defense work, and protection of the individual from the awesome powers of the State. He stands ready to assist, and defend, anyone facing the investigatory and prosecutorial powers of the State.

Your Colorado Constitutional Rights

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael SteinbergEmail The Author  – A Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer  – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277. 

If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about Your Colorado Constitutional Rights, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

Most Experienced Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer - Attorney - Law FirmH. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience –  specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range.  He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options.  Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case.  Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases.

Contact A Lawyer with Three Decades of Experience as a Denver Criminal Attorney at The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm Today.

Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg provides solid criminal defense for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the City and County courts of Adams County, Arapahoe County, City and County of Boulder, City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver, Douglas County, El Paso County – Colorado Springs, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Larimer County, and Weld County,…. and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving …Your Colorado Constitutional Rights. 


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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