First Appearance

The accused must appear in court and is given a copy of the “Complaint/Information.” A felony complaint is “a written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged” and sworn upon oath or affirmation.

The court also advises a Defendant of his/her rights. Bond may be set at this time; and, an attorney can make an argument for a lower bond or a personal recognizance bond (“PR Bond”) at this hearing.

The Preliminary Hearing

Persons charged with a class 1, 2 or 3 felony are entitled to demand and receive a preliminary hearing. However, persons charged with a class 4, 5 or 6 felony are not entitled to demand and receive a preliminary hearing unless: (1) the felony charged is one that requires mandatory sentencing or is a statutory crime of violence; (2) the defendant is charged with a sexual offense; or (3) the defendant remains in custody for the offense for which the preliminary hearing is requested.

A person charged with a class 4, 5, or 6 felony who is not entitled to a preliminary hearing must participate in a “dispositional hearing” for case evaluation and possible resolution.

Disposition Hearing

If your case is not serious enough to entitle you to a preliminary hearing, the next court appearance after the First Appearance may be a Disposition Hearing. This is an opportunity for me to present mitigating evidence to the District Attorney and discuss potential plea agreements. It is dangerous for an accused to speak directly to the prosecutor. An attorney can help protect against the disclosure of evidence or statements that could hurt your case.


In some cases, the case may be set for Motions Hearing. An attorney may file motions to suppress, or keep out of trial, evidence that was taken in violation of your Constitutional Rights. For example, it may be appropriate to file a Motion to Suppress Statements or a Motion to Suppress Evidence, based on the facts of your case. It may also be appropriate, given the facts of your case, to file motions to litigate procedural issues (ie: the District Attorney has failed to turn over evidence that could prove your innocence).


Trial may be a viable option in your case. You have a right to speedy trial. This means you must be brought to trial on the issues raised by the complaint, information, or indictment within six months from the date of the entry of a plea of not guilty. If you are not brought to trial within this period, the pending charges should be dismissed. Felonies are usually best tried by a jury of your peers (rather than a court trial). The jury panel will be comprised of twelve members from the community. The verdict must be unanimous.

Collateral Effects

A felony conviction may prohibit you from obtaining certain professional licenses. Further, a conviction for a felony carries with it the loss of certain civil rights. For example, a person is ineligible to vote in any election while confined and serving any part of a term of imprisonment in a correctional facility or jail. Certain felons may not carry a firearm or other weapons, and offenders convicted of unlawful sexual conduct are required to register as sex offenders. In addition, a felony conviction can mean administrative discharge from the armed services, immigration consequences, or administrative action by schools and universities.

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Howard helps clients involved with felonies in the Colorado “High Country.” Howard & Associates, PC represents clients in Eagle County, Summit County, Clear Creek County, Lake County, Garfield County and Pitkin County including the towns of Aspen, Avon, Breckenridge, Dillon, Eagle, East Vail, Eagle-Vail, Edwards, Frisco, Georgetown, Glenwood Springs, Gypsum, Leadville, Silverthorne, West Vail and Wolcott.

*The information found on this website should not be construed as legal advice and is not a substitute for professional legal consultation. You should not base your legal decisions solely on the information found in this site and you are encouraged to seek the counsel of an attorney regarding your specific questions or situation. The information found herein may represent the opinions or commentary of the site editor(s) and is for informational or education purposes only. You agree by using this site that no attorney/client relationship has been formed between you and the attorneys, editors, owners, or participants in this site unless and until a written agreement has been signed between you and your attorney.

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