Municipal Court Case Defense in Colorado

If you have been charged with a municipal court offense, the good news is that such offenses are typically considered the least serious offenses in Colorado.  The bad news is that such cases can still carry a maximum penalty of $ 2450 in fines and 364 days in jail.  Thus, it is often a good idea to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side when charged with a municipal offense.

Municipal offenses are initiated by a city or municipality, whereas county and district court cases are initiated by the state of Colorado.  Generally, municipal court offenses mirror roughly equivalent state laws.  Municipal court violations can be initiated by summons or warrant/arrest.  Municipal violations are often misdemeanors, though they can also be charged as petty offenses. If a municipal offense is charged as a misdemeanor, it is an unclassified misdemeanor. This means that municipal offenses do not fall within the State’s scheme for classifying misdemeanors or its sentencing guidelines for those misdemeanor charges.

Municipal court procedure is different than county or district court procedure. That is due, in part, to Colorado’s Home Rule. Essentially, in Colorado, cities are empowered to enact laws, so long as they do not conflict with state laws. Thus, the cities and towns, or municipalities, have together passed their own sets of codes that determine how municipal court will proceed.  One such difference is in the speedy trial rule.  In Colorado district and county courts, a defendant must be tried by the state within 6 months of his entry of a not guilty plea.  Under municipal court procedure, a defendant must be tried within 90 days.  Another difference is that in municipal court, a defendant must affirmatively request a jury trial within 21 days from the date that a person entered a not guilty plea.  If the defendant fails to do so, any trial will be held to a court — not a jury. In some cases, it may be better to have a trial in front of a judge; however, our experienced staff and attorneys will guide you though the process and make sure that you protect your right to a jury trial. Further, for a municipal jury trial, the defendant may choose the amount of jurors, between 3-6.  These procedures are different in county or district court, as in these courts a jury trial is always the implied request when one sets a case for trial.  Further, in district court, twelve jurors — not three to six — are allotted at trial.  Finally, a municipal defendant must pay $25 when requesting a jury trial.  In county and district court cases, there is no such jury fee.

The attorneys at the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez are experienced Colorado municipal court attorneys who have successfully represented municipal defendants including at trial.  Our attorneys commonly represent individuals charged in:

  • and others.

If you are facing municipal court charges, contact Colorado criminal defense attorney Jacob E. Martinez today to discuss your case.