Pitkin County Criminal Court

Pitkin County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Pitkin County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Pitkin County.

I need help for my Pitkin County criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Pitkin County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Pitkin County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.

Pitkin County Criminal Court

Pitkin County Criminal Court

If guilty, who sentences the defendant?

If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.

Pitkin County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Pitkin County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Pitkin County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Pitkin County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.

What is Jury Deliberation?

After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.

What is a Plea Agreement?

A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.

Mandatory Appearances in Pitkin County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Pitkin County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.

Where will Pitkin County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Pitkin County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Pitkin County.

What if I can’t afford an attorney?

The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

The Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.

Prosecutor in Pitkin County

In Pitkin County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Pitkin County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Colorado. For the most part, the prosecutor in Pitkin County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.

Appealing a Criminal Conviciton

A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.

Pitkin County Criminal Court Locations

  • Pitkin County District Court

    Address: 506 East Main Street, Suite 300, Aspen, CO 81611
    Phone: 970-925-7635 Fax: 970-925-6349

  • County Court of Pitkin County

    Address: 506 East Main Street, Suite 300, Aspen, CO 81611
    Phone: 970-925-7635 Fax: 970-925-6349

  • Aspen Municipal Court

    Address: 130 South Galena Street, Aspen, CO 81611
    Phone: 970-429-2681 Fax: 970-920-5197

  • Snowmass Village Municipal Court

    Address: 130 Kearns Road, PO Box 5010, Snowmass Village, CO 81615
    Phone: 970-923-3777 Fax: 970-923-6083

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