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CHAPTER 4: OVERVIEW OF A CRIMINAL CASE - Table of Contents

4.1 - Filing of Charges4.2 - Arrest and Custody4.3 - Advisement Hearings4.4 - Preliminary Proceedings4.5 - Plea Negotiations4.6 - Arraignment4.7 - Pretrial Motions4.8 - Overview of a Criminal Trial

4.3 ADVISEMENT HEARINGS

The law requires that a person who is arrested be taken without unnecessary delay to appear before the nearest available county or district court judge. In Boulder County, there is a courtroom at the jail for this purpose. Advisement hearings are scheduled each weekday at 2 p.m. Advisements are also conducted on weekends by Boulder magistrates. Responsibility for conducting advisements rotates among the county court judges.

If the person was arrested without a warrant, the court reviews police reports and other information to determine whether there was probable cause to support the arrest. If the court does not find probable cause, the court should release the person on a personal recognizance bond. In all other situations, the court will determine what amount of bail and type of bond are appropriate.

If the person has been arrested for a felony, it is often the case that the prosecution is still determining what, if any, charges should be filed. Therefore, a person arrested for a felony is advised that he or she is under investigation and a court date is set, usually within three days, for the filing of charges. When felony charges are filed, the defendant may ask for a preliminary hearing or a status conference, as further described below.

If the person has been arrested for a misdemeanor or petty offense, charges have almost always already been filed by the arresting officer. In misdemeanor cases, many judges proceed immediately to arraignment, that is, the taking of a plea. A defendant who wishes to plead guilty may do so at this time. A defendant who wishes to engage in plea negotiations or to contest his case, may enter a plea of not guilty and ask that the case be set for a pre-trial conference as further described below.

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