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What to Know About Arrest Warrants in Colorado

Posted on September 29, 2023

Arrest warrants are legal documents issued by a judge that authorizes law enforcement to arrest a specific individual suspected of a crime. An arrest warrant must be based on probable cause, which means there must be reasonable grounds to believe that the individual in question has engaged in criminal activity.

Arrest Warrants vs. Bench Warrants

In Colorado, there are distinct differences between an arrest warrant and a bench warrant. Here’s an explanation of each:

Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant is issued when there is sufficient evidence or probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime.

  • Purpose: The primary purpose of an arrest warrant is to initiate the legal process against a suspect. It allows law enforcement to take the individual into custody for further legal proceedings.
  • Process: The warrant is obtained by law enforcement officers who present evidence to a judge. If the judge finds the evidence sufficient, they issue the warrant.

Bench Warrant

A bench warrant is also a legal document issued by a judge, but it is different from an arrest warrant. It is issued when an individual fails to appear in court as required for a scheduled hearing, trial, or any other court proceeding.

  • Purpose: The purpose of a bench warrant is to compel the appearance of the individual in court. It instructs law enforcement to apprehend the person and bring them before the court.
  • Process: Bench warrants are typically initiated by the judge presiding over the case due to the defendant’s failure to comply with court orders.

Both warrants serve different purposes but authorize law enforcement to take specific actions, whether it’s apprehending a suspect or ensuring a person’s appearance in court.

Arrest Warrants and Your Rights

When it comes to arrest warrants in Colorado, you still have several important rights that are protected by law:

Right to Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that law enforcement must have a valid warrant or probable cause to arrest you.

Right to Know the Charges

You have the right to be informed of the specific charges against you. This is essential for understanding the nature of the accusations.

Right to Remain Silent

You have the right to remain silent and cannot be compelled to incriminate yourself. Anything you say can be used against you in court, so it’s often advisable to exercise this right and consult an attorney.

Right to be Treated Humanely

You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect while in custody. This includes protection from physical abuse or excessive force.

Right to Legal Representation

You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, you have the right to have a lawyer appointed to represent you.

Right to Due Process

You have the right to be treated fairly and have legal proceedings conducted in a just and reasonable manner.

Right to Challenge the Warrant

If you believe the arrest warrant is invalid or issued in error, you have the right to challenge it in court. This may involve filing a motion to suppress evidence obtained through the warrant.

Right to an Arraignment

You have the right to be brought before a court as soon as reasonably possible after your arrest. This is typically referred to as an arraignment, where you will be informed of the charges against you.

Right to a Speedy Trial

You have the right to a speedy and public trial. This ensures you are not held in custody for an extended period without a fair trial.

Right to Bail

In many cases, you have the right to request bail. Bail allows you to be released from custody under certain conditions until your trial.

These rights are fundamental to the legal system and apply to all individuals, regardless of the circumstances. If you have any concerns about your rights in a specific situation, it is highly recommended that you consult with a qualified Breckenridge Criminal Defense Attorney. They can provide personalized legal advice and guide you through the process.