Often one of the most critical stages of any case is the first 24-72 hours after an arrest. Smith & Weidinger can help you at this critical juncture.
Has a loved one been arrested? Here is some basic information that is good to know:
- Law enforcement in Colorado have the ability arrest a suspect. For certain lower level offenses they might issue a summons and forgo an arrest. However, for certain felonies, any instances of domestic violence, and any instances of a violations of a protection order (aka restraining) order an arrest may be mandatory.
- Certain arrests are done because there is a warrant out. That warrant could be for an allegation of a new crime, a failure to appear in court, a failure to comply with a court order, a violation of bond conditions, a violation of probation, or one of a number of other scenarios.
- If the arrest is for a warrant issued by a judge, then there may already be a bond associated with the case. In those instances you can post cash or use a surety (bondsman) to post a sum of money promising that a citizen will return for court. In those instances it may be possible to get someone out of jail the same day they are arrested. Unfortunately there are some warrants that are "no bond" meaning that subject will have to wait to see a judge until they have the possibility of being released.
- If the allegation is a new crime, then the subject will most often have to see a judge who would set bond for them. Typically this is done the next day if the courts are open. However, if it is a weekend or a holiday then the subject may have to wait until the next Court date to see a judge. This means that you or your loved one is arrested on a Friday evening they may not see a judge until Monday or even Tuesday if it is a three day holiday weekend. In certain larger jurisdictions such as Denver, there may be weekend court where a judge or a magistrate can set a bond on Saturday or Sunday.
Can I go visit them?
- Each county sheriff sets visitation for their own jail. Typically in-person visitation for non-professionals is very restrictive or non-existent. In the era of Covid this became even more common. However, most every jail has a phone or video teleconference system that allows inmates to contact friends or family. In order to use this you often need to set up an account and/or put "money on the books" of your loved ones. Each county jail has a different policy and may use different contractors for these services. Therefore it is best to search for and review the website of the county sheriff where you loved one is being held.
Can a lawyer go visit them?
- Under Colorado law, the sheriff must permit a lawyer to speak to an incarcerated person. This can very often be done in person to preserve the confidentiality of that visit. If your loved one is a client of Smith & Weidinger please just call us and we will make arrangements as soon as possible to visit them.
What if my loved one does not yet have a lawyer?
- Anyone who is in jail has the option to use the Colorado Public Defender to represent them at a bond hearing. These are often very skilled and conscientious lawyers. However, they also often deal with sometimes up to dozens of subjects going before the judge the same day. So their prep time in talking to your loved one might be limited to a few minutes.
- If you decide to retain private counsel such as Smith & Weidinger, we can visit your loved one, advise them of their rights, and then appear with them at their bond hearing.
- Under Colorado law an individual must consult with a prospective attorney prior to having them enter representation for them. However, we can visit your loved one and give them the opportunity to make that decision. You as a guarantor can pay for that visit and even the eventual representation if your loved one is satisfied that there is a good fit for legal representation. The representation would be the incarcerated person and our duties as far as confidentiality would be due to them regardless of who was paying for the legal services. Please call us at (720)996-2600 and we can explain the process in much greater depth.
Why is it important to get an attorney at this early stage?
- A bond hearing can be a vital part of any case. That is the point the judge decides what, if any, bond will be allowed for the Defendant. A high bond could delay your loved one from getting out of jail.
- The bond hearing can also result in court orders for pre-trial drug or alcohol testing, sometimes in serious matters GPS monitoring, and often protection (restraining) orders. These orders can substantially impact a person's relationship with their family, their work, and their quality of life. It is important that the judge has all the information in your loved one's favor to help that decision since you can be assured the prosecutor will often be trying to portray them in the most negative light possible.