FAQs

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Deferred Sentence - What is a deferred sentence?

    Colorado statutes authorize a person to plead guilty to a criminal offense but to postpone sentencing on that offense for a period of time not to exceed two years on a misdemeanor or four years on a felony. During this postponement period, the defendant must remain law abiding, pay restitution and court costs, and complete any conditions set be the court, such as drug/alcohol treatment, domestic violence treatment, mental health treatment and useful public service work. At the end of the postponement period, if the defendant has fully complied with the conditions of his/her deferred sentence, the defendant can withdraw his guilty plea and the charge is dismissed. However, if the defendant fails to fully comply with the conditions of his deferred sentence, the court will sentence the defendant upon his previously entered guilty plea.

Public Defender - How do I get a Public Defender?

    You may call their office at 970-247-9284 and press 0 to ask for assistance or you may go to their office at 175 Mercado Street, Suite 250, Durango, and fill out an application.

Drug Court - What is a drug court?

    Drug Court is an alternative to the regular docket in both adult and juvenile court. Offenders who have committed non-violent crimes related to drug abuse and addiction problems are eligible for this program. Drug Court utilizes the focused involvement of the Court, Probation, treatment providers, and others involved in the criminal justice system, to increase direct supervision of offenders, coordinate public resources, and expedite case processing. Through Drug Court, offenders are given the tools and support to make positive changes in their lives and break the cycle of alcohol and drug use, criminal behavior, and incarceration.

Can I report a crime to the District Attorney's Office?

    By statute, the District Attorney's Office is responsible to prosecute crimes which have been charged following an investigation by a law enforcement agency such as the police or sheriff's office. To report a crime you should contact your local police or sheriff's office.

    Non-Emergency # 970-385-2900

    Emergency - dial 911

I think someone used my name when they got their ticket. What can I do about it?

    Please contact your your local law enforcement agency for assistance as directed by C.R.S. 16-5-103(3).

I live out of state or live more than 100 miles from La Plata County. Do I have to come back to my court date, or do I have other options?

    If you did have to post a bond, you will need to appear in person on your court date. If you did not have to post a bond, you may be eligible to enter a plea of guilty by mail.

How do I seal a case?

    This depends on the type of case you wish to seal. If you wish to seal a conviction of a minor in possession of alcohol MIP (C.R.S 18-13-122), you may file a petition to seal in the court in which you were convicted. If you wish to seal some other sort of conviction, you may be eligible to seal your case under C.R.S. 24-72-308.

    You may wish to consult an attorney on this issue or you can contact the courts web site and self help center at: http://www.courts.state.co.us/Self_Help/Index.cfm .

I want to voice a concern about how my case is being handled by the Deputy District Attorney assigned to my case. To whom can I speak?

    If you have a concern about how your case is proceeding, you may contact our office at 970-247-8850.  If you are represented by an attorney, we are prohibited from discussing your case with you. You will need to address these concerns with your attorney.

I received a copy of a motion to revoke in the mail. What do I do now?

    Once a motion has been filed with the court, the judge will determine whether or not to issue a warrant or a summons to appear in court. You should receive a copy of the court's Order in the mail.

    If you have questions about the Order, or have not received the Order yet, you should contact the courts at (970) 247-2304.

What is the difference between District Court and County Court?

    The District Court handles all criminal cases which include a felony charge and all criminal cases where the person charged is a juvenile under the age of 18 years of age. The County Court handles all criminal cases involving misdemeanors, traffic offenses and traffic infractions.

What is a preliminary hearing?

    A preliminary hearing is a hearing before a judge to determine if it is more probable than not the the defendant comitted the felony offenses for which the defendant has been charged. If the judge finds that probable cause exists then the defendant is bound over for trial. If the judge does not find probable cause exists then the felony charges are dismissed.

What is an arrangement?

    This is a court appearance where the defendant, after being advised of his/her rights, makes a decision to either plead guilty and avoid a trial or plead not guilty and request a trial on the charges.

I missed my court date what should I do?

    You should contact the court as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of a warrant being issued for your arrest. If you have a bondsman, you should also contact them and advise them that you missed your court date.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

    A felony is a criminal offense which is punishable by a sentence to the Colorado Department of Corrections. A misdemeanor is a criminal offense which is punishable be a sentence to a fine or the county jail.

Is the District Attorney elected or appointed?

    The District Attorney is an elected official and serves a four year term. Under state law the District Attorney is limited to two four year terms.

Can the District Attorney tell the police or sheriff what to do?

    The District Attorney does not have legal authority over the operation of police agencies or the sheriff's department.

I am a defendant and I don't think my attorney is very good. Can I talk to the deputy district attorney assigned to my case?

    If you are represented by an attorney, the district attorney cannot ethically talk with you about your case without your attorney being present.