As your lawyers, we understand that unfamiliarity with the court process and environment can cause anxiety. The process can even intimidates people with experience in the criminal justice system. Being accused of a crime when your liberty and reputation are at stake can be both frightening and frustrating. We will help alleviate some of that anxiety and concern by making sure you understand everything that is required of you for your case. We will dispel myths, ease concerns, and help you focus on the most important issue in your case.
We will go over everything that will happen in Court with you before the court date, including updates on the progress of your case and our investigation. We will answer all of your questions and make sure you feel as comfortable as possible given the situation. You will not have to make any major decisions about your case without all available information and an appropriate amount of time to consider them.
What you wear to court sends a message to the judge, prosecutors, and court staff about how seriously you take your case. We recommend wearing business or business-casual clothing to court. Never wear jeans, hats, shorts, T-shirts, sleeveless blouses or shirts, sandals, or any type of revealing apparel to court. Also be mindful that you are required to go through a metal detector each time you enter the courthouse, so expect the same type of security check that you would see at an airport.
Most Court appearances will take roughly an hour or so, and are usually scheduled either in the mornings between 8am and 9:30am, or in the afternoon between 1pm and 1:30pm. There can be as many as 50 or more other cases scheduled for the same time in the same courtroom and on the same day as your case. With only one judge and one to three prosecutors per courtroom, this means that while the entire time at the courthouse will take roughly an hour or so, the majority of that time will be spent waiting due to the court system’s severe resource constraints. Feel free to bring a book, smartphone or tablet (though there is rarely Wi-Fi available at any courthouse), and make sure to set all devices to silent or vibrate.
All courthouses except Denver have free public parking lots, and it can fill up quickly, so please plan accordingly. After parking and going through security, head to your courtroom. We will meet you outside the courtroom to review with you everything that will happen while we are in court. There is no need to arrive more than fifteen minutes early.
Once we enter the courtroom, make sure your phone, and all other devices, are on silent. There are very few ways to anger a judge more than having your ringtone echoing through the courtroom as the judge is trying to conduct serious proceedings.
The courtroom is divided into two parts by a waist-high barrier that separates the front from the back of the courtroom. The back half of the courtroom will have benches for public seating. When we enter the courtroom, just find an open seat on a bench. The front half of the courtroom is where the judge sits, and has the jury box (although without jurors the majority of the time), a podium, and two tables for attorneys.
When the judge calls the case and says your name, walk up past the barrier to the podium and stand next to us. You should always be standing when addressing a judge, and refer to the judge as either “Judge (last name)” or “Your Honor.” This shows the court respect and sends a strong message that you take the matter seriously.
A DUI case in Colorado can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year. Many factors can affect this timeline, including whether the matter proceeds to trial and the nature of any litigation that is conducted before trial. In addition, each county has its own individual procedures regarding how a case is handled, and usually has its own names for each stage of the process, but to give you an idea, here is a very brief overview of a typical sequence in DUI cases: