In any criminal case you have the right to be represented by an attorney at your own expense. In many cases, you may also be also entitled to be represented by an attorney at no cost to you. You also have the right to represent yourself, but you will be held to the same standard and rules as an attorney.
Court proceedings are complicated and the consequences, besides jail, can be severe. For example, a conviction can result in deportation for noncitizens or stop a legal resident alien from becoming a citizen. Certain convictions can prevent a person from holding many types of jobs.
Criminal defense attorneys, whether they are for private hire, serve as public defenders, or are appointed by the Court, know the criminal justice system and the options available to you. Whenever possible, you should consider obtaining the help of an experienced defense attorney if you are charged with a crime.
If you are indigent (have an income level below a defined threshold) as defined by the guidelines issued by the Colorado Supreme Court, and face the possibility of jail, the Court may appoint a lawyer for you. This can occur in two ways:
If you are charged with a violation of state statute, a State Public Defender may be appointed to represent you.
If you are charged with a violation of a municipal ordinance, a Municipal Public Defender may be appointed to represent you.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD APPLY FOR A STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER OR A MUNICIPAL PUBLIC DEFENDER?
If you are charged with a violation of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) your violation(s) will have a corresponding statute number that is usually 7-digits in length and may include different subsections. Examples would look something like this:
12-34-567 or 12-34-567(a)
If you are charged with a violation of the Denver Revised Municipal Code (D.R.M.C.) your violation(s) will have a corresponding ordinance number that is usually 4 or 5-digits in length and may include different subsections. Examples would look like this:
12-34 or 12-34(a)
Additionally, a municipal public defender can be appointed on many types of traffic violations that are state charges (non-DUI), and are set to appear in the Traffic Division of the Denver County Court. Examples would be violations such as no proof of insurance or driving without a valid driver’s license. These violaitons will be 6 pr 7-digits in length, begin with the number ‘42’ and may include different subsections. Examples would look like this:
42-1-1111, 42-1-1111(2) or 42-1-111, 42-1-111(a)
To apply for a public defender, you must first make a request for an attorney to the Judge in Court. You must then complete the application process outlined below:
- Fill out the required application form (Spanish form ) and print three copies of the form;
- Bring your summons and complaint, proof of income documentation, and a setting slip from the County Court that shows your next scheduled court date to the Denver Public Defenders Office located at 1560 Broadway, Suite 300, Denver, Colorado 80202.
If you have questions, please contact the Public Defender’s Office at (303) 620-4999.
- Start your application over the phone by calling the Office of Municipal Public Defender at (720) 865-2840.
- Or visit our website to download the application forms and instructions here.
If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Municipal Public Defender at (720) 865-2840.
You must provide financial documentation to establish gross monthly income, which includes income from all household members who contribute to the support of the household.
You will need to have documents showing all your income sources.
Wages, tips, salaries, commissions, payments received as an independent contractor for labor or services (including day or temporary labor), bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, retirement benefits, royalties, interest/investment earnings, trust income, annuities, capital gains, unemployment benefits, Social Security Disability (SSD), Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI), Workman’s Compensation Benefits, and alimony. TANF payments, food stamps, subsidized housing assistance, veteran’s benefits earned from a disability, child support payments, or other public assistance programs. Any liquid assets, such as cash on hand or in accounts, personal property, equity or investments.
If you fail to bring proof of your total household income, the Court may deny your application.
If you are appointed an attorney, you must make all scheduled appointments with the attorney and you must attend all court appearances.