Colorado Defendant’s Right to a Jury Trial

Both the Federal and Colorado Constitutions guarantee the right to a jury trial in criminal cases. Colorado further grants defendants a right by statute to demand a jury trial in all criminal cases.

There is no Colorado or Federal Constitutional right to a jury trial for petty offenses unless the potential punishment is at least 6 months in jail. In Colorado however, a defendant has a statutory right to a jury trial in all petty offenses and most municipal code violation cases. This right is conditioned upon the defendant requesting a jury trial in writing within 21 days of entering a plea or arraignment and paying a twenty-five dollar ($25.00) jury fee. A defendant must request a trial to a jury of six (6) jurors, otherwise only three (3) jurors will determine the case.

In felony matters, the jury shall consist of 12 jurors, unless a smaller number has been agreed to by the parties and approved by the court. An exception exists for Class 1 Felonies. In any felony prosecution, the minimum number of jurors must be at least six (6).

In misdemeanor matters, the jury shall consist of 6 jurors, unless a smaller number has been agreed to by the parties and approved by the court.

A juvenile does not have a constitutional right via the Colorado or Federal Constitution to receive a jury trial in juvenile proceedings. However, in Colorado a juvenile may receive a jury trial if demanded in a case where the juvenile is alleged to be an “aggravated juvenile offender” or has been alleged to have committed a “statutory crime of violence”. The district attorney’s office may also demand a jury trial in cases of aggravated juvenile offenders or statutory crimes of violence.

The juvenile court may also order a jury trial for cases that do not involve a violation of a court order, a misdemeanor, a municipal ordinance, petty offense, or a county ordinance.

Cases that are not heard by a jury are decided by the court.

Contact Attorney Robbins at 303-355-5148 or 970-301-5541 for a free case evaluation regarding any Colorado felony, misdemeanor, juvenile, petty offense, traffic, or municipal code violation case.