Colorado Municipal Code Violations – City Code Criminal Charges – How Does This Work?

Colorado Municipal Code Violations - City Code Criminal Charges
Colorado Municipal Code Violations – City Code Criminal Charges

Colorado Municipal Code Violations – City Code Criminal Charges

By Colorado Municipal Code – City Code Criminal Defense Lawyer– H. Michael Steinberg

Colorado Municipal Code Violations – City Code Criminal Charges  – You can be charged with domestic violence related offenses in Federal, State of Colorado and Municipal – or City based Colorado courthouses.

 To understand the differences between Federal Criminal Cases, State Criminal Cases, and so called Municipal or ” Muni” Code Criminal Cases, you begin with the law.  Each city in the state of Colorado has what I will call “triple concurrent jurisdictions” within its city borders. 

What that means is that the Colorado cities of  Arvada, Aurora,  Boulder,  Broomfield, Castle Rock,  Cherry Hills Village, Colorado Springs, Commerce City, Denver,  Englewood,  Federal Heights, Ft. Collins, Glendale, Golden, Greenwood Village, Lafayette, Lakewood, Louisville, Littleton,  Longmont,  Northglenn, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge, and others…are ALL within the Federal Government’s jurisdiction and their County’s criminal jurisdiction. But they also have their own – independent – yet relatively small and self contained – court based criminal jurisdictions.

For example – here is a LINK to Denver’s Municipal Code – Which includes the City’s Criminal Code provisions.

Here is a sample penalty law – from Denver – which states – as all of the municipalities do – that the maximum punishments for a “Muni Code” violation is up to one year in jail and or a $999.00 fine..

Sec. 1-13. General

(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) through (d) of this section, whenever any section of this Code or any section of a rule or regulation promulgated hereunder requires, prohibits or declares to be unlawful the doing of any act, any violation of such section is hereby declared to be a criminal violation. If no definite fine or penalty is provided for a violation, any person who shall be convicted of a violation of any such section shall, for each offense, be fined in a sum not more than nine hundred ninety-nine dollars ($999.00) or imprisoned not to exceed one (1) year, or both so fined and imprisoned. Each day an offense and violation continue shall constitute a separate offense and violation.

Sometimes the fine is $1,000.00 – as in the Town of Castle Rock’s Code:

Chapter 1.08 General Penalty

A. No person shall violate any of the provisions of the ordinances of the Town, including the provisions of this Code. Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed by any ordinance of the Town, any person who violates any of the provisions of the ordinances of the Town or this Code shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or by imprisonment not to exceed one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Colorado Municipal Code Violations – City Code Criminal Charges – Criminal Defenses As Against Municipal Code Ordinances

Colorado Code Violations parallel in many ways the State of Colorado’s Misdemeanor Criminal Charges – sometimes the crime itself is EXACTLY THE SAME.

Here are some of the most common CRIMINAL Municipal Ordinance Violations:

Harassment, assault, and domestic violence

Resisting arrest, interference, disobedience to lawful orders

Disturbing the peace

Possession of Marijuana and Possession of alcohol cases

Theft, (such as shoplifting)

Trespass

Criminal Mischief – Damage to property, (example – graffiti)

Animal care and control crimes

Probation violations for any of the criminal code charges

Traffic Charges such as:

Speeding tickets

Speeding and Habitual Driving Offenses

Hit and Run

Careless / reckless driving citations

Domestic violence charges

Restraining order violations

Harassment

Drug Paraphernalia charges

Minor in possession charges

Prostitution and solicitation

Nuisance and abatement

Noise ordinance violations

Why Retain A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer In Municipal Court? – Aren’t These Insignificant Criminal Cases?

A muni code ordinance conviction has the same effect as a Colorado State criminal convictions in this way – if it appears on a background check as – for example – Assault and Battery – Domestic Violence – a present or future employer will not care that is a conviction in the “lowest” Colorado courts. 

The state’s criminal justice system contains four levels of criminal convictions. 1) petty offenses, 2) municipal offenses, 3) misdemeanors, and themost serious –  4) felonies.  

A muni code conviction sits higher than a petty offense – but is less serious than a misdemeanor or felony. The distinction is often lost on those that care about such things. 

“The Rub” – More and More Colorado Municipal Code Violations Are Showing Up On Thorough Criminal Background Checks

However, convictions for municipal violations do show up on a criminal background check.  Therefore, they can negatively affect employment opportunities, professional licensing, security clearances, and housing.

The Decision To Charge A Case In Municipal Court Is Made By The Patrol Officer In Most Instances.

Revenue – Money – Revenue in the form of the payment of fines fees and costs in criminal cases flows to the City in Municipal Court prosecutions.  In state prosecutions – those payments are made to the state and NOT shared with the City based government.  As a result – the local police department – whenever possible – file there cases – that is make the tickets they write or make the bond returns on the arrests they make – returnable in their CITY courts.

The City Attorney – Prosecutor – prosecutes cases in municipal court and the CITY – not the county sheriff or the Colorado state police  are  responsible for investigating cases brought in Municipal Court.

Unless a case has no equivalent charge under the local municipal code – local policies favor filing the case ” locally.”

All of your constitutional rights – including the right to trial by jury, the right to a lawyer, and the right to appeal – ALL apply in municipal court. One notable exception is that the right to a speedy trial is shortened from 6 months to 3 months.

2013 Colorado Law Expands The Right To Seal A Colorado Municipal – City Code Criminal Conviction

Prior to 2013 – a Colorado Muncipal Code criminal case had to be completely dismissed – as is the case with all but drug related convictions – before it could be sealed – expunged. 

Legislation passed in 2013 now makes sealing of this record possible after three years. Here is a LINK to an article I wrote explaining the 2013 law. 

Colorado Municipal Code Violations – City Code Criminal Charges

Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer

The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

H. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer who will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options.

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases. Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg provides solid criminal defenses for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the City and County courts of Adams County, Arapahoe County, City and County of Boulder, City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver, Douglas County, El Paso County – Colorado Springs, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Larimer County, and Weld County,…. and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving …Colorado Municipal Code Violations – City Code Criminal Charges.

Colorado Domestic Violence Lawyer