May 25, 2019

HB 16-1309: Establishing a Defendant’s Right to Counsel in Certain Municipal Cases

On March 2, 2016, Rep. Susan Lontine and Sen. Vicki Marble introduced HB 16-1309Concerning a Defendant’s Right to Counsel in Certain Cases Considered by Municipal Courts. The bill was introduced in the House Judiciary Committee, where it passed, unamended, and was referred to the House Committee of the Whole. The bill passed Second and Third Readings in the House unamended and was assigned to the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee. The bill was amended in the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

This bill applies to prosecutions for violations of municipal charters and ordinances. At the time of first appearance on a municipal charge, if the defendant is in custody and the charged offense includes a possible sentence of incarceration, the court shall appoint counsel to represent the defendant for purposes of the initial appearance unless, after a full advisement, the defendant makes a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of his or her right to counsel. If the defendant remains in custody, the appointment of counsel continues until the defendant is released from custody. If the defendant is released from custody, he or she may apply for court-appointed counsel, and the court shall appoint counsel if the court determines that the defendant is indigent and the charged offense includes a possible sentence of incarceration.

Max Montag is a 2016 J.D. Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

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