Federal crime prosecutions have increased dramatically in recent years around the US, and Colorado is no exception. In this state, federal crime prosecutions have risen by 9% in the last two years.
Given the seriousness of federal charges and how commonly they are brought in Colorado, you should know the law very well. In all states, the consequences of federal charges are usually so much worse than a mere state conviction. For example, if you have a federal charge of drug possession in Colorado, you could do a devastating five year mandatory minimum sentence! These mandatory minimum sentences at the federal level can really be a huge headache. But if this were only a state charge, you might get off with a probationary sentence.
Of course, if you are charged with a federal crime in Colorado, the federal government must inform you of the charges against you. After you are told of the charges, you will be held in custody in one of the federal district jails in Colorado. You will likely have to stay in jail until trial, unless you can bond out.
About the Preliminary Hearing
In all states, the preliminary hearing is held within three days of your arrest on federal charges. Here you and your attorney will have a chance to see the evidence and challenge it.
It is important for you to know that in a federal case, the prosecution is usually going to have built a strong case before they ever arrested you. It is highly likely that the evidence against you will be substantial. And also, the burden of proof in the preliminary hearing is quite low. They only must show probable cause that you could have committed the crime, not the much higher standard of beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal trial.
The prosecution can have witnesses testify against you, and hearsay is fair game. You probably will be detained in a Colorado federal detention center before the trial. However, your lawyer in Colorado still can use this hearing to hear the evidence against you, which can help in building an effective defense.
About the Bond Hearing
Your bond hearing will be in Colorado federal district court, and you will want to be released pending the outcome of the case.
Federal Jurisdictions in Colorado
The state of Colorado has one federal district, and has courts in Denver, Colorado Springs, Durango and Grand Junction.
Sentences for Federal Crimes in Colorado
When facing a federal charge, you also can be charged at the state level in Colorado and do more time.
If you are convicted on the federal level, the federal sentencing guidelines tell the judge how to sentence you. But the length of the sentence can depend upon several things:
Did you have a disadvantaged childhood?
Did you commit crimes previously? Were they serious?
Do you have family or friends that can talk about your good character?
Have you sought treatment for substance abuse?
Do you have children to support?
Top Colorado Federal Crime Issues
The most frequent types of federal cases in Colorado are drug trafficking and immigration cases.
Statute of Limitations in Colorado
For federal crimes, there is a uniform statute of limitations for each type, and whether it is a civil or criminal case:
Assault – 2 years
Contract – 10 years
False imprisonment – 2 years
Fraud – 5 years
Judgements – 20 years
Libel – 1 year
Personal injury – 2 years
Property damage – 5 years
Slander – 1 year
Wrongful death – 2 years
Arson – No limit
Assault – 3 years
Burglary – 3 years
Murder – no limit
Manslaughter – no limit
Rape – no limit or 3 years, depending on case
Kidnapping – 3 years
Robbery – 3 years