Colorado Revised Statutes Title 16. Criminal Proceedings § 16-5-301. Preliminary hearing or waiver--dispositional hearing

(1)(a) Every person accused of a class 1, 2, or 3 felony or level 1 or level 2 drug felony by direct information or felony complaint has the right to demand and receive a preliminary hearing within a reasonable time to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that the offense charged in the information or felony complaint was committed by the defendant.  In addition, only those persons accused of a class 4, 5, or 6 felony by direct information or felony complaint which felony requires mandatory sentencing or is a crime of violence as defined in section 18-1.3-406, C.R.S ., or is a sexual offense under part 4 of article 3 of title 18, C.R.S., shall have the right to demand and receive a preliminary hearing within a reasonable time to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that the offense charged in the information or felony complaint was committed by the defendant.  The procedure to be followed in asserting the right to a preliminary hearing and the time within which demand therefor must be made, as well as the time within which the hearing, if demanded, shall be had, shall be as provided by applicable rule of the supreme court of Colorado.  A failure to observe and substantially comply with such rule shall be deemed a waiver of this right to a preliminary hearing.

(b)(I) No person accused of a class 4, 5, or 6 felony or level 3 or level 4 drug felony by direct information or felony complaint, except those which require mandatory sentencing or which are crimes of violence as defined in section 18-1.3-406, C.R.S ., or which are sexual offenses under part 4 of article 3 of title 18, C.R.S., shall have the right to demand or receive a preliminary hearing;  except that such person shall participate in a dispositional hearing for the purposes of case evaluation and potential resolution.

(II) Any defendant accused of a class 4, 5, or 6 felony or level 3 or level 4 drug felony who is not otherwise entitled to a preliminary hearing pursuant to subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b), may demand and shall receive a preliminary hearing within a reasonable time pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (1), if the defendant is in custody for the offense for which the preliminary hearing is requested;  except that, upon motion of either party, the court shall vacate the preliminary hearing if there is a reasonable showing that the defendant has been released from custody prior to the preliminary hearing.

(III) The chief justice of the Colorado supreme court is encouraged to promulgate rules defining the term “dispositional hearing” for purposes of this paragraph (b), section 18-1-404(2), C.R.S ., and section 19-2-705(1.5), C.R.S .

(2) If a person is accused of an unlawful sexual offense classified as a felony, upon the request of any party to the proceeding, the court may exclude from the preliminary hearing any member of the general public.  In making a ruling for exclusion, the court shall:

(a) Set forth sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law to support the order;  and

(b) Make its order sufficiently narrow to protect the requesting party's compelling interest considering any reasonable alternative to exclusion for the entire hearing of all members of the general public.

(3) The court may exempt a victim's advocate from any order entered pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.  For the purposes of this section, “victim's advocate” means any person whose regular or volunteer duties include the support of an alleged victim of physical or sexual abuse or assault.


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