What Happens at My First Denver Court Appearance in a DUI case?

If you were arrested for DUI in Denver County, you must appear at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse at 520 West Colfax Avenue.  This first court hearing is often referred to as an advisement, first-appearance hearing, bond appearance, or return on summons. This is the date and time noted on your summons or bond paperwork.

At this hearing, the judge will advise you of your constitutional rights in a criminal case and also tell you that you have the right to retain an attorney to assist you with the DUI case. If you cannot afford an attorney, the judge will point you in the direction of the public defender’s office to assist defending your driving under the influence charge. Regardless, you will be afforded more time to seek legal counsel if you elect to do so and speak up at this hearing.

This initial court appearance may be waived in certain circumstances if you were given a summons and did not have to post bond to be released from jail. If you retain an attorney, you may not need to appear at the first court appearance, as your attorney can waive this initial advisement and request that a disposition hearing be scheduled down the road. Even if you are required to appear, do not expect anything of importance to happen that will affect the ultimate result of your DUI case. Most of the time, the deputy district attorney present has not built a file before this court appearance and may not be willing to proceed with negotiations at this early juncture.

If you have a prior offense or had to have bond posted for your release from jail, the judge will also review your file at this hearing to decide whether any pre-trial conditions will be imposed while your case is pending. You should expect that your sobriety will be monitored by breathalyzer or urinalysis tests while your case is pending if you have a prior DUI or DWAI on your record.  Other common pre-trial conditions include travel restrictions outside of Colorado, no new criminal offenses while the court case is pending, no driving without a valid license, and no consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs including marijuana. A violation of these court orders could lead to additional criminal charges.

If you have an upcoming first court appearance in Denver County or elsewhere in Colorado, the assistance of a Colorado DUI lawyer can be of great benefit to you.