If you have a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge in Adams County, you must appear in the Adams County Justice Center, located at 1100 Judicial Center Dr. Brighton, CO 80601. If the DUI arrest happened in Arvada, Aurora, Bennett, Brighton, Commerce City, Federal Heights, Henderson, Lochbuie, Northglenn, Strasburg, Thornton, Westminster, or Unincorporated Adams County, your case is pending in the Adams County Justice Center. This is Colorado’s 17th Judicial District.
Adams County DUI Court
If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, then you will have your first hearing in the FAC courtroom (first appearance center), commonly known as “Division R.” This is the large courtroom with an even larger waiting area on the second floor of the courthouse. If you are facing a felony DUI, you will have a court hearing in district court in the same courthouse. The first hearing happens anywhere from two weeks to three months from the initial date of the DUI arrest.
The first DUI court hearing noted on the appearance bond or summons is an advisement. At this hearing, the court clerk will provide you or your attorney with a document that reviews the legal rights you have moving forward, including the right to hire a private attorney to represent you or apply for the services of the public defender if you are legally indigent. If you have a prior conviction for DUI or DWAI, the judge or magistrate will also order that you be placed on pretrial supervision (monitored sobriety) while the case is pending. Under Colorado law, a defendant in a DUI case must have his or her sobriety monitored while the case is pending if there is a prior conviction. For a first-alleged offense, this is discretionary and usually not imposed by an Adams Couty judge unless some aggravating circumstances exist, such as a high BAC or serious accident. The judge will also order that you appear at a future hearing about 30 days in the future called a pretrial conference. This future hearing is a status hearing to see if the case may be resolved before setting it for trial.
Many times, a person with an attorney already retained will not need to appear at this first hearing. depending on the judge and circumstances, this first hearing may be vacated (cancelled) by the court, and the next hearing scheduled. This is because the person who already has retained an attorney does not need to be advised of the right to do so.
In addition, Adams County judges allow for virtual court hearings in many instances. This means a person has the choice of appearing in person, or for certain types of hearings through WebEx. Virtual Court is a new process adopted by the Colorado Supreme Court. There is more information about Adams County Virtual Court online.
If a person has three or more prior DUI-type convictions, the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office will charge a felony in the district court. The district court only handles felony cases, while county court handles misdemeanor and traffic matters. Should a felony DUI be charged, a person would have posted a bond (usually around $10,000) to be out-of-custody pending the case resolution. The bond conditions would certainly include pretrial supervision (monitored sobriety) and travel restrictions. Once a person appears for their first felony DUI hearing and is advised of the charges, a preliminary hearing is scheduled. The preliminary hearing is for a judge to determine whether probable cause exists for the case to move forward.
Typically, a DUI case will take from four months to one-year in Adams County before a resolution is reached or a trial occurs. If the DUI case involves a pending blood test, this is longer. In a misdemeanor DUI case, after the first advisement hearing, the court will have one or more pretrial conference hearings to determine whether the case will resolve or have a not guilty plea entered and proceed to a trial. Even if a not guilty plea is entered and the case is set for trial, there are hearings before trial where the case could still be resolved. It would take about a year for a DUI case to proceed to trial in Adams County.
There are many Adams County Court Judges and District Court Judges that DUI a case may be assigned to. This is a random process conducted by the clerk’s office, so there is no way to influence which courtroom or which judge is assigned. A full list of judges in Adams County is available online.
A person facing a DUI in Adams County will also likely have a pending DMV revocation action. Driver’s license issues are not determined by the judges in Adams County Court, but at a separate hearing through the Colorado Department of Revenue. It is important to be aware of the deadlines to request a DMV hearing, as it must happen in as little as seven days after arrest.