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You Mean the Court Can Pre-Punish me? Unfortunately, Yes.

As you start progressing through a criminal case, you may find yourself wondering why you are serving a sentence before you've even gone to court. It's becoming common practice in a number of jurisdictions to place stringent pretrial supervision conditions on criminal defendants. These conditions can include GPS monitoring (ankle bracelets just like in home detention) that tracks your movements and guarantees you don't go near where the alleged victim in your case lives. The court can also place other conditions such as breath tests and urinalysis, daily or weekly check-ins and, in some cases, even counseling. If you are accused of a sex offense, be prepared for a strict no contact order that forbids any contact with children under the age of 18. The court will also likely impose a no contact order that will forbid you contact with the alleged victim of the offense, especially in domestic violence cases.

How can the courts order this when you have a presumption of innocence? Under Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) § 16-4-105(3) the legislature has authorized the judicial districts to create pretrial supervision programs which evaluate you to determine what types of services you should have if you are released on bond. The same statute allows judges in districts that have a pretrial supervision program to use these services and order them when setting your bond. C.R.S. § 16-4-103(2)(f) allows a judge to impose conditions that will, in the judge's opinion, make it more likely a criminal defendant will fulfill other bond conditions. This includes submission of a criminal defendant to supervision.

If you are ordered to pretrial supervision as a condition of bond, there's unfortunately not much you can do but be as compliant as possible. Remember that your supervisor has a direct pipeline to the court and the court is going to listen to his or her advice. If you can show a good track record with pretrial supervision many judges will view that as mitigation and may take it into account at sentencing. But be sure, if you don't comply with pretrial supervision, you may be looking at the possibility of having your bond revoked and going to jail. At worst, you may face new criminal charges for violation of bail bond conditions. If you were on bond for a misdemeanor, this is a new class 3 misdemeanor. If you were on bond for a felony, this is a new class 6 felony. C.R.S. § 18-8-212(3) says that any person convicted of violation of bail bond conditions won't be eligible for probation and will be sentenced for at least a year for a felony and at least six months for a misdemeanor. These sentences also have to be served consecutively to the original charge you were on bond for. The moral of the story is keep your supervisor happy and it may help you; make them angry and it's sure to hurt you.

While we hope you benefit from the information we posted above, it is important to note that we always suggest you contact an attorney to advise you and walk you through the legal process so that you can achieve the best possible result.

This blog was posted by Stephanie Rikeman, an associate attorney at Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C. You may contact her directly at our law firm at 303-825-1075 or at http://www.shazamlaw.com/

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