Probation in Colorado Criminal Cases - How it Works

How probation works in Colorado criminal cases

Section 18-1.3-201 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) provides:

A person who has been convicted of an offense, other than a Colorado class 1 felony or a Colorado class 2 petty offense, is eligible to apply to the court for probation. Defendants in misdemeanor cases get sentenced to misdemeanor probation and those in felony cases get sentenced to felony probation. For less serious crimes, probation can be unsupervised.

Probation is an alternative to incarceration. If you are placed on probation, you will not have to go to or remain in prison or jail, subject to:

  • Supervision by the Colorado Probation Department for the county in which you reside, and
  • Compliance with the conditions of probation placed on you by the court. 

To help you better understand Colorado probation, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:

1. Who is eligible for probation?

You may apply for probation at any time after you plead guilty or no contest to a crime, or you are found guilty of an adult or juvenile criminal offense, other than a Colorado class 1 felony or a class 2 petty offense.

Your Colorado criminal defense lawyer will usually ask for probation at the time of your sentencing. But you can also request probation after you have served any part of your sentence.

You are not eligible for probation if:

  • You have two or more prior felony convictions arising out of separate and distinct criminal episodes under the laws of Colorado, any other state, or the United States; and
  • Your current conviction or a prior conviction is for:
    • First or second degree murder;
    • Manslaughter;
    • First or second degree assault;
    • First or second degree kidnapping;
    • Sexual assault or sexual contact;
    • First degree arson;
    • First or second degree burglary;
    • Robbery;
    • Aggravated robbery;
    • Theft from the person of another;
    • Any felony offense committed against a child; or
    • Any criminal attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses set forth above.

These restrictions on eligibility for probation may be waived by the sentencing court upon recommendation of the district attorney approved by an order of the sentencing court.

In addition, if the conviction for which you are seeking probation occurred before May 25, 2010, you are not eligible if you were convicted of one or more prior class 1, 2, or 3 felonies committed within the ten years prior to the felony conviction for which you are seeking probation unless the district attorney recommends probation and the court approves it.

2. What are some common conditions of probation?

Conditions of your probation will usually depend on the crime with which you were charged. However, common conditions often include some or all of the following:

  • You must report regularly and as scheduled to your Colorado probation officer;
  • No commission of any other crime;
  • No use of non-prescription drugs, alcohol or medical marijuana;
  • Drug testing;
  • Attendance at, and completion of, counseling for drugs, alcohol, or anger management, as applicable (at your own expense);
  • No ownership or possession of firearms;
  • Payment of restitution to the victim(s) of your offense;
  • Payment of supervision costs and any fines ordered by the court;
  • Electronic monitoring; and/or 
  • Compliance with a protective order, if applicable (e.g., in cases involving domestic violence).

3. What happens if I violate my probation?

If you violate any of these conditions, you may be arrested on a “no bond” warrant and sent or returned to custody to serve out your sentence.

You will have the opportunity to argue to the court during a motion to revoke probation (“MRP”) that you did not, in fact, violate your probation. In some cases, you may even be able to argue that a violation was minimal and you should be allowed to continue probation.

An experienced Colorado criminal lawyer can be of tremendous assistance in presenting these arguments to the court and preserving your freedom.

4. What happens after I complete probation?

If you comply with all the terms of your probation, you may be eligible to apply for early termination of your probation. Upon successful completion of probation -- whether early or as scheduled -- you are released from the supervision of the Colorado judicial system.

Additionally, if you were on probation as part of deferred sentencing – for example for drug or domestic violence treatment – on successful completion of your treatment program the charges against you will be dismissed or reduced, as applicable.

Note that it's also possible to apply for early termination of probation in Colorado.

Call us for help…

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Probation can be an attractive alternative to prison or jail. But navigating the Colorado criminal court system can be tricky.

Our caring Colorado criminal defense lawyers can help you fill out your probation application and present it to the court. And if you are ineligible for probation, we can argue your case to the district attorney and the court and possibly get you probation anyway.

We also have a tremendous amount of experience in defending clients accused of probation violations at Colorado MRP hearings . Contact us today to find out how we can fight to keep your probation from being revoked.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Colorado defense attorneys, simply fill out the confidential form on this page.
Or call us at our centrally located Denver home office:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 222-0330




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