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Offered by Brighton Attorney Gregory R. McMahon

Although many cities such as Brighton and Commerce City have what is called Municipal Court, many citizens are not sure what Municipal Court is and how it might relate to their lives. This article will give an overview of these issues.

Municipal Court has jurisdiction over all violations of the municipal code, which can be quite comprehensive. These violations can include a wide range of offenses, such as traffic offenses, shoplifting, theft, trespassing, disorderly conduct, assault, and cases involving dog bites. For example, I recently observed a distressing hearing, at which I was not the attorney, where the Municipal Court Judge ordered a dog to be put down because the dog had attacked a small child, causing injuries.

What I want to emphasize is that if you are charged and ordered to appear in Municipal Court, you must take it seriously. While many of the cases are fine only, the maximum penalty in Municipal Court is one year in county jail plus a fine of $2,650.

I would advise contacting a lawyer if you are facing a charge that may carry jail time. If you are charged with a crime that carries potential jail time, you have a right to a jury trial of up to six people. However, you must pay the $25 jury demand fee within 21 days of your entering a plea of not guilty.

During your first appearance in Municipal Court, you will likely meet with the city prosecutor who may offer you a plea bargain to resolve the case. The decision to take the plea bargain is up to you, so be sure to understand what the plea bargain entails and what other options you might have.

This column is not legal advice nor does it constitute an attorney-client relationship. You may reach the author at 720.600.3269.

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Greg for the Defense