INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF MUNICIPAL CRIMES IN DENVER
You cannot drop the charges: only the prosecutor can drop the charges. Because a criminal case is brought on behalf o the City, the victim of any case cannot drop charges. This also relieves the victim of domestic violence from any undue pressure to drop charges.
If you are personally served with a subpoena you are legally required to appear for court. If you cannot appear in court or need assistance to appear at that date and time, please contact our office at 720.913.8050 as soon as possible. We can request a continuance, get you a bus pass, provide cab fare, or help coordinate child care through the Warm Welcome Child Care Center.
If the defendant is found guilty of the charges or enters a guilty plea, you have the opportunity to address the judge about the case at sentencing. You may provide a written and/or verbal statement describing the impact of the crime and what you would like to see happen. The judge will make the final decision on sentencing. The maximum sentence allowable per charge is a $999 fine, up to one year in jail, and up to two years of probation. Counseling and treatment may be made conditions of probation and will be in cases of domestic violence.
If the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty, the judge can order restitution for certain expenses directly related to the crime, such as medical bills and property damage. If the defendant is found not guilty or the case is dismissed the courts will not be able to order restitution on your behalf. In this circumstance you may choose to pursue a civil suit against the defendant.
In order to obtain restitution, you will have to notify the Victim Specialist or Assistant City Attorney prior to the conclusion of the case. You may be required to fill out a restitution form and provide documentation such as receipts, bills, estimates, etc. Once our office has the information, we will make the request on your behalf. If you do not get the required documentation to our office in a timely matter, we may not be able to seek the restitution on your behalf and the case may conclude without consideration of your loss. If the defendant contests restitution, you may be required to come to court to provide testimony.
Once the defendant has been ordered by the court to pay restitution, a payment schedule will be established. To assure the defendant pays the restitution, all payments must be made to the court and the court will send you the funds. Therefore, it is important that the court has your current address. Please make sure to provide this information to the victim specialist working with you on this case.
In criminal matters the court will only order restitution for costs that are not covered by insurance, such as medical co-pays, deductibles, or any other amount not covered by insurance. The court will not order the defendant to pay for any property upgrades, lost wages, costs incurred because of court appearance, or pain and suffering. In order to pursue these types of losses, you may choose to file a civil suit. For more information on the civil court procedures, please call 303-640-5161.
Important Confidentiality Notice
Some documents (medical bills, insurance claims, receipts, etc.) may be provided to the defendant. If there is any information on these documents (e.g., social security number, credit card information, medical I.D. number) that you do not want shared, be sure to mark it out before submitting it to our office.
If the Defendant Cannot or Will Not Pay Restitution
If the defendant does not pay the restitution ordered, the court can issue a show cause citation which requires the defendant to appear in court and explain the failure to pay. Once the defendant appears in court, the judge will determine how to proceed. This may include providing the defendant another opportunity to pay, holding the defendant in contempt of court, deferring or dismissing restitution requirements if the court finds the defendant does not have the ability to pay. If the defendant does not pay the restitution, you may seek restitution in civil court. For more information on the civil court procedure, call the Denver County Court at 303-640-5161.
The Victims’ Compensation Fund can provide victims limited financial assistance to pay for expenses resulting from the crime, including medical bills, replacement of doors, locks, and windows damaged in the incident, and mental health services. A police report must be provided. For more information, call 720.913.9253.
There are two ways to obtain a protection order: as part of the criminal case, or in civil court. If you want a protection order (also called a “no contact order”) while your case is being adjudicated, contact a victim advocate in our office by calling 720.913.8020. This protection order/no contact order is not permanent and will expire when the criminal case is closed.
If you wish to pursue a permanent protection order, you will need to obtain a civil protection order. The Denver Protection Order Court is located in the City and County Building, 1437 Bannock, Room 170. You may file for a protection order at 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. You will be asked to provide the name of the defendant, where the defendant lives or works, and information that shows why you are in fear for your safety, and you may be assessed a $25 fee. You may call the Court with questions at 720.865.7275. Project Safeguard has staff on site who can offer assistance and can be reached at 303.317.4157.
Below are some tips to help you obtain a protection order.
- Protection order paperwork must be turned in by 9 a.m. Monday through Friday.
- There are court fees and a fee for serving the paperwork, although if your case involves domestic violence, both fees are waived.
- If you are indigent, the court filing fee may be waived. The fee is also waived in cases involving stalking, sexual assault and elder abuse.
- Children will not be allowed in Courtroom 170. Free daycare for those appearing in court is available for children ages six weeks – 12 years at the Warm Welcome Child Care Center, located across Colfax at 270 14th Street (14th Street and Court Street).
- Project Safeguard provides free assistance the protection order paperwork. Their office is located in the City and County Building in Room 177; they can be reached at 303-865.9159.
- Self help forms are available through the Project Safeguard office or online at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm?Form_Type_ID=24
- The process of requesting a temporary or permanent protection order can take up to several hours.
- If you receive a temporary protection order, you must return to court two weeks later to request that the order be made permanent. The court will assign a specific date to return. The defendant will have the right to appear and testify in a permanent protection order hearing.
NOTIFICATION OF DEFENDANT’S RELEASE
If you want to be notified when the defendant is released from jail, you must register on the automated VINE (Victim Information Notification Everyday) system by calling 1.888.263.8463 or go to https://www.vinelink.com/vinelink/siteInfoAction.do?siteId=6000.
To check on the status of a warrant, call the police non-emergency line at 720.913.2000.
A disposition hearing provides the defendant an opportunity to plead guilty or continue the case to trial. You are not required to appear at the disposition hearing.
If the case is set for trial you may be required to testify in person and will be sent a subpoena to appear. Your written statement is not a replacement for in-person testimony. If you are required to testify the City Attorney and victim specialist will talk to you before trial.
A defendant may request a trial by jury or by the court (a judge only). Unless you are ordered by the court, you are not required to speak with the City Attorney, victim specialist, the defendant, or the defense attorney about this case. You do not need to hire an attorney.