Other VRA Responsibilities

Colorado Law

Law Enforcement – District Attorney – Local Jails – Department of Corrections –Probation- Parole – Community Corrections – Division of Youth Services – State Hospital, all have responsibilities under the law.  

Article II, Section 16a of the Colorado Constitution states: “Any person who is a victim of a criminal act, or such person’s designee, legal guardian, or surviving immediate family members if such person is deceased, shall have the right to be heard when relevant, informed and present at all critical stages of the criminal justice process.”

Victims will be informed of the critical stages and events regarding their case. It is the responsibility of the victim to opt out of any notification that they no longer wish to receive. The Probation Department; however, requires the victim to “opt in” if they would like to receive notifications of critical stages.

Victims must keep the appropriate criminal justice authorities informed of the name, address, and phone number of the person who should be provided information, and any changes in that information.

 Probation Responsibilities (Upon Request)

Inform the victim of the following:

  • Expected date of termination of probation
  • Contact information for department supervising defendant
  • In Domestic Violence cases, any conduct that increases supervision level
  • Motion for or court ordered changes to terms of probation
  • Complaint, summons, or warrant issues for failure to report (abscond = automatic notification)
  • Death while under probation jurisdiction
  • Change of venue/jurisdiction or interstate compact transfer
  • Request for release of the person in advance of defendant’s sentence
  • Hearing/consideration of revocation or early termination and resentencing
  • Victim’s right to be heard/provide written input at critical stages

District Attorney Responsibilities

Inform the victim of the following:

  • Case status changes
  • Their right to pursue a civil judgment
  • Explanation of felony charges or decision not to file
  • How to ensure address protection (court order, ACP)
  • Options for child care and transportation to and from court hearings
  • Court dates and scheduling changes
  • The name of the Deputy DA handling the case
  • Employer intercession regarding court appearances
  • Right to view, at the DA’s discretion, all or part of the pre-sentence report from probation
  • Their right to be present for critical stages and at which stages the victim has the right to be heard (victim impact statement)
  • How to opt in for post sentencing notification (probation)
  • Motion to sequester the victim from a critical stage
  • Court’s consideration of the victim’s position or motion to sequester

Victims have a right to consultation prior to disposition/trial regarding:

  • Criminal charges and their potential consequences
  • Plea agreements and sentencing considerations
  • Possible outcomes of the case

The DA should make reasonable effort to redact social security numbers and information about the victim’s location from court records.

DA’s Initial Critical Stages:

  • Arraignment
  • Preliminary hearing
  • Bond reduction or modification
  • Motions hearing
  • Disposition/plea
  • Trial
  • Sentencing
  • Subpoena for victim records
  • Request to modify no contact order

DA’s Post- Sentence Critical Stages:

  • Appeals
  • Modification or re-sentencing
  • DNA test results/proceedings
  • Attack on conviction
  • Petition to cease sex offender registration
  • Request to prog. From state mental health hospital
  • Expungement of juvenile records hearing
  • Request for sealing of adult records hearing

Court/Judges Responsibilities

The court has an obligation to:

  • Inquire if victim is present and wishes to be heard at critical stages (Provide alternative means if the victim is unable to attend)
  • Prevent testimony that would assist in location a victim
  • When practicable, provide a safe and secure waiting area for victims and witnesses
  • Make reasonable efforts to accommodate the victim upon return of verdict
  • If requested, provide the victim’s information to any post-sentencing entity
  • Include victim impact statement with any referral to community corrections
  • State in writing/on the record that the victim’s objection to sequestration was considered and the basis for the court’s decision
  • Determine the amount, if any, of restitution to be paid to victim
  • Notify the DA’s office if considering a sentence modification and of petitions filed by sex offenders to cease registration
  • Provide results of court ordered HIV test in sexual assault case
  • Inform the DA and probation of any probationer request for termination or charges

Correctional Critical Stages (including Department of Corrections/Youth Services, Community Corrections and Local Jails):

  • Offender’s location/projected release date
  • Parole/revocation hearings
  • Full board parole hearing
  • Referral to community corrections
  • Request by DHS to modify sentence and court’s decision
  • Time/location of execution if capital case
  • Transfer to non-secure facility
  • Transfer from residential to non-residential facility
  • Governor’s decision to commute/pardon (prior to public disclosure)

Corrections/State Mental Health Hospital Critical Stages:

  • Advance notice of furlough or work release
  • Release, transfer, escape/recapture, and/or death
  • Discharge and related conditions

 Helpful resources where forms can be obtained:

Law Enforcement Responsibilities

PLEASE NOTE: If you are contacted by anyone who works on behalf of the Defendant's legal team, it is your right to be informed of that person's name and the fact that they are working for the Defendant. It is your choice whether or not to speak with a representative of the Defendant's legal team. Many people are receiving calls stating that they are "advocates" who work for "the state". Defense teams MUST inform victims that they are agents for the person accused of the crime!