Can I Be Prosecuted In The State Of Colorado?- Jurisdiction Issues
By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – Specialist
The question often arises as to whether a person, who is targeted with the commission of a Colorado criminal act, can be prosecuted in the state of Colorado. This question raises the issue known as the jurisdiction of the court to “hear” to prosecute a criminal case.
In the context of Colorado criminal law, jurisdiction is defined as the authority of a sovereign governing body to define the nature of the criminal activity and to prosecute individuals who violate those criminal laws within the sovereign’s state lines.
The Major Grounds For Finding Jurisdiction By A Colorado Court
Colorado state law C.R.S. 18-1-201(1) confers jurisdiction upon the State of Colorado to prosecute offenses under certain circumstances. These circumstances that permit jurisdiction over a criminal case are as follows:
[A] person is subject to prosecution in this State for an offense which he commits, by his own conduct or that of another for which he is legally accountable if:
The Colorado jurisdiction statute makes it clear that for jurisdiction to be proper in Colorado some part of the alleged offense must occur in Colorado
Location And Subject Matter
In almost every Colorado criminal case, jurisdiction is defined by “the location” of the alleged crime and the “subject matter” of the criminal activity that is alleged to have occurred.
This is referred to as “personal and subject matter jurisdiction” over the individual.
If you or a loved one are charged with a criminal case in Colorado and one or both of these elements may be lacking the accused may file a Motion to Dismiss based on lack of jurisdiction the lack of the power to proceed with the criminal case.
What Is Concurrent Jurisdiction?
The term “concurrent jurisdiction” means that more than one Court can claim jurisdiction over a criminal case. Multiple states can have jurisdiction over a criminal case if, for example, the crime occurs in both states.
What If The Criminal Act Occurs In Two Different States?
States are legally separate sovereigns. It is lawful for different states to prosecute the same person for the same crime in multiple states because they are “separate sovereigns” each with the authority to prosecute. If a crime is committed in more than one state, every state involved can prosecute the crime or crimes charged.
The constitutional right against “double jeopardy” will not apply because of the law of sovereignly – different jurisdictions “sovereigns” each have the right to prosecute crimes committed within that state’s borders.
Always Retain A Lawyer Familiar With The Laws And Practices And Customs Of The State Prosecuting The Case
Unfortunately, the criminal laws of each state involved will be different. Colorado’s laws regarding self-defense for example will be different than Utah’s or Arizona’s. Therefore, defending a criminal case successfully may turn on legal and tactical nuances that are not familiar to a lawyer who does not practice criminal law in the state in question.
If you or someone you love is charged with a crime in Colorado, please contact my law firm at (303) 627-7777. H. Michael Steinberg