Our Role

Our Role in Criminal Justice

Playing an essential role in the criminal justice system, the District Attorney’s Office is responsible for seeking truth and justice when someone is accused of violating a state criminal law.

Criminal Justice System

Colorado’s criminal justice system is a collaboration between lawmakers, law enforcement, district attorneys, judges and the community.

  • Legislature: Criminal laws and the corresponding criminal justice response — such as prison sentences — are created and controlled by the Colorado General Assembly and signed off on by the Governor.
  • Law Enforcement: Police departments and sheriffs’ offices are charged with investigating reported crimes. When probable cause for an arrestable offense exists, officers have the discretion to decide whether or not to take the accused into custody.
  • District Attorneys: DAs review cases referred by law enforcement and determine what charges should be filed or not filed based on the evidence and a reasonable likelihood of conviction at trial.
  • Jury: If a case goes to trial, individuals from the community are presented with the evidence and determine if a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime they are charged with.
  • Judge: At the beginning of a case, a judge determines if there is probable cause for the charges filed by the DA. Judges preside over hearings and trials, and if the accused is convicted, issues a sentence created by law though the legislature.


The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office is charged with prosecuting violations of state criminal laws within Gilpin and Jefferson counties. We are one of 22 different DA’s offices across Colorado. View a map of judicial districts and the elected DA for each jurisdiction from the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office handles some violations of state law, while federal crimes are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Municipal code violations are prosecuted by the local City Attorney or County Attorney.


In criminal cases, the District Attorney’s Office has numerous responsibilities in the courtroom:

  • Endeavor to discover all facts of consequence
  • Pursuing justice
  • Serving the community that we represent
  • Protecting the constitutional rights of victims and the accused
  • Inform the public without compromising victim privacy rights