Charging and Filing
In Colorado, misdemeanors (including traffic cases) and petty offenses/infractions are filed directly with the court by law enforcement. Felony cases are first reviewed by the District Attorney's (DA) Office before filing. After reviewing and accepting a felony case, prosecutors decide what type of charges to file. This section presents data on all cases for which a law enforcement agency has filed the case (misdemeanors or petty offenses/infractions) or for which the DA’s Office has decided to accept the referral and file the charges (felonies).
Why is this important? To support community safety, we want to be able to maximize limited resources by focusing on serious crime while minimizing unnecessary punitiveness. Understanding the number and types of cases filed in the Office helps to ensure we use resources efficiently, effectively, and fairly.
A slight increase in cases filed in 2021 reflects that the COVID-19 pandemic likely artificially decreased our case filing numbers in 2020.
Misdemeanor and traffic cases are the main drivers of our case filing data. Felony case filings have remained steady.
Here we can more clearly see the impact of how the COVID-19 pandemic artificially reduced our case filings.
Below are a set of indicators that provide additional context about cases filed. These indicators help the DA's Office ensure they are prioritizing cases effectively and charging cases appropriately.
The two above charts reflect an overall reduction in felony level crime and violent crime over the last three years.
- Each case is represented once, by the top charge filed.
- Warrants are excluded (for all cases identified as a warrant).
- Cases do not map directly to criminal incidents. One incident can result in multiple arrests and cases – or multiple incidents could result in the arrest and prosecution of a single individual.
- For definitions of charge types included in the dashboard, see the full list in Technical Notes.