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.
Felony and misdemeanor filings exhibited a decrease in 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of other external factors have contributed to this continued decline, including a significant change in the classification of misdemeanors in 2022 and cyclical economic factors such as historically low unemployment rates.
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.
Although there has been a small decline in the number of felony cases filed with our office from 2020 to 2021, the data suggests that there has been an increase in violent crime filings of over 30% from 2018 to 2020 levels.
As discussed above, the data suggests an increasing trend in the number of violent crimes filed. Our aim is to continue to prioritize violent crime and to protect public safety.
- 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.