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Felony Referrals

A felony referral to the District Attorney's (DA) Office occurs when law enforcement presents an individual suspected of a felony crime to review for potential charges, generally following an arrest. This section presents data on felony cases referred by law enforcement agencies to the DA’s Office for review. The DA’s Office decides whether to file charges – a formal accusation that a specific person has committed a specific crime – based on the evidence and reasonable likelihood of conviction

Why is this important?  The DA’s Office makes decisions based on the cases they receive from law enforcement; they are not responsible for arresting or citing individuals. The office may decide not to file a case for a number of reasons, such as acceptance into a pre-charge diversion program, insufficient evidence/investigation by law enforcement, or when the charges did not rise to the level of a crime.



It is important to identify whether a case is prosecutable or not at point of case filing. The number of cases brought to the DA's Office is dependent on local law enforcement agencies.



Indicators

Below are a set of indicators that provide additional context about felony referrals. These indicators help the DA's Office ensure they maximize government resources by making strategic decisions about which cases to accept for prosecution.


Our goal is that declination rates be similar between different racial and ethnic groups. Demographic information is collected by law enforcement.



Our goal is that declination rates be similar between different racial and ethnic groups. Demographic information is collected by law enforcement.

Click Here for more information about race and ethnicity data collection and limitations.



Our goal is to identify dismissible cases at the earliest point possible. In general, we want an increase in percent of cases declined at filing relative to percent of cases dismissed after filing.



Colorado statutes may require filing a felony in a case even though justice will necessitate a plea to a misdemeanor.


Notes:

  • Underlying data counts for each chart can be accessed through this link.
  • Each referral is represented once. 
  • Warrants are excluded (for all cases identified as a warrant).
  • Misdemeanor cases are directly charged and filed by the law enforcement agency; the DA does not review these cases for charging. The DA’s Office can dismiss misdemeanor cases (see Case Resolution dashboard). 
  • Law enforcement arrests and charges are based on a probable cause standard of proof, whereas the DA’s Office charges based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt.