Colorado Rights Blog

SB21-273: Pre-trial Reform

Bill Number: SB21-273
Year: 2021
ACLU Position: Monitor
Sponsors: A. Benavidez/J. Bacon/P. Lee/D. Moreno


The bill creates the community response to low-level offenses
working group in the department of public safety to study and propose
statewide policy and legislative initiatives to safely increase community
response in lieu of law enforcement engagement for lower-level offenses
and calls for service when there is no criminal conduct. The working
group shall report its findings to the judiciary committees of the house of representatives and the senate, or any successor committees, by the
February 1, 2022.

The bill prohibits a peace officer from arresting a person based
solely on the alleged commission of a traffic offense, petty offense, drug
petty offense, municipal offense, drug misdemeanor offense, or
misdemeanor offense, unless:
• Custodial arrest is statutorily required;
• The offense is a victim rights crime; the offense includes
an element of illegal possession or use of a firearm; or the
offense constitutes unlawful sexual behavior, failure to
register as a sex offender, or the offense is a violation of a
temporary or regular extreme risk protection order, a
violation of a credible threat to a school, or a violation of
eluding in a vehicle; or
• The officer is unable to sufficiently verify the individual’s
identity absent a custodial arrest.

The bill prohibits a court from issuing a monetary bond for a
misdemeanor offense; municipal offense; class 4, 5, or 6 felony; or a drug
felony unless the court finds the defendant will flee prosecution or
threaten the safety of another and no other condition of release can
reasonably mitigate the risk. The bill requires the court to issue a personal
recognizance bond when the defendant fails to appear, unless:
• The defendant failed to appear when a witness was
subpoenaed or a civilian witness was on call;
• The defendant intentionally failed to appear for the purpose
of interfering with or deterring victim or witness
participation in the case; or
• The defendant has failed to appear 2 or more times in the

The bill requires the court to issue a personal recognizance bond
in a failure to comply with a probation conditions case that is not based
on a criminal offense, unless:
• The violation was for a failure to comply with any court-
ordered treatment related to a sex offense or domestic
• The defendant has already had probation revoked for
failure to comply in the case; or
• The court finds the defendant is likely to flee prosecution.
The bill permits appellate review of a court’s bail or bond order by
either the defendant or the prosecution after a reconsideration hearing,
denial of a reconsideration of bond conditions, or order for bail after

The bill authorizes sheriffs to actively manage their jail
populations in order to keep the population as low as possible while
maintaining community safety, including the authority to establish jail
admission standards that include offense-based admission standards that
limit jail admissions.

Current Status:

House Committee on Finance Postpone Indefinitely (06/07/2021)

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