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In re People v. Huckabay.

2020 CO 42. No. 20SA31. Criminal Trials—Preliminary Hearing—Mandatory Sentencing.

May 18, 2020

In this case, the Supreme Court was asked to decide whether an out-of-custody defendant accused of felony DUI is entitled to a preliminary hearing pursuant to the preliminary hearing statute, CRS § 16-5-301(1)(a), and the related court rule, Crim. P. 7(h)(1).

Under these provisions, a defendant is entitled to a preliminary hearing whenever he or she is charged with a class 4, 5, or 6 felony and the charge requires the imposition of mandatory sentencing. Further, by its plain meaning, “mandatory sentencing” involves any period of incarceration required by law.

Applying these principles to the instant case, the Court held that Huckabay is entitled to a preliminary hearing because he was charged with felony DUI—a class 4 felony that carries mandatory sentencing either to the Colorado Department of Corrections or to a county jail as a condition of probation.

The Court therefore made the rule absolute.

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