Waiving the Right to a Jury Trial in Colorado


Are you facing criminal charges in the Greater Denver Area? If so, it’s going to be very important for you to weigh your legal options. Will you challenge your charges? Will you accept a plea bargain? Or, will you waive your right to a jury trial and instead let a judge decide your fate?

For the purposes of this post, I want to discuss waiving one’s right to a jury trial and the reasons behind this legal maneuver. If a criminal defendant decides that it’s in his or her best interests to forgo a plea bargain and have their case brought before a judge or jury, they will have to decide if they prefer to go the jury route, or if they’d rather their case be decided by a judge.

To have a jury trial or not to have a jury trial? That is the question that some defendants have to ask themselves. But why would someone want to avoid a jury trial in the first place? Why would a judge be more appealing in some cases?

Cons of a Jury Trial

One of the main reasons why people waive their right to a jury trial is because juries are unpredictable. You don’t know the jurors’ knowledge, background or experience, nor do you know their personal biases. Judges on the other hand are easier to predict.

Judges know the law and therefore can be far better at adjudicating guilt. They are not as prone to letting personal biases cloud their judgement. Instead, judges are inclined to stick to the legal aspects of a case and not hand down a decision based out of spite.

If a defendant wants to use a “technical defense,” judges are generally better because they know the ins and outs of the law. Additionally, jurors do not necessarily explain their reason for a negative decision, whereas a judge will explain their reasons for convicting someone and how they arrived at that conclusion, which can provide the defendant with grounds for an appeal.

Lastly, if the case has to do with an interpretation of the law as opposed to circumstantial evidence, it can be smart to go with a judge. Judges can tell which evidence is real and which is circumstantial and they do not usually get emotional – they know the law.

Related: Adult Diversion in Denver