Understanding Colorado Laws & Revised Statutes

Colorado laws come from many different sources. For legal purposes, understanding the structure of the laws and courts in the State of Colorado is essential. You need to know how to find the laws to ensure your compliance with them. If you have questions related to Colorado laws, you’ve come to the right place.

Our Colorado personal injury attorneys explain these general questions related to Colorado laws.

court gavel in a blue blur background

Where Do Colorado Laws Come From?

Colorado laws come from a variety of sources, including:

  1. The Constitution – Colorado has a state constitution. It became effective August 1, 1876, and it remains in effect today. The Colorado Constitution covers a variety of topics, including consumer affairs, industry, public health, transportation, utilities, occupations, and personal estates.
  2. State laws – The Colorado General Assembly is comprised of 35 Senators and 65 Representatives. They debate and pass laws that apply in the state. The Governor has a veto power that the assembly can override by vote.
  3. Regulations – Non-elected government officials create regulations that apply to everyone. The legislature and the Colorado Constitution give specific government departments the authority to create these regulations. They cover a range of topics, including everything from natural resources to occupational licensing.
  4. Local laws – Cities and municipalities have the right to create laws that apply in their locations. They may cover topics like local traffic, local taxes, property use and management, and other issues impacting their jurisdiction’s daily life.
  5. Case law – Sometimes, laws need to be interpreted. When courts interpret them in actual cases, the courts can create a precedent. They are determining how a law will be applied now and in the future. Lower courts should follow this case law in the future. If state lawmakers disagree with legal precedent, they may pass a new law that overrides it.

stack of laws with gavel on top

Does Federal Law Override Colorado State Law?

Yes, federal law overrides Colorado state law. If there is a federal law, and the Colorado law is different, the federal law has more authority. However, if the federal government hasn’t regulated that topic, the State of Colorado can pass laws.

In general, a state or local law may be more specific than federal law. However, they can’t make laws that contradict the higher authority. In addition, the higher unit of government can say that lower branches cannot regulate a particular topic. In that case, the law that applies is the higher authority saying that there can be no local laws on that topic.

Where Can I Find Colorado State Laws?

Colorado state laws are found in a variety of locations. The state legislature publishes the laws that they pass. They are grouped by subject matter.

For local laws, check on the website for the city or municipality. For administrative regulations, look on the state website for the department that creates the regulations.

Where Can I Find Driving Laws in the State of Colorado?

Colorado driving laws are found in the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 42, Vehicles and Traffic, and 43, Transportation1. In addition, there may be local laws and administrative regulations that apply in addition to these state laws.

What Is the Colorado Court System?

The Colorado court system is organized by the type of case and the level of authority of the court:

  • Supreme Court – The highest court in the State of Colorado is the Supreme Court. It hears appeals from lower courts. Lower courts must follow decisions from the court.
  • Courts of Appeals – The Colorado Courts of Appeals listen to appeals from lower courts on various issues and topics.
  • District Courts – District courts hear civil cases over $25,000, family law cases, felony criminal cases, juvenile and probate matters. Most people who have legal issues bring their case to a District Court or a County Court.
  • County Courts – Civil cases under $25,000, misdemeanors, traffic matters and small claims cases are heard in County Courts.
  • Water CourtsWater courts decide questions of water rights and use in the state.
  • Administrative Courts – Matters of administrative regulations like taxation, business and occupations, workers’ compensation and other topics may be heard by administrative courts rather than District and County courts.

How Do I File a Court Case in Colorado?

To file a court case in Colorado, determine what court has jurisdiction over the claim. Follow the steps that are specific to that type of court and the type of case. You prepare a summons and complaint or another form that explains your legal issue. File the document with the court and comply with any other requirements like notifying other parties and paying the filing fee.

lawyer looking at a case

Common Questions Related to Colorado Gun Laws

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding gun laws in Colorado.

Does Colorado have the castle doctrine?

The castle doctrine in Colorado is referred to as the “Make My Day” law. C.R.S. 18-1-704.5 2 permits people to use physical force on an intruder in a person’s home, even if that force results in death.

Can I legally carry a gun camping in Colorado?

Campers and hikers should always check county and municipal codes in the area they plan to be before caring a hike. Rules and regulations may vary in different parts of the state. For example, openly carried firearms must be in cases that clearly contain a gun in Boulder, Colorado.

Are concealed carry permits easy to get in Colorado?

Colorado law C.R.S. 18-12-2033 allows people to carry a concealed firearm if a valid concealed carry permit was issued by the state. Colorado is a must-issue state, which means your local sheriff must issue you a Colorado CCW permit unless you fall in a prohibited group.

Can I legally buy a gun in Colorado with an out-of-state license?

Non-Colorado residents are not allowed to purchase a handgun in Colorado. A valid Colorado driver’s license or I.D. is necessary to prove Colorado residency before purchasing a handgun. However, Colorado law does allow anyone who is 18 and older from out-of-state to buy a long gun, such as a shotgun.

How Can an Attorney Help When It Comes to Laws?

The sheer number of laws in Colorado can be overwhelming. It’s not just the legislature that has the authority to make laws. Plus, several different courts are responsible for hearing cases.

An attorney can help you understand what laws apply to you. They can guide you in reviewing your circumstances to determine if a violation of the law has occurred. Finally, they can help you act on your rights under the law to pursue or defend a legal claim. They can present the case in the most favorable way and advocate for the best possible result in your case.

Do you have a legal problem? Are you wondering if you have a valid legal claim? We invite you to contact our Colorado attorneys to talk about your case.

attorney meeting with client about questions about case


1C.R.S 42-43

2C.R.S. 18-1-704.5

3C.R.S. 18-12-203

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