Know Your Rights

Rights concerning sex work

  • Prostitution is illegal in Denver
  • Cops do not have to tell you they are cops
  • Under special circumstances, undercover cops are permitted to receive sexual services from sex workers to a certain extent as part of a sting
  • Establishing a price for sexual services qualifies as probable cause for arrest
    • Money does not have to be exchanged
    • Code names for services or prices will not protect you
    • You cannot be arrested for carrying condoms!

Rights concerning drug use

  • The use of illicit drugs is illegal in Denver
  • Personal possession and use of less than one ounce of marijuana is legal on the state level
    • It is illegal to display or smoke marijuana in public, or to possess more than one ounce
    • Possession and use of marijuana is still a federal offence
    • For a more thorough description of Colorado’s penalties for marijuana use, visit

Rights concerning loitering

  • The law defines loitering as “remaining idle in one location” with no specified time limit
  • This is very vague, so cops are able to use their discretion on a case-by-case basis
  • Buying something doesn’t prevent you from receiving a loitering charge
  • Try to not stand idle in one place
    • If the cops approach and they don’t contact you, feel free to leave the area

If you are arrested

  • Do not resist arrest, and try to be polite
  • DO NOT say anything to the police, other inmates, or city/district attorneys
  • Say “I would like to remain silent” and ask to speak with a lawyer

If the police abuse you or violate your rights

  • Immediately write down the details of the incident
  • Photograph your injuries and try to get a medical report describing them
  • Call the ACLU or another civil rights attorney
  • File a report with the Office of the Independent Monitor, located at the Wellington Web Municipal Office Building, 201 West Colfax Avenue, Dept. 1201 Denver CO 80202
    • Even though you may not obtain your desired outcome, having a filed report is important for further legal actions
    • Contact Denver Cop Watch at or (720) 369-2741

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