Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers know that this doesn’t necessarily mean an arson charge will be filed, as “human-caused” could mean accidental as well.
However, even those who may have accidentally sparked a blaze should secure legal representation, as there is always the potential for criminal and civil penalties, depending on the property damage and any injuries that resulted.
It’s a lesser charge if you didn’t have intent, but it is serious nonetheless.
First of all, federal law under Title 18 U.S.C. sec. 81 makes arson a crime punishable by between 25 years to life in prison if a person’s life was placed in jeopardy. Officials may file the charge federally if the fire involved federal land (such as a national fores) or if the blaze crossed state lines.
In Colorado, first-degree arson, which is spelled out in Colorado Revised Code Chapter 18-5-101(1), is defined as knowingly setting fire to, burning or causing to burn any building that is occupied without a person’s consent. So for example, if you set a fire in the woods, and you put occupied homes in danger, you can be charged with first-degree arson, which is a Class 3 felony. That means it’s punishable by a maximum 12 years in prison.
Second-degree arson, as defined in C.R.S. 18-4-102 is the same as first-degree arson, except that it involves anything other than a building or occupied structure.
Typically, if you are going to burn something in Colorado, particularly in drought season, you have to obtain a burn permit, which must be obtained through the local law enforcement agency. Colorado’s Clean Air Act prohibits burns involving hydrocarbon materials, such as plastics, rubber or asphalt.
If you don’t get a permit or are denied a permit and burn anyway, you could be charged with reckless burning.
Typically, if you cause less than $100 damage, it’s a misdemeanor, but anything more is a felony.
With regard to the Waldo Canyon fire, officials have been tight-lipped about what their investigation has revealed so far, and charges have yet to be filed.
Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers understand that although shots were fired, no one was severely hurt, and authorities are saying the crime was drug-related.
The defendant, who was just 18 at the time of his arrest, was facing more than a dozen felony charges, including:
As part of the plea agreement reached between defense and prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, committing a violent crime and menacing. The details of that plea agreement weren’t immediately released by prosecutors, but it’s fair to assume that he likely received less time than he would have if convicted on all original counts at trial.
Aggravated robbery, as defined in Colorado Revised Code 18-4-302, is a Class 3 felony. While a simple robbery involves the taking of something of value from someone else through force, threats or intimidation, aggravated robbery involves the additional element of a deadly weapon. As a violent crime, there is a mandatory enhanced sentence, which is twice the maximum term for that class of offense. So while a Class 3 felony may be punishable by 4 to 12 years in prison, with enhancements, a defendant could serve up to 16 years – on this single charge.
Kidnapping is an even more serious crime. Under Colorado Revised Code 18-3-301, first-degree kidnapping can involve any of the following scenarios:
1. Forcibly seizing or carrying a person from one place to another;
2. Enticing or persuading someone to go from one place to another;
3. Imprisoning or forcibly keeping a person.
This crime can be charged as a Class 2 or a Class 1 felony, depending on whether the person suffered injury. If the person was unharmed, it’s a Class 2 felony punishable by anywhere from 8 to 24 years in prison.
These are not situations in which you can rely on a public defender.
There may be some situations in which your attorney might press for a trial, but often, it comes down to a skilled negotiation of a favorable plea agreement.
Our Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys understand that the grandfather died as a result of a boating collision in Nebraska.
Although this was an out-of-state incident, Colorado is home to some two dozen rivers and 2,000 lakes and reservoirs. The consequences and criminal penalties for boating under the influence can be just as severe as those for driving while drunk.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, roughly 35 percent of all boating fatalities are related to drugs or alcohol.
In 2001, federal boating laws were reformed to bring the allowable blood alcohol content for someone operating a boat from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent – the same as someone driving a car.
Colorado law designates boating under the influence as a misdemeanor, with a first offense punishable by up to 1 year in jail, 96 hours of public service, a maximum fine of $1,000 and a three-month restriction on operating a vessel. Subsequent convictions are going to be more severe.
BUI charges are no longer limited to sailboats or motorboats. In fact, you can be charged with a BUI if you are operating a kayak, paddle boat, jet ski or canoe.
Law enforcement officers patrol the waterways in much the same way as they do the roadways, and they look for someone who is driving the boat erratically. If you are stopped, you may be asked to perform field sobriety tests and to submit to a chemical test.
If someone is hurt or killed in a boating accident in which you were drinking or on drugs, you may be charged with either vehicular assault, vehicular homicide or manslaughter.
In this case, the Castle Rock News Press reports that officials with the local sheriff’s office said they received a report of a crash around 3 p.m. on a Sunday.
The defendant was on a personal watercraft and reportedly slammed into the passenger side of the victim’s boat, landing in the vessel. The grandfather was killed, while his daughter and two granddaughters were severely injured. A son-in-law in the vehicle was not hurt.
The defendant is facing charges of manslaughter and reckless operation of a personal watercraft. The investigation is ongoing.
Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers understand the 33-year-old is accused of maintaining a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student three years ago. He is charged with sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. This is a felony under Colorado Law, and a conviction can mean up to 12 years in prison.
Colorado’s age of consent is 17-years-old. State law does not make it a crime for two people over the age of 17 to engage in a sexual relationship with one another. What this means is that this would not be a crime – were it not for the fact that the defendant was a teacher, i.e., a person in a position of power.
In other situations, it is not a crime for a 15 or 16-year-old to have consensual sex with someone who is less than 10 years older than him or her – provided that individual is not someone in a position of authority. If the minor is 14 or younger, it is not a crime for them to have consensual sex with someone who is less than four years older.
In this case, the teacher was arrested last summer, and following his arrest, two others reportedly came forward to allege that he had engaged in similar relationships with them. Those two were at a school he taught at in Virginia, prior to his hiring by the Douglas County School District five years ago.
Defense attorneys had sought to suppress testimony from those two other former students, based on the fact that he was not on trial for assaulting them. However, prosecutors argued that it established a pattern, and the judge ended up ruling in favor of the state on this issue.
This could be quite damaging for the defense, which admits that the teacher had engaged in sexual relationship with all three former students – but not until they had each graduated and turned 18 years-old.
Plus, the defense had questioned the validity of those allegations, given that the incidents reportedly took place in 2004 and 2006 – and were not brought forward until many years later.
Trial was supposed to take place in August, though this issue has resulted in the judge agreeing to hold off until later this month.
Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers understand that property crimes in particular are on the rise, with burglaries climbing by about 17 percent and fraud increasing by about 8 percent. Assaults were also up slightly, by about 4 percent, while robberies, sex offenses and motor vehicle thefts were down.
Police agencies make a big deal of rising crime rates, always seeking to spin these numbers in their favor. If the numbers are down, for example, they will say it’s clearly the result of their crime-fighting efforts. If it’s up, it shows the need for more resources devoted to personnel, overtime, equipment, training, etc.
But the truth of the matter is, crime rates fluctuate for a variety of reasons.
In Parker, for example, the number of burglaries saw a dramatic spike, but that was partially because a large burglary ring was operating within the city limits.
Nationally, we’re actually seeing decreases in overall crimes because as baby boomers age, we have fewer people between the ages of 15 to 25. These are the individuals to whom a significant number of crimes are attributed.
Castle Rock is considered a safe city. It has a crime index rate of 71, which means it is safer than 71 percent of cities in the country. It has an annual violent crime rate of 0.54 for every 1,000 residents, and a property crime rate of about 10 for every 1,000 residents.
Theft and burglary are by far the most common crimes in the city. With a population of about 50,000, the city last year reported roughly 70 burglaries and 400 thefts.
For these type of crimes, what we have usually found is that diversion programs, drug and alcohol treatment and other alternatives usually have a better result in terms of reducing recidivism. The problem is that when crime numbers are up, no one wants to appear soft on crime – not police, not prosecutors and not judges.
This can make the arguments more of an uphill battle. But having an experienced Castle Rock criminal defense lawyer truly can make the difference.
Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys know that symptoms of this disorder can manifest in many ways, including criminal conduct. We may see it in the form of domestic violence, as soldiers act out against those closest to them, or in the form of DUI or drug abuse, as they seek to self-medicate their condition.
In Colorado Springs, a soldier is accused of killing another man outside a motorcycle club in March. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery, and it’s expected that his defense attorneys will argue that he suffers from war-related brain injuries and PTSD.
He and two other soldiers, as well as two other men, are accused of crouching behind trash cans and ambushing a vehicle that was passing by. The victim had earlier been attacked by a group of men at the club, and was returning to get his wallet.
Cases of soldiers employing PTSD as a defense are likely to increase as more soldiers return home. The U.S. Veteran’s Affairs Office estimates that roughly 170,000 soldiers returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed. That leaves many more who have yet to be diagnosed.
The Los Angeles Times reports that thousands of veterans who are accused of non-violent crimes have had their sentences reduced or charges dismissed after they have cited PTSD as a factor in their actions. The goal of the courts is often to send the offender to treatment and counseling programs, rather than to prison.
Violent offenders have had limited success with this defense, though it is true that those who suffer from PTSD don’t have the same kind of brakes that the rest of us do. A skilled attorney can argue this to a judge or jury, and may be able to make a successful case for reduction or dismissal of charges.
Our Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys want to make it clear to clients and potential clients that how you conduct yourself in the time between your arrest and your trial can impact the outcome of your case.
No, it won’t affect the facts of what allegedly occurred, and it shouldn’t be used to directly decide the outcome. However, positive actions – such as maintaining a job or being involved in volunteer activities – may reflect favorably to the judge when it comes time for sentencing.
On the other hand, engaging in additional criminal activities will not only potentially result in more criminal charges, it could cause the judge to impose a stiffer penalty for the original crimes.
Such may be the case for a Colorado businessman who is accused of running a scam while out on bail and awaiting trial for an earlier Ponzi scheme.
According to The Denver Post, the defendant in the case was arrested and indicted back in 2009 for a reported scheme to swindle 60 people out of nearly $10 million. He posted his $1 million bond, and subsequently sought more investors for another venture.
The most recent incident involved a reported silver-refining company that he called Vital Elements. He told investors, including a 25-year-old recent college graduate, that they would see a 20 percent return within just a handful of weeks.
The newspaper reported that those individuals had no clue he was awaiting trial for financial crimes when they handed over their money.
Prosecutors now say that between August and November of last year, the defendant collected some $73,000 from five different investors. However, while some of that money was returned to investors, some of it went to make landscaping and laboratory purchase, while a chunk went to attorney’s fees for the earlier case.
He has been arrested twice in connection with this latest scheme, while he continues to await trial on the earlier charges.
While the details of the second case won’t likely be allowed to enter the trial in the first, it’s important for clients to understand that it can only hurt.
Particularly in cases where there has been a financial impact to alleged victims, showing the court good-faith efforts to walk the straight-and-narrow – and perhaps even paying back a portion of the losses before you are ordered to do so by the court – can go a long way in potentially reducing the penalties.
Our Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers know that situations like this are tragic, and there is no joy even in a court victory because the person accused of being at-fault is going to live for the rest of her life with the awful images of what happened that day.
While it depends on the individual circumstances of the case, it is sometimes advisable to have your attorney negotiate a plea deal. This saves both you and the victim’s family from the added stress of a trial and of having to relive it all.
This does not, however, mean you should simply plead guilty. You need an experienced defense lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected and that there is fairness in the proceeding. Emotions should not govern charges or sentencing, and your defense attorney will be the one to ensure that doesn’t happen.
In this case, the 25-year-old driver told investigators that she was either using or reaching for her phone at the time of the accident. She has been charged with three counts of careless driving resulting in death or injury.
While these are misdemeanor charges, they Class 1 misdemeanors, which is the most severe misdemeanor charge you can get. A Class 1 misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to 18 months in jail and fines of between $500 and $5,000, per Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1402.
With the three charges combined, the defendant is facing up to 4.5 years in prison, as well as $15,000 in fines. These are not consequences to be taken lightly.
Even if you are charged with careless driving in Colorado for an accident or incident in which no one is hurt or killed, you can still be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor, which is accompanied by a punishment of up to 1 year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
So don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you’re charged with a misdemeanor that you don’t need an attorney.
This case is interesting to our Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys because it’s rare that officials will move forward with charges against a so-called “victim” who has fudged or flat-out lied about the details of a case.
Part of the reason for that is due to the fact that often, certain cases rely heavily on eyewitness testimony in the first place. It’s a he-said-she-said scenario, so proving that someone is lying – to the point of filing charges against the original complainant – is a rarity.
Of course, it’s not rare that people will use the criminal justice system to seek revenge against someone for some perceived wrong.
In this case, the homosexual couple reported back in October that their garage door had been spray-painted with the words, “Kill the Gay” in red paint. The following day, the women called police again to report that a noose was hanging from their front door handle.
The allegations were so serious, due to the hate crime element, that authorities involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the investigation.
According to various reports, the women were allegedly upset with certain individuals at their homeowners’ association, and viewed this as a way to get back at them. They had claimed that prior to the spray-painting and noose incidents, their car had been keyed and they were the subject of a great deal of gossip within the neighborhood, due to their relationship. Neighbors were reportedly also upset that the two didn’t clean up after their large dog during walks.
However, a woman who was staying with the couple revealed to police that her roommates had made it all up. She told investigators that the women themselves carried out the act, in an effort to get back at neighbors.
The only charges ever filed in this case were against the two for false reporting and criminal mischief.
They have vowed to fight those charges, so we’ll have to just wait and see.
The greater point, however, is that in situations where the evidence is mostly circumstantial or relies heavily on witness reports, an experienced criminal defense lawyer is a necessity.
While there haven’t yet been any arrests, our Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers want to use this opportunity to shed light on the fact that what some may view as a simple prank can have long-lasting consequences to your future if you end up charged and convicted. These are situations in which having an experienced attorney is going to be critical.
Of course, we don’t know for sure that the perpetrators of this particular act were juveniles or young people, but often, acts of vandalism are.
Acts of vandalism are often charged as criminal property damage under Colorado law. Typically, it’s charged as a misdemeanor, but it all depends on the type and extent of the damage.
For example, if the damage amounts to less than $500, it’s considered a Class 2 misdemeanor, which means for adults that it’s punishable by anywhere from three months to 1 year in jail, and fines ranging from $250 to $1,000.
If the damage is more than $500 but less than $1,000, the vandalism is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by between 6 and 18 months behind bars, accompanied by fines ranging from $500 to $5,000.
The damage rises to the level of a Class 4 felony if it’s greater than $1,000 but less than $20,000. A conviction in this charge can mean jail time between 2 and 6 years, and fines of between $2,000 to $500,000.
If the damage is anywhere over $20,000, it becomes a Class 3 felony. It is punishable by between 4 to 12 years in prison and fines ranging anywhere from $3,00 to $750,000.
While no attorney can promise you any specific outcome, when it comes to acts of vandalism committed by juveniles or younger adults, we are often able to negotiate lesser charges or penalties – particularly for first-time youthful offenders.
In this case, those in the Remington Bluffs Townhome Association are estimating that the damage to the trees is somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000.
According to news reports, the full-grown pine trees were slashed to about 10 feet.
Oddly, this isn’t the first time these same handful of trees were cut. According to residents, they were chopped down before about 10 years ago. Sheriff’s deputies at the time reportedly suspected an individual whose property’s direct line of sight was impeded by the trees. However, no charges were filed then.
It’s not clear if deputies suspect the same individual, and the investigation is ongoing.
As the wildfires have raged across the state, officials have said that burglary and theft of evacuated homes has become a major concern.
In fact, our Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers understand that two individuals are now facing charges for breaking into at least one home in the Waldo Canyon fire evacuation zone.
According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, they were conducting a prior investigation regarding identity theft which the two were allegedly involved in. That led them to the pair, who were additionally charged with burglary and theft of an evacuated home in Colorado Springs.
Additionally, at the time of their arrests, police said they were in possession of methamphetamine.
The charges against them include:
Possession of a controlled substance, theft, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, theft by receiving and second-degree burglary.
The pair are 38 and 36-years-old.
It’s not clear from reports exactly what these individuals allegedly stole, but that will have a role in determining the severity of the potential sentences against them.
Law enforcement are reportedly trying to determine whether the pair were involved in thefts at other homes in the area as well.
According to Colorado Revised Statute 18-4-401, theft is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property is less than $500. It’s a Class 1 misdemeanor if it’s over $500 but less than $1,000. Anything over $1,000 becomes a felony – a Class 4 felony if it’s less than $20,000 and a Class 3 felony if it’s above $20,000.
The fact that these acts were allegedly carried out in the midst of a natural disaster would be considered an aggravating circumstance, which could net them additional jail time if convicted.
A Class 4 felony in Colorado is punishable by a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of six years. A Class 3 felony is punishable by a minimum of four years in prison and a maximum of 12 years.
These are not the kind of charges you want to have handled by a public defender. Allegations such as these require an experienced defense attorney who is committed to fighting for the best possible outcome in your case, given the circumstances.
The fires that erupted in Colorado Springs have sparked speculation that arson may have been involved.
Our Castle Rock arson defense lawyers know that such charges are serious, and fighting them requires an experienced and tenacious attorney.
The fact of the matter is, while fire investigators are highly experienced in their field, arson is one of those crimes that may not leave a solid trail of evidence. In fact, that would be one of the key defense possibilities to explore: lack of evidence. In a lot of cases, fire investigators rely a great deal on circumstantial evidence, which means it is only an inference of fact. In a lot of cases, that’s not enough to stand up in court, particularly when there are other elements of reasonable doubt.
Those other reasonable doubt elements include incorrect witness identifications. If someone claimed to have seen you near where the fire originated, there could have been other reasons why you were there. Alternately, it may have not been you at all, but rather someone who looked like you or drove a similar vehicle.
Another possibility, even if you did start the fire, was that you did so unintentionally. You can not be convicted of a felony arson charge unless the prosecution can prove that you acted either recklessly or maliciously. Our Castle Rock arson defense attorneys are deft at raising reasonable doubt with regard to this standard.
Under Colorado Revised Statute 18-4-102, a conviction on a charge of first-degree arson means prosecutors must show that you knowingly set fire, burned, caused to be burned, used any explosives on a an occupied building or structure without consent. In this case, even if you set fire to a wooded area, it may be considered first-degree arson because the homes that were destroyed or threatened were occupied at the time you set the fire. It’s considered a Class 3 felony, which means it’s punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
With this fire, sources indicate the fire was first reported to authorities sometime around noon on June 23rd. Speculation that this fire was arson has been fueled by the fact that nearly all of the 13 Teller County fires have been confirmed as arson. An arrest has been made in that case.
Having an outstanding warrant in Castle Rock means constantly looking over your shoulder, never knowing if the officer driving behind you is actually going to pull you over or whether that encounter may result in violence against you.
Our Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers know that’s always a possibility, as was the case recently with a Larimer County man, whom deputies used a Taser on while making the arrest.
A better option is to consult with a defense attorney who can help facilitate your peaceful surrender and advise you of your options with regard to the criminal case against you.
In this situation, the Fort Collins man had two misdemeanor warrants and one felony warrant. He was wanted for failure to appear for a reported protection order violation, failure to appear on a harassment charge and failure to appear on a charge of possession of burglary tools.
None of these in and of themselves are extremely serious, but any time you don’t show up to court to answer to criminal charges against you, a judge can issue a bench warrant. That means that an officer has the right to arrest you anytime, anywhere. Because these situations often catch people somewhat off-guard or they panic about going to jail, they often end up fighting with the officer or trying to run – which leads to even more criminal charges.
That’s what happened here as well.
According to The Coloradoan, the 30-year-old’s truck was spotted by deputies at a motel parking lot around 5 a.m. When they ran the plate information, they learned he was wanted on warrants. So they waited for him to return to the vehicle, which he did a short time later.
According to deputies, the man had previously been violent with deputies, so they called for back-up even before he arrived.
When he saw the deputies, he ran. Four deputies chased him, and one used a Taser to subdue him. He was arrested, checked by medical personnel and then taken to jail. He was being held on $10,000 on new charges and $5,500 bond on the warrants.
The new charges included tampering with evidence, possession of methamphetamine (both felonies) and suspicion of obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest (misdemeanors). Because the officers caught him off-guard, he was caught with drugs.
Had he facilitated a surrender with the assistance of a defense attorney, he could have avoided the additional charges.
A Denver man is facing misdemeanor criminal charges of impersonating a firefighter in Fort Collins.
Our Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers believe this is a case that’s worth exploring because despite the fact that it seems relatively rare, with the fires that have raged in Colorado Springs and beyond, we’re likely to see more instances like this.
The defendant in this case has been charged with impersonating a public servant and obstruction of a firefighter. Both of these are misdemeanors.
He has also been charged with felony theft and impersonation of a public servant.
While it does not appear the man meant any harm, officials take this kind of action quite seriously, which is why you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side if you’re charged with a crime of impersonation. When theft is a motive, the stakes are even higher.
According to The Coloradoan, the man is alleged to have heisted food and radios meant for firefighters. He was somehow able to obtain access to the cockpit of a firefighting helicopter, where he took pictures of himself that he then posted to Facebook. Other social media photographs show him at the firefighting command center with Gov. John Hickenlooper. He also reportedly was able to sneak past the perimeter set up in High Park by using a license plate that was expired, and an old identification card.
What has caused officials a great deal of alarm was the fact that the defendant is also a registered sex offender. However, there is no indication that the defendant perpetuated any sexual crimes whatsoever while he allegedly carried out his impersonation.
Authorities also reportedly discovered a chainsaw and other firefighting equipment at his Denver home when they searched it.
The 30-year-old was being held on $20,000 bond.
The defendant’s attorney has indicated that he may push for a plea deal during the next hearing in August. The apologized on behalf of his client, saying he meant no harm and considers the firefighters to be heroes. He said his client wasn’t trying to steal, but rather help.
If his intentions were good, it may not prevent criminal charges, but it can certainly be taken into consideration during the plea bargain and sentencing phase.
If anything, the incident highlights the weaknesses in the emergency contingencies established by the local firefighting crews.
Castle Rock drug defense lawyers know that when it comes to these cases, absent solid evidence of innocence, it’s often best to aggressively negotiate a favorable plea deal that will include a focus on treatment, rather than prison.
Not only does this aid the defendant in Castle Rock drug crime cases, society as a whole benefits when people battling the demons of addiction are given the opportunity to change their lives for the better. They are less likely to continue to commit crimes or wind up back in court if they can get clean.
However, prosecutors often view these crimes – particularly sale - through a harsh lens, so arguing this point requires a lawyer with extensive experience in these cases.
In some situations, federal prosecutors will take on the case when they feel they can get a higher sentence than would otherwise be attainable in federal court. That was the case with a 39-year-old out of Colorado Springs, who was found guilty of drug crimes following a four-day jury trial in the U.S. District Court in Denver.
He has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
The case started with a sheriff’s deputy who was patrolling a local hotel parking lot. In the course of this, he discovered that one of the vehicles had license plate tags that were expired. Using the information he obtained with this, the deputy sought information from the hotel clerk, who provided him the motorist’s room number.
The defendant reportedly opened the knock at the door. As soon as he did so, the deputy immediately was struck with the smell of marijuana. The defendant reportedly spoke with deputies for a short time before attempting to run away.
Law enforcement caught up with him a short time later, hiding under a vehicle. On his person, he was carrying more than $1,200 in cash and a knife, which was strapped to his wrist.
A number of females had been in the room with the defendant also. It was determined that they had been reportedly using drugs with the defendant. Also inside the room, deputies reportedly found a digital scale, drugs, paraphernalia another $1,300 in cash and a gun.
He was ultimately convicted of one count each of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and unlawful possession of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
Our Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers know that according to Colorado Criminal code 18-6.5:01 and 18-6.503, crimes against the elderly (known formally under the law as an “at-risk adult”), the penalties are increased.
For example, if you commit a theft under $500, that’s generally going to be considered a Class 2 misdemeanor. That means it’s punishable by between three to six months in jail, and a fine somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 to $1,000.
Now, let’s say you commit that same theft against a person who is elderly, or an “at-risk adult.” The crime then becomes a Class 5 felony, which means it is then punishable by between 1 to 3 years in prison, followed by two years of parole and a maximum fine of $100,000.
And our criminal defense attorneys expect we’ll be seeing a significant spike in these kind of cases, given that the older population is rapidly expanding in our area and that a number of police agencies are dedicating special units to addressing these crimes.
According to Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Sparman, Douglas county has, over the last decade, become the second fastest-growing place in the country for residents who are over the age of 65, percentage wise.
Why is this?
Partly because people who move here stay here, and also because many residents are moving here to retire. Also, due to the economy, many older residents are moving in with their children to save money.
Throughout the country, there are nearly 80 million baby boomers, and all are approaching older age. What’s more, these individuals typically had fewer children, on average, than Americans did a generation before them. That means that there is a smaller support system available, which means a greater opportunity to perpetuate certain crimes, as less people are watching.
However, the hope from a law enforcement standpoint is that the harsher penalties will reduce the temptation.
That means if you’re accused of a crime against an older or at-risk adult, you’re going to need a criminal defense lawyer who is ready to fight aggressively to have the charges reduced or dropped.
However, our Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers expect we may seeing more of these types of cases, as the implosion of the housing market has left many people underwater and foreclosed upon.
This was a case in which an individual who once owned a home in the Bell Mountain Ranch subdivision was not only forced out, but was also arrested on charges of theft, burglary, criminal trespass and violation of bond.
It all started back in November of last year. The man had lived in the home with his family for some time prior to that. The residence, which is 4,000-square feet and was at one time listed for a sale price approaching $2 million, was reportedly foreclosed upon by the bank.
The bank had been trying to get him out of the home for some time, while the homeowners’ association wanted him to remove a large trailer that was parked out front. The bank also sent notice to the homeowners’ association, saying it was having difficulty forcing the man to leave.
When police first made contact with the man, he told them it was the bank who should be facing criminal charges. He refused to leave. He further claimed that he was taking possession of the home through a civil process called adverse possession. He produced these documents to the deputy who had responded to investigate. These records showed that the man was claiming ownership of the home, through a business he had established back in August.
The problem was, this title actually had no legitimate, legal standing.
Ultimately, an eviction notice was filed back in March, ordering him and his family to leave the four-bedroom, five-bathroom house. However, when he still wouldn’t leave, deputies removed him by force and charged him criminally.
The home is now back on the market for about $700,000.
Although this is not the standard white-collar crime, that’s what it’s going to amount to in court, as his criminal defense is going to rely a great deal on real estate and foreclosure law.
Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers want you to be aware that local law enforcement has boosted its training with regard to identity theft.
It’s likely that there are going to be more arrests in the coming months and years for incidents of fraud, forgery, mail fraud, identity theft and other similar felony offenses .
In fact, more than 50 law enforcement officers from more than 21 local, state and federal investigatory agencies were invited to a free, eight-hour class that was hosted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and LifeLock late last month.
In the Denver metro area, the Federal Trade Commission reported more than 2,400 complaints of identity theft last year. In actuality, the incidents are probably much higher, as that figure reflects only those cases that have been reported.
The seminar was hosted as an effort to school law enforcement officers on new methods of identity theft, how to recognize it and how to track down suspects.
One example of state law that covers identity theft is Colorado Revised Code 13-21-109. This statute allows for criminal penalties, as well as civil remedies, up to $10,000.
And of course, if you are convicted of an actual theft, you are looking at penalties associated with the value of what you took. So for example, if the property or cash value you allegedly stole is less than $500, it’s considered a Class 2 misdemeanor. That is punishable by up to a year in jail. But let’s say the value is more than $500, but still less than $1,000. That is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, and it’s punishable by up to 18 months behind bars. If it’s between $1,000 and $20,000, it’s a Class 4 felony, and you’ll be looking at a prison sentence of between two and six years. Anything above $20,000 is going to garner a prison sentence of between 4 and 12 years.
When it comes to cases of identity theft, we can expect that the punishment is going to be on the heavier end of the spectrum because the money can be so easy to make.
There are just some cases that Castle Rock felony defense lawyers have no doubt involves some issue of mental illness, substance abuse – or both.
While mental illness is not accepted in our society the same way as say, cancer, we are slowly coming around and our judicial system is beginning to reflect that.
Such was the case for a woman accused of felony criminal mischief after damaging a $30 million painting at a brand new museum in Denver.
The painting, a zig-zagging of red, black, white and yellow lines created by expressionist artist Clyfford Still, was reportedly damaged when a 37-year-old woman reportedly scratched, punched, leaned on and then slid her bare buttocks down the painting. She also reportedly urinated on herself, but the urine did not end up on the painting itself, police say.
That incident reportedly happened just weeks after officials dropped pending charges of armed robbery that had been filed against her. She did have a 2008 conviction for DUI.
The museum, dedicated solely to Still’s work, had been open less than two months when the incident occurred. The artist, whose work has often been compared to Jackson Pollock, passed away in 1980. Four of his works were sold for almost $115 million last year.
So this act, had it been inflicted on almost anything else, might have been considered minor vandalism. In this case, however, she reportedly caused an estimated $10,000 in damage to the oil-on-canvas piece.
That was why the woman was charged with a felony.
Though she could have served time behind bars for her offense, the judge instead opted to require that she serve two years of probation, during which time she is mandated to receive treatment for mental illness and alcohol dependency. She may also be required to pay some form of restitution.
The judge obviously felt her actions were egregious enough to warrant some form of punishment. But he was right in ordering leniency, coupled with treatment.
Numerous studies have shown that simply tossing people behind bars without any attempt to actually treat the underlying causes is likely to result in them simply returning in handcuffs – often for even worse offenses.
Having an experienced attorney by your side to help argue for treatment can be an important key to starting your road to recovery.
Castle Rock drug crimes have been known in some cases to involve family members.
Felony defense attorneys assume the idea is that you need people around you that you can trust. But when it falls apart, entire families can be destroyed.
That appears to be the case by two large drug trafficking rings that were recently brought down by federal agents in Denver. One was run by a brother, the other by his sister, and prosecutors say the operations were responsible for transporting money and methamphetamine to Colorado from California.
So far, nearly two dozen people have been indicted by a grand jury. Of those, 20 were arrested in a single day in Colorado, Iowa, Utah and California.
Agents indicate that in addition to the arrests, they reportedly recovered more than $700,000 in cash, as well as an excess of six pounds of methamphetamine.
The investigation, dubbed “Dark Angel,” involved agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, The Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
These are not cases that you can rely on a government-appointed defender. Drug trafficking on this scale can result in decades behind bars in federal detention facilities – not to mention deportation.
The drugs were reportedly being taken across state lines in organic milk jugs. In one instance, it is reported that traffickers used a child to strap money to his body, in the hopes that he would go undetected.
The two siblings who headed the separate operations were reportedly using a California-based trucking company as a cover. Some of the drivers, however, were innocent, according to agents, and had no idea they were moving large quantities of drugs and money.
Agents suspect that although the drugs were transported from California, they were actually made in Mexico. The brother-and-sister duo were arrested in California.
It was actually a lead from the Denver Police Department that got the case kick-started, according to The Denver Post. The newspaper doesn’t indicate exactly what that lead was, but it is common in organized crime circles for police to squeeze lower-tiered offenders, in the hopes they will give up names and information about those higher up in the operation.
In these cases, even when two family members are involved, it’s important to have two separate attorneys to represent them, to ensure there are no conflicting interests.
Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys have noticed a marked increase in the number of cases involving so-called “bath salts.”
Contrary to the moniker, it’s not the fizzy stuff you toss in the tub. We’re talking about a group of synthetic compounds create symptoms similar to cocaine, PCP and LSD, but with higher-than-usual levels of paranoia and violence.
Following a federal emergency ban issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration last year and passage of a statewide bill earlier this year, possession of bath salts is a misdemeanor, while the sale is going to result in a the need for a felony defense.
The drugs are known to cause an elevated heart rate and blood pressure. They also routinely cause agitation, though in cases that are more severe, there have been reports of hallucinations and bizarre violence.
For example, in Miami, the man who allegedly was shot by police who found him literally biting the flesh off another man’s face – he was reportedly on bath salts, though the final word is awaiting autopsy results. That prompted the Centers for Disease Control to issue a warning, indicating that there was, in fact, no zombie apocalypse that officials there were aware of.
Most recently, the drug snatched headlines after the death of 19-year-old from Grand Junction. He had reportedly been acting violently. He was strangled by a friend who tried to subdue him. Investigators are working to determine whether there was a crime committed or whether the homicide was committed in self-defense. No arrests have been made at this point.
Officials at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center have reported nearly a dozen poisonings this year from bath salts. In 2011, there were a total of 44 cases reported.
The state’s Department of Public Health and Environment said they haven’t been able to tabulate whether other deaths or violent acts are attributable to the bath salts drugs because they are so new.
Particularly given the violent nature of some of the incidents connected to these drugs, it’s likely that both federal and state authorities could push for extended bans and harsher sanctions for both possession and sale.
Normally, our Castle Rock sex crimes attorneys wouldn’t advise our clients to heed the advise of detectives.
However in this case, we believe teens can avoid a Castle Rock sex crimes charge stemming from a youthful indiscretion.
It involves the issue of “sexting.”
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office detectives made rounds late last month at local schools, advising parents and teens on how to avoid criminal charges from “sexting” their boyfriends and girlfriends – or forwarding those messages to others.
It seems a grave injustice, but as the law currently stands, a teenager who takes or shares explicit photos of themselves can be charged with dissemination of child pornography. Not to mention, of course, that when those images are passed on, the teens become exposed to a greater likelihood of real victimization.
Most teens don’t see the issue as being all that serious. But in fact, it wasn’t long ago when a handful of students at Chaparral High School were forced to hand over their phones amid allegations of sexting. Although police didn’t end up filing any charges in that case, it resulted in an expanded discussion of what these kinds of charges could mean for a teen’s future.
And this is not an uncommon phenomenon.
A study conducted two years ago by the FBI showed that an estimated 20 percent of teens sent nude or scantily-clad photos of themselves either over the Internet or on their cell phones. Another study indicated that one-sixth of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 who own phones have received such photos from someone they know.
And even just possessing those photos can leave a teen vulnerable to criminal charges.
This is unfortunate because although these may be acts committed between two consenting minors, they may still face criminal charges and forever be stamped as a sex offender. Of course, what these teens really need is perhaps some counseling. However, the law doesn’t appear to be headed for change anytime soon.
This is why it’s so critical to hire an experienced Castle Rock sex crimes defense attorney.
If you are interested in attending a sexting education class, the next one is being held by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office on May 31st at 6 p.m. at the Parker Library on S. Crossroads Drive.
However, if you have questions about sexting charges involving your teen, contact an experienced Castle Rock sex crimes defense attorney to discuss your case.
It’s rare that our Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys have great news to share.
There is, however, very good news for those who may be arrested for Castle Rock marijuana DUI.
According to The Denver Post, a bill that would have created legal limits on marijuana intoxication while driving has been defeated by the state Senate.
We reported on this issue recently in our Castle Rock Criminal Defense Lawyers Blog. Essentially, the main issue with HB12S-1005 would have made it a crime to drive with a THC level that exceeded 5 nanograms per mililiter of blood.
Now, it’s important to note that it’s not that we sanction driving while under the influence of marijuana. But first of all, that’s illegal anyway, according to state laws that already prohibit driving under the influence of any substance that might impair you.
At issue in this case was whether the 5 nanogram measurement was unfair. And in truth, it was absolutely unfair.
Here’s the thing with marijuana: It stays in your system for a long time, unlike alcohol.
So when an officer pulls someone over whom the suspect of drunk driving, they may have that person take a breathalyzer test. If that person blows a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, they are considered intoxicated. And with that measurement, one can be fairly sure that the driver has consumed alcohol within the last few hours, because it is in and out of your system quickly.
With marijuana, however, the drug may remain in one’s system for days or weeks after consumption. For those who use marijuana for medical purposes, as allowed under state law, may wake up in the morning with 5 nanograms of THC in their system. That does not, however, mean that person is under the influence.
It would have further taken the discretion away from police officers because even if there were no other signs of intoxication, if the person blew higher than 5 nanograms, they would legally be considered under the influence and would have to be arrested.
This measure would have essentially kept those who legally use marijuana home-bound.
Our Castle Rock marijuana DUI defense attorneys certainly understand the need to keep our roads safe. This, however, was not the measure to do it, and we’re encouraged that the legislature recognized this.
A Castle Rock embezzlement case has resulted in a 12-year prison sentence for the former bookkeeper of a veteran-owned and run engineering firm.
Castle Rock defense attorneys know that, depending on the amount alleged to have been stolen, embezzlement can be considered a Class 4 felony or a Class 3 felony, which can result in up to 12 years in prison per charge.
In this case, the defendant received the maximum after being convicted of stealing approximately $620,000 over the course of 11 years.
Of course, it probably didn’t seem like that much at the time, as the theft apparently occurred over the course of some 1,900 transactions. That’s an average of about $326 per transaction.
Prosecutors say that money went to a variety of sources, including horses, homes, hobbies and education for the defendant’s children. The defendant’s husband said she had made a mistake, and the couple had been struggling to keep their home. She did it, he says, out of desperation.
Originally, she had been charged with nearly 40 counts of white collar crimes in Castle Rock, namely forgery, theft and embezzlement. In the end, her Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys negotiated a deal whereby she would plead guilty to three felony charges.
The organization she worked for reportedly paid her a salary of between $40,000 to $55,000.
In weighing what the sentence should be, the judge likely weighed the fact that because of the theft, which was discovered by an audit in 2009, the organization was forced to lay off a number of employees – going from a staff of 25 to a staff of six.
The defendant later told her attorney that it was somewhat of a relief that she was caught. She the secret of her actions had become an immense burden, and she wanted to confess.
That is how a lot of individuals who have committed embezzlement feel. They may have engaged in one act out of desperation, but then continue to do it because it’s easy or because it becomes a habit.
While there may be temptation to come clean on your own, you should never do so without consulting a Castle Rock embezzlement defense attorney. He or she can help you explore the potential consequences and how to best move forward.
Identity theft in Castle Rock is gaining a great deal of attention lately – especially as media agencies are harping on the fact that a growing number of targets in these cases are children.
Castle Rock identity theft defense attorneys know that there isn’t actually one law that encompasses all forms of identity theft. In fact, the statutes are numerous – from forgery in Colorado Statute 18-5-102 to fraud by check in Colorado Statute 18-5-205 to unlawful acts involving identification cards, as found in Colorado Statute 42-2-309.
There are also civil issues that can arise as well. For our purposes, we’re just going to focus on the criminal aspects.
In a lot of these cases, law enforcement will stack up the charges miles high, in an effort to get them to a good starting point for plea negotiations between your Castle Rock defense attorney and the prosecutor. What a good defense attorney can do is work to help consolidate those charges and have them reduced to lower offenses.
Of course, how successful he or she will be is going to depend on the individual circumstances of your case, as well as the skill level of your Castle Rock criminal defense attorney. That’s why you can’t take your chances with a public defender. He or she might be talented, but also probably underpaid and overworked – particularly considering that a recent study found that of 27,000 children, some 10 percent had Social Security numbers that were in some way linked to credit cards, mortgage loans and vehicle registrations.
In some cases, illegal immigrants are using children’s identification numbers to be able to work. That was the case recently with a 16-year-old whose identity had been stolen on three different occasions – once by a worker in Castle Rock, who has yet to be found.
That means law enforcement and prosecutors are busy trying to file these cases, which can be complicated and require a special degree of knowledge.
A lot of these cases involve what’s called “friendly fraud.” This may be a situation where a relative, friend or maybe even parent of the child has fallen on hard times, and resorts to using the child’s identity in an effort to gain credit or some service.
An Aurora red-light runner reportedly caused the serious injury of a motorcyclist late last month.
Our Aurora traffic ticket defense attorneys understand that the 20-year-old driver in the case was deemed at-fault, and charges of red-light running and careless driving resulting in injury are pending against her.
Of course, no one ever intends to walk out their door and get in an accident. Sometimes, car accidents result from various distractions. Other times, though, even when officers find you at fault, the course of events may have been completely outside your control.
It’s really important in these cases to hire an attorney with experience in Aurora traffic defense because tickets aren’t just minor inconveniences – they can mean points on your license, increased insurance rates, heavy fines and in some cases, jail time.
In this case, the motorcyclist was reportedly moving through the intersection, for which he had a green light. He reportedly didn’t even see the car that was moving to cross his path at the same time. The driver of the car, reportedly, was supposed to have stopped at the red light at the intersection. The light had reportedly been red for nearly 10 seconds.
The motorcyclist was allegedly tossed into the air. When he landed, investigators say he suffered a broken leg, a fractured ankle, chipped teeth and a cut on his lip that required stitches. He is reportedly still in the hospital and has undergone surgery.
The incident was captured on video. Aurora, like many municipalities, has equipped multiple intersections with red light cameras. While this may leave little room for Aurora traffic attorneys to dispute exactly what happened, they can still argue for lowered penalties based on past driving history, a fairly clean criminal record, etc.
According to the Aurora Police Department, the agency issues approximately 3,000 red light tickets the following month at the 14 intersections at which the red light cameras are affixed.
According to the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, the following is the point scale for certain traffic offenses:
Leaving the scene of an accident – 12 points
DUI – 12 points
Driving while ability is impaired by alcohol – 8 points
Speed contests – 12 points
Eluding or attempting to elude an officer – 12 points
Reckless driving – 8 points
Careless driving – 4 points
Failure to yield to the right of way – 3 points.
It’s important to note that drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 need only amass 6 points before their license is suspended for a year. For drivers between 18 and 20, it’s 9 points. For adult drivers, it’s 12 points.
Police are searching for a Castle Rock burglary suspects who eluded them in a high-speed chase late last month.
Our Castle Rock burglary defense attorneys have been following the news reported by The Castle Rock News Press, indicating that two individuals may be responsible for as many as 30 burglaries since late 2011.
According to Colorado Statute 4-2:01, prosecutors in a first-degree Colorado burglary case have to prove that the accused knowingly and unlawfully entered a building or occupied structure with the intent of committing a crime, usually theft, and that you assaulted or menaced a person while inside. It’s considered a Class 3 felony, which is punishable by between four and 12 years in prison. Second and third-degree burglary charges are similar, except they don’t require the element of assault. If you enter into a structure with the intent to steal a controlled substance, the penalties are increased.
According to the newspaper, police issued a warning following an April 25 high-speed chase on I-25. That chase reportedly exceeded speeds of 100 miles per hour. It happened after a resident in The Meadows reported suspicious activity at a neighboring house.
Following the chase, police said there had been five burglaries or attempted burglaries in a single week in The Meadows, Crystal Valley Ranch and Plum Creek.
The typical modus operandi of the suspects involves the simple act of knocking on the door. If someone answers, the suspects reportedly leave. If no one answers, the suspects make their way inside.
Often, the Castle Rock burglaries are happening during the day, and often at homes in which the door is not locked. When the door is locked, the suspects reportedly break in.
According to police, there have been about 30 burglaries during the daylight hours in Douglas County over the last several months.
Police officials are warning residents to be watchful of potentially suspicious activity, lock their homes and garage doors and keep a record of any valuable within your home.
If you are arrested on Castle Rock burglary charges, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible following your arrest – and avoid making any potentially incriminating statements to investigators. Wait until your attorney is present before you answer any questions from police.
Our Castle Rock juvenile defense attorneys were encouraged to hear that Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed into law a bill that impacts prosecutors’ ability to punish Castle Rock juvenile offenders as adults.
According to The Denver Post, House Bill 12-1271 is going to significantly decrease the number of juveniles who are facing adult charges in Colorado.
It was a bill that was bitterly contested on both sides of the political aisle (with prosecutors and police voicing the loudest opposition), though ultimately, justice won out.
Under the old legislation, juveniles were being sentenced to decades behind bars for non-homicide crimes. Not only was this extremely costly to the taxpayers of Colorado, it was inherently unfair to juveniles who enter a system that promised reform, only to imprison them for decades.
Hickenlooper had struggled with whether to sign the bill, but said ultimately the bipartisan support of it was what swayed him.
Basically, here’s what the measure does: Under the old system, it was up to prosecutors to decide whether a youth should be tried as a juvenile or an adult. Now, there is a judicial review process that must first occur in order for that to happen.
Additionally, it prohibits prosecutors from filing adult charges against juveniles for a large number of low and mid-level felonies. It also increases the age at which a juvenile can be charged as an adult – period – from 14 years-old to 16-years-old.
The law still will give prosecutors some leeway when it comes to the most serious of crimes, such as homicide, violent sex crimes, kidnapping and vicious assaults. However, even these defendants would be given the opportunity to appeal to a judge, who will ultimately get the last word on whether the youth should go through the juvenile or adult system.
While there have been many arguments made against reducing prosecutorial authority in this realm, the flip side is that district attorneys have blatantly overused their authority here. The result is that teens who had a youthful indiscretion are forever branded in such a way that it affects not only their freedom, but also their future educational opportunities, employment and housing prospects and more. Plus, minority teens more often than not received the brunt of those harsh sentences.
The Castle Rock Police Department, in using a $200,00 grant, have amassed a wide array of new technology and equipment. That equipment includes: brand new Tasers for street officers, mountain bikes, new uniforms and patches, exercise equipment, in-car camera systems and reality-based training tools.
Castle Rock Police Chief Jack Cauley said that the expenses were intended to help improve response times, up training standards and improve relationships between the police department and the community.
Of course, these are good goals to have, and some of those measures may be helpful to that end.
But here’s what it means for you:
1. New Tasers are likely going to mean a higher level of force used in Castle Rock arrests than previously. Police will say that they are safer for use than guns. This may be true. However, it would seem that this may open itself up to issues of excessive force during arrests, and the use of Tasers when they really aren’t necessary.
2. New exercise equipment and training. Presumably, this means the officers you are going to come across will be stronger, more on point. Many in the public will see this as a good thing. Our Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys would only want to make that point that fleeing from a crime scene (which is usually not a good idea in the first place, regardless of whether you have actually done anything wrong) could result in more severe physical consequences for you once they catch up – and of course, they’ll be more likely to catch up now.
3. In-car cameras. This is a two-sided coin. On one hand, it will reduce the instances of officers fudging the facts. Videos tend not to lie. The problem for you? Videos tend not to lie. For example, in a Castle Rock DUI case, field sobriety tests are often highly subjective, and the courts rely heavily on officer observations. That’s one point that a Castle Rock DUI defense attorney can attack. However, if there is video to back up those observations, it creates greater challenges for your defense.
However, none of this means you don’t have any options following a Castle Rock arrest. Consulting with an experienced Castle Rock defense attorney as soon as possible following the incident is the best way to learn what those options are.
That’s because true or not, the allegations will result in the inevitable perception that the accused is bigoted. What’s more, crimes for bodily injury or property damage are stiff enough without piling on additional sanctions for a crime that is deemed to be motivated by hatred of a person for their perceived race, sexual orientation, gender, religion or some other basis.
However, that’s what is happening to a group of individuals who are accused of attacking a black, German foreign exchange student in Berthoud, just outside of Fort Collins.
The student, who is a 15-year-old junior at Berthoud High School, said she was walking home late last week when a group of young, white men reportedly began to harass her. She claims the men told her they were specifically looking for a minority, and went on to make racially intimidating comments. Then, she says, one of the men used a knife to inflict wounds on her forehead.
Law enforcement authorities are looking for the suspects, though so far no arrests have been made.
Hate crime laws are laid out in a few places in the Colorado Revised Statutes. The first is C.R.S. 18-9-121. This is sometimes referred to as a “bias motivated crime.” It essentially says that if you harass or hurt someone on the basis of prejudice, you will face stiffer penalties for whatever the crime was. Those protected categories used to be: race, color, ancestry, national origin or religion. In 2005, the code was updated to say physical or mental disability and sexual orientation.
What it all comes down to, however, is intent. Just because you may have committed a crime against someone who falls into a different racial, religious or sexual category doesn’t mean that the crime was motivated by that difference.
In order to prove a bias motivation, prosecutors must have proof. This could be statements you made prior to the incident. Keep in mind that statements that could be used in court can include text messages, e-mails and references made on social networking sites.
Castle Rock drug crime attorneys know that trafficking charges require a skilled an experienced defense team.
Rather than your average Castle Rock drug crime defense, these cases can be complex, involving intelligent operations spear-headed by networks of individuals who operate underground.
Law enforcement at all levels expend a great deal of resources in trying to penetrate these networks and make arrests. It makes them look good. The penalties for these crimes are also much more serious than what you are going to see with a lower-level, possession-type offense.
That was illustrated in a recent case out of Denver, in which a federal judge sentenced the 43-year-old defendant to 22-plus years behind bars. He was suspected to be a Mexican cartel kingpin who oversaw a $1 billion cocaine-selling operation that cast a web in eight states.
The U.S. District Judge condemned the defendant by saying he was a clear and present danger to U.S. citizens.
According to authorities, the bulk of these alleged crimes occurred between 2002 and 2003. The defendant reportedly had a storage center at a ranch here in Colorado, from which he distributed large quantities of cocaine that eventually made their way to New York, Georgia, Illinois and five other states.
Ultimately, it was an anonymous tip that led to the shut-down of the operation, headed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The main defendant and his brother were among nearly 30 others who were indicted in a Denver court way back in 2003. However, he wasn’t arrested until 2006, when authorities caught up with him in Mexico and had him extradited.
Two years ago, the kingpin’s brother was sentenced to more than two decades in prison, having been convicted of smuggling in huge quantities of the white powder from Mexico to the U.S.
Then last year, the kingpin pleaded guilty in 2011 to charges of money laundering and drug trafficking. His sentencing has only now been handed down.
Considering he was considered one of the top drug dealers in the world at the height of his operation, his sentence could have been much more severe. However, he reportedly provided a great deal of assistance to authorities will in custody, awaiting sentencing.
Our Castle Rock drug crime attorneys applaud any measure that includes allowing drug offenders to get treatment, rather than face harsh prison sentences.
Essentially, the law would decrease the punishment for possession of 4 grams or less of certain types of drugs from a Class 6 felony to a Class 1 misdemeanor. For more than 4 grams, offenders’ penalties would be downgraded from a Class 4 felony to a Class 6 felony. Any difference in cost would be routed to a drug treatment program for the individual.
Researchers, in looking at the financial impact of the bill, estimate that in the first year, it would save $2.2 million.
It would seem to us the measure has few downsides. But of course, there will always be detractors.
In this case, police and prosecutors have spoken out against it, saying that it would cost cities and jails more money (we’re still not quite sure how, considering their high cost of incarceration will actually go down), and that it will eliminate the district’s drug court. Drug court has been a good alternative to standard court procedures for individuals facing drug felonies. The issue here would be that if cases are misdemeanors, they would have to be channeled through county court, not district court, where drug court is located.
Supporters, meanwhile, smartly point out this isn’t a new concept. In fact, 20 other states have already passed similar legislation. And this would still leave the manufacture and sale of drugs as felonies.
And while district attorneys say that stiff felony penalties are the way to go in terms of reducing recidivism, the truth is that when someone has a drug addiction, there is very little outside of treatment that will have any impact. The only thing a felony conviction does is make the person less employable, give them less options for housing and cost the state more in terms of incarceration and post-imprisonment supervision.
Opponents worry that reducing the severity of these crimes will send the wrong message to offenders. But the truth is, sometimes treatment is the only message that reaches them anyway.
Three years after a mentally disabled youth was arrested, requiring Castle Rock sexual assault defense, he has been cleared.
Our Castle Rock sexual assault defense attorneys believe this is an example of how law enforcement and prosecutors routinely jump to conclusions, particularly when the allegations are serious and they feel obligated to quickly make an arrest.
This young man and his family endured a terrible injustice following a shoddy police investigation that involved a 17-hour interrogation of an individual who was known to have mental disabilities.
According to local news reports, an 8-year-old girl was fondled in her Stonegate bedroom in 2009. According to her description, however, the man who assaulted her was in his 40s, had brown hair and weighed approximately 200 pounds. The suspect that police identified was 19 years-old, had red hair, weighed 130 pounds and had acne on his face.
Prosecutors say at the time of police interrogation, officers did not know about their suspect’s mental capacity. But in fact, defense attorneys had provided that information to prosecutors.
But perhaps more disturbing is that DNA evidence cleared the suspect at the very start of this investigation. Prosecutors have defended their actions by saying that while the DNA evidenced uncovered from the victim’s underwear did not belong to the suspect, they insisted it didn’t actually clear him either. It was reportedly not semen, which could have provided a positive identification.
What it did do, however, was eliminate the suspect they had in custody. And yet, astonishingly, they pressed on with the charges, insisting that police had not coerced his confession to them – the only real evidence they had.
It wasn’t until a second mental evaluation this past March, which found that the suspect could not have understood his Miranda rights, that prosecutors decided to drop the charges.
In those years proceeding, however, the suspect, now 21, had been barred from going to the town of Parker, because that is where the alleged victim lived. What’s more, he couldn’t associate with anyone under the age of 18 – which meant he couldn’t attend his girlfriend’s prom. He was also made to wear a GPS tracking device, for which his family paid more than $350 monthly.
All this illustrates the need for skilled, aggressive legal representation if you are arrested for a Castle Rock sexual offense.
Here’s a tip: If you commit a Castle Rock perjury crime, don’t go on the radio and brag about it.
As our Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys understand it, that’s exactly what one Denver woman did after finagling her way out of jury duty.
In fact, she is facing felony perjury charges related to her alleged actions. While we often think of perjury charges as pertaining to a witness up on the stand, potential jurors can also face this charge if they lie after being sworn in.
Felony perjury under Colorado Statute 18-8-502 means that you are accused of making a false statement while under oath at an official proceeding. Misdemeanor perjury falls under Colorado Statute 18-8-503, and basically covers any act of lying to a public official in an attempt to mislead him or her from doing their duty. The latter is usually outside of an official proceeding.
In other words, if you lie to a police officer about your knowledge of a crime, you could be facing a misdemeanor charge. But if you lie in open court – as this woman reportedly did – you could be facing a felony charge.
According to The Denver Post, a 57-year-old woman is accused of faking post-traumatic stress disorder in an effort to get out of jury duty. She reportedly arrived to the courthouse appearing purposely askew. She wore curlers in her hair, mismatched her shoes and wore a t-shirt with a phrase that she hoped would further support her ploy. She told a judge she suffered from post-traumatic stress, domestic violence and had lived on the streets – all of which was reportedly false.
She was excused from jury duty, and that might have been the end of the story, were it not for a radio interview she conducted several months later. On that show, she reportedly told the hosts that she had worn bright red lipstick, which she smeared, and joked about how easy it was to get out of it. She had even mentioned that she previously bragged to her hair salon clients about her actions.
Problem for her was that the judge whom she appeared before had been listening.
She is now charged with perjury and attempting to influence a public servant – both of which are Class 4 felonies.
Subsequently, she granted an interview with a local television reporter without her defense attorney present – also, not advisable.
Things are looking up for a police officer who was suspected of a Denver DUI in February.
Our Denver DUI defense attorneys know that anytime someone is convicted of such an offense, they’re facing penalties that can range from probation two years in jail, not to mention costly fines. However, for a law enforcement officer or someone in a position of public trust, the consequences are often more severe. That’s because a conviction – or sometimes, just an arrest – can mean sanctions from your employer, up to and including termination and difficulty finding future employment.
Partially, this has to do with the fact that if you’re a police officer, you won’t be able to conduct patrols if you’re license is suspended. Also, though, it has to do with the reputation you are sworn to uphold. For better or worse, law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard. So when an officer is found to be on the opposite side of the law, there is often very little leniency.
However, having a solid Denver DUI attorney in your corner can make all the difference.
In this case, The Denver Post reports that the detective in question was reportedly off-duty when he crashed into a pole while on his motorcycle. The 52-year-old veteran investigator reportedly lost control of his motorcycle near Atkins Court, shortly after 1 am.
He was taken to a local emergency room, where he was interviewed by a DUI investigator, who reported he smelled an especially strong odor of alcohol on his fellow law enforcement officer. The DUI investigator implored the other detective to submit to a blood test, or risk losing his driver’s license for up to a year according to state law, the detective refused.
Afterward, when the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles held a hearing on that suspension, the DUI investigator didn’t show up. He later said he never received notice that he was supposed to appear, meaning the detective who had crashed was allowed to keep his license.
Prosecutors declined to take on the case, citing a lack of evidence.
Originally, the Civil Service Commission, which oversees personnel matters involving law enforcement, handed down a 90-day suspension for the officer’s alleged actions that night. Now, however, that sentence has been reduced to two weeks.
The Civil Service Hearing Officer was quoted as saying that while the officer was likely somewhat impaired, there simply wasn’t enough evidence to show that he met the legal definition of driving under the influence.
An individual who reportedly killed two pedestrians is facing charges of careless driving resulting in death in Thornton, just outside of Denver.
Our Denver traffic defense attorneys understand that in this situation, as in so many, the individual behind the wheel had no ill intent. According to authorities, there is no evidence alcohol or drugs were even involved.
The Denver Post reports that two Brighton individuals, ages 33 and 22, were struck by the driver, who was in a pick-up truck, as they walked along the dirt shoulder of East 168th Avenue. A teen who was with them was also struck, and he remains in critical condition.
The 33-year-old driver was reportedly on his cell phone and was distracted momentarily when the accident occurred. Those who know the father-of-two have described him as hard-working, a good father and one you could rely upon in tough times. Even a Thornton police spokesman was quoted by the Post as saying “It could happen to anyone.”
On that stretch of road, the speed limit is 45 miles per hour and there are no sidewalks. While one hesitates to blame the victim of this horrible tragedy, a skilled defense attorney might point out that this was not the safest place for these individuals to be walking.
The driver reportedly stopped immediately after the crash to help the victims.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, distracted driving resulted in the deaths of approximately 5,500 people across the country in 2009. In about 18 percent of those cases, cell phone use was blamed.
Because there was no alcohol involved and the driver stopped immediately, he is charged with a misdemeanor under Colorado Statute 42-4-1402. If no one had been hurt, this would be considered a Class 2 misdemeanor. But when someone – or in this case three people – suffer serious injury or death, it is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. Basically, this means that you will face a penalty of between 10 days and 1 year in jail, and could also be made to pay a fine of between $300 and $1,000.
In cases like this, prosecutors will often seek jail time because the families are hurting and they want to provide them some measure of solace. On the one hand, you understand that because you never meant for this to happen in the first place. On the other, you should speak to no one until you have first consulted with your Denver defense attorney.
A former Colorado sheriff has pleaded guilty to allegations that he traded drugs for sex.
Our Castle Rock defense attorneys know that no one is immune to the ravages of addiction, regardless of socio-economic status, education or career. Those addictions are often at the root of many crimes. Rather than stiff jail sentences, often what our clients need is help to overcome their substance abuse issues. We fight aggressively to limit jail sentences and increase the probability of treatment instead, particularly for first-time offenders.
In this case, former Araphoe County sheriff Patrick Sullivan, who served from 1984 through 2002, is accused of a felony for possession of methamphetamine and a misdemeanor for solicitation of prostitution. Although he has entered this plea, likely to avoid a circus-like trial, there has not been any information released as to what the sentence might entail. Defense attorneys are aiming for probation, while prosecutors are gunning for jail time.
In sentencing a drug case like this, a judge will take several factors into account. The first of those is whether you have any past criminal history. That could increase your chances of jail time. The second is the type of drug you possess. These are broken down by “schedules.” For example, a Schedule I and II drugs are considered to be the most serious. Schedule I drugs are those with a high risk of dependency and no real legitimate medical use. Some Schedule I drugs include LSD, heroin and peyote. Schedule II drugs are those that are also considered to have a high dependency risk, but might have some legitimate medical use. These would include opium and methamphetamine, like what the sheriff is accused of possessing.
If it’s your first Castle Rock drug charge, possession of one of these substances is considered a Class 3 felony. That means you could be facing between 4 to 12 years in prison, and up to a $750,000 fine. For a second offense, you could be facing up to 24 years in prison, with a fine of up to $1 million.
The individual who was accused of dealing the drug to the former sheriff, was sentenced to three years behind bars.
The U.S. Supreme Court is debating whether juvenile offenders in Castle Rock and across the country should be spared the possibility of being locked up for life.
Our Castle Rock juvenile defense attorneys understand the debate stems from two cases – Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs. The question is whether it is cruel and unusual punishment for a juvenile, given his or her youth, to face life in prison.
Here’s what we know of the two cases that sparked the discussion:
The first case involved a 14-year-old who allegedly beat an Alabama man and then set his home ablaze. The second involved another 14-year-old who was involved in an attempted robbery in which one of his accomplices pulled the trigger on the clerk, killing him. Because of state law where the crime occurred, simply being involved in the felony that resulted in the death got him a murder charge – and subsequently, a conviction and a sentence of life in prison.
According to The Associated Press, some 2,300 individuals are locked up for life with no chance of winning parole for crimes that occurred before they were 18. Of those, about 80 are in prison for crimes that happened when the defendant was age 14 or younger.
It was previously decided that the death penalty was too harsh for juveniles.
Now, several justices seem concerned about what they construe as the lack of judicial discretion for the sentencing of youth convicted of homicide. In many states, if you try someone under the age of 18 as an adult, they are going to get an adult sentence. In many cases, that involves just one possibility: Life without parole.
One possibility is that the justices may not outright prohibit life without parole as a possibility for juveniles who commit homicide, but they may instead say it is not mandatory and is instead up to the discretion of the judge.
Or, it could issue the cut-off point at 14 years old, saying if you are that age or younger, life without parole is too much.
It is expected that the justices will offer a ruling on the cases by sometimes this summer.
The issue of marijuana DUI in Castle Rock has been raising a number of questions among those in the legal community, here and across the country.
Our Castle Rock marijuana DUI attorneys know that while it is illegal to drive while intoxicated on any substance, the issue of how that is measured has created a very gray area in terms of the law.
This is illustrated in one case that was highlighted in a recent article by The Associated Press. A suburban woman from Denver told the reporter that while she would never get behind the wheel immediately after smoking marijuana, if she were to be tested by a law enforcement officer, her THC levels would likely be off the charts.
That is because her doctor has legally prescribed her marijuana to help ease the tremors of her multiple sclerosis.
“I don’t drink and drive, and I don’t smoke and drive. But my body is completely saturated with THC,” she told the reporter.
State lawmakers are debating the establishment of a marijuana threshold that would determine whether a person is driving under the influence of marijuana. That threshold would be 5 nanograms.
The problem is that marijuana, unlike alcohol, stays in a person’s system for an extended period of time. So while a person may blow a 0.08 alcohol blood content, which would all but prove they had been drinking in the last few hours, a marijuana reading would show that a person had consumed marijuana, but would not be accurate in terms of the time frame. That time element is crucial in proving whether the person is driving intoxicated.
While recent research has linked marijuana use to the risk of a crash – something conservative lawmakers have pounced on – some have pointed out that this research falls short of proving anything scientifically. Use of marijuana was not determined to be the sole cause of many of those crashes, and there was no detailed data involving the dosage or whether other drugs were present as well.
If you are charged with marijuana DUI in Castle Rock, it’s important that your first phone call be to an attorney.
Two women, both accused of two charges each of accessory to murder in Castle Rock, have been sentenced to probation.
In order for a person to be charged as an accessory to a crime in Colorado, they have to be found responsible of one of the following capacities: hindered, delayed or prevented the discovery, detection apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another person for the commission of a crime by offering assistance to the suspect. Also, prosecutors in these instances must prove that there was intent. That means that prosecutors must prove that not only was a crime committed, but that the person charged with accessory knew about it and took the actions they did in order to cover it up.
That can mean anything from tipping off someone of where authorities may show up to giving the person money or transportation or a disguise. It can also mean hiding or destroying evidence, as is reportedly alleged in this case.
The Castle Rock News Press reports that the two women accepted plea agreements in the case, following the homicide of a woman and her brother in an alleged murder-for-hire plot. The two women accused are the girlfriends of the alleged hit man and driver.
Prosecutors allege that the estranged husband of the female homicide victim hired two men to kill his wife.
It was alleged that the two women helped to clean blood from the getaway car. One of the women was pregnant with the alleged shooter’s sixth child at the time of the homicides.
In exchange for the probation they received, the two women have agreed to serve as witnesses for the state in the prosecution of the shooter and the driver, though those cases may result in plea bargains as well.
Often in these type of cases, where the evidence against an individual is strong, having an experienced attorney aggressively negotiate a plea deal on your behalf may be in your best interest.
A man who reportedly shot a police officer was convicted on several Castle Rock felony charges, and ultimately sentenced to 111 years in prison.
Our Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys recognize that attempted murder and aggravated assault charges can net serious penalties. Having an experienced attorney at your side when you’re facing these type of allegations can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
In this situation, the 52-year-old suspect reportedly encountered the officer in front of Ponderosa High School. According to The Castle Rock News Press, the suspect had been drinking at a bar in Franktown and left the establishment without paying. When the bar manager chased after him, the suspect reportedly threatened the manager. When the manager told him the police were on their way, the suspect reportedly held a gun to the head of a patron who had been walking nearby.
A short struggle ensued, after which time the suspect reportedly left. The first officer to encounter him pulled him over in front of the high school. In a flash, prosecutors said, the suspect fired off more than a dozen round at the squad car, striking the officer in the shoulder.
The officer reportedly fired back, striking the suspect twice and causing life-threatening injuries.
The suspect survived, and was charged with attempted murder with extreme indifference, aggravated assault and DUI.
His Castle Rock defense attorney had argued that the suspect had not intended to harm the officer, only to have him return fire. He was aiming for a “suicide by cop,” and as the attorney pointed out, he was almost successful. In fact, a paramedic was brought in to testify that the suspect had pleaded with paramedics to simply let him die.
Other character witnesses were brought in to talk about the defendant’s substance abuse problems, as well as the kind of person he is at the core.
Prosecutors, though, worked to paint a different picture. They mentioned other violent incidents that had occurred in the defendant’s recent past.
Despite the defendant’s apology, the judge still handed down a harsh sentence.
While our Castle Rock criminal defense attorneys realize that judges and the general public tend to take assaults against officers very seriously, there are strategies that can be employed that can help to reduce your penalties.
If you are arrested for a felony in Castle Rock, contact our efense attorneys to assist with your case.
Dolls are not usually a weapon of choice noted in many Denver domestic violence cases.
However, our Denver domestic violence defense attorneys understand that a police officer, accused of beating his girlfriend, alleges she actually attacked him. That in and of itself wouldn’t be noteworthy, except that the weapon she reportedly used to carry out the attack was a Justin Bieber pop star doll.
It’s an allegation that has office water cooler gatherers giggling like a gaggle of young “Beliebers.”
All joking aside, charges of domestic violence in Denver can be serious, resulting in great harm to your relationships, your reputation and your livelihood. This is especially true in cases like this that involve a police officer. A domestic violence conviction can mean the end to firearm privileges – devastating for anyone serving in law enforcement.
According to ABC 7 News in Denver, the 37-year-old police officer was arrested on charges of misdemeanor assault causing injury, obstructing a telephone service and property damage. According to his arrest warrant, he is accused of pulling out his 42-year-old girlfriend’s hair, punching her in the ribs, kicking in a locked door where she was hiding and beating her on the head with a piece of the busted door.
The girlfriend reportedly video-taped a portion of the alleged assault on her cell phone. The officer, however, audio-recorded a portion of that fight as well. The exact contents of either recording are not immediately available.
The officer, on the other hand, has alleged that his girlfriend hurled the Justin Bieber doll at him, bit his finger, kicked and choked him. He said the doll was thrown at his foot, leaving a large bruise.
Allegedly, the fight began after the officer told his girlfriend their relationship was over and she had to leave. She reportedly refused.
Officers at the scene noted both had documented injuries, including scratches, bite marks and bruises.
The officer was later accused of urging his girlfriend to “take the fall” for the incident, as she is a housewife with “nothing to lose.” He, on the other hand, could lose a great deal.
Far too many children are being convicted of adult felony crimes in Castle Rock and throughout the state.
That’s according to Colorado lawmakers who want to make it tougher for prosecutors to “direct file” juveniles as adults at their own discretion.
Our Castle Rock felony defense attorneys have seen firsthand cases in which overzealous prosecutors have unfairly filed adult charges on young teens, leaving them vulnerable to the possibility of prison terms or a record that will plague them throughout their adult life.
Certainly, there may be cases in which an extremely violent or heinous act may warrant filing an adult charge. But researchers are finding that in Colorado, that is almost never the case. The Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition reports that there have been almost 2,000 cases that prosecutors “direct-filed” juveniles as adults between 1999 and 2010. Of those, nearly 90 percent involved lower or mid-level felonies. About 15 percent involved some form of homicide. Just 5 percent involved a first-degree murder charge.
This is proof positive that prosecutors are abusing this power – something they of course vehemently deny.
What lawmakers want to do is not even extreme – it would simply require a heightened level of oversight. As it stands now, a prosecutor has the authority to decide whether a juvenile will be tried as an adult. They can rubber stamp the case without any review from a judge. This bill would change that. It would require a judge to sign off on whether the teen would be tried in juvenile or adult court.
The original, over-arching power granted to prosecutors was handed over after a public scare in 1993, sparked by a spate of gang violence that summer. Lawmakers turned around to give prosecutors more discretion in filing such cases, to ensure that violent, youthful offenders weren’t going to be given a chance to get right back out on the streets.
But this new bill, sponsored by Rep. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, would hopefully lessen the lesser-level felonies that juveniles are being direct-filed on – namely, robberies, burglaries and other property crimes.
Nikkel was quoted as saying that the actions of prosecutors are not only contrary to what the law intended, it amounts to an abuse of power.
Lawmakers are mulling over a Denver marijuana DUI statutes might require some revisions.
Our Denver marijuana DUI defense attorneys are not in favor of any measure that impedes on the right of patients to use marijuana for medical ailments.
According to The Associated Press, a bill is being debated that would render someone impaired if they test positive for more than 5 nanograms of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram.
However, there is argument whether that is an accurate measurement of whether someone is too high to drive.
Under the law as it is now, the state says drivers can’t be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but it doesn’t set a limit for how much THC can legally be in a person’s system. The problem, as identified by a number of medical marijuana activists, is that impairment can’t be accurately measured by their THC levels. That means that a patient who takes regular doses of the drug could build up a high THC level, and yet be perfectly sober.
Republican sponsors of this bill say a standard needs to be set so that law enforcement has some clear guidelines. They say that smoking marijuana is a privilege, and users shouldn’t be allowed to endanger others.
Those who oppose the measure aren’t saying that it should be Ok to drive high. But the proposed measurement of impairment won’t be fair. They also say it’s no different than ingesting any other prescription drug. Yet there is no blood test ordered for someone who has been prescribed Oxycodone or Prozac.
The issue has become the center of controversy for a number of state committees, where members haven’t been able to come to an agreement.
In Nevada and Ohio, there is a 2 nanogram limit for marijuana. In Pennsylvania, it’s 5 nanograms. In 12 other states, there is a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to marijuana.
Legislators say the bill could cost more than $1 million to implement statewide.
There is an alarming trend in Colorado that is gaining national notoriety: mistaken identity in cases of Denver felonies.
Our Denver felony defense attorneys understand that the latest case happened as authorities were chasing down the “32 bandit,” wanted on a host of robbery charges in the area.
According to Denver 9 News, a man was on his way home on East Quincy Avenue when he was pulled over. He soon found himself bewildered when police drew their guns on him, began cursing at him and slapped him with handcuffs.
As it turned out, the “32 Bandit,” so named because of a shirt he wore in one of his alleged crimes, was believed to be responsible for a robbery that happened at a local sandwich shop. Officers believed they were closing in on the suspect, but instead pulled over an innocent man. His skin color and clothing were similar to the alleged suspect.
He was later questioned and then released. The robbery suspect remains at-large.
Police do have a difficult job, and an incident like this might be forgiven – if it had only happened once or twice. However, that unfortunately does not appear to be the case.
A recent article in The New York Times details a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against Denver city and county over what they allege is a pattern in which law enforcement officers routinely arrest the wrong people.
One of the cases highlighted in the suit involves a black man who was mistaken for a white suspect in a Denver sexual assault case. He was jailed for an outrageous nine days, despite repeated pleas to jailers that they had made a grave mistake. He was eventually released.
ACLU pulled Colorado public records to learn that between 2002 and 2009, there have been more than 500 cases in which police in Denver arrested the wrong person. Another 100 cases have been documented since late summer 2009.
Police allege a number of reasons for this – stolen identities, similar names, inaccurate records and sometimes errors by jailers or police. But other times, there doesn’t seem to be any good explanation at all.
That’s why if you are accused of a felony in Denver, your first call needs to be to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
No parent wants to think that their child is capable of committing a crime, much less a serious crime. The fact of the matter, though, is that everyone can make mistakes, children included. Juvenile cases are among some of the most emotional, because the client is always both the child and parent rather than just the child alone, so it’s important to have an attorney who you trust.
The criminal justice system is flawed, and it’s been proven that many who go to jail (or in this case, juvenile detention) end up committing more crimes in their lifetime. So a juvenile conviction can cast a very long shadow on a child’s life, and it can end up setting a path for them that may end in real jail time when they become an adult.
That’s why it’s so important to fight juvenile charges, even if you think it doesn’t matter because juvenile records get sealed when a child comes of age. What doesn’t get sealed are childhood experiences and memories: those will be with your child for the rest of their life.
The juvenile justice system often does children a disservice, so it’s very important that parents take every care to avoid getting a conviction for their child. Couple that with the emotional turmoil between parent and child, and you have a very highly-charged emotional situation.
Find a defense attorney who can help defuse that difficult situation and restore hope and health to your family.
Most people are lucky if they only get one traffic citation in their life. Speeding, moving violations, failure to obey a stop sign, and the list goes on. No matter how vigilant a driver we are, everyone makes mistakes from time to time, and the odds are good that there will eventually be a police officer there looking to meet their quota when one of those mistakes happens.
But for some of us, traffic citations are more than just an every-now-and-then affair. Some people drive more recklessly than they should, and others are just unlucky.
Those citations, while individually they may not be very serious, can quickly add up to make life very difficult for you.
Every citation comes with at least a fine, but then beyond that fine, you’re likely looking at increased insurance rates, as well. If your offense is serious, you could be looking at educational classes, community service, license suspension, or even jail time.
That’s why it’s important to fight every citation in court, because the more citations you’re charged with, the worse the sentencing is going to be.
If you fight each citation as it happens, it makes it that much easier for you the next time you get charged with a traffic offense. If you ignore the citations until the potential sentence becomes serious, there’s only so much that even a talented lawyer can do for you.
Don’t wait to contact a skilled defense attorney, or it may be too late!
Felonies, as opposed to misdemeanors, are in no danger of being laughed off. Everyone understands that a felony is serious business, and that’s been reinforced by film and television. If you get charged with a felony, you’ll be facing a minimum of one year in prison. No fines, no community service, you go directly to jail.
While a misdemeanor can potentially change your life, a felony absolutely will, with no question.
If you’re being charged with a felony, you should already know that you need a good defense attorney. But how do you decide which defense attorney to choose? All of them take felonies seriously, because they know what the punishment will be.
What you need is a defense attorney who is dedicated to being available whenever you need them, at any hour of the day, and someone who will give you the personalized attention that your unique case deserves. You need an attorney who understands that no two cases are the same, and that you’re a customer, not a criminal.
It also doesn’t hurt to find an attorney who’s so confident in their services that they’re willing to offer a free consultation so that you can see exactly how they operate.
Of course we’re talking about us, here at Ellman & Ellman, where we offer all of those things. We understand, though, that you may want to explore other options, but if you have a free consultation, we’re confident that you’ll choose us to defend you in the legal system!
Many people look at misdemeanors as “˜minor’ crimes that only come with a “˜slap on the wrist’ punishment. Especially given how severe the crimes are in most television shows and movies, it’s no wonder that misdemeanors are looked at as not serious.
But in reality, a misdemeanor can completely change your life. In many cases, it’s true that misdemeanors don’t face jail time, and are instead just faced with fines. However, it’s a mistake to think that that will always be the case.
Did you know that with a misdemeanor conviction, you can spend up to six months in jail? That’s enough time to completely ruin your life. You can lose your job, and with a criminal record it may be hard to find another one, not to mention having to pay the fine that the court has given you.
It’s not worth taking the chance.
If you find yourself being charged with a misdemeanor, you need to find the best defense attorney you can, and quickly. Even one conviction can stain your criminal record permanently.
Sometimes it’s the charges that aren’t taken seriously that are the ones that end up costing too much.
So whether you’ve been charged with a Class 1, 2, or 3 misdemeanor, you need a defense attorney who understands exactly how much a misdemeanor offense can change your life, and who will take that responsibility seriously. Don’t wait to find an attorney who will represent you to the best of their abilities!
Theft charges are some of the most common charges seen in Colorado courts. The term is very broad, and encompasses a wide range of charges, both misdemeanor and felony. Often, the severity of the charges depends on the actual value of the property that was involved in the charge. For example, shoplifting will bring a lesser punishment than stealing a car. Even petty theft in Colorado should be taken seriously, as the after effects of a guilty verdict often go far beyond just a fine.
Common types of Colorado theft include:
You may thing that a minor theft will result in just a slap on the wrist. In some cases, that may be true, however it is important to think about the long-term when facing a legal situation such as theft in Colorado. Most employers run a criminal background check before extending an offer of employment. A theft charge is a serious liability for any employer, and most often it will result in missing out on an opportunity for employment. In addition, it can be impossible to receive certain professional licenses with a theft conviction on your record.
If you have been arrested for any type of theft in Colorado, you need the help of an experienced Colorado theft attorney. With an attorney at your side, you will have the best possible chance of having the charges dropped. If the charges cannot be dismissed, your attorney will work to get you the least amount of penalties possible.
Colorado, along with Texas, has led the pack in the number of ignition interlock devices installed for DUI offenders. Texas has over 33,000 devices in use, while Colorado has 17,000 in use. If the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act passes, the federal government may mandate the use for all DUI offenders.
Tucked into this bill is a portion that would make installing ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of all people convicted of a DUI, even those with very low blood alcohol content readings. Currently, judges have the right to determine when these devices are needed, and are typically reserved for repeat offenders or those that had very high BACs.
The alcohol industry, along with many drivers, feel that that right should stay with the local jurisdiction, but supporters of the bill point to Colorado’s DUI fatality statistics to back their agenda.
In 2008, Colorado had 176 fatalities related to drunk drivers. That number decreased to 158 in 2010 and 127 in 2011. It is hard to say that the ignition interlock devices were the only reason for the decrease, especially when you consider that there have been major initiatives for education and prevention around the state during the same period of time.
Should the bill pass, the federal government would have control over what BAC constitutes use of the ignition interlock device. To offset the costs of implementing the program, the bill calls for a $25 million grant to the states for participation. In Colorado, the device is paid for by the offender. Many of those against the bill believe the cost of the device should be the burden of the offender, while supporters say that using tax dollars to pay for the devices is a safety worth paying for.
Underage drinking is a serious issue for many of Colorado’s youth. What may seem like a fun time may lead to some serious consequences for the teens doing the drinking and for the adult who purchased the alcohol. In Colorado, there are two charges commonly issued for underage drinking: Minor in Possession (MIP) or Consumption of Alcohol (MIC). Every year, over 10,000 MIP citations are given out in Colorado.
Colorado law states that “any person under twenty-one years of age who possesses or consumes ethyl alcohol anywhere in the state of Colorado commits illegal possession or consumption of ethyl alcohol by an underage person.” And “A person has or holds any amount of ethyl alcohol anywhere on his person, or that a person owns or has custody of ethyl alcohol, or has ethyl alcohol within his immediate presence and control” is considered possession of alcohol. Of course, these charges combined with operating a motor vehicle can have devastating consequences.
If convicted of a Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol charge, the minor can face the following penalties:
First Offense of MIP or MIC in Colorado
On the first offense of a MIP or MIC in Colorado, a fine of up to $250 can be issued. The underage person may be required to provide up to 24 hours of community service, and an alcohol evaluation and treatment plan may be required. The driver’s license of a first time offender may be revoked for up to three months.
Second Offense of MIP or MIC in Colorado
On the second offense of a MIP or MIC in Colorado, a fine of up to $500 can be issued. The underage person may be required to provide up to 24 hours of community service, and an alcohol evaluation and treatment plan may be required. The driver’s license of a first time offender may be revoked for up to six months.
Third Offense of MIP or MIC in Colorado
For the third, or subsequent, offenses the penalties become much more harsh. The third offense is a Class 2 Misdemeanor that can bring six to 18 months in jail, fines of up to $1,000 and loss of license for one year. In addition, alcohol assessments and treatment programs are almost always required and must be paid for by the individual.
This past week had Denver police officers kept busy with an operation referred to as “Operation Sweet Leaf” that has sixteen people charged with racketeering, marijuana distribution and money laundering. Police swept the city and raided dozen of homes across the metro Denver area thought to be part of a large marijuana growing operation.
The homes were found in Adams County, Weld County, Broomfield, Erie, Breckenridge and Denver. Multiple agencies were involved in the planning and investigations, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and local police forces. The North Metro task force was the head of the investigations.
Officers involved in the raid served search warrants at 25 houses, in addition to the sixteen arrests. Over 1,000 marijuana plants were confiscated. While police are stating that there is no link to the state’s medical marijuana system, some people are skeptical.
There are rumors that some of the arrested people may be medical marijuana caregivers. In Colorado, a medical marijuana caregiver is a small provider that serves approximately five patients at a time and grows the marijuana in the home. There is confusion surrounding the legalities and requirements for caregivers, and this confusion may put the providers in the cross hairs of the investigations.
More arrests are expected as the investigations unfold. If you or someone you care about is a medical marijuana caregiver and concerned about the current investigations in the Denver metro area, speak with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney to understand your rights.
When approached by police, many people believe honesty is the best policy. Many people who are sitting in jail right now uttered the phrase “I was completely honest with the police” or “I had nothing to hide.” The truth of the matter is, if the police come knocking on your door, they are looking for evidence. What you think mike be polite conversation could actually be part of the process building a case against you.
You have no idea what someone may be accusing you of when the police approach you. It does not take a clear confession of a crime to be found as guilty and sentenced to jail time. Police are trained in interrogation tactics that often build trust and rapport, making you think that you are not a suspect in the crime. They often ask confusing questions that can paint you into a corner, making you appear guilty when you may not be.
The police officer often needs you to only say a few key words before you can be charged with a crime. Considering that you have no idea what those words may be, you cannot afford to take chances with any words at all. When approached by the police, simply refuse to speak to the officer until your attorney is present. You do, after all, have the right to remain silent.
If you fear you may be accused of a crime, or have had the police approach you, seek the help of an experience Colorado criminal defense attorney immediately. You cannot afford to be without representation. Attorneys know the games that are played during questioning, and can help you avoid making costly mistakes.
Many times, people accused of a crime in Colorado appear in court and find themselves facing a judge that tells them their case involves domestic violence. The reaction to this claim is often that no violence happened, so how can the judge make a domestic violence claim. It’s important to understand what makes a case qualify as domestic violence.
Colorado Domestic Violence Explained
In Colorado, domestic violence is not as cut and dry as it seems. Domestic violence cases often do not involve any physical harm. The law states that an act or threat to perform an act of violence with a person that is accused has been involved in an intimate relationship. An intimate relationship includes spouses, ex-spouses, unmarried couples past or present, or people that have had a child together, regardless of their current or past living arrangements.
You can also be accused of domestic violence if you commit a crime against person, property, or an animal as a method of threatening, intimidating, punishing or coercing someone that you have had an intimate relationship with in the past or present time.
Why You Need a Colorado Domestic Violence Attorney
As you can see, domestic violence is a very broad term that can be applied to nearly any accusation involving a present or past person you have been involved with intimately. If you are facing a charge that involves someone that could be considered an intimate relationship, don’t take chances by going to court without an experienced Colorado domestic violence attorney on your side.
Being charged with drug possession in Colorado is no laughing matter. Depending on the amount of the illegal substance you are found with, and the circumstances surrounding the arrest, you could face serious, if not life altering penalties for the charges if found guilty. If you have been arrested for possession, there are a few things you should keep in mind before your court date approaches.
Possible Penalties for Colorado Drug Possession
Nearly all crimes that relate to drug possession are punishable by time served in prison. Failure to appear for court will most commonly land you in prison for six months as a minimum, so be sure to keep track of your court date. If the amount was less than an ounce, and you have no previous criminal record, you may be lucky and be considered a “petty offense” with a $100 fine. More than one ounce of illegal substances will be a misdemeanor charge, which usually brings six to eighteen months in jail and a large fine. Anything over eight ounces is a felony charge, which will likely result in up to a year and half in jail, a suspended drivers license and a very large fine.
Do You Need a Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney?
When you consider the hefty penalties for drug possession charges in Colorado, the better question to ask is “Can you afford not to have an attorney?” An experienced lawyer will have handled hundreds, if not thousands, of Colorado drug possession cases in his or her career. An experienced attorney understands the court system, likely knows the judges that will handle your case, and has the expertise to negotiate on your behalf to help you get a lesser sentence if your charges cannot be dropped altogether.
The law offices of Ellmann & Ellmann PC, in Castle Rock, Colorado have years of experience defending drug possession charges, from the smallest petty offenses to complex cases involving large quantities of controlled substances.
The New Year isn’t off to a good start for a Douglas County Sherriff’s Office Deputy, who was arrested for a DUI just before lunch on January 1st. The deputy has been a member of the Special Operations Response Team, which responds to disturbances at the local jail.
This was no small incident either. The Denver Post reported that the off-duty deputy braked abruptly in his Ford Escape on northbound Interstate 25. The quick stop caused two vehicles to crash into the Escape, and caused another three-car pile up as people tried to avoid the accident.
Luckily, the four people injured were treated for minor injuries only. The deputy was arrested and charged with a DUI, careless driving and for failing a Breathalyzer at the scene.
The Douglas County Sherriff’s Office spokesperson suggested that an internal investigation would be conducted, and the Castle Rock police are handling the main investigation. The deputy is on administrative leave without pay for the time being.
Facing a DUI is not something anyone should do on their own. If you or someone you care about is charged with a DUI, especially one involving an accident, seek the help of an experienced Castle Rock DUI lawyer right away.
Your first Colorado DUI comes with pretty harsh penalties. You likely will face a temporary loss of license, fines, driver education requirements, community service, and possible time in jail or probation. But what happens if you receive an additional DUI? Unfortunately, the penalty is much more severe after the first offense.
If you are facing a second DUI, it is very important that you find a successful Colorado DUI attorney to represent you. The consequences are seriously increased with each DUI a person receives, and an attorney is your best chance of receiving the minimum penalties should you be found guilty of a DUI.
The minimum fine given for a second DUI in Colorado is $600. Rarely will you skate by with just the $600 fine though. Fines as high as $1,500 are possible for a second DUI, and many judges will go for the toughest penalties in an attempt to prevent future DUIs.
A second Colorado DUI will require a minimum of 10 days served in jail. However, the maximum sentence is one year of jail time. During the time served, you cannot use or earn time off for good behavior.
In addition to time spent in jail, a person convicted of a second DUI must have two year of probation as a minimum. The maximum amount of probation is five years.
In addition to the fines, a person with consecutive DUIs will incur court costs and attorney fees. If damage was done to a person or property during the DUI, you may also have to pay restitution. Most DUIs come with a list of required treatment programs, and each of these will have a cost associated with them.
Many news stories and opinion pieces have been circulating the newspapers and Internet, discussing driving while under the influence of medical marijuana in Colorado. The sheer number of articles available on this topic would make you think that medical marijuana is causing an alarming number of accidents on our roadways.
You might be surprised to find out that the opposite might possibly be true. Recently, two Montana State University professors conducted a study comparing the number of vehicle accidents in states that have legalized medical marijuana and states that have not passed legislation permitting medical marijuana. They compared state-level data from reputable sources, including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The results from their research was surprising, even to the researchers. States that have legalized medical marijuana, such as Colorado, saw a sizable decrease in traffic accidents. The average decrease was over nine percent.
When asked to explain why these statistics might be as they are, the researchers speculated that young people in these areas were likely less likely to drink and drive when they had access to marijuana. They also cited the possibility that those that use marijuana may be less impaired behind the wheel, and therefore less likely to be involved in accidents.
According to Daniel Rees, one of the two professors involved in the research. “The result that comes through again and again and again is that young adults drink less when marijuana is legalized and traffic fatalities go down.”
Many critics disagree with their findings, but it is interesting food for thought. What do you think?
Research has shown that patients that have prescriptions for medical marijuana are considered “chronic” users and thus have a higher tolerance level than those that use the drug recreationally. This may not seem like a big deal, but it could have some serious repercussions in January if the Colorado legislature sets the law that limits the amount of TCH nanograms that drivers can have in their systems to be considered driving under the influence.
In 2011, law makers could not come to an agreement on the amount of TCH that would qualify a driver as too impaired to drive. They considered levels between 2 nanograms and 8 nanograms. While a recreational user of cannabis may be seriously impaired with 2 nanograms in their system, a person that medicates regularly and has a Colorado Registry Card may not feel the effects of 2 nanograms, let alone be impaired behind the wheel.
If a TCH level is passed by the legislature, you will be presumed to be driving under the influence of drugs, and the results of the test that detects the THC nanograms will be used as evidence against you. The result could be automatic loss of license, without tolerance taken into consideration.
Drivers charged with a driving under the influence of drugs charge in Colorado face two separate cases. The civil case is handled by the DMV and can result in the loss of license, while the criminal case is handled in a criminal court room and the judge can choose to require time spent in jail.
If you are accused of driving under the influence of drugs and have a Colorado Registry Card, seek the help of an attorney that is experienced with medical marijuana DUI cases.