Unexpected Costs of DUI

The rates of DUI arrests continue to climb across the country and the expenses associated with those DUI’s often catch individuals by surprise and the effects are long term.

In most states an individual is lodged in a detention facility or detox center.  All expenses associated with this detention are the responsibility of the offender whether or not the initial arrest leads to a conviction; these expense could run into the hundreds of dollars.

A certain percentage of attorney’s will charge a flat rate fee for standard DUI cases however these fees could increase substantially depending on the details of the case and the amount of work involved.  Apart from the attorney fees the real expenses begin.

The following example is based upon a first offense DUI with 12 months probation.

You will be responsible for all court fees and costs associated with your hearing in addition to your fine.  On average the fine will be between $200 and

$600 in addition to additional court costs and fees.

A drug and alcohol evaluation will be the order of the day, this will cost $200 along with taking the time off work to make your appointment.  You will also incur the cost of drug and alcohol education classes coupled with the eval, these will cost approximately $200 and consume two hours a week for roughly 12 weeks or more of your time.

Your probation might include electronic monitoring.  This will cost you $100 for the monitoring device in your house and your ankle monitoring bracelet.  You will also be responsible for any fees associated with random drug testing while your serve your probation sentence.

If your insurance company doesn’t cancel your coverage you will be required to file an SR-22 as an addendum to your coverage.  The SR-22 filing is likely to double your insurance rates and will stay in place for a year or more.

In certain states in conjunction with a first offense DUI the only way you will be allowed to drive is with an Interlock device installed on your vehicle.  The initial cost of the device is approximately $100.00 in addition to a monthly cost of $80.

In addition to the humiliation and embarrassment that accompany a DUI charge and conviction there are real costs associated with this process, this is by design.  If you find yourself facing a DUI conviction contact a lawyer that focuses on DUI law.  Such an attorney who is familiar with the intricacies of these complicated cases can offer you outstanding advice and assistance.

Can you be forced to file bankruptcy?

The term “Involuntary Bankruptcy” is a term used when an individuals or companies are forced to file bankruptcy by creditors against their will.

Involuntary bankruptcies typically occur when a person or company has multiple unsecured debts and their creditors choose to bypass traditional options of retrieving payment, filing a petition with the court to require a forced bankruptcy. Most of the rules of filing or being “forced to file” are determined at the pre-filling stages of the person’s initial case.

When a person is seeking to educate his or herself on this topic, involuntary bankruptcy may sound like a scary process. Please note, that there are many rules set in place, and tight guidelines and procedures to abide by prior to filing. The vast majority of involuntary bankruptcies are brought against businesses, not individuals.

Several criteria must be met prior in order for a court to consider a valid petition for a forced bankruptcy:

Most cases, require at least three creditors to come together and agree to file a petition. This requires the creditors to cooperated and file a petition jointly. Anyone who has dealt with a collection company can imagine how difficult it would be for them to work together on anything.

In addition, not all debts meet the requirements or eligibility for a creditor to “force file”.  The total of the debt value itself has to meet a certain numerical value; this avenue cannot be taken for any small valued debt a person owes a creditor. In addition, the debts have to be actually owed and not contingent on an outcome such as a judgment in a lawsuit.

Finally, the court will have “the final say” whether or not to accept the petition. The debtor will have an opportunity to go to a hearing and argue the petition in front of the bankruptcy court.

There are other criteria, the specifics of which require professional advice. Thus, if you are experiencing any of these situations, seeking legal help is advised to properly move forward and stay educated on options. Having a professional on your side can give you the assurance that your rights are protected and can keep you from suffering further financial loss.

What To Expect In a Vehicle Accident?

Motor vehicle accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence in the world we live in today. With texting, voicemail, email and the ever existing access to the internet we all enjoy its inevitable that we all will find
ourselves a distracted driver at some point.

With distracted driving its almost a certainty that we will find ourselves the victim of a motor vehicle accident whether this accident is allegedly your fault or the fault of the other driver.  Regardless of the circumstances of an accident there are some things that need to be figured out and established at the very beginning of an accident situation that will determine how things are handled.

In the event of an accident the first and foremost thing to be addressed is the care of the  injury victims at the scene of the accident.  Regardless of the situation care of human life is the most important thing.  After the
initial shock and care of the casualties surrounding the accident the real work begins.

Someone should try and document the circumstances of the accident.  The five W’s apply here Who, What Where, Why and When; this could be difficult depending on the situation but every effort should be made to gather as much information as possible.

After treatment of the initial injuries do not neglect medical treatment of yourself. The initial adrenaline rush will go far in the self diagnoses of your own injuries but don’t be deceived after the rush of the moment you could very well feel the effects of your injuries well beyond the initial impact of the accident.

As soon as possible after the accident or certainly within 24 hours of the initial accident you should contact your insurance company’s 24 hour help line or your insurance agent to report the accident and notify your insurance company of any claims that might be headed their way.

This will not be the first thing you think of but, regardless of the situation you should contact an attorney qualified in the investigation and mitigation of auto accidents.  This may be an attorney retained by your insurance company or an attorney that you retain yourself but, do not attempt to negotiate this maze yourself.

Auto accident laws very widely by state, if you find yourself involved in an auto accident whether you are a victim, plaintiff or witness auto accident attorney specialists are available to help you protect your rights and negotiate on your behalf.


The Bail-Bond Process for Colorado

Upon being arrested, a person may be held in Jail until the scheduled trial, or a judge has the option to require that person post bail to be released. In Colorado, a common option for bail is a surety bond.

Facts and process to consider:

Bail amount

Bail amount plays a huge role in the affordability factor for the person who wishes to utilize this system.  Colorado law sets forth the factors a judge must examine when setting the bail amount. Those factors include the crime the defendant is accused of, the defendant’s previous criminal history, whether the defendant is employed, the defendant’s financial circumstances and the defendant’s family relationships, especially if any family members have agreed or refused to support him.

Surety Bond

A surety bond is a contract among at least three parties:

  • The obligee: the party who is the recipient of an obligation,
  • The principal: the primary party who will be performing the contractual obligation,
  • The surety: who assures the obligee that the principal can perform the task
  • A surety bond or surety is a promise to pay one party (the obligee) a certain amount if a second party (the principal) fails to meet some obligation, such as fulfilling the terms of a contract. The surety bond protects the obligee against losses resulting from the principal’s failure to meet the obligation. (- Wiki)

A surety bond can be obtained from a bail-bond agency to secure the defendant’s release from jail. The bail-bond agency will charge a nonrefundable fee of 10 percent of the bail amount for its service and will post the full amount with the court. The bail-bond amount will be returned to the agency in full once the defendant appears.

Release:  Once the defendant’s bail is posted he may be released from jail. If he is being held in a city jail, release can occur within 15 minutes to two hours. However, because county court is more populated, release may take as long as eight hours.

Collateral:  In addition to the 10 percent fee, the bail-bond agency can also request that the defendant provide additional collateral, usually valued at the full bond amount. The agency can seize this property, including bank accounts, cars, houses and jewelry, when its bond is forfeited if the defendant fails to appear in court.

The DUI Booking Process

The booking process could go fairly quickly or could take hours depending on several factors including number of individuals to be booked and the number of officers involved in the arresting and booking process.  Not all the steps below will be included in every booking session.

Typical Steps in the Booking Process

Step 1: Recording the suspect’s name and the crime for which the suspect was arrested

In olden days, this information became part of a handwritten police blotter; now virtually all booking records are computerized.

Step 2: Taking a “mug shot”

Mug shots have a variety of possible uses. For instance, a mug shot can help to determine which of two people with the same name was arrested. A mug shot can also help to establish a suspect’s physical condition at the time of arrest. The suspect’s physical condition at arrest can be relevant to a claim of police use of unlawful force or to whether the suspect had been in an altercation before being arrested.

Step 3: Taking the suspect’s clothing and personal property into police custody

At a suspect’s request, some booking officers allow suspects to keep small personal items like a wristwatch. Any articles taken from the suspect must be returned upon release from jail, unless they constitute contraband or evidence of a crime.

Example: Sticky Fingers is arrested for stealing a calculator. The police seize the calculator at the scene of the arrest. During the booking process, the police find a packet of illegal drugs and a stolen camera in Fingers’s backpack. These items will not be returned to Fingers upon his release on bail. The calculator and the camera are evidence of the crime of shoplifting. The drugs are illegal contraband; the police can take them regardless of whether drug charges are filed against Fingers.

Step 4: Taking fingerprints

Fingerprints are a standard part of a booking record, and are typically entered into a nationwide database maintained by the FBI and accessible to most local, state, and federal police agencies. Comparing fingerprints left at the scene of a crime to those already in the database helps police officers identify perpetrators of crimes.

Step 5: Conducting a full body search

Police officers routinely make cursory pat-down inspections at the time of arrest. Far more intrusive is the strip search that is often part of the booking process. To prevent weapons and drugs from entering a jail, booking officers frequently require arrestees to remove all their clothing and submit to a full body search.

Strip searches are legal even when the arrestee has been brought in for a relatively minor crime, such as an infraction; and even when there are no facts that would suggest that the arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband. In a 2012 case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such a search was legitimate even in the case of a person who was stopped for a traffic violation and arrested for failure to pay an outstanding fine (the fine had in fact been paid long ago). (Florence v. County of Burlington, No. 10-945.)

Step 6: Checking for warrants

The booking officer checks to see if an arrestee has any other charges pending, ranging from unpaid parking tickets to murder charges in other states.

Step 7: Health screening

To protect the health and safety of jail officials and other inmates, the booking process may include X-rays (to detect tuberculosis) and blood tests (to detect sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and AIDS).

Step 8: Eliciting information relevant to incarceration conditions

To reduce the likelihood of violence and injuries, jail officials often ask arrestees about gang affiliations, former gang affiliations, and other outside relationships. Depending on the answers, an inmate may have to be placed in protective custody or housed in one section of a jail rather than another. Routine questioning along these lines does not constitute an “interrogation” that requires officers to give a Miranda warning to the suspect. Information that suspects disclose in response to a booking officer’s questions may be admissible in evidence under the “routine booking question exception” toMiranda (Pennsylvania v. Muniz, U.S. Sup. Ct. (1990)).

Step 9: DNA sample

Suspects may be required to provide DNA samples that are entered in national DNA databases. Booking process will vary by state and agency and not all steps will be included in all booking situations.  The most important thing to remember is that regardless of the situation follow all directions and instructions given and do not try and control the situation. If you feel you were wrongly arrested or accused there will be plenty of time to figure those situations out.

Expungement of Juvenile Records in CO

In Colorado, many juvenile records qualify for expungement. If your record is expunged, it is not physically destroyed, but it is sealed or specially marked and treated as though it never existed. In most circumstances, after your record is expunged, you can legally say that you were never the subject of proceedings in juvenile court. However, if you are convicted of a later crime, your record may be obtained by the court for sentencing purposes.

The first question, is your juvenile record eligible for expungement?

Your juvenile record will qualify for expungement if a court finds that, since the end of your court supervision or parole:

  • you have not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, or adjudicated for another juvenile offense
  • there are no criminal or delinquency proceedings pending against you
  • you have been rehabilitated, and expunging the record is in your best interests and the best interests of the community

However, you may not file for expungement of your juvenile record if:

  • you were found to be an aggravated or violent juvenile offender
  • you were found to have committed an offense that would be classified as an adult crime of violence
  • you were charged, as a juvenile, by the direct filing in the district court of an information or indictment, unless you were sentenced as a juvenile in the same matter, or
  • you committed an unlawful sexual offense.

The second question, when can I file?

You may petition for expungement of your juvenile record immediately, if you were found not guilty in juvenile court. Otherwise, you must wait:

  • one year from the date of law enforcement contact that didn’t result in a referral for further action against you
  • one year from the date that you completed a juvenile diversion program or informal adjustment
  • four years from the date of the end of your court supervision, commitment to the department of human services, or parole supervision, or
  • ten years from the date your court supervision or parole ended, whichever is later, if you were found to be a repeat or mandatory juvenile offender and you haven’t committed any further criminal violations.

The third question, how do I file?

You must file a petition for expungement in either juvenile or district court. There is no fee to file. You may file for expungement only once during any 12-month period. For more information, and to get the forms you need, visit the Colorado Courts website.

Getting Legal Help

Clearing a juvenile record can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for sealing and expungement in Colorado — or for help filing the necessary paperwork — you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.

Ellman & Ellman is currently one of the best firms in CO

Source: Colorado Revised Statutes § 19-1-306.

Why Do You Need an Attorney When Charged With a Crime?

First let’s define criminal law–Criminal law is the area of law that deals with those who commit crimes. Crimes are generally defined as deviant behavior that violates social norms.   This behavior is established at the federal level and the state level, as well as the punishments for various crimes.

Punishments for crimes vary based on the severity of the crime that was committed and where the crime was committed. In the United States, crimes are classified in two main categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are serious crimes (i.e. murder) and misdemeanors are less serious crimes (i.e. theft).

People accused of crimes are granted certain rights under the US Constitution that protect them from being treated unfairly. Some of these rights include:

  • The right to an attorney
  • The right to not incriminate oneself
  • The right to a speedy and public trial
  • The right to an appeal

Why should you hire an attorney if you are charged with a crime under the various federal and state laws?  For those convicted of a crime the consequences can change a person’s life forever including the jobs you’re able to find and the career you choose.  Education benefits and opportunities could be severely impacted not to mention the personal liberties that could be affected.  It is a very good idea to have a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side if you have been accused of committing a crime. A criminal defense attorney can not only help you understand your rights, but make sure those rights are protected.

Contacting an attorney as soon as you are arrested or suspect you may be arrested is imperative.  In addition to protecting your rights, a skilled attorney should also be able to help you develop a strong defense for the charges you face. A strong defense attorney will have knowledge and expertise of the law and court procedures that you will not have.  This knowledge and expertise will make sure you avoid mistakes that could have a detrimental effect on your case.  Additionally, having an attorney on-hand will ensure that your case is investigated thoroughly and will help you build a strong defense against the charges.

Remember, a criminal record could follow you around for the rest of your life. Don’t leave your future up to fate. Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately if you find yourself in the position of facing criminal charges.

What to do if stopped for a DUI?  (best practices)

In the event you get pulled over by a police officer and have been drinking. You will got through the traditional routine: provide the officer with license and registration when he or she requests it.

He or she may then ask about your consumption of alcohol prior to operating a vehicle.

  • Have you been drinking?
  • How many drinks have you had tonight?
  • Are you intoxicated?
  • Please step out of the car and complete a sobriety test..

What do you do?

#1 Practice your 5th Amendment right!

First thing to remember, the 5th amendment protects you from self-incrimination. If you chose to do so, you have the right to stay quiet, and not answer any questions or inquiries the officer may have. You don’t have to answer any of the questions listed above or any relative to consumption of alcohol. This may benefit you in the long run, reducing the risk of providing more probable cause, or even slurring words.  You have the choice to remain silent, and if you feel comfortable, remain the officer of that right.

This prevents any chance that the officer can appear in court and voids any testimony of slurred words or drunk speech. This refusal to speak cannot be used against you.

#2 STAY in your car

Unless the officer asks you to get out, stay in your car.

Jumping out of your car without being requested can appear very dangerous to a cautious police officer, this is not a smart move.  If the officer demands you complete field sobriety testing, you can refuse, you are not required to complete field sobriety tests.

Field sobriety tests are based on exercising and testing you balancing abilities and stability and most of the time will result in failure if intoxicated.

Refusing to complete sobriety testing cannot be held against you.

# 3 Education on the Breathalyzer

This is a well known device has been used to determine BAC or blood alcohol Content. These are not 100% accurate, meaning they do not always provide the correct percentage of blood alcohol content. So in court, there is always potential to benefit the driver.

When it comes to complying with the officer, this unlike those listed above, is not an option.

All states have implemented what’s called an Implied Consent Law. This means that by obtaining a license, when requested by an officer, you have agreed to chemical testing of your breathe, urine, and blood. Failure to submit can result in immediate suspension of your license.

How To Select a Criminal Defense DUI Attorney?

A good criminal defense attorney is going to make sure that your rights are protected, beginning with your most fundamental Constitutional rights.

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed. . .”

After that’s been taken care of, the most important job of your criminal defense attorney is to present the facts from your point of view.  The first thing prosecutors hear is a police officer’s version of the facts, and your criminal defense attorney will analyze what the police officer said and explain why it might not be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Police reports can be exaggerated and inaccurate. Your criminal defense attorney will analyze those reports line by line as together you develop the legal strategy that’s going to be most effective.

You need someone who will guide you through Colorado’s criminal laws and criminal justice system.  By hiring an aggressive, intelligent, experienced defense attorney who knows and understands the law, you’ve got your best chance to put the charges behind you.

Because a criminal defense attorney specializes in that particular area of the law, he or she stays up-to-date in that specialty and can devise a winning defense strategy for your particular set of circumstances.  Criminal defense attorneys understand how police officers, investigators, and prosecutors think, and they know how to counter any moves they may make.  Prosecutors work for the criminal justice system.  Your criminal defense attorney works for you.

Your attorney understands the fear that follows being charged with a felony or even with a misdemeanor, and will give you and your case the attention it takes to win.  If restoring your life — and your peace of mind — requires bringing investigators, researchers, or experts to assist in your case, your criminal defense attorney will do what it takes to set you free.

When you’re trying to decide on the defense attorney you want on your side, ask questions related to your particular situation and listen for intelligent answers that indicate that the attorney is experienced.

The bottom line?  Your criminal defense attorney is going to defend the rights guaranteed to you by the United States Constitution, the Constitution of the State of Colorado, and the rights you have under all the laws that may apply in your case.  You want an aggressive attorney to represent you.