Allegations of Sexual Assault on Campus Plague Air Force Academy

Denver criminal defense law firmIt is not just regular American colleges, including several in Colorado, that are currently facing the heat over allegations of sexual assault. The Air Force Academy located in Colorado Springs, is also facing similar allegations involving star athletes.

Recently, at a ceremony marking the first day of classes at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, a number of generals and colonels spoke about their determination to restore the reputation of the Academy, and sympathized with victims of assault on campus. The reports of victimized cadets recently surfaced in the Denver Post which reported details of a house party in 2011. Several female cadets alleged that date rape drugs that were given to cadets at the party, after which they were sexually assaulted. The football players who perpetrated the crimes apparently also made threats to victims and their families.

The Air Force Academy initiated its own investigation, and a court martial of two football players. Others who were involved, were given lesser punishments. As many as 32 cadets were included in the investigation. Now according to the Academy, new leaders at the Academy will make greater efforts to protect female cadets from sexual predators. As part of the new efforts to help prevent such incidents at the Academy, freshmen are being trained about honor and integrity, and how integrity includes reporting immediately when classmates and friends do something wrong.

At colleges across the country, similar incidents of sexual campus are also raising an outcry. Denver criminal defense law firms have found Colorado colleges under pressure to strengthen their rules, to prevent such incidents. Colleges are bumping up their policies, and drafting stronger guidelines to clearly define sexual consent between students.

Unfortunately, Denver criminal defense law firms fear that much of the hysteria that is being raked up over college sexual assault could lead to an increased number of arrests, and false convictions involving young college students. Young males could find themselves accused of rape, especially in California where a recently approved bill would require conscious and affirmed consent before any sexual activity can take place.

Changes to Colorado’s Human Trafficking Laws

Denver criminal defense lawyerEarlier in July this year, new statutes that went into effect in the state of Colorado, modified the way offenders charged with human trafficking in Colorado, are prosecuted.

The changes come after years of calls by activist groups, who have called the trafficking laws in Colorado the worst in the country. According to law enforcement officers, the laws are very often difficult to interpret, and set a very high burden of proof for what defines human trafficking. The new revised laws are expected to strengthen the tools that are available to law enforcement officers.

As a result of these new laws, offenses that earlier were grouped in the category of prostitution, pimping or pandering could now also be considered as human trafficking. Those changes come as the result of a ruling that was delivered in a case in Colorado in March this year. The Colorado Court Of Appeals delivered a judgment in a trafficking-in-children conviction of a man who had been convicted of facilitating the sale of a teenage girl in 2010. He had been charged after he posted Internet ads, offering the teenager for sex. He set a price for her, arranged dates with clients and ferried her to those dates. In 2011, a jury found him guilty.

However, the appellate court ruled that his conviction was invalid, because of wording in the trafficking in children laws in Colorado. According to the court, he had not actually transferred physical and legal custody of the child permanently to another person, and therefore, he had not committed the crime.

Although the ruling was valid, it incensed anti-human trafficking advocates, who called for modifications to the wording of the law. In response to their calls, new statutes will now change the way that people are prosecuted, and charged with human trafficking cases in this state.

Under the new laws, sex trafficking involving a minor in Colorado is considered a sex offense against a child. As any Denver criminal defense lawyer will tell you, sex crimes against children have some of the most stringent penalties attached. These modifications make it imperative that you get in touch with a Denver criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are charged with a prostitution or pimping-related crime.

Alcohol Ads Contributes to High Underage DUI Rates

Denver DUI defense lawyerPeer pressure has a major role to play in underage drinking, which also contributes to college DUI. Recent research has also indicated to Denver DUI lawyers that underage DUI rates are very strongly linked to promotions and advertising by the alcohol industry.

One recent study recently found that when underage drinkers are exposed to alcohol advertising as part of their regular favorite television shows, they’re much more likely to drink, even though they are not of the legal drinking age. The study was conducted by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Boston University School of Public Health. The researchers analyzed the effect of exposure to certain alcohol commercials, during 20 popular television shows. They were looking for brand-specific consumption patterns, and they found that there was a definite association when young drinkers are exposed to brand-specific advertising as part of their favorite television shows, and the kind of alcohol choices that they make later.

The findings of the study were published recently in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. As part of the study, the researchers surveyed more than 1,000 people between the age of 13 and 20. In all the cases, respondents had drunk at least one alcoholic beverage over the past month. When participants were asked about the alcohol brands they had drunk during the past month, as well as the commercials for alcoholic beverages that they had watched during the past month, they found a very strong connection between consumption of a particular alcoholic beverage brand, and advertising exposure to the alcohol brand.

Underage DUI, or consumption or possession of alcoholic drinks by a person below the legal drinking age of 21, can have serious repercussions. A person who is below the legal drinking age of 21 can be arrested even for having a BAC level of .02 percent in his system, unlike an adult, who can have a maximum blood alcohol concentration level of .08% in his system. If you have been arrested for DUI, speak with a Denver DUI defense attorney.

Colorado’s Marijuana Legalization Experience Encourages Lawmakers

Denver criminal defense lawyerSince the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in Colorado, other states have been closely monitoring the repercussions of the legalization to determine whether legalization, or at least a lowering of restrictions on use of marijuana, is safe to enact.

Colorado’s experiences seem to have encouraged lawmakers in Louisiana. Government data indicates that the number of homicides in Denver actually fell, by more than 60% in the first six months alone, since the legalization of marijuana in the state. Denver criminal defense lawyers have also found a drop in the rates of other crimes in Denver including the rates of sex crimes and kidnapping since the legalization. The data seems to indicate that there wasn’t a significant increase or decrease in the rate of aggravated assault. However, there was actually an increase in simple assault. Property crimes also dropped by about 9%, since the legalization went into effect.

Louisiana lawmakers are actually using that data to help persuade colleagues in their legislature who are opposed to marijuana reform legislation. The biggest concerns for Louisiana lawmakers who are opposed to marijuana legislation similar to the one enacted in Colorado, is that such legalization will result in an increase in violent crimes, like homicides. Colorado’s experience indicates that that is not the case.

Louisiana lawmakers have for the most part, avoided experimenting with marijuana legalization, and the legislature has shown that it isn’t ready yet for serious marijuana reform. This is in spite of the fact, that the state has some of the highest incarceration rates related to marijuana crimes. It also has some of the strongest penalties for marijuana-related drug offenses.

That state is now looking at Colorado, to learn how it can proceed with lowered restrictions on marijuana use, or even marijuana legalization, without having any impact on crime rates in the state.

Denver criminal defense lawyers have found one significant effect of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado-it has led to an increase in the number of offenses related to disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. These incidents actually increased significantly by more than 200%, after the legalization of marijuana.

About Half of All Federal Drug Prisoners, Could Be out Soon

Aurora criminal defense lawyerUnder the terms of a new decision delivered by the US Sentencing Commission, approximately half of all federal prisoners in jail for drug crimes could soon be eligible to get out of prison much sooner than they expected.

As many as 46,290 federal prisoners can now apply to get their prison sentences shortened. That reprieve comes courtesy of a reduction in federal sentencing guidelines that was approved earlier this year. That approval actually applies retroactively to persons who are currently serving time in federal prison, for drug crimes. Prisoners, who meet the criteria for the early release, can now apply to get out of prison earlier. Prison releases are expected to begin in November next year.

The Sentencing Commission estimates that as many as 46,290 prisoners can apply for shorter sentences, which accounts for approximately 50% of all federal drug offenders. These are only drug offenders in federal prison, and form a very tiny percentage of the total number of people incarcerated in the United States. Aurora criminal defense lawyer estimate that just over 20% of all inmates who currently are incarcerated in federal prison, can apply for the shorter sentencing as part of the new rule.

Approximately 50% of all persons in federal prison are in there after being convicted for drug crimes, and Aurora criminal defense lawyers know that many of those people were imprisoned after being convicted of nonviolent or minor offenses. Those incarceration rates are so high because of the stringent and overly excessive incarceration guidelines for drug offenses. Those overly stringent guidelines are part of the country’s much vaunted war on drugs that has ripped communities apart, and sent large numbers of minority prisoners, especially African-Americans and Hispanics into prison, for minor drug offenses.

Under the new guidelines, the amount of drugs that the person is caught with will no longer have as much influence in determining the length of the sentence as other factors. Judges will now use modified calculation guidelines to determine sentences. The Sentencing Commission also decided that it wasn’t fair that prisoners who are currently in prison for nonviolent and minor offenses, remain incarcerated while people who now commit offenses will have the newer guidelines apply to them. Therefore, it made the decision to apply the guidelines retroactively.

Indecent Exposure Can Be Charged As Felony Crime

Aurora sex crimes defense attorneyIn Colorado, indecent exposure refers to the exposure of one’s genitals to another person or persons, with the intention of satisfying any person’s sexual desires, and in a situation in which such exposure is likely to cause alarm to another person. Typically, these are charged as misdemeanor crimes, but if there have been similar offenses in the person’s history, those may be charged with a felony crime.

Typically, indecent exposure crimes are charged as class I misdemeanors. However, if the person has previously been convicted of indecent exposure, he may be charged with a sex crime or class 6 felony. That means automatically higher penalties, including a prison sentence. Unfortunately, Aurora sex crimes defense attorney find that in many cases, indecent exposure is the result of a very innocent action. For instance, persons who are sunbathing or tanning in the nude, or even urinating, may find themselves facing indecent exposure charges.

In Colorado, recently, a soldier pleaded guilty to a number of charges including attempted indecent exposure. According to the charges against the serviceman, he offered to pay young women and girls, money to watch him masturbate. Several young girls and women between 12 and 22 years of age reported that were approached by a man in a pickup truck who proceeded to offer them $100 to watch him masturbate. Police had earlier been looking out for a man in a red pickup truck, and officers managed to pick him up and arrest him on suspicion of obscenity, as well as attempted indecent exposure.

In Colorado, indecent exposure can also refer to an act of masturbation performed by a person in front of another person, in a way that causes alarm to another person.

Aurora sex crimes defense attorneys find that one of the more serious consequences of a conviction for indecent exposure is a possible requirement to register in a sex offender registry. That means details of your crime, your name, address and contact information, your photographs and aliases will be accessible to the public. That leads to many complications including the inability to get accommodation in certain areas, inability to apply for or get certain jobs, and other consequences.

Law Enforcement Link Increase in Juvenile Crime with Internet Porn

Denver criminal defense lawyerIn the United Kingdom, law enforcement agencies are linking an increasing number of sex crimes involving school-aged children, with increased accessibility to Internet porn, especially on smart phones.

According to the police, easy accessibility to hard-core porn is to blame for an increase in the number of children, some of them aged as young as eight, who have been arrested for sex crimes including rape in the past few years. The data was released by Police in the Greater Manchester area, and states that since 2009 alone, police have detained approximately 215 children below the age of 15, on sex crime allegations including rape allegations. Most of the persons arrested were boys, but three girls below 15 were also arrested for sex crimes during the same time. Less than 20% of the juveniles were charged with crimes, and 10 children were let off with a warning.

Many children’s groups have expressed their extreme horror at the results of the analysis, and suggest that this increase in the number of young children being arrested for crimes is directly linked to the easy accessibility to hard-core pornography on the Internet. Those increasing incidences of juvenile crime involving very young children, is also being linked to the practice of “sexting.” Denver criminal defense lawyer have found this to be a distressing recent phenomenon in which teenagers and adults exchange nude and explicit pictures of themselves on their smartphones. Smartphones make it very easy to exchange pictures, and apps like Snapchat have been developed for this very purpose. Police officers now also blame sexting for an increase in in sex crimes and rapes.

On a smart phone, pictures can be circulated very easily, raising the risk of charges of child pornography. When a a person below the legal age of consent shares nude images of himself or others on his smart phone with others, he could very easily face charges of child pornography. In fact, in the United States, this has actually happened in a few instances. Speak to a Denver criminal defense lawyer about protecting your rights after an arrest for a sex crime.

Firefighters with Sex Crime Convictions Excluded from Volunteer Fire Companies

Denver criminal defense lawyerDenver criminal defense lawyers find that one of the most tragic and disastrous consequences of sex crime convictions is a requirement to get registered in a federal sex offender registry. Registration is required for certain types of offenses, and can be permanent. Details of the registration can even be open to the public. In New York recently, the governor signed a new piece of legislation that prevents sex offenders on a registry from serving as volunteer firefighters.

Persons who have been convicted of certain sex offenses can no longer join volunteer fire companies or remain members of these companies. They can also not remain members of volunteer ambulance companies. The statement has been applauded by the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York.

In New York, there are 92,000 volunteer firefighters who serve in 1800 volunteer fire departments. Under the new law, any person who is included in a sex offender registry is no longer eligible to become a member of a volunteer fire company or ambulance company. Any volunteer, who is currently serving in a fire company and has been convicted of a sex crime, must immediately terminate his membership in these agencies.

Punishment for certain types of sex crimes, especially those involving children, can continue for years after the person has been released from prison. One of those harsh, long-term consequences is the sex offender registration requirement which can impose a number of restrictions on the person’s life.

Under Megan’s Law, sex offenders in the state of Colorado, who have enrolled in a sex offender registry, can have this information displayed to the public. The details including the name of the person, address and photographs are easily accessible on the website online. Not only that, law enforcement is also allowed to distribute the person’s information in leaflets in local communities, when the person moves into a new house. Speak to a Denver criminal defense lawyer about protecting your rights after an arrest.

A Denver DUI Lawyer Is Your Best Hope For Justice

Denver DUI LawyerIf you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in any of the United States, your DUI citation will cause a major spike in your car insurance premiums. Auto insurance companies usually verify your driving record only once every three years or when you apply for a new policy. While every accident, ticket, and DUI may not always be reflected on your driving record, if your insurance company discovers a DUI conviction and categorizes you as a “high-risk driver,” you should shop around, since rates vary widely. On the other hand, your insurance policy could be cancelled, or your insurer might refuse to renew it. If that happens, you’ll be shopping to find new insurance with the twofold disadvantage of a DUI conviction and an insurance policy cancellation on your record. Don’t let this happen to you; if you’re charged with DUI anywhere in or near Denver, consult immediately with an experienced Denver DUI lawyer.

Colorado compels a DUI offender to obtain an SR-22 from his or her car insurance company. It’s a form which tells the state that you carry liability insurance, and requires your insurer to notify the state if your car insurance is cancelled for any reason. Some insurers don’t offer SR-22; your policy could be cancelled or non-renewed because the company can’t provide the coverage you now require.

To summarize: a DUI conviction will radically raise your auto insurance premiums, and those premiums likely will never sink back to the sum that you pay now. That’s one reason it’s imperative to have the counsel of a knowledgeable DUI attorney if you face any DUI charge in the Denver area. While there are no guarantees in any criminal case, a good DUI lawyer will make every effort to have the charge reduced or dismissed; if your case goes to trial, an experienced DUI attorney will advocate aggressively for your acquittal. It’s your best hope for justice. Increased insurance premiums are only the beginning of the bad news if you’re convicted; fines, jail, and the loss of your driver’s license are among the potential penalties. If you face the charge in the Denver area – now or in the future – get the help you need and contact an experienced Denver DUI lawyer immediately.

Senators Rand Paul, Cory Booker Team up on Sentencing Reform Bill

REDEEM Act - Senators Rand Paul, Cory Booker Team UpThe United States accounts for 5% of the global population, but 25% of the world’s incarcerated population. It is scary statistics like these that have spurred Senators Rand Paul (Republican-Kentucky) and Cory Booker (Democrat-New Jersey) to team up on a sentencing reform bill that they believe will reduce the number of offenders mandatorily incarcerated even for low-level offenses.

The legislation which will soon be introduced is called the REDEEM Act. The proposal would encourage states to raise the age of criminal responsibility, or the age at which a child can be tried as an adult to 18 years, and would require states to expunge or seal records of juveniles.  The proposed bill would also restrict the use of solitary confinement for juvenile offenders, and establish a clear system that would allow certain criminals convicted of nonviolent offenses to have their records sealed. Such sealing of records helps persons with a criminal record gain productive employment, because it keeps their criminal record out of background screening checks conducted by employers.

The new sentencing reform proposals that have been outlined in the proposed legislation are definitely something to encourage. It’s very likely that both Booker and Paul – young lawmakers who have presidential aspirations (Paul has spoken about his interest in running for the White House in 2016) – have realized that the county’s overburdened prison population and arbitrary sentencing guidelines, are important and relevant issues that must be  addressed before the next election. Paul, in particular, has been keen to promote himself as a lawmaker, who is willing to cross the aisle. Last month, he unveiled a new proposal that would help restore federal election voting rights for felons, convicted of nonviolent crimes.

Both of the lawmakers say that the need for a law like this is underscored by the fact that many young American, especially black, brown or Hispanic ones who are convicted of nonviolent, low-level drug offense struggle to find employment after their conviction. They believe that the unemployment problem in many communities is very strongly linked to the mandatory drug crime sentencing guidelines that they believe need to go.