Archive for the ‘ Criminal Defense ’ Category

Can You Move Out Of State While On Bond?

Posted on: August 16, 2018 by in Criminal Defense
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If a criminal defendant in the state of Colorado flees – or merely appears to vanish – while free on bond and waiting for a trial to begin, the legal consequences can be quite severe.

You are about to learn what can happen if you flee or disappear while you are on trial or awaiting trial on a criminal charge in Colorado. You will also learn what you can do to protect yourself if you are accused of violating your bond and failing to appear in court as scheduled, and how a Denver drug crimes attorney can help.

HOW CAN A CRIMINAL DEFENDANT BE RELEASED BEFORE TRIAL?

Fleeing from a Colorado court’s jurisdiction either before or during a criminal trial is going to have serious and lasting ramifications, and it will not matter if the original charge is a trivial misdemeanor or a serious felony.

A defendant who has been arrested and charged with a crime in this state will usually be held in custody until some form of bail has been posted or until the person is released on his or her own recognizance.

Technically speaking, a bail bond will be denied only in homicide cases and in other cases involving violent felonies. However, if a judge believes that a defendant is likely to flee if he or she is released, that judge can set that defendant’s bond amount insurmountably high.

WHAT DO COURTS CONSIDER WHEN SETTING BOND AMOUNTS?

A judge will set a bond amount that he or she believes will be sufficient to ensure that the defendant will appear for all scheduled court proceedings.

When determining that bond amount figure, a court will take into account the safety risk to the general public, the details and seriousness of the alleged crime, the defendant’s previous criminal record, and the risk of flight posed by the defendant.

WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS FOR BEING RELEASED ON BOND?

A criminal defendant who is released on bond while awaiting trial in Colorado must also agree to the specified terms and conditions for release:

1. A failure to appear in court as scheduled may result in an arrest and the forfeiture of the bond. Failure to appear is a separate criminal offense punishable upon conviction by up to a year in prison and the loss of eligibility for probation or for a suspended sentence.

2. Standard bond conditions bar defendants from committing a second crime and from leaving the state of Colorado while free on bond and awaiting trial.

3. Defendants must agree to abide by Colorado’s mandatory restraining order that prohibits contact with alleged victims and witnesses in criminal cases.

4. Defendants must immediately inform the court regarding any change of residence.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR IN COURT AS SCHEDULED?

The paramount condition of a bond is the defendant’s agreement to appear at every scheduled court hearing. It is the defendant’s responsibility to know when and where those hearings are to be conducted.

If you are a criminal defendant in Colorado and you fail to appear in court as scheduled, the court may order your arrest and either revoke your bond or raise the amount of your bond.

WHAT IF YOU MUST LEAVE THE STATE TEMPORARILY?

If you must leave the state while you are awaiting trial, it may only be for a personal or family emergency, and you must obtain the consent of the court. If a bail bonding agent arranged for your bond, you’ll also have to obtain a “consent of surety” document from that bonding agent.

There is no guarantee that you will be able to obtain consent to travel out of state while awaiting trial from either the court or the bail bonding agent. They are under no obligation to grant that consent.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR FAILING TO APPEAR IN COURT?

A defendant released on bond related to a felony charge can be convicted of a separate Class Six felony – punishable by “imprisonment of not less than one year” – if he or she knowingly fails to appear for trial or other proceedings or knowingly violates the conditions of the bail bond.

A defendant free on bond for a misdemeanor charge can be convicted of a separate Class Three misdemeanor – punishable by a term of “not less than six months” – if the defendant knowingly fails to appear for trial or other proceedings or knowingly violates the conditions of the bond.

A person convicted for either of these violations becomes automatically ineligible for probation or for a suspended sentence.

WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES AGAINST A FAILURE TO APPEAR CHARGE?

Defendants may only be convicted for knowingly and intentionally violating a bail bond’s terms and conditions.

For example, if you change your residential address while you are awaiting trial, and you notify the court regarding the change of residence, you cannot be convicted of a bond violation if your change of address wasn’t processed promptly and you temporarily could not be located.

If you could not appear in court because you had a medical emergency, you cannot be convicted of a bond violation, but you’ll have to produce the medical documents and receipts that prove your medical emergency was real.

ARE THERE OTHER CONSEQUENCES FOR FLEEING FROM PROSECUTION?

However, if you knowingly and intentionally flee from the court’s jurisdiction while awaiting trial or during the course of a trial, and if you are convicted of violating your bond, any future arrest may mean an insurmountably high bond amount.

Moreover, if you flee before or during a criminal trial, when that trial begins or resumes, you will not be able to suppress the information about your flight to avoid prosecution.

In a 2015 case (People v. Gee), the Colorado Court of Appeals determined that information that the accused fled Colorado to avoid prosecution was, in fact, relevant and admissible at trial as evidence of “consciousness of guilt.”

HOW CAN A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER HELP?

That’s simply one more reason why you must reach out to an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney if you are charged with failing to appear in court or with violating your bond in some other way.

The right defense attorney will answer your legal questions, address your concerns, and fight aggressively for justice on your behalf.

If you’re charged with any crime in Colorado, legal help is your right. Make the call and get the legal help you need – as soon as you need it. Your future – and even your freedom – may depend on it.

How Plea Deals Work In Colorado?

Posted on: July 17, 2018 by in Criminal Defense
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If you are charged with a crime in the state of Colorado – and it can happen to anyone – you should know what a plea bargain is, because you will probably be offered one.

However, the first and most important thing to remember if you are charged with a crime in this state is that you must seek legal advice and representation at once from a Denver drug crimes attorney.

WHAT IS ESSENTIAL FOR EVERY CRIMINAL DEFENDANT?

It cannot be stated strongly enough: It is imperative for every criminal defendant to be advised and represented by a criminal defense lawyer.

Do not accept any “deal” or plea bargain until and unless your defense lawyer recommends accepting it.

This is important: Absolutely do not try to negotiate your own plea bargain. Your attorney is a trained and experienced negotiator. Let that training and experience work for you.

EXACTLY WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A PLEA BARGAIN?

A plea bargain may be defined as a contract that is legally binding between a criminal defendant and the state. It is a contract that settles the criminal charge (or charges) against the defendant.

What many people do not realize is that very few criminal cases actually go to trial.

We see trials on television because trials are potentially dramatic, but here in Colorado, fewer than five percent of the charges filed by prosecutors actually become formal courtroom trials.

WHEN DOES PLEA BARGAINING HAPPEN?

Plea negotiations may take place before a suspect is formally charged or subsequent to charges being filed. A plea bargain can be offered after a trial begins or at any time before a verdict is returned.

In the typical plea agreement, a defendant agrees to enter a guilty plea (or a “no contest” plea) on at least one charge in exchange for one or more other charges being dismissed or reduced.

Like any negotiation, the first plea bargain offer from a prosecutor probably is not an offer that a defendant should accept. A plea bargain should be negotiated, and a good defense attorney will see to it that a defendant gets the best possible “deal.”

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF PLEA BARGAINING?

Colorado’s criminal courts are always overcrowded, and a formal criminal trial can sometimes drag on for weeks or even months, but a plea bargain can take only minutes.

Plea agreements also give each side more control over the case, because no third party – that is, no jury – is involved, and the behavior of a jury is always impossible to predict.

Colorado’s prosecutors and judges use plea agreements to move cases quickly through the system. Without the use of plea bargains, the criminal court system – in all fifty states – would quickly become unworkable.

Over ninety percent of the criminal convictions in the United States are the products of plea bargains. Colorado prosecutors use guidelines that specify precisely how plea bargains are to be offered and negotiated.

PRECISELY HOW DO PLEA BARGAINS WORK?

A plea agreement usually works in one of these three ways:

1. Sentencing agreements: A defendant pleads guilty or no contest to a charge in return for a reduced sentence.

2. Charge agreements: A defendant pleads guilty to a reduced charge, and the original charge is dropped. In Colorado, for example, a first-time DUI offender may be allowed to plead guilty to wet reckless, and the state in return will dismiss the DUI charge.

3. Count agreements: A defendant pleads guilty to one or several original charges, and the state in return dismisses any other charges.

A plea deal in Colorado can even be negotiated after a trial, if the trial concludes with a hung jury, and either the state or the defense does not wish to go through a second trial.

WHAT IS A “NO CONTEST” PLEA?

Just like a guilty plea, a no contest plea means a conviction. However, a plea of nolo contendere or no contest is the equivalent of saying, “I am not guilty, but I do not wish to contest the charge.”

Liability is the reason why most no contest pleas are entered.

Let’s say that a defendant injures someone while committing a robbery, and that victim sues the defendant for medical expenses. An admission of guilt in a criminal case means that a civil court will almost certainly find the defendant liable in any civil case that arises from the crime.

But whether the plea is guilty or no contest, most criminal defendants “take the deal,” but you should never take a “deal” until you know that you have the best possible offer.

HOW CAN A DEFENSE LAWYER HELP YOU?

A defense lawyer who routinely negotiates on behalf of clients will know what offer to accept and what offers should be rejected.

Of course, if you are not guilty of the crime, you should not accept any plea offer or make any agreement. A qualified criminal defense attorney will advocate aggressively for your acquittal and for the justice you deserve.

If the evidence against you is persuasive, and if the prosecutor’s case against you is sound, you should let your attorney negotiate the best possible plea agreement for you.

A plea agreement often make sense because trials are risky, juries are unpredictable, and even the best lawyer cannot promise or guarantee a result in any specific case. If you reject a plea deal and go to trial, a much harsher sentence is a possibility you must consider.

IF YOU ARE OFFERED A PLEA DEAL, WHAT ELSE MUST BE CONSIDERED?

In the end, the choice to reject or accept a plea agreement is the defendant’s choice. However, a defendant really must give serious consideration to his or her attorney’s recommendations.

Colorado prosecutors can’t possibly take every case to trial, so if you are charged with a crime, you will probably be offered a plea deal.

You will need the advice, insights, and representation that an experienced criminal defense lawyer can provide.

If you are charged with a crime in Colorado, your freedom and your future will be on the line. You must get the legal help you need, and you must get it at once. That is your right.

How To Fight Probation Violation Charges In Denver

Posted on: May 14, 2018 by in Criminal Defense
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In the state of Colorado, if you have been convicted of a crime and then charged with violating your probation, an experienced Denver drug crimes attorney can help.

What constitutes a violation of probation in this state? And what can happen to someone who is convicted of a probation violation?

EXACTLY WHAT IS PROBATION IN COLORADO?

Probation is a criminal sentence that keeps the convicted offender from going to jail or prison. Probationers are allowed to live and work or attend school in their communities – provided that they adhere to the terms and conditions of their probation.

Probation in the state of Colorado lasts from one to five years, but violations of probation can result in a variety of additional criminal penalties including incarceration or a lengthier term of probation.

If a probation officer reports a violation of probation to the court, the judge may issue an arrest warrant for the probationer.

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON VIOLATIONS OF PROBATION?

Listed here are the basic and usual conditions and terms of probation in Colorado. Probationers in this state must:

1. seek and maintain a job or be enrolled in school
2. submit to unwarranted, unannounced searches and drug tests
3. avoid any criminal acquaintances or associates
4. report routinely to probation officers
5. comply with the law and avoid a new arrest or charge

CAN A PROBATION VIOLATION CHARGE BE DISMISSED?

How a Colorado defense attorney handles a probation violation case will be determined predominantly by the details of the alleged violation itself.

In some cases, a defense lawyer may be able to persuade a judge that a probationer did not violate the terms of probation, and when that happens, no probation revocation hearing may be required – but this is relatively rare.

In the majority of cases, an alleged violation of probation in Colorado will be dealt with at a formal probation revocation hearing.

WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS AT A PROBATION REVOCATION HEARING?

If you are on probation, it is important to understand that because you have already been convicted of a crime, you do not have the same legal rights at a probation revocation hearing that defendants have in any other criminal proceeding.

For example, an alleged violation of probation does not have to be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” To convict you of violating your probation, a prosecutor only has to prove that a “preponderance of the evidence” points to your guilt.

There is also no right to a trial by a jury of your peers at a probation revocation hearing. A judge alone will conduct the hearing and determine a probationer’s guilt or innocence.

That’s why it is critical for you to be represented at a Colorado probation revocation hearing by a skilled and knowledgeable defense lawyer.

HOW DOES A PROBATION REVOCATION HEARING WORK?

At a probation revocation hearing, both the prosecution and the defense will present arguments and evidence. Witnesses may be questioned and cross-examined.

In some cases, the prosecutor will ask the court to revoke probation and take the probationer into custody.

But a skilled defense attorney will tell your side of the story and will explain what happened in a way that puts you in the best possible light.

Finally, the judge will review the testimony and evidence and hand down a verdict based on the preponderance of the evidence.

WHAT PENALTIES ARE POSSIBLE FOR A PROBATION VIOLATION?

When a judge determines that a probationer is guilty of violating probation, a number of sentencing options are available. The aim of probation is rehabilitation, so jail or prison is ordered for only the most egregious violations of probation.

If a judge determines that probation has been violated, the sentencing options can include:

1. additional conditions and terms for the probation
2. additional time serving probation
3. community service, fines, and/or house arrest
4. revocation of probation
5. jail or prison time

Most judges would prefer to keep an offender on probation even if the offender has violated probation. Probation allows convicted offenders to hold a job or pursue an education, perform community service, pay restitution, and take advantage of counseling or treatment resources.

HOW CAN A DEFENSE LAWYER HELP?

If a probation violation involves a failure to pay restitution, fines, child support, or some other payment ordered by the court, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a payment plan or may arrange for you to work off the debt through community service.

Some probationers will be drug-tested frequently, but there are a number of reasons why a false positive result could be returned. If a probationer fails a drug test, a defense attorney will determine if the testing equipment was faulty or if the test was conducted improperly.

If the violation is a failure to meet with the probation officer, the probationer will need to prove that the failure was for a reason that genuinely could not be avoided – like hospitalization.

Committing a new crime is generally considered the most serious probation violation.

WHY IS AN ATTORNEY’S HELP SO IMPERATIVE?

A number of factors come into play when a probationer in this state is charged with committing a new crime. A criminal defense attorney can help you if you are charged with a crime while you are on probation for another crime.

At a probation revocation hearing in Colorado, the probation officer and the prosecutor will usually be in agreement, and they can present the judge with a powerful case against you.

Unless a skilled defense lawyer is advocating on your behalf, you will have little hope of persuading a judge that you are not guilty of violating your probation.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER ABOUT PROBATION?

If you are charged with any crime in the state of Colorado, get the legal help you need – immediately. That is your right.

A good defense attorney will safeguard your rights and develop a legal strategy to bring your case to its best possible conclusion.

But if the case against you is compelling, and you are convicted of a crime in Colorado, you should understand that if you are allowed to serve probation, you are fortunate.

If you are sentenced to probation, adhere to the conditions and terms. Take it seriously. The state of Colorado does.

In fact, you should take advantage of probation – if that is your sentence – and avoid any additional legal trouble by complying strictly with the conditions and terms of your probation.

Colorado’s Bail System

Posted on: March 15, 2018 by in Criminal Defense
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Bill SB967

In the face of a jail overcrowding crisis, several Colorado judges are easing the overcrowding by abolishing the requirement that criminal defendants must pay a cash bond prior to trial.

If you’re charged with a crime in the Denver area, will you have to pay a cash bond for your freedom – even if you’re innocent?

Several judges were swayed by a recent Texas ruling which held that keeping defendants in jail prior to any conviction – solely because they cannot afford bail – is unconstitutional.

Other judges are saying there is no actual evidence that cash bonds ensure defendants will return for court appearances.

And in March, the chief justice of Colorado’s Supreme Court announced the formation of a commission to study Colorado’s pretrial procedures – including cash bonds.

ARE THESE REFORMS AND ATTITUDES PART OF A TREND?

The rejection of cash bonds by Colorado judges is part of a larger, national trend to reform the way defendants are treated before trial.

If you are accused of a crime, bail is the amount you must pay – along with a promise to appear for your next scheduled court date – to get released from custody.

As you know, defendants in criminal cases are supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Historically, however, that principle has rarely been put into actual practice.

WHAT ARE THE JUDGES SAYING ABOUT CASH BONDS?

Aurora Municipal Court Judge Shawn Day told Colorado Public Radio (CPR), “You can’t set a bond amount that a person can’t post. You can’t treat someone with money differently than someone who doesn’t have money.”

Day cited a federal judge’s ruling in a 2017 case from Texas. The judge threw out an entire county’s bail system because it was unfairly impacting the poor – a violation of the Constitution’s equal protection clause.

Judge Day added, “I think this is what the law requires and that all judges and all courts should follow the law.”

Linda Cooke, the presiding judge for the Boulder Municipal Court, has also been eliminating cash bonds, along with several other Colorado judges – but only for defendants who pose no threat to the public.

WHY ARE THERE CONCERNS ABOUT ELIMINATING CASH BONDS?

Mesa County prosecutor Bo Zeerip said the number of defendants in Grand Junction released on “personal recognizance” or no-money bonds has doubled since 2011.

He told CPR, “You’re not allowed to, or you shouldn’t, impose any conditions on people for purposes of punishment because they haven’t been convicted yet.”

However, many Colorado judges are still concerned about compelling defendants to appear in court. Especially in the Denver-area courts, the failure-to-appear rate is high.

Judge Corinne Magid, for example, has mostly eliminated cash bonds, but she insists that some defendants must be compelled to appear in court.

Judge Magid told CPR, “It might be their eighth failure to appear, there has to be some sort of consequence … what else are we going to do?”

ARE THERE PRACTICAL ALTERNATIVES TO CASH BONDS?

ACLU of Colorado staff attorney Rebecca Wallace has found no evidence that cash bonds motivate defendants to appear in court. She said something like a text or a phone call actually works better.

She explains, “Most people who miss a court date haven’t fled the jurisdiction. They’ve misplaced the summons or they didn’t put it on their calendar. Or they don’t have a calendar.”

State Representative Pete Lee (D-El Paso County) is proposing a pilot program to let some courts text reminders about court appearances to defendants.

The pilot program would give lawmakers the hard data they need to determine if text reminders alone can reduce the number of failures-to-appear.

WILL MORE CHANGES BE MADE REGARDING BAIL AND BOND PROCEDURES?

In March, Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice announced the creation of a commission to study cash bonds and other facets of the state’s pretrial procedures.

Chief Justice Rice told the Associated Press that the commission will propose recommended changes after reviewing bail and bond procedures.

Concern over disparities in the Colorado criminal justice system have been increasing in recent years.

In 2016, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock wrote in the Denver Post, “the time is ripe for change in our criminal justice system.” He insisted that Colorado must end “mass incarceration.”

WHY ARE COLORADO’S JAILS SO OVERCROWDED?

What are the numbers? The number of persons in custody in the U.S., about 500,000 in 1980, had more than quadrupled – to 2.3 million – by 2008.

And Colorado prosecutors filed over 15,200 felony drug cases in 2017, more than double the number of felony drug cases filed in the state in 2012.

Anyone arrested and charged with a crime in the Denver area must speak immediately with an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney.

Your defense lawyer will work to have your bail lowered or to have you released on your own recognizance. Then your attorney will fight aggressively for justice on your behalf.

WHAT CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS ARE HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES?

Colorado is not the only state reforming its criminal justice system. In 2014, California reclassified felonies like shoplifting, theft, and check fraud as misdemeanors.

And in New York City, most defendants charged with non-violent crimes now post no bail as the city attempts to reduce its inmate population.

No one, however, should think that bail reform means lax enforcement of the law. If you are charged with a crime in the Denver area, you must have the help of an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney.

If you are accused of a crime, bail is the amount you must pay – along with a promise to appear for your next court date – to get released from custody.

At a bail hearing in Colorado, a defendant and his or her lawyer may ask the court to lower the bail amount or to release the defendant on his or her own recognizance.

WHEN SETTING A BAIL AMOUNT, WHAT DO JUDGES CONSIDER?

Colorado judges have the discretion to set, eliminate, modify, or deny a defendant’s bail.

When deciding a bail amount, a judge will take into account the details of the criminal charge, the suspect’s criminal history, the public’s safety, and the likelihood that the suspect will appear or fail to appear in court if released.

Everyone charged with a crime has the right to an attorney. If you are charged with a crime in Colorado, exercise that right – do not try to act as your own lawyer. Too much is at stake.

A good criminal defense lawyer can provide sound legal advice regarding bail options, defense strategies, and the other challenges anyone will face after being arrested.

If you are charged with a crime in Colorado, you must obtain a good lawyer’s advice and representation – immediately.

The Different Degrees of Assault in Colorado

Posted on: February 15, 2018 by in Criminal Defense
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Colorado recognizes three “degrees” of assault, but every assault is considered a serious crime in this state. You’re about to learn what constitutes assault and how it’s punished in Colorado.

It’s a little more complicated than you might think.

For starters, an assault charge in this state may or may not be accompanied by a battery charge. These are distinct crimes in Colorado.

WHAT ARE THE DEFINITIONS OF ASSAULT AND BATTERY?

Battery – or “menacing” – is intentionally causing someone to fear immediate bodily injury.

Assault, however, is when someone actually and intentionally causes bodily injury to another.

In Colorado, assaults are charged as first-, second-, or third-degree assaults. First- and second-degree assaults are felonies (“aggravated” assaults), and third-degree assaults are “extra risk” misdemeanors.

Here’s a brief look at the different degrees of assault as spelled out by Colorado law:

WHAT CONSTITUTES ASSAULT IN THE FIRST DEGREE IN COLORADO?

First-degree assault may be charged in these three circumstances:

1. Someone intentionally causes serious bodily injury, disability, or disfigurement to another person.

2. Someone acts with indifference to human life, creates a serious risk of death, and thus causes serious bodily injury, disability, or disfigurement to another person.

3. Someone threatens, with a deadly weapon, a peace officer, a firefighter, a prison employee, or another “protected” employee as that person performs his or her duties.

In most of these cases, Colorado classifies first-degree assault as a crime of violence and as a Class Three felony punishable upon conviction by a minimum six-year prison term.

But if a defendant can prove that he or she committed assault “in the heat of passion,” the charge becomes a Class Five felony punishable upon conviction by a minimum of two years in prison.

WHAT CONSTITUTES ASSAULT IN THE SECOND DEGREE?

The distinction between second-degree assault and first-degree assault is that second-degree assault addresses “bodily injury” while first-degree assault addresses “serious bodily injury.”

Second-degree assault may be charged in any of these four circumstances:

1. Someone intentionally or recklessly causes bodily injury to someone else by using a deadly weapon.

2. Someone causes bodily injury to someone else while interfering with a peace officer, firefighter, prison employee, or another protected employee performing his or her duties.

3. Someone administers to another person a drug without that person’s consent in order to cause unconsciousness, stupor, other impairment, or bodily injury.

4. Someone causes a detention staffer to come into contact with blood, urine, feces, vomit, or any other toxic material, by any means, while lawfully detained in a detention center.

In most of these cases, Colorado classifies second-degree assault as a violent crime and as a Class Four felony punishable upon conviction by a minimum four-year prison term.

But if a judge decides that the assault was committed in the heat of passion, the charge becomes a Class Six felony punishable upon conviction by a minimum of fifteen months in prison.

WHAT CONSTITUTES ASSAULT IN THE THIRD DEGREE?

Third-degree assault is a Class One “extra risk” misdemeanor in the state of Colorado. It is typically charged in these two circumstances:

1. Someone intentionally or recklessly causes bodily injury to someone else by using a deadly weapon.

2. Someone intentionally annoys, harasses, threatens, or causes bodily injury to a peace officer, a firefighter, or another protected individual by using a dangerous chemical or substance.

Class One misdemeanors in Colorado are divided into two subcategories: “simple” misdemeanors and “extra risk” misdemeanors.

A conviction for a Class One extra risk misdemeanor in Colorado is punishable by six months to two years behind bars.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A “DEADLY WEAPON” IN COLORADO

As you’ve read, many of the actions that are considered assault in Colorado involve the use of a deadly weapon. But precisely what is the legal definition of a “deadly weapon” in Colorado?

Colorado law defines a deadly weapon as a “firearm, whether loaded or unloaded” or as a “knife, bludgeon, or any other weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance … capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.”

HOW DOES BODILY INJURY DIFFER FROM “SERIOUS” BODILY INJURY?

“Bodily injury” under Colorado law may include physical injury or pain, illness, or any mental or physical impairment.

“Serious bodily injury” may be any injury that poses a considerable risk of death, disfigurement, or the protracted impairment or loss of any body part, organ, or function.

Broken bones, burn injuries, and fractures also constitute serious bodily injury.

ARE THERE OTHER TYPES OF ASSAULT CHARGES IN COLORADO?

First-, second-, and third-degree assault are not the only assault crimes on the books in Colorado. Vehicular assault is also a felony that can be charged in two circumstances in this state:

1. if someone drives in a reckless manner or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs

2. if someone’s driving causes serious bodily injury to another person

Vehicular assault involving reckless driving is a Class Five felony punishable upon conviction by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Vehicular assault caused by driving under the influence is a Class Four felony punishable upon conviction by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

CAN ASSAULT DEFENDANTS ALSO FACE CIVIL PENALTIES?

As you’ve realized if you’ve read this far, the assault laws in the state of Colorado are complicated, detailed, and often somewhat confusing.

And the criminal penalties are not the only potential penalties for assault. In cases that involve bodily injury, the civil side of the law must also be considered.

An injured assault victim can initiate a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation from the defendant for medical costs, lost wages, pain, suffering, and all other injury-related damages.

If a defendant is convicted of assault, that conviction will very likely be considered conclusive evidence in a civil personal injury trial.

HOW CAN A DEFENSE ATTORNEY HELP?

If you are charged with any assault crime in the greater Denver area or anywhere in Colorado, it is imperative to contact an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

After reviewing the evidence and explaining your legal rights and options, your attorney will protect your rights and interests while advocating aggressively in your defense.

Depending on the details of the assault charge, your lawyer may try to have the case dismissed, may recommend that you accept a plea bargain, or may recommend taking your case to trial.

DO NOT ASSUME THE WORST

If you are charged with assault, don’t assume that you’ll be convicted. You may have been misidentified, or you may have acted in self-defense, or the accusation itself could be fabricated.

An experienced Denver criminal defense attorney will find the truth and bring your assault case to its best possible conclusion.

If you are charged with assault in Colorado, get the legal help you need. You have that right.

How Does Restitution Work in Colorado

Posted on: September 18, 2017 by in Criminal Defense
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When a court orders a convicted criminal offender to pay the offender’s victim or victims for losses sustained because of the crime, that payment is called “restitution.” All fifty states have established some type of procedure for restitution payments.

The functions and legal definitions of “restitution” and “compensation” are slightly different.

Compensation is a payment for losses, such as payment for damages after a car accident, whether or not the person making the payment gained anything. Restitution, on the other hand, is the giving-up of the gains acquired in a crime.

A restitution payment is also somewhat different from a fine.

A fine is a predetermined amount spelled out by Colorado law and paid to the court – not to the crime victim or victims – as a criminal punishment.

If you’ve been charged with committing a crime in Colorado – and especially if the charge is for a crime such as theft, robbery, fraud, or embezzlement – it is imperative to understand how restitution works in this state.

When a defendant in Colorado makes any type of plea bargain or sentencing agreement with the prosecution, and when that agreement includes restitution, the failure to pay can be used in Colorado to revoke the plea bargain or agreement.

If you’ve been arrested in Colorado for any crime, you must take your case to a skilled Denver criminal defense attorney who can explain your rights, your legal options, and the sentencing possibilities you will face.

HOW ARE RESTITUTION ORDERS DETERMINED AND ENFORCED?

How does restitution work in Colorado?

How is it determined, ordered, collected, and distributed to crime victims? After criminal charges are filed, a district attorney’s Victim/Witness Assistance Unit contacts all known victims of the crime and asks them to complete a restitution affidavit and provide detailed information regarding their losses.

The affidavits are processed and the district attorney’s office then files a motion with the criminal court for an order of restitution.

Before a final criminal sentence is handed down, the Probation Department compiles a pre-sentence investigation report (PSIR) with details about the offender’s criminal record, the pending conviction, the effect of the crime on the victim or victims, and the total amount of the restitution that is owed.

Victims are asked to complete a victim impact statement.

A PSIR, including the completed victim impact statement, is then sent to the judge for his or her consideration.

When a judge orders restitution, the restitution order is included as part of the final sentence. Restitution is paid through the clerk of the court.

In Colorado cases where offenders are sentenced to both a term of probation and the payment of restitution, restitution is almost always a condition of the probation.

While probation officers make sure that the conditions of probation are satisfied, collection investigators in each Colorado jurisdiction establish schedules for restitution payments, monitor those payments, and enforce restitution orders.

WHAT IF A DEFENDANT ORDERED TO PAY RESTITUTION IS IMPRISONED?

In Colorado cases where the offenders are placed in the custody of the Department of Corrections, an individual account is created so that the inmate can designate funds that will be credited toward his or her restitution payments.

Four times a year, the Department of Corrections transfers the money from the inmate’s account to the clerk of the court for distribution to the crime victim or victims.

As a condition of parole in Colorado, inmates who are approved for parole must make (or must have already made) restitution payments.

Parole officers ensure that parolees satisfy the terms and conditions of their parole.

One duty of a parole officer in the state of Colorado is to collect restitution payments from parolees who have been ordered to pay restitution. Parole officers then transfer the collected funds to the clerk of the court.

Colorado offenders who are ordered into community facilities for community corrections must be employed full-time and must turn over their paychecks for processing for restitution payments.

Offenders sign a form which specifies the percentage of each paycheck that will go toward the restitution payment.

The community corrections program then forwards the money collected from each paycheck to the clerk of the court.

WHAT IS A VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT?

To help judges make a decision regarding restitution, the victim impact statement spells out how a crime impacted the victim or victims physically, financially, and emotionally.

The victim impact statement becomes part of the PSIR which the judge receives prior to sentencing, provided that a victim has completed and returned the statement.

To ensure that judges have complete information regarding restitution, some Colorado courts – but not all – delay issuing an order of restitution and schedule a restitution hearing at a later date, after sentencing.

Even when a defendant in Colorado accepts a plea bargain and pleads guilty to a lesser charge in return for a lesser sentence, payment of restitution will probably be required as part of the plea bargain.

Restitution may be ordered for, but not limited to, a crime victim’s monetary losses, medical expenses, counseling costs, anticipated future expenses, and any reward money paid out by a victim or victims.

A victim’s losses that may not be included in a restitution order include losses for pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, and loss of the “enjoyment of life.”

Crime victims should not expect quick restitution payments.

Payments happen over time, especially when the restitution amount is substantial, and payments hinge on the offender’s own financial circumstances, his or her employment status, incarceration status, and a number of other factors.

When offenders who have been ordered to pay restitution fail to make payments in a timely manner, the court can take various measures to obtain payment.

Such measures can include wage garnishments, property liens, and the seizure of income tax refunds, lottery winnings, and other funds. Probation or parole may in some cases be revoked for failure to pay restitution.

In all matters regarding restitution and restitution orders, criminal defendants in Colorado have the right to be represented by a skilled Denver criminal defense attorney.

When a defendant believes that the evidence presented in a restitution matter is false or inaccurate, the defendant has the right to challenge that evidence, and a prosecutor must prove that the restitution total being requested is a proper and just amount.

How To Defend a Gun Charge in Denver

Posted on: August 18, 2017 by in Criminal Defense
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Most of us think of a “weapons charge” as something like an armed robbery charge, and while armed robbery is indeed considered a weapons crime in the state of Colorado, weapons charges include a lot more than armed robberies.

The legal category of “weapons charges” includes offenses dealing with both the possession and the use of firearms. Weapons charges include the illegal possession of certain weapons by any person and the illegal possession of any weapons by certain persons.

The use of a weapon during the commission of a crime can also result in an additional criminal charge or a harsher penalty for the underlying charge.

In Colorado, these are some of the crimes that are considered “weapons charges”: carrying a handgun without a permit, the illegal discharge of a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, the possession of a weapon by a previous offender, enhancement of a deadly weapon, and the illegal purchase and sale of a firearm.

WHAT OTHER CRIMES ARE CONSIDERED “WEAPONS” CRIMES?

A person can be charged and prosecuted for possessing an illegal weapon even though no one was injured, threatened, or even if no one observed the weapon.

The purchase, possession, and use of firearms are strictly regulated throughout this state, and some Colorado municipalities enforce their own additional firearms regulations. Denver, for example, bans assault weapons and the open carry of firearms.

Everywhere in Colorado, it is against the law:

  • for anyone who has been convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge to possess a firearm. However, in 2012, the Colorado Supreme Court recognized one exception in People vs. Carbajal, which established that a previously convicted felon may possess a firearm for the purpose of defending his home, property, or person.
  • for anyone under the age of 18 to possess a handgun, and it is also unlawful to provide or permit a juvenile to possess a handgun, with several exceptions specified by statute (such as when the juvenile is taking a hunting safety or gun safety class).
  • for anyone who is deemed to have a history of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or mental illness to possess a firearm.
  • to possess a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches and a length shorter than 26 inches, or to possess a shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18 inches and a length shorter than 26 inches.
  • to knowingly possess a firearm if the manufacturer’s serial number or other identifying mark has been defaced or removed.
  • to own, sell, or transfer a “large capacity” magazine that can hold more than fifteen rounds or can be easily converted to hold more than fifteen rounds. The statute does not apply to anyone who owned such a magazine on July 1, 2013 (when the law took effect) and has maintained continuous possession since that time.

If you are charged with any violation of a weapons law in Colorado, you will need to consult at once with a qualified Denver criminal defense attorney.

How can your attorney best defend you against a weapons charge in this state?

What follows is a brief and general explanation of the basic defenses that are typically offered – often with success – when a defendant is accused of a Colorado weapons violation.

Of course, every case and every defendant is unique, so anyone who is facing an actual, specific firearms charge in Colorado should have the advice and representation that a skilled Denver criminal defense attorney can offer.

WHAT ARE THE BASIC DEFENSES AGAINST WEAPONS POSSESSION CHARGES?

A number of weapons charges in Colorado require time in prison upon conviction. If you face a firearms charge in the Denver area, it’s like any other criminal charge.

You have the constitutional right to remain silent. Be reasonable and polite to the police officers who arrest and book you, but do not answer any of their questions until you can speak with a good criminal defense lawyer.

Clearly, the most basic defense against a charge based on the illegal possession of a weapon is the defense that the defendant was not in fact in possession of the weapon.

In such cases, the prosecutor must “link” or tie the defendant to the weapon, and if no links or ties can be solidly established, the state’s case may be weak.

A second possibility – for defendants who are allowed to own legal weapons – may be the defense that the weapon in question was not in fact illegal.

Colorado law spells out several exceptions which may apply in some weapons possession cases. State law, however, allows no exceptions for gun collectors or for antique firearms.

WHAT IS THE PENALTY FOR ILLEGALLY POSSESSING A FIREARM?

If you violate a firearms law, and if you are convicted, you will face serious penalties in Colorado.

Buying or otherwise acquiring a firearm in Colorado, when someone is prohibited from owning a firearm or when someone knows that the weapon is illegal, is a Class 4 felony in this state, punishable upon conviction by two to six years in prison, a fine of $2,000 to $500,000, or both a fine and imprisonment.

If someone is charged with using a firearm illegally, the basic legal defenses are similar to the defenses against any type of assault charge.

The possible defenses include self-defense, mutual consent, or proving that the “weapon” was not, in fact, a weapon. For example, robbers will sometimes place a hand in a jacket or coat pocket to pretend to have a gun.

Even if a defendant is later convicted for the robbery, if that defendant and his or her defense attorney can prove that there was no weapon used in the commission of the robbery, the conviction will not be for the more serious charge of armed or “aggravated” robbery.

Still, you could be accused of a weapons violation because of a misunderstanding, a misidentification, or even because of a story that has been entirely fabricated.

Whatever the truth is, if you are arrested and charged with a weapons crime in this state, your attorney will find the truth and fight diligently in your defense.

If you are charged with a weapons crime in the Denver area or anywhere in Colorado, you must have the aggressive defense that an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney can offer.

Have a Warrant in Denver County? Here’s What To Do

Posted on: July 23, 2017 by in Criminal Defense
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In Colorado, arrest warrants are authorized and issued by judges, and if there is an arrest warrant in this state with your name on it, you can be taken into custody without notice at any time.

The law in Colorado requires an arrest warrant for a suspect if the alleged crime has been committed outside the view of police officers.

However, before a Colorado judge will issue an arrest warrant, “probable cause” for the warrant must be established.

When a crime is observed by a police officer – driving under the influence, for example – no warrant is needed for the officer to make the arrest.

A law officer has “probable cause” to make an arrest or to request an arrest warrant when that officer has enough evidence to support the belief that a crime has been committed by a particular suspect.

In a typical DUI arrest, for example, the suspect’s observable driving behavior is usually enough to provide reasonable cause.

But when it’s a crime that no law officer observed, the evidence must be obtained from sources such as interviews with witnesses, clues found at the crime scene, and pertinent documents.

A Colorado defense lawyer can learn if there is a warrant for your arrest and precisely what the charge is.

In some cases, an attorney can arrange for you to turn yourself in without a formal arrest procedure.

In other cases, if there’s no strong or substantial evidence against you, a good defense attorney may be able to have the charge dropped or reduced before an arrest is made or may be able to reach some other agreement with the prosecutor.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A VALID COLORADO ARREST WARRANT?

A valid Colorado arrest warrant is issued by a judge, names (or describes, if no name is available) the suspect, spells out the exact charge or charges, and indicates the evidence upon which probable cause for the arrest is based.

If you are arrested in or near Denver for any crime, you’re going to need reliable counsel immediately. Don’t try to be your own lawyer. Even if the charge is a misdemeanor or a first offense, too much is at stake.

Arrange as soon as possible after an arrest in the Denver area to meet with an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney who can review the allegation against you, explain your legal rights and options, and advocate aggressively in your defense.

If you are in police custody, politely insist on your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney present during questioning. Let a skilled Denver criminal defense lawyer represent and defend you.

If you flee the state after finding out that there is a warrant for your arrest, you become a fugitive, and when you are found, you will probably be extradited.

Extradition may be contested in court in the jurisdiction where the arrest is made, but if a criminal suspect is extradited back to Colorado, that suspect will face additional penalties for fleeing from justice along with the initial criminal charge.

WHAT OTHER WARRANTS DO THE COURTS USE?

Arrest warrants are among the several types of warrants used in our legal system. A “bench warrant” is in most cases an arrest warrant that is issued when a suspect fails to make a scheduled court appearance.

A search warrant, like an arrest warrant, must also be based on probable cause. A search warrant gives police officers the authority to conduct a search, at a specified place and time, for evidence related to a crime.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, however, limits the power of law enforcement officers to search persons and properties and to seize evidence.

The Constitution offers no precise definition of “probable cause,” but the established legal standard is that law enforcement officers must identify specific activities and facts about a crime and a suspect to establish probable cause. Hunches, feelings, and subjective suspicions that cannot be verified are insufficient.

“Sneak and peek” warrants are rare. They allow law enforcement officers to enter a residence or other premises without an occupant’s or an owner’s knowledge or consent.

A sneak and peek warrant must be based on strong evidence that a crime has been committed. During a “sneak and peek,” law officers may only observe, but their observations may be used to establish reasonable cause for a search warrant.

While the sneak and peek is defended as a tool for fighting terrorism, it’s also used to investigate drug and weapons crimes. Police officers haven’t always followed the rules with sneak and peek warrants, and the use of these warrants remains controversial.

WHAT ABOUT TRAFFIC WARRANTS AND CIVIL WARRANTS?

Every driver in the state of Colorado should know that a traffic citation warrant may be issued for almost any traffic violation – from unpaid traffic tickets to serious offenses like reckless driving.

If you should fail to appear for a scheduled court date on a traffic matter, or if you overlook paying a traffic fine, the state of Colorado could issue an arrest warrant with your name on it.

A Denver criminal defense attorney can help you if that happens, but the best policy is to take any traffic citation seriously and deal with it immediately.

“Civil” warrants can be issued in Colorado for civil proceedings such as small claims court cases.

If your name is on a Colorado civil warrant, you will be told appear in a civil court at a specific courtroom, date, and time.

Failure to appear – that is, failure to respond to a civil warrant – means that you forfeit the case and the other party wins, which in turn means that you will probably have to pay damages.

A child support warrant may be issued in this state when a parent who has been ordered by a court to make child support payments fails to do so.

If you are a Colorado parent who is not receiving the child support payments owed to you, you have the right to take legal action to compel the other parent to pay. If the delinquent parent fails to appear for a hearing, an arrest warrant may be issued.

If you are placed under arrest in this state for any reason, contact a qualified Denver criminal defense attorney immediately.

If you believe that any of your rights were violated by police officers at any point during your investigation, arrest, or time in custody, tell your attorney at once.

Don’t hesitate to seek legal help right away if you are the subject of an arrest warrant or a search warrant in Colorado. It is your right.

Colorado Governor Signs New Civil Asset Forfeiture Law

Posted on: June 22, 2017 by in Criminal Defense
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Civil asset forfeiture is a controversial legal procedure and a growing concern across the nation. It’s the seizure of assets by law enforcement authorities from persons suspected of criminal involvement or activity – without necessarily filing any criminal charges against those persons.

In June, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a controversial new law which restricts the way civil asset forfeitures are handled in this state.

To be precise, civil asset forfeiture is more than the mere seizure of someone’s assets. When the government takes any part of someone’s assets, it’s called “asset seizure.”

Asset “forfeiture” is the legal process whereby the government takes legal ownership of assets it has seized. Property is forfeited when that process is complete and the legal title to the assets transfers to the government.

WHAT IS THE JUSTIFICATION FOR CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE?

Supporters of civil asset forfeiture promote it as a tool for fighting organized crime and drug traffickers, since the procedure allows authorities to confiscate cash and other assets from narcotics traffickers and then use that cash to pay for the enforcement of drug laws. C

ritics of civil asset forfeiture contend that the innocent can have their right to property violated with few legal protections or due process rules to protect them.

Opponents of civil asset forfeiture have further contended that it creates a presumption of guilt rather than a presumption of innocence, and that it invariably leads to corruption and violations of citizens’ constitutional rights by police authorities.

Thus, organizations such as the ACLU of Colorado urged Governor Hickenlooper to sign the controversial new restrictions. “Coloradans,” the ACLU declared, “want and deserve stronger protections when

“Coloradans,” the ACLU declared, “want and deserve stronger protections when property is taken by police.”

The new measure was co-sponsored in the Colorado General Assembly by State Representative Leslie Herod and State Senator Tim Neville.

However, a number of Colorado law enforcement and local government officials insist that the new measure will impair law enforcement’s abilities in Colorado by reducing the resources available to the state’s local police agencies.

“I think this is a solution looking for a problem,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey told the Denver Post. Activists who focus on the fight against human trafficking also asked Governor Hickenlooper to veto the legislation, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

WHAT DOES THE NEW LAW REQUIRE?

The new statute requires police agencies to report information about asset seizures twice each year to the state.

However, the law’s most controversial provision would prohibit local law enforcement agencies from receiving any forfeited assets from the federal government in cases where local and federal police work together and the money and property forfeited amounts to less than $50,000.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Carey said that in the past five years alone, his department has received $2 million in forfeitures from cases where Colorado Springs officers worked with federal law enforcement agencies.

Chief Carey told the Denver Post, “Of those cases, 85 percent of them did not meet the $50,000 threshold. So that means 15 percent of that would be equitable sharing in the future.”

In 2014, Colorado police agencies received about $2.8 million of the $13.5 million seized by federal law enforcement officials in Colorado that year.

Civil asset forfeiture was actually quite rare prior to 1984, when Congress approved the Comprehensive Crime Control Act and thus established a special fund that shares forfeited assets with the law enforcement agencies that helped seize those assets.

Local police agencies that work with federal authorities are rewarded with a share of the forfeited assets through a program called Equitable Sharing. Soon after 1984, most states started establishing their own civil forfeiture laws.

WHAT WAS THE CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM ACT?

Abuses quickly followed, and critics insisted that civil asset forfeiture is an unconstitutional violation of due process rights. In 2000, Congress passed the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act.

It requires federal prosecutors to prove “a substantial connection between the property and the offense,” but critics contend that the Reform Act has done little to stop abuses linked to civil asset forfeiture, and there are still no penalties for wrongful seizures and forfeitures.

Louis Rulli, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a leading forfeiture authority, told the New Yorker, “The protections our Constitution usually affords are out the window.”

The federal Equitable Sharing program allows local police across the nation to sidestep state-imposed forfeiture rules by deeming suspected criminal activity to be a federal crime and bringing in federal authorities.

Equitable Sharing thus subverts the intent of legislatures that have restricted civil asset forfeiture at the state level.

The new statute here in Colorado checkmates that problem by simply prohibiting participation in Equitable Sharing when the money and property forfeited amounts to less than $50,000.

Supporters of the new Colorado forfeiture statute say that the $50,000 threshold figure protects poor and average-income citizens from civil asset forfeiture abuse while still allowing local law enforcement agencies to profit when they work on cases against organized crime and major drug trafficking operations.

The only states that have outlawed civil asset forfeiture entirely are North Carolina and New Mexico.

Criminal forfeiture is a different procedure and a penalty that can be imposed against a defendant after a criminal conviction.

If you are charged or being investigated for any crime in Colorado, you could be targeted for civil or criminal asset forfeiture, and you’ll need to get some legal advice – and possibly criminal defense representation – from an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney.

Even though you can be targeted for civil asset forfeiture without necessarily being charged with a crime, it’s still wise to consult a Denver criminal defense attorney if you learn that you are the subject of any criminal investigation.

If you’re contacted by the police, do not agree to an interview or provide a statement – even if police officers tell you that “everything will be fine if you just cooperate.”

Anything you say to the police can be used against you, so trust only your attorney if you are under investigation by any law enforcement agency for any reason.

In some cases, of course, an investigation cannot be resolved and an arrest cannot be stopped. In this situation, make sure that you are represented by an experienced defense lawyer who can bring your case to its best possible resolution.

What Are The Gun Laws In Denver?

Posted on: May 20, 2017 by in Criminal Defense
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Mass shootings. Assault weapons. Gun control. Regardless of where you stand on these perennially controversial topics, everyone in Colorado should know what this state’s laws are regarding guns, gun ownership, and concealed carry permits.

This is a general explanation of gun laws in Colorado, but anyone who is charged with a particular firearms violation in this state will need the precise and specific legal advice that a Denver criminal defense attorney can provide.

A number of laws regulate the purchase, ownership, and use of firearms in Colorado. The foundation of Colorado’s gun laws is the distinction it makes between handguns and long guns.

To own either gun in this state, no permit, registration, or license is required by law.

The state allows both open and concealed carry, although concealed carry permits are approved only for handguns and never for long guns.

Moreover, local governments in Colorado have the discretion in most cases to restrict guns, gun ownership, and gun use beyond what the statewide gun laws require.

A background check is required by federal law for all private firearms sales. Background checks in Colorado exceed what the federal law requires.

Even for a private sale between two Colorado residents, the seller must have a licensed gun dealer conduct a background investigation on his or her behalf.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation must be informed of all gun ownership changes.

The buyers are responsible to pay for the background checks. Gun show purchases also require background checks whether the seller is a licensed dealer or a private individual.

HOW IS A CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE OBTAINED IN COLORADO?

Concealed carry licenses in Colorado are issued in each county by the Sheriff’s department. A concealed carry license expires after five years.

Applicants must successfully complete a concealed carry class. Concealed carry licenses allow gun owners to carry their weapons throughout Colorado except on federal properties, grade school (K-12) premises, and buildings like courthouses that have security desks or checkpoints.

To obtain a Colorado concealed carry license, you must be a resident of Colorado and a resident of the county where you apply for the license. You’ll need to answer some personal questions and you must answer them truthfully.

You’ll be photographed, fingerprinted, and subjected to a background check. If you are approved to use medical marijuana in Colorado, you might not be approved for a concealed carry permit because pot is still illegal under federal law.

WHAT IS THE COLORADO LAW REGARDING OPEN CARRY?

In most cases, if you meet Colorado’s legal requirements for a concealed carry permit, the permit will be approved.

However, county Sheriff’s departments have wide discretion and may refuse to issue a concealed carry permit – even if the applicant qualifies – if the department believes the applicant may be a threat to public safety.

Open carry is allowed without a license in Colorado, but it is subject to local regulation. For example, open carry is not allowed in Denver.

Rifles and shotguns openly carried in motor vehicles in this state cannot have a round in the chamber. Local governments may restrict open carry in municipal buildings with clear, visibly posted signs.

The state of Colorado does not ban assault rifles, but the city of Denver bans all assault weapons. Large capacity magazines (LCMs) are restricted to fifteen rounds.

This state recognizes the “castle” doctrine, which allows residents to use deadly force inside their homes to protect themselves and others from intruders.

However, there is no “stand your ground” law in Colorado, so anyone who feels threatened outside of his or her home must attempt to retreat first and may only use deadly force as a last resort.

Minors, persons with felony convictions, and those with a history of drug use, alcohol problems, mental illness, or domestic violence may not possess a gun in this state.

Colorado exceeds federal domestic violence requirements by requiring those with civil protection orders (restraining orders) issued against them to turn in any guns they own – and not obtain more – for the duration of the protection order.

A conviction for domestic violence prevents the offender from purchasing or owning a firearm legally in Colorado.

WHAT ARE SOME OF COLORADO’S OTHER GUN LAWS?

Even if you own a gun legally in Colorado, you may face a criminal charge for using a firearm illegally.

Aiming a gun at someone, recklessly discharging a firearm, or possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances all constitute the prohibited use of a firearm, a class 2 misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by a term of three to twelve months in jail, a fine of $250 to $1,000, or both.

Purchasing or otherwise obtaining a firearm in Colorado – when you know it is illegal to do so – is a class 4 felony punishable upon conviction by two to six years in prison, a fine of $2,000 to $500,000, or both.

The private transfer of firearms in Colorado – that is, sales or transfers of firearms between non-licensed firearms dealers – is legal provided that both parties adhere to all applicable state and federal laws.

The illegal transfer of a firearm is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by six to eighteen months in jail, a fine of $500 to $5,000, or both.

Defacing a firearm or possessing a defaced firearm is also a class 1 misdemeanor. Defaced firearms are illegal in this state, and a court may order law officers to seize and destroy defaced firearms.

Possession of a handgun by anyone under the age of 18 is a class 2 misdemeanor, but a second conviction is a class 5 felony punishable upon conviction by one to three years in prison, a fine of $1,000 to $100,000, or both.

Exceptions, however, may apply to minors who are hunting legally, enrolled in certified gun safety courses, or on private property owned or controlled by the minor’s parent(s), grandparent(s), or legal guardian – with that adult’s consent.

Forfeiture is also a part of Colorado’s gun laws. If you are convicted of any crime in Colorado that includes the use of a firearm, the court may order you to relinquish that firearm. Once again, what is listed here is merely a general outline of Colorado’s gun laws.

Anyone with more questions and anyone who is accused of a specific gun violation in Colorado should seek an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney to provide sound, personalized legal advice, and if needed, effective defense representation.