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How Does Drug Court Work In Denver?

Posted on: January 25, 2017 by in Uncategorized
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A drug conviction in the state of Colorado can result in thousands of dollars in fines, incarceration in a correctional facility, and a permanent criminal record. Any Colorado drug conviction will damage the offender’s ability to find work and even to find housing in the future. These are consequences that can permanently impact someone’s life. Anyone who is accused of any drug crime in the state of Colorado will need to contact an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney.

The Denver District Attorney’s Drug Unit – consisting of five attorneys and an investigator – works closely with the Denver Police Department and the Denver Drug Court. The Drug Unit aggressively prosecutes and closely supervises drug offenders. Many drug offenders may be eligible for Denver’s Drug Court, a special court that works with the Drug Unit to help offenders deal their individual substance abuse problems.

Drug courts are specialized court programs that target criminal defendants and offenders, juvenile offenders, and parents who have alcohol and other drug dependency problems. In 2015, the National Institute of Justice estimated that more than 3,000 drug courts were operating in various jurisdictions across the United States. The majority of the nation’s drug courts target adults, but a growing number of drug court programs are also now aimed at juveniles.

WHO QUALIFIES FOR THE DENVER DRUG COURT PROGRAM?

The Denver District Attorney’s Drug Unit assesses the felony drug arrests of adults in the City and County of Denver within 2 days of the arrest. The Drug Unit first decides if charges should be filed, and if so, precisely which charges. If the suspect is a first-time offender accused of possessing a small amount of illegal drugs for personal use, the suspect may be eligible for Drug Court. What disqualifies a suspect from participation in Drug Court?:

• a prior conviction for any act instrumental in causing serious bodily injury or death
• a prior conviction for any felony violation involving the possession, use, or threat to use a deadly weapon
• a previous conviction for any criminal offense based on or involving a sex crime
• a charge of possessing over 25 grams of a controlled substance with the intent to sell
• a history of violent behavior demonstrating unsuitability for Drug Court
• residing outside of the Denver metro area
• being currently on parole

The Denver District Attorney’s office has complete discretion to exclude any offender from participation in Drug Court and may also recommend for participation suspects who would otherwise be excluded. If a defendant is accepted for Drug Court, a hearing is conducted before a Drug Court Magistrate, and the defendant has the opportunity to plead guilty and receive sentencing.

Subsequent to Drug Court sentencing, felony offenders are supervised by the Denver District Court Probation Department and misdemeanor offenders are supervised by the Denver County Court Probation Department. If the offender is in custody at the time of his or her sentencing, the Drug Court Magistrate will order and schedule the offender’s release from custody to probation the next day.

WHAT DOES DRUG COURT REQUIRE?

Upon conviction, every offender who is a participant in the Denver Drug Court Program must complete supervision in three phases. When the three phases have been successfully completed, a convicted offender then graduates from the Drug Court Program. Those who fail to complete all three phases of the Drug Court Program may have their probation revoked and suffer additional penalties.

Phase One of the Drug Court Program includes eight to ten urine screens a month; participation in a treatment program; appearances in Drug Court for review hearings; and meetings with a probation officer as scheduled. Phase Two includes four to five urine screens a month; participation in a treatment program; appearances in Drug Court for review hearings; community service hours; and continuing compliance with the terms and conditions of probation.

Phase Three of the Drug Court Program includes a urine screen two to three times a month; appearances in Drug Court for review hearings; continuing compliance with the terms and conditions of probation; completion of a treatment program; completion of community service hours; and finally, graduation from the Drug Court Program. Graduates of the program are required to meet with a probation officer regarding their post-graduation obligations.

WHAT HAPPENS AT DRUG COURT REVIEW HEARINGS?

Drug Court participants can be assured that urine screening results and in-court admissions of their alcohol and drug use will be used by the Denver District Attorney’s Office only in the Drug Court case and will not be used by the District Attorney’s Office to file new charges in the future. The Drug Court Program provides frequent judicial contact – review hearings – for each participant.

At each hearing, the Drug Court Magistrate receives a report regarding the offender’s progress, and the magistrate may impose rewards for compliance and progress or penalties for noncompliance and lack of progress. These penalties may include but are not limited to reprimands or warnings, suspension of travel privileges, increased community service hours, additional urine screenings, and/or home detention.

If you are accused of a drug crime in the state of Colorado – whether the charge is international drug trafficking or the possession of a small amount for personal use – politely insist on having a lawyer present during any interrogation and politely exercise your right to remain silent. Do not try to act as your own lawyer. Instead, you will need to consult a Denver criminal defense attorney with considerable experience in Colorado drug cases who can fight aggressively on your behalf.

According to Wikipedia, drug court is historically the single most successful intervention tool for leading people who struggle with serious addictions out of the criminal court system and into recovery and long-term health. In fact, drug courts refer more people to treatment than any other intervention in America, and the people who are referred are more successful in treatment than any other group.

Drug courts work to reunite families, repair lives, and reduce drug abuse and crime, and to do it all for far fewer tax dollars than jails and prisons. If you are charged with a drug crime, and you are innocent, your attorney will fight aggressively for your acquittal. But if you are charged with a first-offense drug crime in the Denver area and you’re guilty, it’s possible that Drug Court may just be the right option for you.

How to Avoid Jail Time for DUI in Colorado

Posted on: October 8, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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Denver DUI Lawyer

One of the questions that persons who have been arrested for DUI in Colorado have is whether they will have to go to prison after a conviction.

Obviously, that is a distressing thought, and while people may be more open to the idea of performing community service, undergoing an alcohol education program, or paying any of the other penalties that may be attached to a DUI conviction in Colorado, nobody wants to spend any time in prison at all.

DUI charges are serious affairs, and a DUI conviction in Denver can result in a number of penalties that will affect you for years to come. Because DUIs are taken so seriously in Denver, one of the penalties for this crime is jail time. There are a number of DUI charges that can be filed against you, depending on the severity of the offense and your prior record. For instance, if it is the first time that you have been arrested for DUI, you may have a much better chance of getting away with no jail time as part of your penalty.

Prison time for first-time DUI is rare in Colorado. However, in some cases, the judge may decide to sentence a person to jail for a first-time DUI conviction. Often, in these cases however, the amount of time that you actually have to spend in prison is very low. For a first-time DUI, you may have to pay fines, undergo an alcohol education program, and undergo several hours of community service.

However, things get markedly more serious if it is your second or third or subsequent DUI conviction. The law takes a very stern view of persons who have been arrested multiple times or convicted multiple times for driving under the influence, and prison time is definitely a possibility in such cases.

Subsequent DUI convictions come with harsher penalties, and the amount of jail time that you have to spend depends on the specifics of each case. Prison time may be mandated if you have been convicted for the second DWI offense. The situation can become more serious when there is a brief time gap between the first and second offense. Broadly, if you have been convicted for a second time of DUI within five years of your first conviction, then you may have to spend time in jail.

For a third conviction, a person may be sentenced to a prison term of 60 days in jail with no hope of being substituted by electronic monitoring.

Sometimes, however, minimum prison terms can be substituted by electronic monitoring. However, in those cases where the law requires a mandated prison sentence, it is not possible to substitute electronic monitoring for prison time.

Every DUI charge in Colorado comes with a minimum and a maximum prison sentence attached. You can get a part of the sentence suspended, or even the entire sentence suspended. However, this depends on the specifics of each case. It’s very important for you to understand the consequences involved, and the legal options available for you by speaking with a Denver DUI defense attorney as soon as one is arrested.

You can also apply for alternate sentencing options in Colorado. One of those options is house arrest. Typically, a first time DUI conviction in the state of Colorado can result in a jail term of at least two days. You may be required to perform community service of up to 48 hours. However, your attorney could help get the minimum jail sentence possible for you in your case, or get jail time suspended from your sentencing altogether.

Possible alternatives to jail sentences for DUI are the Home Detention program, Work-Release, Work Crew, as well as the Multiple Offender DUI Program. In the home detention program, the person must remain at home instead of jail, and will be monitored by an electronic ankle bracelet. Electronic home monitoring is also considered an alternative to time in county jail as a condition of probation. As part of the Work Release Program, you will be allowed to work during certain hours, and must remain incarcerated during the other hours. The Multiple DUI Offender program allows individuals who have been convicted at least three times of DUI, to start off with jail time, and then move on to a work release program. Speak with a Denver DUI defense attorney about the options applicable in your case.

Is It A Good Idea to Plead Guilty to a Lower DUI Charge?

Soon after you have been arrested for DUI, you are likely to feel very anxious. If this is your very first DUI, then you have no experience with how the justice system works, and you probably just want to get the entire thing over and done with. If you were arrested for DUI, speak to a Denver DUI defense attorney.

If, for instance, the prosecutor offers you a plea deal under which you plead guilty to charges of Driving While Alcohol Impaired, and in exchange, receive no jail term, you may be likely to jump at the chance. What should you do in a situation like this? You may not really want to immediately jump at a plea deal, even if it seems like an attractive offer. After all, you can avoid a jail term, and this is the one thing that most people, who are facing DUI charges, dread the most.

However, it’s also important to understand that the prosecutor probably does not have that much evidence to convict you of DUI. It’s not that easy to establish that you were legally intoxicated and driving under the influence of alcohol. You may therefore, not want to immediately accept a plea deal, assuming that you do not have any other choice.

Speak to a Denver DUI defense attorney, and go through all of your options, including any plea deal offer, before you decide to go ahead and accept any agreement. Remember, even a DWAI guilty plea will remain on your record, so it’s best not to be hasty.

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A Denver DUI Lawyer Is Your Best Hope For Justice

Posted on: September 8, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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Denver DUI Lawyer

The effects of a DUI conviction are long-lasting and serious. Not only will you face jail time, fines and possibly community service or alcohol programs, but your car insurance and job will also be affected.

DUI & Insurance

If 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. The exact severity of the impact depends on the insurer’s specific policies about DUI convictions. However, your insurer will learn about your DUI arrest, and may respond appropriately.

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.

For instance, you might find that your premiums increase. In fact, it is very likely that they will after a DUI conviction appears on your record. In some cases, the insurer may even refuse to renew your policy or might, at the very least, restrict some of the provisions of your coverage.

The increased premiums could be very expensive to you. In some cases, the payments could increase to double the amount that they were before. Typically, the worse the circumstances surrounding your case, the more expensive the premiums are. Your DUI conviction will immediately make you a high-risk target that your insurer needs to watch out for.

Additionally, if your DUI arrest and conviction were also accompanied by other high-risk actions, like an accident which resulted in injuries or fatalities, or if you have a long record of unpaid traffic tickets, and other traffic offenses, you might find that your insurer is no longer as willing to look favorably on you. Because of this, your insurance policy could be cancelled, or your insurer might refuse to renew it. In fact, many big name insurance companies do not insure high-risk drivers after a DUI conviction.

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. SR-22 forms are not insurance policies, but rather evidence that you legally carry insurance. After a DUI, you could be required to carry a SR-22 for up to five years.

However, 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.

DUI & Employment

There are a number of ways that a DUI conviction can impact your job. The conviction can have a devastating impact on your employment potential. If you are currently without a job, and need a car for job hunting and interviews, you will find it very difficult to get around without a car. Public transit simply may not work for you. For help after a DUI arrest, consult with a Denver DUI defense attorney.

Additionally, if you are without a without a license, you are unable to travel to your place of employment. One of the reasons why license suspensions have such a devastating economic potential for workers is the fact that many new places of work like manufacturing units are being located further and further away from the cities. That means that you need a car to get your place of work, and in the absence of a car, your ability to get to work is hampered.

Apart from license suspensions which prevent you from being able to get to work, there are a number of other ways that a DUI conviction can make it difficult to go to work, or to get a good job.

For example, some types of professional licenses like those for doctors or lawyers can require, that you disclose a DUI arrest and conviction to the licensing agency. In some cases, you may find that that you lose your professional license, as a result of the DUI conviction.

You will find it difficult to get employment as a commercial driver. Your employer may have no other choice but to fire you if your job manual or policy handbook expressly prohibits you from getting a DUI conviction while in service.

A DUI conviction will also likely show up when your potential employer conducts a criminal background screening check. Employers may not be allowed to come right out and ask if you have been arrested for DUI in the past. But they can conduct background screening checks, and if your DUI conviction comes up, then that makes it less likely that that you will land the job.

Besides, when you are convicted, you are probably likely to have to attend DUI education programs, or even spend a few days in jail. That means days lost off work and absenteeism. Your employer may not be very understanding about the fact that you are unable to come to work, because you were convicted of driving while drunk.

Speak to a DUI defense attorney in Denver about the consequences of a DUI on your professional license.

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More Criticism of US Incarceration Policies

Posted on: July 21, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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Colorado Felony DUI Bill

The US criminal justice system, which is based too heavily on incarceration, has been the subject of criticism from several quarters in recent years. Now, a new report by the National Research Council confirms that there is a very urgent need in this country to revise the criminal justice policies, specifically those related to sentencing laws, in order to reduce the number of people in prisons.

A large number of people in American prisons are there for nonviolent offenses. According to the report, over the four past 40 years, imprisonment rates in the country have increased more than four times. Currently, there are 2.2 million adults in American prisons, making this the largest prison population in the world. It isn’t as if crime rates have increased over the past 4 decades. It’s simply that policies based on national politics have created a climate of fear, and encouraged policies of stringent incarceration, even for minor offenses.

In fact, a new study indicates that there have been significant declines in violent crime rates reported across the country. Overall, the report indicates that there has been a decline in almost every type of violent crime over the past three decades. Researchers believe that the reason for the decline is more intensive crime prevention efforts that specifically target the root causes of violent crimes. In many cases, local agencies were able to understand that violent crime is typically a vicious cycle, and the children and family members of persons who are affected by violent crime may be at a higher risk of such crimes themselves. Therefore, these efforts focused on family members and children, helping them to break that cycle of violence.

According to the report, during the 70s and 80s, new laws expanded criminal processing and sentencing even for minor and lesser offenses. They also increased the amount of time that would be served after convictions, and laws called for stringent prosecution and intensive punishment of drug crimes.

During this time, a number of laws including those that call for mandated minimum sentencing, as well as the three- strikes law that is notorious for pushing people into jail for long periods of time, were passed. The War on Drugs definitely contributed to its share of sending people for long periods of incarceration, dividing families, and tearing communities apart. Not only were more people going to jail during this period of time, but they were also being sentenced to longer and longer sentences.

According to the report, heavy incarceration of this manner is a major burden on society, not just financially, but also socially and emotionally. Spending on incarceration over the past few decades, for instance, has been much higher than the budget increases for other important causes, including transportation and welfare. More money goes to support the country’s prisons, than the country schools.

Mandated minimum prison sentencing needs to be scaled back, if the problems with the American prison system are to be solved. It’s also important for sentencing guidelines to include non-incarceration avenues, like rehabilitation.

If you were arrested for a criminal offense, discuss your legal defense options with a Denver criminal defense attorney.

Use of Military-Style Police Tactics Increasing

Posted on: July 1, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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The growing criminalization of America is something that Denver criminal defense lawyers and civil rights advocacy groups around the country have been very concerned about. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, over the past two decades years, police officers across the country have made more than 250 million arrests. As many as one out of every three Americans is included in the FBI criminal database. Those statistics point to the increasing over criminalization of society.

The American Civil Liberties Union agrees that there is a growing criminalization in America, and is warning about the excessive militarization of the American police force, and the fact that SWAT team strategies are frequently used in even in cases that don’t call for these.

The American Civil Liberties Union has published a report that criticizes police departments across the country becoming excessively and dangerously military-like in nature. According to the report, many police departments are treating neighborhoods like war zones. In far too many cases, according to the report, police departments are using SWAT teams to search homes for drugs in routine activities that don’t necessarily require military- like strategies. These teams are used even when these homes have children or the elderly, who may be distressed at the sight of such military- like activity.

The report titled War Comes Home, also finds that police departments very often use very poor standards to determine whether a drug search or other operation, is high-risk. Not enough efforts are made to find out whether a suspect in the home is armed or dangerous, before deciding to go in military-style. In many cases, these officers simply force their way into homes, usually at the dead of night, simply to serve a search warrant, something that could easily be could done without such military deployment. Often, explosive devices are used in order to blind and deafen residents temporarily, when officers believe someone in the house is in possession of drugs. The report claims that the there is an increasing trend toward police militarization, which seems to treat ordinary Americans like war criminals even before they have been charged with a crime.

According to the report, approximately half of the people, who were impacted by such SWAT police deployments, were either African-Americans or Latinos. Whites were the target of such SWAT-style deployment in just 20% of the cases.

Such raids can be deadly. Between 2010 and 2013, seven civilians suffered fatal injuries and 46 were injured in such raids.

In 79% of the cases, the police department executed SWAT raids to simply execute search warrants of the home. In most of the cases, these were drug searches.

If you have been arrested for a drug crime or any other crime, your rights may begin to be compromised at the time of the arrest. Because of the growing criminalization of America, you may find yourself in this situation sooner than you think, so it’s important to know your rights as the accused. Speak with a Denver criminal defense attorney  to get help as soon as possible after the arrest.

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Change in Rules Means More Federal Prisoners Will Be Eligible for Clemency

Posted on: May 28, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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Dismayed at a massive prison population and the continued socio-economic effects of having large sections of the population incarcerated for minor drug offenses, the federal administration is continuing a series of initiatives to reduce prison populations and help more prisoners become eligible for shorter sentences.

New rules announced by the Department of Justice will ensure that more federal prisoners are eligible for clemency. The Department of Justice estimates of thousands of prisoners currently serving drug sentences will be able to file applications, seeking clemency. Under clemency laws, the President can decide to commute the sentences of certain offenders, or even pardon them altogether.

The Department of Justice has also announced other efforts, including the reduction of sentences for persons convicted of certain types of nonviolent drug offenses. The federal administration is also moving forward in favor of rehabilitation and therapy as alternatives to prison incarceration for persons accused of nonviolent drug offenders. Earlier, these persons were subjected to sentencing guidelines that resulted in many years behind bars.

With these measures, the White House is simply following what the American public wants. Several studies released recently have indicated that the American public is no longer in favor of widespread and mandatory incarceration for persons who have been accused of minor or nonviolent drug offenses. A recent study recently released by the Pew Research Center also found that the American public is increasingly in favor of therapy and rehabilitation, especially for persons convicted of heroin and cocaine-related crimes. These are not offenders who are likely to be helped in any way by going through the prison system. What they need is immediate help for their substance abuse problem, and the system very often simply incarcerates them without any support or help for their addiction.

With the new announcement, the Justice Department has also announced plans to assign more lawyers to go through the increased number of clemency requests that will now begin pouring in under the new guidelines. With the new initiative, more numbers of candidates will be identified for possible recommendation for clemency to the president. Candidates who do not present a clear public threat, who have a good prison record, and were sentenced under older and outdated laws, could be eligible for clemency.

Will lower incarceration rates mean higher crime rates? Not necessarily. A number of different reports have debunked the theory that higher rates of incarceration keep Americans safer. The reports find that on the contrary, lower levels of incarceration can possibly lower crime rates.

One report was released by the Sentencing Project, which found that states that have implemented substantial sentencing reforms to lower the numbers of people in prison in their states, have found their prison populations drop significantly as a result of those policies. Not only that, these states, according to the Sentencing Project report were actually able to bring about a substantial drop in crime rates as a result of those policies. The report specifically mentioned three states – New Jersey, New York and California – that have implemented lenient and more enlightened sentencing policies in order to deal with crimes.

If you have been charged with a crime, speak to a Denver criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Brain Injury Raises Risk of Criminal Activity, Arrest, Prison Time

Posted on: May 7, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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brain injury

The general public tends to think of criminal activity, arrests, convictions and prison time in purely black-and-white terms. However, criminal defense attorneys know that very often, there are external factors that may be involved in criminal activity or incarceration. For instance, brain injury has been strongly linked to a higher risk of criminal activity and arrest. The research finds that homeless people, who have suffered traumatic brain injury, are much more likely to be arrested or jailed.

The risk of criminal activity, arrest and prison time for homeless people may be especially high because these people may be at much higher risk of minor brain injuries, like concussions. The study was based on an analysis of more than 1,200 homeless people in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa in Canada. Approximately 61% of homeless people who were involved in the study admitted that they had suffered a brain injury at some point in their lifetime. There were minor variations in the brain injury rate depending on the city. For instance, Vancouver had the highest number of homeless people with brain injury, with a rate of 69%.

The researchers found that homeless people, who had a brain injury, were up to 1.5 times likely to have visited a hospital emergency department for treatment in the previous year. The visit was very often linked to long-term consequences from the brain injury.

The researchers also found other long-term consequences of brain injury that were linked to criminal activity or incarceration. They found that homeless people with a brain injury were three times more likely to have been arrested or incarcerated at least once. They were also at a much higher risk of physical assault, with a rate that was approximately 3 times higher than the general population.

This increased risk of criminal activity and arrests is strongly associated with the kind of personality changes that are typically brought about by a brain injury. Traumatic brain injury can affect personality, lead to cognitive difficulties and mental changes, and result in antisocial behaviors that can increase the risk of criminal activity.

The researchers recommend more effective rehabilitation and management of brain injury among homeless people with brain injury. Management of behaviors, monitoring of the patient’s condition and other strategies are vital in helping homeless persons with brain injury handle the long-term consequences of their injury.

Another study found that neurological disorders, including conditions arising after a head injury, are linked to a much higher risk of homicide and serial murders. The study specifically looked at the statistical incidence of multiple murders and serial murders. According to the researchers, their findings indicate that a significant proportion of serial killers or mass murderers suffer from conditions like autism spectrum disorder, or have suffered a brain injury in their past.

Out of the 239 serial killers/mass murderers who were analyzed as part of the study, 28.3% had definite highly probable or possible autism spectrum disorder. Besides, 21.3 had suffered a head injury. Out of the 106 persons who suffered either from a head injury or from autism spectrum disorder, 55% had experienced severe psychosocial stressors, like physical or sexual abuse during childhood.

If you have been convicted of a violent crime, contact a Denver criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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Why The Navarette Case Matters

Posted on: May 5, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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In the 1960s, Chief Justice Earl Warren presided over a Supreme Court that established and defined a number of essential constitutional rights we take for granted today. Many decisions rendered by the Warren Court involved rights of the accused, including Mapp v. Ohio (1961), Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), and Miranda v. Arizona (1966). Warren Burger replaced Earl Warren in 1969 and the Burger Court, while less dynamic than the Warren Court, did not reverse the gains of the 1960s. A reversal began with the Rehnquist Court in the 1980s and continues into the 21st century with the Roberts Court, which rendered a chilling decision in April.

Navarette v. California has dark implications for the Fourth Amendment rights of anyone driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a public thoroughfare. At issue in Navarette was a traffic stop based on an anonymous call to 911 alleging that a pickup truck driver ran another driver off the road. On that allegation alone, police officers sighted a matching truck in the vicinity and pulled over the driver for suspicion of drunk driving. Officers subsequently discovered thirty pounds of marijuana hidden in the pickup. The caller had accurately described the truck and its location; that was sufficient for a majority of the justices to determine that the police had probable cause to make the traffic stop.

However, Navarette reverses several important rulings that have safeguarded Fourth Amendment rights for many years. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled in Florida v. J.L. that an anonymous tip about a young man carrying a firearm was not sufficient to justify constitutionally a stop and search. In Alabama v. White (1990), the Court allowed a stop and search based on an anonymous tip because police corroborated that tip with their own investigation. Obviously, there was no corroboration in Navarette. 

Reaction to the Decision

Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia issued a blistering dissent to the majority opinion in Navarette v. California on April 22. A 5-to-4 Supreme Court majority held that the police had acted within constitutional boundaries. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas said that the tip phoned in to 911 (that the pickup’s driver ran another driver off the road) gave law enforcement officers sufficient probable cause to make the traffic stop. However, the arresting officer admitted that the suspect was not driving recklessly or driving while intoxicated and the anonymous tip was the only cause for the stop. Should this happen to you, and you’re arrested for DUI on the basis of an anonymous tip, get legal help promptly and speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney.

Justice Scalia joined Associate Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer in a fervent dissenting opinion, arguing that a search based exclusively on a nameless tipster’s allegation is a dangerous violation of the Fourth Amendment’s safeguard against unreasonable searches and seizures. Scalia writes that the Navarette decision cracks open the door for law enforcement officers to increasingly rely on anonymous tips in a way that will threaten and slowly reduce constitutional liberties. Scalia further argues that anonymity is highly suspicious particularly in cases like Navarette; why would a victim report a criminal act without providing identification so that he or she can testify against the suspect? If you are falsely accused of DUI, a good DUI defense attorney may be able to have such a charge completely dismissed.

The Constitution does not allow searches without probable cause even in murder investigations; it doesn’t allow such searches in drunk driving investigations either. For all practical purposes, however, the Navarette ruling simply fudges the definition of “probable cause” to include any accusation made on a whim by anyone who wants to cause anonymous trouble. The decision could mean a significant increase in DUI stops and arrests. If you’re charged with a DUI because of an anonymous tip, or for any other cause, get the legal help you need right away from an experienced DUI defense attorney.

What Does This Mean For You?

Before this ruling, police in Denver were allowed to use anonymous tips, however only to form a reasonable suspicion. In fact, almost every state in the country has a REDDI (report every drunk driver investigation) system in place, where drivers can phone in and give information about someone they suspect is driving drunk. However, prior to this ruling, these reports were not considered to be sufficient evidence to actually pull someone over. Police had to observe behaviors that led them to believe that the tip was accurate, such as a driver swerving between lanes or failing to signal turns.

The Navarette has completely eliminated the need for police to witness behavior on their own, and instead allows them to rely entirely on an anonymous tip that was phoned in against another driver.

What the ruling means for Denver motorists is that if you have a neighbor who has a beef with you, all he has to do is report anonymously to 911 that you were driving recklessly or badly, leading police officers to be on your case even if you had not been driving recklessly at all. A bad breakup between a boyfriend and girlfriend could lead to a phone call, and then a traffic stop, all out of spite.

It now will take nothing more than a quick phone call to have you pulled over on the side of the road and embarrassed in front of drivers who are passing by as you are treated like a criminal due to an anonymous threat.

If you are pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol, absolutely do not admit to drinking alcohol. You are also not required to subject to a roadside test. Refuse to take a roadside test, and take a blood-alcohol test once you have been arrested. It is in your best interest to contact Dan Murphy, an experienced and knowledgeable Denver criminal defense attorney, to defend your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. The sooner that you have a lawyer on your side, the better the outcome may be.

Teen Social Circle Can Contribute to Underage DUI

Posted on: May 2, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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underage dui

You don’t really need a study to tell you that peer pressure is a major factor influencing underage DUI, but a new study only confirms this fact. Teenagers whose social circle consists of friends who constantly drive intoxicated, may have no problem with DUI.

The study was conducted by investigators at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. They say that although their research did not yield any new results about underage DUI, and although it is a well-established fact that peer pressure does have a huge influence on teen DUI, they were surprised at the level of increase in DUI risk when a teenager had friends who frequently drove under the influence of alcohol.

The study found that teen motorists who had friends, who drove while intoxicated, were much more likely to drive intoxicated in their senior year of high school. The study doesn’t exactly provide the rate of increase, or show exactly how much more likely teenagers are likely to drive while drunk because of peer influences. However, it does confirm that teenagers, who are frequently exposed to such drunk-driving practices by their friends, are much more likely to believe that these practices are acceptable.

For parents, the results of the study are extremely pertinent. If you are the parent of a teenager who has just begun driving, you are probably very concerned about underage DUI, as you should be. Intoxicated driving, while it is on the decline among many other categories of motorists, still remains fairly high in the teen driver population. Teenagers do not fully appreciate the dangers of DUI, including not only the risks of being involved in an accident when they’re driving under the influence of alcohol, but also the possibility of a DUI conviction on their record.

In fact, some teenagers take DUI charges so lightly, that they brag about them on social media. Over the past couple of years, there have been far too many cases involving people, especially young drivers, who got into trouble after posting on Facebook about their DUI experience. For instance, in one case, an 18-year-old was arrested when he returned home after a hit-and-run accident. He had hit the car on his way back home while driving under the influence of alcohol. It was bad enough that he left the scene of the accident after hitting the car. However, when he returned home, he logged onto Facebook and posted on his page, apologizing to the owner of the other vehicle, and admitting that he had been driving under the influence. People noticed the post, contacted the police, and very soon, officers were on his doorstep. He was not arrested for DUI because it had been several hours since the incident, but he did face several charges related to the hit-and-run.

If you were arrested for DUI, don’t lose any time. Talk immediately to a Denver DUI lawyer about possible defense strategies. A Denver DUI lawyer will work to get charges against you lowered or dismissed.

Where to Do Community Service in Denver

Posted on: May 1, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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If you have been ordered by the court to complete community service in Denver then it’s important that you find an organization to volunteer with in a timely manner. The sentence will include a deadline for when the service must be completed to avoid fines or other repercussions. In some instances, you will be aided in finding a volunteer opportunity that complies with your requirements.

Of course, you should always check with the court to make sure the company you plan on volunteering with is an approved place that will count toward your service hours. Many courts can give you a list of approved locations when requested. This list contains a few potential organizations that allow volunteers to do community service with them. Note that these places can always use the help of volunteers, not just those that have been court-ordered to complete community service hours.

Goodwill Industries of Denver

Goodwill is on a mission to improve the workforce and invest in people. They have been serving the Denver community for nearly a century and they offer a variety of volunteer opportunities. Goodwill is a non-profit organization and their retail locations help support career development programs. Volunteering at a Goodwill location is an excellent option for those looking to complete community service hours. Simply go to the retail location you are interested in volunteering at and ask to speak with a manager to get started.

Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

Habitat for Humanity is an organization that builds and sells homes to hard-working people that are in need of an affordable, safe place to live. Habitat for Humanity has helped over 750 families in Denver with the help of their dedicated volunteers. Volunteers looking to complete community service hours are welcomed and can sign up for shifts online or at the Denver ReStore location. It’s important to note that court ordered volunteers cannot be accepted if the hours were assigned for actions related to burglary, theft, violence, aggression, or crimes that involved minors.

arc Thrift Stores

Supporting arc Thrift Stores enables the company to provide employment opportunities to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Donations encourage sustainability through the repurposing of items. Rewarding volunteer opportunities are always available at the arc’s multiple locations. Flexible volunteer shifts are available any day of the week. Volunteer tasks may include sorting donations, stocking shelves, and tagging merchandise. The arc is a perfect place to complete community service hours for those with busy schedules that need flexibility for their volunteer time.

Second Chances Denver

Second Chances is a non-profit training program that offers skill-based job training for women. The goal of the organization is to help women overcome poverty at any stage in their life. They help women that were incarcerated, homeless, victims of addiction, domestic violence, and sex trafficking. The training program helps the women with their work ethic, life skills, basic employment requirements, customer service, and other marketable skills. This organization is always in need of volunteers and allows people to complete their community service hours with them.