Are You Facing a Criminal Charge for the First Time?

If you are facing a criminal charge for the first time, you’ll need the sound advice and aggressive representation that a Denver criminal defense attorney provides, and you should contact that attorney at your first possible opportunity.

Being arrested and formally charged with a criminal offense doesn’t mean you will be convicted. For that to happen, a prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Try to stay calm, and call a Denver criminal defense lawyer who will cast doubt on the case against you.

However, even if you are guilty of a crime, the State of Colorado is often lenient to first-time offenders who have no prior criminal background. You may qualify for a diversion program or a problem-solving court that will allow the charge to be dismissed if you meet certain conditions.

What Do First-Time Offenders in Colorado Need to Know?

First-time offenders charged with a misdemeanor shouldn’t underestimate the consequences of a conviction. If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor in Colorado, you may be fined, sent to jail for up to a year, and face other penalties such as community service or a suspended driver’s license.

A misdemeanor conviction also establishes a criminal record that could make it difficult for you to find employment, locate housing, attend certain colleges or universities, qualify for public assistance, or obtain a loan.

Convicted felons face these same consequences and more. If you’re convicted of a felony, you can lose your right to vote, own a firearm, or serve on a grand jury. Colorado felony convictions may be penalized with at least one year in prison, a costly fine, and a number of other penalties.

What is a Diversion Program?

Usually, when someone is charged with a crime, the State of Colorado will seek a conviction. However, Colorado authorities understand that in many first-offense cases, a prosecution and conviction doesn’t actually deter future crimes or keep the general public safe.

Pre-trial adult diversion programs are one alternative to a conventional criminal court’s pleas, trials, convictions, and sentences. Diversion programs hold defendants accountable for their criminal acts and require the payment of restitution to victims.

Diversion programs may require alcohol or drug counseling, anger management, or other types of treatment. For those who successfully complete a diversion program, charges are dismissed, but the failure to complete a diversion program may prompt a prosecution and a conviction.

What Are “Problem-Solving” Courts?

A problem-solving court combines treatment with prosecution. These courts depend on teams that include individuals from both the judicial and treatment communities to provide accountability, treatment, and services to offenders to reduce criminal behavior and recidivism.

Problem-solving courts in Colorado include juvenile and adult mental health courts, juvenile and adult drug courts, DUI courts, family courts, and veterans courts.

As of 2023, sixty-six problem-solving courts were operating in twenty judicial districts throughout the State of Colorado. Problem-solving courts are now a key part of the criminal justice system. More than 3,800 problem-solving courts now operate in all fifty states.

Have You Been Charged With a Crime in Colorado?

If you’re arrested and charged with a crime in Colorado, do not resist arrest, and do not consent to a search if the police do not have a search warrant. Instead, exercise your right to remain silent and your right to a defense attorney. If the police attempt to question you, merely say something like, “I prefer not to answer questions until my attorney can be present,” and then say no more.

When you retain the services of a Denver criminal defense attorney, that attorney will investigate the charge against you, examine the prosecution’s evidence, speak with any witnesses, and develop an effective defense strategy on your behalf.

Your attorney can determine if your case is eligible for one of Colorado’s diversion programs or problem-solving courts. If your case does not qualify you for a diversion program or a problem-solving court, your lawyer may work to negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf.

How Does Plea Bargaining Work?

In most plea bargains, a defendant pleads guilty to a charge that’s less serious than the original charge, and in exchange, the defendant is convicted of the less serious charge and receives the lesser sentence.

For example, if a defendant is charged with driving under the influence (DUI), the defendant may be allowed to plead guilty to reckless driving, and the state will drop the DUI charge. Before you accept or reject any plea bargain offer, consult your attorney and consider the offer carefully.

However, if you are charged with a crime and you are innocent, you should reject any plea deal, diversion offer, or problem-solving court. Instead, exercise your right to a jury trial, and ask your Denver criminal defense lawyer to represent you at trial and seek a not guilty verdict.

What Happens at a Criminal Trial?

If a regular criminal trial is conducted, your defense attorney will cast doubt on the state’s evidence against you. Your attorney will explain what actually happened leading to your arrest and will tell the jurors why they should return a not guilty verdict in your case.

If it’s the first time you have ever been charged with a crime, you must have the advice and insights of a Colorado criminal defense attorney, and you must contact that attorney’s law office immediately.

But with so many attorneys practicing in the Denver area, how can you find a criminal defense attorney who will make your case a priority – an attorney who will tirelessly and effectively fight on your behalf?

Denver Attorney Daniel M. Murphy Represents First-Time Offenders

If you are charged with a crime in or near the Denver area, now or in the future, criminal defense attorney Daniel M. Murphy will bring his considerable legal skills and years of experience to your defense.

His award-winning law firm has been defending clients in the Denver area – and prevailing on their behalf – since 1996. Attorney Daniel M. Murphy has built a reputation for honest, effective, successful legal representation and outstanding client service.

If you’ve been charged with a crime, call attorney Daniel M. Murphy at once to schedule a free legal consultation – with no obligation – at 303-996-8998. Attorney Daniel M. Murphy will evaluate your case and recommend the options that are right for you.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.