“Make My Day” Law: Castle Doctrine in Colorado

In 2009, a Colorado Springs man avoided a potential homicide charge as a result of 1) the reasonable actions he took when protecting himself from an intruder at his home; and 2) Colorado’s Castle Doctrine—which permits people—such as this Colorado Springs’ man—to use self-defense and even deadly force to protect their home from intruders who put them in danger.

To sum-up the events, James Parsons and his girlfriend were at their home one evening when a 22-year old assistant golf pro at the Colorado Springs golf course, Sean Kennedy, pulled into Mr. Parson’s driveway and proceeded to enter the house.  Supposedly, Mr. Kennedy (who’s BAC was reported to be three times over the legal limit for driving) thought he had arrived at his own house and accidentally locked himself outside.  Prosecutors reported that Mr. Kennedy then proceeded to bang on the door and yell until he eventually broke a window in an attempt to unlock a door.  Mr. Parsons, having a reasonable belief that the intruder meant to harm he and his girlfriend, procured his revolver and shot at Mr. Kennedy three times—all while his girlfriend notified authorities

In this circumstance, by responding to the intruder reasonably and by not impulsively reacting to the potential threat, Mr. Parsons managed to avoid breaking any state laws, and as such, law enforcement officials could not charge him with homicide.  Furthermore, had this same set of circumstances occurred in one of the two dozen states to which the doctrine doesn’t apply (i.e., a “Stand Your Ground” state), Mr. Parsons may not have escaped charges and consequently, may have faced conviction.

Break-ins and intrusions occur more than most people would like to acknowledge or admit.  Property crime rates in Colorado stand at about one in every thirty-three, so with so many people becoming the burglary victims, you may want to take it upon yourself to start learning about your rights.  Furthermore, if you or anyone you know has recently dealt with an intruder, you should seek the help of a Colorado defense attorney immediately.  While the Castle Doctrine may have served the interest of the Colorado Springs resident, not every victim gets so lucky immediately.  If that’s the case with you then, you’ll want to make sure you have a qualified criminal defense attorney available to guide you through the potentially confusing road ahead of you.

Navigating Drug Charges with a Criminal Defense Attorney

A seemingly small bag of marijuana can easily be turned into a wide array of criminal drug charges from misdemeanor possession to felony distribution, depending upon the course of the arresting officer’s investigation. Drug charges can have serious consequences for the accused, including mandatory time in prison, probation and large fines. Even a misdemeanor possession charge can result in some serious legal consequences, but these consequences can become more severe if a felony charge is leveled.

There is no need to feel pressured by the prosecution to simply accept whatever penalty they might hand down for the charges filed against you. Any drug charge can result in negative repercussions, and you should do everything in your power to ensure that you receive a fair trial.  Enlisting the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible following your arrest will ensure that you have a solid defense prepared by the time your trial is scheduled to take place.

A conviction on drug charges is a very dangerous prospect, especially for someone who has already faced and been convicted of a drugs or weapons charge previously. These sorts of situations can easily lead to felony drug charges. A felony drug charge can remain on your criminal record and have a serious effect on a number of areas of your life in the future.  In addition to the fines and jail time that you could possibly face at the time of conviction, a felony drug charge may prohibit you from getting your dream job or getting financial aid for college at some point down the road.  This is why you need to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible following a charge for a drug related offense.

Felony drug charges are usually leveled for cases where law enforcement thinks that the accused is intending to manufacture or distribute drugs, as well as in cases of possession of a large amount of drugs. A criminal defense attorney with experience handling drug possession, manufacturing or distribution cases will be amply prepared to structure a sound defense for your case based upon the information available.  A good criminal defense attorney will likely have experience defending dozens or possibly hundreds of clients who’ve been in your exact position and he or she will be able to use that wealth of experience gathered during those trials to present the best possible defense for your case.

To minimize the legal consequences for a drug conviction, a defense lawyer is necessary. Anyone who has been charged with a drug crime needs to contact a defense attorney as soon as they know about the charges so that an attorney can begin working on their defense.

A Good Defense Attorney is Critical to Your DUI Case

There are integral pieces of evidence that the prosecution uses in just about every DUI case.  Breathalyzer readings and/or blood tests top the list, but the testimony of the arresting officer is also critical in getting a conviction in many cases. Many drivers think that just because they’ve failed the field sobriety test or scored above the legal limit on a breath test, they will automatically be convicted for driving under the influence. However, this isn’t necessarily the case, especially when a good defense attorney is involved.

A defense attorney with experience in DUI cases will use their expertise to find inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the testimony of the arresting officers to prove that your arrest didn’t go according to procedure. If your rights were violated during the arrest, your defense attorney can use this evidence to get your charges dismissed. In DUI cases, defense lawyers will also call the accuracy of the blood alcohol tests into question. The blood drawn for your BAC test can be requested for testing performed in a private third party laboratory by your attorney. If there is a difference in the readings between the private lab test and the test performed by the police, this may be enough to call the entire case into question.

Many law enforcement officials are specifically trained to identify DUI drivers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those officers can’t make mistakes. Your defense attorney will review all of the available evidence, including dashboard camera footage if available, in order to ensure that proper procedure was followed every step of the way during the police investigation that resulted in your DUI charge. If an experienced defense attorney identifies a wrongdoing on the part of the arresting officer, he or she will be able to use that information to build up your defense in an effort to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

Not every DUI stop is conducted lawfully, and not every arrest needs to end in a conviction. Many people don’t realize that a Driving Under the Influence case is just like any other court case, and you can fight DUI charges just like any other criminal charge if you have a good defense lawyer. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and feel as though you may not have been treated fairly during the course of the stop and arrest, reach out to a defense attorney who has experience handling DUI cases.

Once Extinguished CO Relationship Re-Ignites in Violent End

In Denver, CO this past May, a dispute between a woman and her ex-boyfriend—involving a history of domestic violence—erupted into a conflict resulting in a murder-suicide.  The tragic incident—which occurred in a Highlands-area home—involved a 44-year old addiction counselor, Denise Fransua, and her ex-boyfriend, Steven Romero.  According to reports and various Colorado news sources, the murder victim—and mother of two—left her home one evening in May to visit her ex-boyfriend.  Presumably, Denise Fransua visited her ex-boyfriend in attempt to return his dog and completely sever their soured relationship.  Unfortunately, however, the visit ended in tragedy, as evidence indicates the ex-boyfriend, Romero, shot Fransua in the back, and then, hours later, shot himself in the head.

As previously indicated, those involved in the lives of Fansua and Romero presume that the couples’ relationship involved a history of domestic violence, and that Romero created a tense domestic environment for Fransua and her two children.  Fransua’s son, Aaron Knudsen, reported that his mother’s boyfriend, Romero, would act very kind around friends and family, but had a tense, controlling, fearful air about him in private.  (Indeed, those in relationships involving domestic violence typically deal with abuse individuals who are adept at camouflaging their abusiveness at just the right moment.)  Knudsen also reported that this prolonged period of tenseness experienced by his mother resulted in her decision to finally leave Romero.  Unfortunately, though, Fransua’s decision to leave the abusive relationship did not stop her—and the rest of her family—from avoiding tragic consequences.

While the loss of their mother weighs heavily on Knudsen and his sister, he and his sibling now have other difficulties to face, including the loss of their home.  As a result of their mother’s death, they will lose their house—primarily due to the fact they themselves have no means of paying the mortgage.

Truly, to say domestic violence is an extremely serious matter would be an understatement, and accordingly, those finding themselves in a situation wherein they’ve been accused of domestic violence should do everything within their power to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Failure to do so could result in terrible and far-reaching consequences for all parties involved.

A Criminal Defense Attorney: Defending Against Traffic Violations

There aren’t many things out there that are as annoying to a driver as getting an undeserved traffic ticket.  The majority of drivers will simply cart the ticket home and send in a check to pay the fine without really considering showing up to court to defend themselves against traffic violations, but in many cases this can be a serious mistake.

A traffic ticket can result in more than just that seemingly simple fine. In states that use a driver’s license point system, a traffic ticket can result in points on your driver’s license that will potentially affect your car insurance premiums for the foreseeable future. Usually, accruing too many points on your license can also result in a suspended license or other restrictions on your driving privileges. When you consider other legal penalties associated with traffic tickets, fines may seem like a small price to pay. Paying a fifty, seventy five or one hundred dollar fine might seem reasonable to make a minor headache go away, but drivers need to realize that the admission of guilt in traffic court can cause unforeseen legal problems.

If you’ve been cited for a traffic or moving violation and don’t feel as though the charges are just, you shouldn’t just blindly pay the fine and move on. To address any kind of traffic offense, you should reach out to a qualified defense attorney to fight the charges. Based on the information available, a good defense attorney may be able to work with prosecutors to get your charges dropped or possibly even dismissed, which could save you quite a bit of grief and money moving forward. An experienced defense attorney will act in your best interests to minimize the possible points that will be applied to your driver’s license and lower the fines attached to the traffic charge to a more manageable level.

In order to properly defend yourself against traffic tickets and moving violations, you need to have a deep understanding of the traffic laws and the procedures of traffic court.  A defense attorney will have this understanding and be able to help you, and an attorney can also use his or her knowledge of traffic stop procedures to defend you in court. Attorneys who have experience in traffic court will be able to reconstruct the accident or traffic stop that led to your charges. If you’ve been charged with a serious traffic offense, don’t blindly pay the fine and admit guilt, reach out to an experienced defense attorney for a consultation.

Financial Hardship and Domestic Abuse

Lately, journalists—and really, the media in general—have focused on the struggling state of the economy to the degree that even the most uninformed in the realm of current events understands that financial woes are facing many parts of the population.  Multiple stories featured in newspapers and television programs every day suggest that families have been struggling with their finances and consequently, struggling with their personal lives.

Sadly, many people allow difficult times to get the best of them, and as a result, they inadvertently start neglecting hugely important responsibilities.  For instance, late last October, law enforcement officials arrested an Aurora woman on felony child-abuse and neglect resulting in the death of her two children.  This mother of a two and three year old left her children alone in her apartment, and unfortunately, during her absence, the apartment caught fire causing the apartment to fill with smoke and suffocate the occupants inside.

While this instance may seem like a rather extreme case of neglect resulting in an absolute worst-case scenario, people tend to make irrational, careless decisions when faced with overwhelmingly stressful situations.  For instance, in a desperate attempt to make ends meet, parents with little to no money allow their children to stay at home unattended without a sitter.  As a result, instances of neglect abuse, and domestic violence come have a greater chance of entering into the picture than they might have prior to financial hardships—which can lead to these nightmare scenarios such as the one faced by the woman in Aurora.

If you’ve been hit particularly hard by the economy, you may have found yourself in an unfortunate situation that involves domestic violence charges or charges of abuse or neglect.  Should you find yourself facing such charges, you should do everything within your power to consult a Colorado criminal defense attorney immediately. By consulting with a professional you can be sure you have all the legal resources—as well as the legal experience—necessary to defend yourself in a court of law.  Failure to contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney immediately could result in you receiving the maximum penalty for a crime or worse yet—receiving the maximum penalty for a crime you didn’t commit!

Pleading Down DUI Charges with an Experienced Defense Attorney

Getting arrested for suspicion of DUI or DWI is a very serious situation. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in very serious penalties, including jail time, a suspended driver’s license and heavy fines. These penalties get worse if there are other traffic violations associated with a DUI charge. If you were involved in an accident that caused property damage or injury in addition to being suspected of DUI, the possible legal penalties you’ll face could be much more severe.

When you’ve been arrested for suspicion of DUI, the best step to take to ensure a fair trial with a livable outcome is to enlist the help of an experienced defense attorney. Many people think that they can get through a DUI case without an attorney, but a defense lawyer can mean the difference between spending time in jail and simply paying a fine. A good defense attorney who has experience in dealing with these types of cases is critical to establishing a solid defense when fighting charges like DWI, aggravated DWI or vehicular assault.

A defense attorney will scrutinize the available evidence to find bits and pieces of information that can be used to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. Often, defense attorneys with experience in major traffic offenses like vehicular assault or Driving Under the Influence can reconstruct the accident or the conditions that led to your traffic stop in order to prove your innocence. A defense lawyer can also bring up mitigating circumstances in your defense. If you’ve got a clean driving and criminal record, your defense attorney will be able to highlight that information in an effort to reduce the possible penalties that you’ll face.

In many DWI cases there is just too much in the way of solid evidence for the court system to ignore. In these cases, a good defense attorney can be a critical asset if the evidence is strong. If your defense attorney feels as though a DUI conviction is imminent, he or she may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution in order to get the penalties you’ll face reduced.  An experienced DUI attorney will have relationships with local prosecutors and judges that will allow you to make a favorable deal.

A DUI conviction in which you face the stiffest possible penalties could affect you for years to come in many different ways. If you’ve been arrested for DUI and feel as though the prosecution has a good case against you, reach out to a qualified defense attorney for a consultation immediately.


Fighting to Retain Driving Privileges with a DUI Attorney

When it comes to driving under the influence, there are two separate charges involved: the criminal charges for breaking laws against driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and the traffic charges in order to suspend a driver’s license. While the criminal charges for DUI are heard in criminal court, license suspension charges are heard by traffic court in a DMV hearing. Some drivers get so overly absorbed in the possibility of the penalties they’ll face during their criminal hearing from a drunk driving arrest that they tend to completely look past the license suspension hearing process. Though this hearing has no bearing on the potential fines that you’ll face from a DUI conviction or the possible time behind bars that you’ll be required to spend, it is an integral part of the process for retaining your driving privileges.

In most states, if you don’t schedule your DMV hearing in a timely manner following your arrest for drunk driving, the initial revocation of your driving privileges will very likely be upheld, and you won’t have much recourse when it comes to trying to get back on the road. This is why hiring a qualified DUI attorney is a very wise move following an arrest for DUI, DWI, DWAI or another drunk driving violation.

A defense attorney with experience in drunk driving cases will not only get your license suspension hearing scheduled prior to the deadline, but they’ll be able to formulate the best possible strategy for your specific situation. An experienced DUI attorney will have helped countless clients in your situation and will know exactly what information is important to present in the venue of the DMV hearing in order to get your license suspension reduced or possible even lifted.

An experienced DUI attorney knows just how important the DMV hearing is to reinstating your driver’s license and maintaining some semblance of order in your lifestyle.  Getting your driver’s license back, even in a limited capacity, is critical if you hope to be able to get to and from work and other obligations following a drunk driving arrest. Once you’ve had an experienced defense attorney with experience in drunk driving cases help you navigate the difficult DMV hearing, you’ll be able to clearly focus on the criminal portion of your hearing with their help as well. Having a good DUI defense lawyer by your side is crucial to fighting a conviction at every step in order to realize the best results possible from your DUI case.


Minimizing the Stress of a DUI with a Qualified DUI Attorney

There are few things that can cause stress to a driver more than being pulled over after having had a few drinks and failing to perform well on the sobriety field test. Most drivers know just how much a DUI or DWI conviction can affect their lives, and no one wants to be subjected to the very severe punishments often associated with a drunk driving conviction. If you try to face your drunk driving charges alone, you can be subjecting yourself to months of stress and headaches.

Depending upon your location and the perceived severity of your drunk driving related crime, you could be in for a battery of unfavorable punishments if you get convicted. You could face very steep fines, lengthy jail terms and possibly have your driving privileges revoked for the foreseeable future. The personal, professional and financial parts of your life could all suffer greatly from a drunk driving conviction, which is why it is imperative that you reach out to a qualified DUI attorney at your earliest convenience following an arrest for drunk driving.

A good DUI attorney will be able to guide you through every step of the potentially confusing drunk driving court process to ensure that all the necessary steps of legal procedure are adhered to, which can be very difficult to do on your own. For example, most people don’t know that a drunk driving charge will be tried in criminal court, but that they will also have to have a hearing at their state department of motor vehicles about whether or not their driver’s license will be suspended. With an attorney, you’ll get help scheduling your DMV hearing and help developing the strongest possible defense for both your DMV and your criminal hearing in an effort to minimize the potential penalties that you’ll face.

An experienced DUI attorney will be able to quickly identify the presence of evidence that could be beneficial to your defense and use their expert knowledge to highlight those key facts during the trial in criminal court. If there are discrepancies in testimony, errors on the police report or any inconsistencies shown during the investigation, your DUI attorney will be able to find them and use them to build a powerful and effective defense strategy. Going through the experience of a DUI on your own can be very intimidating, but having a qualified DUI attorney by your side can make the process much smoother and easier.


Marijuana Possession and Potential Consequences

Many states now allow the medicinal-use of controlled substances such as marijuana for the purpose of alleviating the symptoms of debilitating diseases such as cancer glaucoma, HIV, and AIDS.  While the new laws governing the controlled substances permit individuals suffering from such diseases to possess and even grow specified quantities, the new laws by no means imply that those individuals who wish to use these substances for strictly recreational purposes—who do not have approval from their doctors or state agencies—can possess these controlled substances.

In the case of marijuana, depending on the amount of the substance you’ve been alleged to possess, law enforcement officers could charge you with a petty offense, a misdemeanor, or even a felony.  Furthermore, the consequences associated with each of these offenses vary according to whether or not should officers charge you with possession, sale, or cultivation.  While simple possession conviction may land you a petty offense or a misdemeanor offense, sale or cultivation convictions are both felony offenses, and as such you’ll almost certainly spend time in prison while paying thousands of dollars in fines.

While those suffering from debilitating diseases have the right to possess and use specified quantities of marijuana, those individuals should still take precaution when procuring their medication as not doing so can result in serious consequences—including loss of access to their medication.  For instance, an individual who possesses or uses marijuana and who does not go through the registry to procure their medication can face the same charges as those individuals possessing and using the substance purely for recreational purposes.  Individuals who’ve been approved for the medicinal use of marijuana must also take measures to ensure no one takes advantage of their access to the controlled substance.  For instance, you could face criminal charges or simply removal from the registry should someone you know admit that he or she procured the drug from your home.

By not following the proper procedures or ignoring many of the strict regulations governing the registry and its procedures, you could easily wind-up among the many others within the state of Colorado who’ve been charged with possession of marijuana.  As a precaution, should you or anyone you know decide to procure a controlled substance for medicinal purposes, you should make sure you contact a qualified Colorado criminal defense attorney.  Doing so will ensure you have done everything within your power to protect yourself should a worst case scenario arise.