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.

Reasonable Suspicion and DUIs

Very often, law enforcement officials use saturation checkpoints or other types of periodic, roadside sobriety checkpoints to charge suspected drivers with DUIs or DWAIs.  These checkpoints play an important role in officials’ efforts to maintain safe roadways and prevent life-threatening automobile wrecks.  Checkpoints aside though, law enforcement officials have other means of keeping roadways clear of intoxicated drivers.

While DUI saturation and sobriety checkpoints serve as a common and effective way of identifying which drivers pose a threat to the safety of others, the checkpoints have drawbacks, and as such, they’re not the only tool available to law enforcement officials have at their disposal for keeping roadways clear of dangerous drivers.  Law enforcement officials can also pull-over intoxicated drivers if the officers have reasonable suspicion that the drivers’ judgment or abilities have been impaired due to alcohol or drugs.

Unfortunately, for those drivers who’ve been wrongfully charged with DUIs or DWAIs, a wide-range of behaviors fall into the category of those driving behaviors that officers associate with suspected DUI offenders.  To explain, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a list of behaviors or “symptoms” that officers have cited for pulling over drivers which they reasonably suspect have been driving under the influence.  While the connection between some of these behaviors and intoxication—in many cases—appears painfully obvious, in other cases, the connection might not seem apparent.

Driving Behaviors or “Symptoms” that Provide Officers with Reasonable Suspicion

  • Turning with wide radius
  • Straddling center or lane marker
  • Appearing to be drunk
  • Almost striking an object or vehicle
  • Weaving
  • Driving on other than designated roadway
  • Swerving
  • Slow Speed
  • Stopping (without cause) in traffic lane
  • Drifting
  • Following too closely
  • Tires on center or land marker
  • Braking erratically
  • Driving into opposing or oncoming traffic
  • Inappropriate stopping
  • Inconsistent signaling
  • Headlights off
  • Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
  • Turning abruptly or illegally

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) or a DWAI (driving while ability impaired) then you should contact a DUI criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Because the types of behaviors associated with DUI charges covers a rather tremendous spectrum of driving behaviors—and is therefore, a likely inaccurate gauge at times—you should make sure you have a seasoned DUI criminal defense attorney to ensure you don’t end up with a conviction you don’t deserve.

An Attorney can Help with DUI Charges

Being arrested for driving under the influence is certainly no laughing matter. Depending upon the exact details of the arrest, even a first time DUI conviction can have serious repercussions on a number of areas of your life. The heavy fines that you could face from a DUI conviction could cause financial distress, and the loss of driving privileges could affect your personal life and your career. The possible jail time you might face for a drunk driving conviction can also affect your freedom and your future. When faced with drunk driving charge, many people can’t see past these legal repercussions, and they don’t realize that they can get help from an attorney in their drunk driving case.

Walking away from a DUI charge of any kind with a favorable outcome is never easy, but having a defense attorney with experience in drunk driving cases on your side can result in a much better outcome to your case than would have resulted if you had defended yourself. The laws and courts in most states are generally not lenient on drunk drivers, so you should not face the judge alone. The drunk driving laws in just about all states are constantly changing, and law enforcement officials are always looking to hand down more severe punishments for DUI or DWI convictions. An attorney who specializes in drunk driving defense understands the nuances of traffic laws, and can challenge law enforcement evidence against you.

In order to come away from your criminal hearing without suffering to the fullest extent of the law, you need an experienced professional to help you construct your defense. An experienced DUI attorney will be completely aware of any recent changes regarding the drunk driving laws in your state and will know exactly how the prosecution plans to pursue a conviction. Your defense attorney will be able to use the available evidence in conjunction with an in depth knowledge of every facet of DUI law to construct the most effective and plausible defense for your particular case.

Having the right defense lawyer at your criminal hearing for a drunk driving charge is the best possible way to reduce or eliminate some of the very severe punishments you could have faced from a conviction. A first time DUI doesn’t have to come with a lifetime of issues, problems and baggage from a conviction, but in order to get the outcome that you want, you’ll need an experienced DUI attorney to properly build your defense.

 

Didn’t Start the Fight? Assault May Still Apply

While many people take precautions against the possibility of an assault by taking self-defense classes or carrying around pepper-spray with them, these same people don’t take the necessarily precautions with respect to the law.  What potential victims don’t know is that they themselves could face assault and battery charges should they fight-off an attacker or other threatening person.  For instance, how would you protect yourself if, after fending-off and attacker, police arrived on the scene decided to arrest both the attacker and you.  Worse yet, what if the attacker then accused you of assault and battery and because you had no witnesses present, you suddenly faced criminal charges and all the consequences associated with that conviction?

While the above example may seem like a worst-case scenario, assault and battery charges can apply to anyone involved in many common altercations that erupt into violence such as bar fights or even the consensual after-school fights of high-school children.  In such cases, law enforcement officers may charge both—or all—parties involved with assault and battery regardless of who instigated the conflict.

Depending on the particular circumstances surrounding a conflict, the consequences of an assault and battery conviction can utterly ruin your life.  Anyone charged with assault and battery in the state of Colorado should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect him or herself from hefty fines and considerable prison sentences.

First Degree Assault (often considered class 3 Felony carrying 8 – 24 years in prison)

1. Intentionally caused serious bodily injury to someone with a deadly weapon,

2.  Knowingly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another and resulted in injury,

3.  Intentionally destroyed, disfigured, or amputated the member of another person,

4.  Threatened a police officer or firefighter with a deadly weapon with the intent of

causing serious bodily injury.

Second Degree Assault (often considered class 4 felony carrying 4 – 12 years in prison)

1.  Intentionally or recklessly caused injury to someone using a deadly weapon,

2.  Intentionally caused mental impairment or injury to someone with the use of a drug or substance, or

3.  Caused injury while attempting to prevent a police officer or firefighter from doing their job.

Third Degree Assault (misdemeanor offense carrying up to 3 years in prison)

1.  Knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to someone.

“’Taking It Up a Notch’: How Holidays Can Have Serious Consequences”

While billboards the size of houses and both humorous and engaging television commercials constantly remind consumers to avoid drinking and driving by suggesting they “drink sensibly” or “drink responsibly,” the underlying message of these types of advertisements seems to center around the notion that drinking alcohol will take any celebration or any relaxing activity up a notch.  Indeed, Americans recognize the enjoyment that comes from consuming alcohol moderately and in safe circumstances; however, the very existence of these “sensible” messages in advertisements for alcoholic beverages suggests the degree to which some segments of Americans society have a tendency to overdue it when it comes to alcohol.  Even holidays we celebrate on an annual basis support this idea, as Americans’ have notoriously used holidays such as New Year’s Eve and Saint Patrick’s Day as catalysts for serious binge drinking.

While in most cases, the presence of alcohol at these holiday gatherings does not cause any harm to those celebrating; however, in enough cases to warrant concern, some of those celebrating over-indulge and consequently, they make poor decisions which lead to disastrous consequences.  For instance, in 2009, law enforcement officers in Savannah, Georgia arrested over 20 individuals during the St Patrick’s Day parade for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The police operation, dubbed “Operation Thunderstorm,” resulted in nearly 60 arrests—many of which related to alcohol.  Those arrested and charged with DWIs faced consequences that reached far-beyond simply ruining their evenings.  As a result of their alleged charges, these individuals now face suspension and revocation of their licenses as well as time in jail, community service, alcohol education/rehabilitation classes, and some considerable fines.

Anyone finding him or herself facing charges for driving under the influence should not take such charges lightly.  Indeed, if law enforcement has charged you for the suspected offense, you should seek out the advice and counsel of a qualified DUI criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  Any delay could cost you more than you might think, such as your chance to submit a request to the DMV for a hearing to prevent you from having your license suspended or revoked.  Don’t just accept the consequences and penalties for offenses you didn’t commit; contact a qualified DUI criminal defense attorney to obtain the best defense possible.

Pregnant Mother Accused of Theft—Loses Custody of Child

In late October, KRDO of Colorado Springs reported on an alleged theft incident at a Safeway supermarket in Honolulu involving a woman—thirty weeks pregnant—and her husband.  The family was out shopping for groceries, when the woman claimed she felt faint.  To improve her situation, she and her husband began eating two chicken sandwiches on sale at the Safeway.  After finishing their shopping, they paid for $50 worth of groceries, but unfortunately, they forgot to pay for their two $5 sandwiches—which a member of their staff noticed.  On their way out of the store, the staff member stopped the family and then accused the couple of stealing the sandwiches.  They then called the police to arrest the family and charge them with theft.  (To exacerbate matters worse, the police then called Child Protective Services and placed their child in the custody of the state.)  Eighteen hours later, Child Protective Services returned the child to her family, and Safeway—perhaps having realized the inappropriate handling of this situation—released a statement; however, they did not say they had ceased investigation.

The above example illustrates that accidents happen to everyone—no matter what you’re walk in life—and while this couple may not have meaningfully committed a theft-crime, those who allege the couple did commit the crime have their own perspective on the matter.  Furthermore, with respect to this specific event, the Safeway staff’s questionable handling of the incident has now made Safeway potentially liable for wrongful accusation of theft; therefore, the store may not be willing to drop the matter, as the company now has finances and their reputation at stake.

Theft charges carry with them very serious consequences including, but not limited to jail or prison time and significant fines.  Furthermore, should the item of which you’ve been accused of stealing exceed a certain dollar amount, you could face felony charges and a subsequent criminal conviction that remains on your record for the rest of your life.  To be sure you’ve done everything within your power to protect yourself in such a situation, you should contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney without hesitation.  By contacting a criminal defense attorney immediately, you provide yourself with the resources you need to navigate a potentially costly set of circumstances.

“Multiple DUI Offenders and Vehicular Homicide”

In 2009, The Denver Post published a story about a multiple DUI offender whose persistence in drinking and driving amassed 18 offenses over a period of 27 years.  His behavior eventually culminated in the death of his ex-wife who was a passenger in the car with him at the time of his last incident

While the years of fines, jail sentences, and other penalties associated with DUI and DWAI convictions might seem like strong-enough deterrents to encourage individuals to curb such behavior, these legal consequences—apparently—do not  provide sufficient motivation.  Very often DUI offenders—despite having served sentences or having paid hefty fines—end-up back on the roads engaging in the same illegal and dangerous behavior they did prior to their original offense.  To explain, according to information provided to The Denver Post by the Division of Motor Vehicles, over 50,000 individuals in the state of Colorado have had three or more DUI offenses, and 51 individuals have had ten or more DUI offenses.  In the case of the particular driver reported by The Denver Post, he received multiple DUI charges (and subsequent convictions) prior to the final vehicular homicide DUI incident involving his ex-wife.

Sadly, a significant number of offenders do not alter their risky behavior, and as such they end-up seriously injuring or even killing other motorists and passengers—including members of their own family.  As such, these offenders end-up facing vehicular homicide-DUI charges.  While DUI and DWAI charges result in serious enough consequences, those consequences resulting from vehicular homicide should give individuals pause before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.  Not only do convicted vehicular homicide offenders face extended jail and prison sentences (as well as enhanced fines), they also face—potentially—a lifetime of guilt and heartache knowing that they’ve taken an innocent life.

While individuals who plan on drinking should take every precaution to avoid getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, the reality of the situation is that alcohol and other substances impair peoples’ judgment and ability to make good decisions.  As such, a qualified Colorado DUI criminal defense attorney should be sought-out by anyone facing charges and a potential DUI conviction.

Killed “Pot DUI Bill” Doesn’t Mean Marijuana Users Off the Hook

In spring of this year, members of Colorado’s legislature voted down a bill aimed at clearly defining the legal limit for establishing a DUI for all those suspected of driving under the influence, specifically, of marijuana.  House Bill 1261, more commonly known as the “Pot DUI Bill,” would  allow law enforcement officers to charge those registering 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood with a DUI.  Despite some initial support the bill received from communities and many members of the state senate, the bill eventually met its demise due to concerns over whether the proposed blood-THC content rubric was a clear indicator that a suspect was driving under the influence of marijuana. One such concern related to the amount of time THC has been known to stay in users’ systems; for instance, a test that lawmakers considered when deciding on the bill demonstrated that 5 nanograms of THC per millimeter of blood remained in users’ systems for as long as 15 hours after use.  As such, the lawmakers did not feel the bill could provide law enforcement with a sufficient indicator for charging those suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana.

While the Colorado legislature did not pass House Bill 1261, and while currently, Colorado law doesn’t clearly specify how much THC will land you a DUI charge, the statutes do provide a very clear explanation that law enforcement officers will charge you with a DUI or DWAI (and courts will convict you) if they suspect you cannot safely operate a vehicle due to use of drugs or alcohol or if you fail a sobriety test.

DUI and DWAI charges have serious consequences.  Whether you’ve receive charges for suspected use of alcohol or suspected use of marijuana (or other drugs), you should do everything within your power to contact a DUI criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  A qualified Colorado DUI criminal defense attorney can help you with the many questions you have concerning the circumstances of your arrest, and he or she can also make sure you receive proper representation in court.  Without the help of a skilled and experience legal professional, not only could you find yourself facing a potential conviction, you could also find yourself facing an overly harsh sentence.

Graffiti or Vandalism?: Walking the Fine Line

During and after the last US presidential campaign, well-known graffiti artist, Shepard Fairey received constant attention from the media for work he did for the Obama campaign.  While the work he did for the campaign did much to advance the career of one of the candidates, Mr. Fairey’s work likely caused a blurring of the line between what many people consider “art” and what many others consider graffiti—or vandalism.  Indeed, with all the controversy surrounding Mr. Fairey’s work—along with the work of other popular well-known graffiti artists—many artists today could easily cross that fine line between art and vandalism and quickly find themselves facing criminal charges.

Should you find yourself charged with criminal property damage, you face serious consequences including heavy fines, prison sentences, felony charges—depending on which offense—and even suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.  The sentence you receive, should the judge convict you of the crime, depends on both the number of offenses and the value of the damage to another’s property.

Consequences for Defacing Property (Vandalism) in the state of Colorado

-Damages less than $500 can result in 3 months to 1 year in jail $250 to $1,000 in fines

-Damages of $500 to $1,000 can result in 6 – 18 months in jail and $500 – $5,000 in fines

-Damages of $1,000 to $5,000 can result in 2 – 6 years in prison and $2,000 to $500,000 in fines (felony charges)

-Damages of more than $20,000 can result in 4 – 12 years in prison and $3,000 to $750,000 in fines (felony charges)

To protect yourself from receiving some of the harsher sentences, should you find yourself facing charges for defacing property, you should seek-out a Colorado criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  By contacting a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately (to ensure you receive the best legal representation possible), not only could you potentially spare yourself the stress of financial penalties, you could also spare yourself a prison sentence—or even the conviction entirely.  Here, you may want to consider that you can receive these same sentences for aiding or permitting the defacement of property.  For instance, do you know what you would you do if you just happen to walk upon a vandal and someone accused you of having participated in the defacement of property?  A solid legal defense can assist you in your efforts to protect you or someone you know from receiving a harsh or undeserved sentence.