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5 Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Lawyer
/ 01 December, 2021

How bad is the crime situation in Denver, CO? Let’s look at the numbers.

The city has robbery and vandalism rates of about 4%, according to the Denver Post. The same statistics show that violent crimes also occur in Denver. Less common are sexual and hate crimes, accounting for less than 1% each.

Indeed, you may not commit any of these crimes. On the other hand, if you have, then you will want a Denver criminal lawyer in your corner as you fight charges and jail time.

Hiring a lawyer is not cheap. As well, hiring the wrong one will land you in jail or cause you to pay hefty amounts in compensation. In short, hiring a Denver criminal lawyer is not a decision you should take lightly.

To determine whether or not your Denver criminal lawyer is worth working with, you need to screen them. You can conduct your screening process by asking these five questions:

1. “Have You Handled Cases That Are Like Mine?”

Asking question will help you establish your attorney’s experience in handling your criminal case. You will want an attorney that has more than just seen a case like yours. Choose an attorney that has a proven track record succeeding in cases similar to yours.

An attorney worth your time and investment should also not hesitate to show you proof of his or her success rates in court.

2. “How Long Have You Been a Denver Criminal Lawyer?”

Experience is crucial in many endeavors and professions. In no other profession is this truer than in criminal law.

You need to gain insight into the level of expertise your criminal lawyer has. Of course, expertise is only part of the equation. How long the lawyer has been in practice is an indicator of efficiency and potential success in handling your case.

Being in the business for a long time brings with it a network. By asking this question, you can also determine if your attorney has connections to leverage for the success of your case.

3. “What is Your Track Record/Success Rate?”

Ideally, you want to probe further about success rates in cases that are similar to yours. Granted, no Denver criminal lawyer will have a 100% success rate in handling cases and trials. What you want is a Denver criminal lawyer whose success rate is above 80%.

A success rate can mean one of two things. It is either the ratio between successful defenses or trials and losses. It can also be the ratio of cases that go to trial vs the ones that do not. This brings us to the next question.

4. “Do Most of Your Cases Go to Trial?”

A criminal case that goes to trial can be:

  • Drawn out
  • Expensive
  • A humiliating and unnerving experience

While a criminal defense lawyer has the know-how to go about trial proceedings, trials are not for the faint at heart. If your lawyer’s cases go to trial most of the time, you may want to find another.

The best criminal lawyers are separated from decent ones by the percentage of cases they settle with plea bargains and other extrajudicial means. Choose a lawyer with the expertise to take apart the circumstances of your case and negotiate without having to go to trial.

5. “What Have Your Past Clients Said About You?”

As someone who is seeking a service (in this case, legal representation), you are entitled to seeing reviews. Client testimonials can reassure you that the lawyer you are dealing with has indeed helped clients in the past.

Reading testimonials can also give you insight into other qualities of an attorney that go beyond credentials and track records.

Hire a Denver Criminal Lawyer that Ticks All Your Boxes

Hiring a lawyer is serious business. You need the right one who can advocate on your behalf and handle your case with expertise and care.

Are you in search of a criminal lawyer in Denver? Do not hesitate to reach out to us now.


Getting a 2nd or 3rd DUI in Denver: What to Expect
/ 12 November, 2021

A night out on the town in Denver or anywhere else can be a fun-filled experience. Adding alcohol to the experience may add to the excitement factor, but it can have serious repercussions. This is especially true if you are the designated driver and already have one DUI in your record. 

Drive intoxicated, and you might get your 2nd DUI in Denver. Worse yet, another incidence of driving with a high blood alcohol (BAC) level can spell your 3rd DUI. 

Whether it is the 2nd DUI in Denver or the 3rd, know that the consequences will be more severe than your 1st. Here is what to expect from your 2nd or 3rd DUI in Denver. 

Jail Time for a 2nd DUI in Denver

Jail times are prescribed for first-time offenders in Denver. Depending on the ruling, jail sentences can be five days to one year long. However, few serve jail sentences. First-time offenders often face fines, 24 to 48 hours of community service, and a one-year revocation of their licenses. 

It is a different story for offenders with their 2nd DUI in Denver. In the eyes of the state’s courts, offenders who commit their 2nd and 3rd DUIs in Colorado are considered persistent DUI drivers. Colorado state laws make jail time mandatory for persistent DUI drivers. In other words, if you get your 2nd DUI in Denver, expect to spend some time in jail. 

The length of time you will spend in jail will depend on whether you have committed your 2nd or 3rd DUI. For second-time offenders, jail sentences can be 10 days up to a whole year. In the case of a third DUI conviction, jail sentences are longer. Usually, the sentence runs for 60 days up to a year. 

Community Service for Persistent DUIs

Other than jail time, there are other criminal penalties for 2nd and 3rd DUI convictions. One of these is community service. 

The length of time for rendering community service is the same for second and third-time offenders. According to Nolo, the required hours for community service are 48 to 120 hours. In addition to community service, offenders must pay $120. 

Fines and Penalties

If you are convicted for a second or third DUI, you need to pay a fine. This is on top of the amount payable for community service. 

For both second and third-time DUI convictions, the state of Colorado requires a fine of at least $600. The amount can go up to as much as $1,500 depending on factors like the person’s BAC at the time of the arrest. 

Two-Year Probation

If you get a 2nd DUI in Denver, part of the penalties following the conviction is a two-year probationary period. The probationary period begins upon release from jail. During this time, you need to submit to regular drug and alcohol monitoring. Under no circumstances can your BAC be above .8% while you are on probation. 

In addition, you will also have to undergo alcohol and drug rehabilitation and treatment. As part of rehabilitation after a DUI conviction, you also need to take classes on driving safety. 

A violation of the terms of probation can land you back in jail. 

Revoked License

License revocation begins as soon as you are convicted of your second or third DUI. In Colorado, license revocations are different for second and third-time offenders. 

If you get a 2nd DUI in Denver, you can expect your license to be revoked for at least a year. You may still operate a vehicle while your license is revoked. However, you will need an interlock license from the DMV to do so. Applying for this is possible a month after your license has been revoked. 

For third-time DUI offenders, the license may remain revoked indefinitely. The DMV and court can reinstate the driver’s license if the offender has completed: 

  • A drug and alcohol monitoring program
  • Driver’s education
  • Community service
  • Jail time

Drug and Alcohol Monitoring, Evaluation, and Treatment

All DUI offenders must submit themselves to drug and alcohol screening. Also, they must complete evaluation and treatment for the judge to reinstate their licenses. Those on interlock licenses may apply to have their original licenses following drug and alcohol rehab. 

Call a Lawyer if You Get a 2nd DUI (or 3rd) in Denver, CO

Full reinstatement of your license may allow you to drive again. However, between getting a 2nd DUI in Denver and that time, you can expect a series of penalties and jail time. Also, a DUI is a misdemeanor that will make its way to your criminal record. 

To prevent all this from happening, you will need help. If you are arrested for a DUI in Denver, you can fight the charges. Seek the aid of a criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record of fighting DUI charges. 

For legal representation that serves your best interests in Denver, call us now

Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Attorney
/ 23 October, 2021

7 Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Lawyer

No one wants or plans to be in a situation where they need to hire a criminal lawyer. However, if this situation arises, knowing how to find the right one for your case is a must.

When it is time to hire this legal professional, keep the following questions in mind to help you choose the best person for the job.

1. Do You Offer a Free Initial Consultation?

To evaluate your case and understand the facts, it is important to have a face-to-face meeting with the attorney you are thinking about hiring. Some attorneys charge for an initial consultation, while others do not. It is worth paying for the meeting if that is needed.

2. How Long Have You Been Practicing Criminal Law?

Knowing the lawyer’s experience in the field of criminal law can help you decide if they are worth hiring. Some criminal lawyers focus on several different areas of law. This may mean they do not have the ability or experience to represent your case properly in some situations. Finding someone whose main focus is criminal law is best.

3. What Are Your Fees?

Legal fees are a sensitive topic for some people, but it is something you need to discuss. While you want to ensure a quality, attorney handles your criminal issue, you also need a straight answer about how much they charge.

4. Do You Have Prior Experience with This Type of Criminal Case?

It is important to find an attorney who has handled cases like yours in the past. For example, DUI charges involve chemical testing, field sobriety testing issues, and other complex legal factors. Having an attorney with experience handling these types of cases is essential if you want the best possible outcome.

5. Who Will be Handling the Case?

Sometimes, you may think hiring a “big-shot” lawyer that costs a lot of money will pay off. However, doing this usually means you will never see this big-name lawyer that is plastered on billboards across the city. Usually, firms like this will let junior attorneys handle the caseload. Be sure to ask who you will be working with during your initial meeting.

6. How Many Jury Trials Have You Handled?

If you have a case that goes to trial, you need to have an attorney who has the skills and courtroom presence to argue your case before the judge and jury. You also need someone who knows how to prepare for the case and trial.

7. How Available Are You?

No matter the criminal charge you are facing, it can be a stressful process. You have a lot of questions going through your mind. Be sure to find out how available the attorney will be to answer questions you may have as the case progresses.

Finding the right criminal lawyer for your case is imperative. While the process may take time and effort, it is well worth it in the end. Asking the questions above will help you make an informed decision.

YES You Do Have the Right to Refuse a Field Sobriety Test
/ 23 October, 2021

Do You Have the Right to Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?

You have probably heard of field sobriety tests before. You may have even taken one in the past. These are the tests used by police officers when they suspect someone of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The test using the breathalyzer, for example, is up to 91% accurate when determining if someone has a BAC over 0.08% (the legal limit in most states).

While these tests are beneficial for law enforcement officers, you may wonder if you have the right to refuse?

Refusing a Field Sobriety Test

You are within your rights to refuse to take a field sobriety test. However, it is important to understand there are pros and cons to doing this.

If you are stopped by the police and suspected of intoxicated driving, the officer will attempt to convince you to take the field sobriety test. The purpose is to establish probable cause for stopping you and collect evidence of your intoxication.

Essentially, they are building a case to arrest you.

However, even if you are intoxicated and you pass the initial field sobriety test, the officer can still arrest you if they believe you are unfit to drive, or they will request you to take a breathalyzer test. Again, these are used to collect evidence against you and prove there was probable cause to pull you over.

What Happens if You Refuse?

While there are no legal requirements for you to take a field sobriety test when a police officer requests one, if you refuse to cooperate with them, it may make it appear like you are trying to hide something. Also, if you refuse the test, you will probably be arrested.

Suppose you pass the field sobriety test, and you do not register as being intoxicated with a breathalyzer test. In that case, you may still be arrested if the officer believes you pose a danger to other people. While this is true, if you pass the test, your attorney can make the case that there was no probable cause to stop you or arrest you.

Alcohol and Field Sobriety Tests

Since even small amounts of alcohol can impair your judgment, if you are stopped after drinking, you may be more confident in your abilities to drive and to pass the field sobriety tests than you really are.

With any level of alcohol consumption, you will experience performance issues if something requires your complete attention.

If you wind up refusing the field sobriety test requested by the officer, it is important to make sure you do not worsen the situation. Stay polite (without being over-polite), respectful, and decline the test. Ensure you do not worsen the situation or give the officer a reason to arrest you and charge you with something else.

By being calm and respectful, you can keep the situation from escalating while still exercising the right you have to refuse the test requested by the police officer who pulled you over for suspicion of drinking and driving.

Consult with a DUI Defense Attorney

Any time you are arrested, it is best to consult with an attorney regarding the actions taken by the police. You need to fully know and understand your rights before saying or doing anything that may make the situation worse for you.

The bottom line is that you can refuse a field sobriety test. While this is true, you will still likely be arrested. Your best line of defense is to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest who can help ensure your rights are protected.

Prescription Drugs and Drug Charges in Denver
/ 20 September, 2021

There’s a big difference between prescription drugs and illicit drugs. Most importantly, as long as you use prescription drugs as intended, there’s no concern about running into trouble with the law.

However, there are times when prescription drug use can result in criminal charges. And if that happens, you could soon find yourself facing a variety of consequences such as prison time, a fine, and/or community service.

In Colorado, there are five “schedules” of controlled substances varying by the drug’s potential for abuse. 

Many prescription drugs fit into Schedule II, with this passage from our website explaining more:

These drugs have high abuse potential but acceptable medical use. If a person abuses these drugs, they can experience severe physical and psychological dependence. Examples include opium and prescription-based opioid pain tabs like oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. Schedule II drugs also include stimulants such as methamphetamines and cocaine.

So, while you’re permitted by law to use these prescription drugs, you must do so as prescribed by your medical professional.

Prescription Drug-Related Crimes

It doesn’t matter where you live in Colorado, you could be charged with one or more of the following crimes should you violate the law:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug possession
  • Drug distribution
  • Intent to distribute

For example, if you’re prescribed prescription-based opioid pain tabs, they’re for your use only. You are not permitted to sell or distribute them to other individuals. 

What are the Penalties for a Drug Charge in Denver?

Even though the drug laws in Colorado are among the most lenient in the United States — as they favor treatment over incarceration — this shouldn’t invite you to take a risk. 

Minor infractions, such as possession of a small amount of a Schedule V drug, almost always result in a misdemeanor.

However, if your case involves a more serious drug, such as Schedule II opioid pain medication, you could face felony charges with much more serious consequences. 

Penalties for prescription drug charges in Denver range from a $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail to 30+ years in prison and a fine up to $1 million. 

How are Drug Penalties Determined?

There are five basic factors that the court system takes into consideration when determining your penalty:

  • The schedule of the drug (Schedule I is the most serious)
  • The quantity of drugs involved in your case
  • Your criminal history, such as if you’ve been convicted of a drug-related offense in the past
  • Whether you’re on probation or parole
  • How you were using the substance, such as for personal use, selling, or trafficking

Even if one or more of these factors is working against you, there are steps your legal team can take to minimize your penalties and help you get your life back on track. 

The Consequences of a Drug Conviction

In addition to a fine and/or time in jail or prison, there are other consequences of a drug conviction. These include but are not limited to:

  • Loss of employment and inability to secure employment
  • Damage to your personal relationships
  • Revocation of your driver’s license
  • Negative effect on your ability to secure a loan, such as for a car or home
  • Negative effect on your ability to rent

In short, if you have a drug conviction on your record, it will show up on a simple background check. So, it’ll follow you wherever you go. 

Questions for a Denver Drug Defense Attorney

The second you’re arrested with a prescription drug-related crime is the second you should begin to think about consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Don’t assume that you’re on your own, as this is likely to result in more harm than good as your case moves through the court system.

Here are some questions to ask during your search for the perfect Denver drug defense attorney:

  • How much experience do you have with my type of case?
  • Can you explain the possible consequences of a conviction?
  • Is it possible to have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor?
  • Is there any way to keep a conviction off my criminal record?

If you want answers to these questions, you’re in the right place. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, you can rely on our entire team during this difficult time of your life. We’re here to answer your questions, represent you in court, and minimize the impact of your charges on your future.

If you’re ready to discuss your prescription drug criminal charges, contact us online or via phone at (303) 529-1424. Our team is standing by! 


Understanding Theft Charges in Denver
/ 17 September, 2021

Theft crimes are extremely common in Denver. If you are charged with theft, there’s no question the situation can be confusing and intimidating. 

Colorado criminal law isn’t easy to understand. Because of that, one of the best things you can do is to hire a Denver criminal defense attorney. Our team at The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani is ready to defend your case and help you understand the charges you are facing. 

While hiring an attorney to help with your case is a smart move, it’s also helpful to understand the different theft charges you may face in Denver. 

What Is Theft?

In the state of Colorado, theft is defined as taking and keeping something that is not yours when you do not receive permission from the item’s owner. 

However, theft often extends beyond this rather simple definition. In some situations, theft may also include individuals who did not actively steal something but provided aid to the individual who did. 

For example, if you attempt to sell a stolen item to a pawn show, and the pawnbroker knows the item is stolen but purchase it anyway, they can also be charged with theft. Also, if someone helps to dispose of a stolen item, they may be charged with theft. 

The deciding factor in this is knowing if the goods are stolen. Once you find out, then you are also considered liable if you do anything besides telling the police. 

What Is Considered Theft in Denver?

Denver theft laws include several types of illegal behavior. This includes everything from embezzling money from your employer to shoplifting at a retail establishment. 

All these crimes relate to one another because theft involves taking something of value that belongs to another person without permission and then hiding, keeping, or selling it so the owner cannot recover the item or items. 

Colorado theft laws are written using broad terms. They also involve several types of theft crimes:

  • Shoplifting: Theft from any business of an item. 
  • Larceny: Theft that occurs from a building. 
  • False Pretenses: This is theft that occurs due to deception.
  • Burglary: Theft from a residential property. 
  • Embezzlement: Any theft from your employer. 
  • Robbery: Theft that occurs from an individual. 

Colorado also has several specific laws that cover different illegal behaviors, such as:

  • Sale of something to cover up the theft
  • Stealing trade secrets
  • Illegal resale of lift tickets
  • Hiding goods in a store to steal later
  • Auto theft

Theft: Misdemeanors and Felonies 

If you are charged with any type of theft, you need to understand what the charges actually mean. 

The type of theft and worth of the item or items taken determine if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony. 

Misdemeanor Theft Charges

Theft is considered a misdemeanor in some situations. These include:

  • Value of stolen goods is $750 or higher, but under $2,000, you are charged with a class 1 misdemeanor.
    • Fine of $500 to $5K and/or up to six months in jail. 
  • Value of stolen goods is $300 or higher, but under $750, you are charged with a class 2 misdemeanor
    • Fine of $250 to $1K and/or up to three months in jail.
  • Value of the stolen goods is $50 or higher, but under $300, you are charged with a class 3 misdemeanor
    • Fine of $50 to $750 (usually no jail time). 

If you steal something worth under $50, you are charged with class 1 petty theft. This charge comes with a fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months in jail

Felony Theft Charges 

Theft may also be charged as a felony. This occurs if the value of the item stolen is more than the limits mentioned above. Felony charges include:

  • Value of $1 million or higher, you are charged with a class 2 felony.
    • Fine of $5K to $1 million and/or eight to 24 years in jail.
  • Value of $100K or more but under $1 million, you are charged with a class 3 felony.
    • Fine of $3K to $750K and/or four to 12 years in jail. 
  • Value of $20K or more, but under $100K, you are charged with a class 4 felony.
    • Fine of $2K to $500K and/or two to six years in jail. 
  • Value of $5K or more, but under $20K, you are charged with a class 5 felony
    • Fine of $1K to $100K and/or one to three years in jail. 
  • Value of $2K or more but less than $5K you are charged with a class 6 felony
    • Fine of $1K to $100K and/or one year to 18 months in jail. 

If you are convicted of any felony theft charge for stealing from a location in four years, it means you receive a mandatory sentence of the minimum term allowed. Also, there will be no chance for a suspended sentence or parole in this situation. 

For situations where you steal from a person, instead of breaking into a business or home, you are charged with a class 5 felony automatically. The charge will be kept in place, no matter the value of the item or items you took. 

What Is the Maximum Possible Sentence for a Theft Charge in Denver? 

If you steal something that is worth $1 million or more, you may receive the maximum sentence for theft. This would be a class 2 felony charge and have a prison sentence of eight to 24 years. You would also be on parole for five years. 

Along with this hefty sentence, you will likely be ordered to pay a significant fine. It is at the court’s discretion to decide what to charge you with. 

Hire a Denver Criminal Defense Attorney for Help

If you have been charged with any type of theft crime in Denver, contact our team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani. You can call us at (303) 529-2242 to set up a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

9 Mistakes You Should Avoid After a Denver DUI
/ 14 July, 2021

1. Going To Court Without Legal Representation

You need a reputable lawyer to help navigate the legal system and avoid common mistakes when facing a DUI charge. You will meet with a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s office at your first hearing and you must be able to decide how you want to proceed. You need the advice of a good Denver DUI lawyer at this point, to make the right decision and provide you with the best advice on how to proceed.

2. Failing to Request an Express Consent Hearing

If you’ve been charged in Colorado, you have likely been served with an affidavit from the arresting officer, which gives notice that your license will be revoked. The express hearing is separate and determines whether you will lose your license. The DMV will ask whether you wish to challenge the arresting officer. This is where you need the expertise of a seasoned attorney who knows how to represent you effectively and navigate the justice system. A lawyer knows where the loopholes may exist, because he or she knows the system and how it works.

3. Making Assumptions About A High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

When you assume your case is undefendable, you may not be giving yourself a chance. The prosecutor has to introduce your test into evidence with a sound foundation, so a jury or judge can consider all the facts. Factors such as certification of the testing lab, functioning and accuracy of the breath alcohol testing machine, procedures for obtaining and handling the blood sample, and chain of custody issues can be issues that make the case difficult for the prosecutor to present. If there are errors in any of these processes, the case could be dropped entirely because the quality and legitimacy of the evidence will be questioned. An experienced DUI lawyer can find these errors quickly.

4. Not Getting Your Blood Tested By An Independent Lab

This is important because the state must take two vials, so one can go to a lab of your choosing. If the private lab’s results showed a lower level than the state’s, the accuracy of the test will be questioned. This could result in the prosecutor dropping the case, because the whole foundation of the charge comes into question. The credibility of the police officer and the police department is questioned when this happens. The accuracy of the state lab may be questioned when the results of the 2 labs come back very different.

5. Failing To Understand The Long Term Implications Of A DUI Conviction

This is a criminal conviction that will follow you for the rest of your life and stay on the Colorado Bureau of Investigations records permanently, possibly hindering your ability to take certain types of jobs. Your driver’s license could also be suspended for a length of time, resulting in additional fees and channels to go through to get it back at the end of that period. If you think about the repercussions before choosing a lawyer, you may be more likely to select an experienced DUI attorney who is known for getting results and representing his or her clients.

6. Not Hiring a Good DUI Defense Lawyer

One of the most common mistakes after a DUI is not hiring a good lawyer. You want a DUI lawyer who has a good reputation and is known for getting results for his or her clients. It may save you money by retaining a cheaper lawyer, but the end results can have far reaching consequences, such as a DUI charge and a permanent record of DUI. Your future should not be gambled on a lawyer who may not have the right experience. It is well worth the extra money to find an experienced lawyer with a good reputation in helping clients who have been charged with DUI. A good lawyer may be able to find all the holes in your case and will give you advice that is in your best interest.

7. Not Appearing In Court On Time

If you fail to show up to court, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. This will result in higher fees and more charges when you’re caught. By showing up and dressing properly, you are sending a message that you take the charges seriously and expect to represent yourself to the best of your ability. 

8. Not Having The Evidence Preserved

You should have the evidence, such as lab test results, preserved so they can be used in court. In addition, testimony of lab professionals also carries plenty of weight in the courts. But, you need to notify the courts that you will be doing this prior to any scheduled hearings. Having evidence and proper testimony can make the difference in losing your license and getting a DUI charge or winning your case due to the evidence presented in your favor. 

9. Not Challenging The Charges

There are times when an officer may conduct an illegal search and a judge will not question the procedures. You need representation so these issues can be questioned. A lawyer who works with DUI clients understands that illegal searches can and do happen and can question the actions of an arresting officer. It would be a shame to have a DUI on your record because an officer conducted an illegal search.

Avoid These Mistakes By Hiring an Experienced Denver DUI Defense Lawyer

If you’re facing a DUI in Denver, be sure to avoid these mistakes and reach out to an experienced Denver DUI defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, we handle each case we take with compassion, professionalism, and unmatched drive to win. For more information about how Denver DUI attorney Steven J. Pisani can help protect your rights if faced with Colorado DUI charges, schedule a free consultation by contacting us online or calling us today at (303) 529-2834.

Types of Defenses for Criminal Cases
/ 02 July, 2021

If you have been accused, arrested, charged with a criminal offense, you still reserve the right to fight your charges. This is best done by presenting your defense arguments to challenge whatever evidence the prosecution has against you. Whether you are facing a criminal, DUI, or traffic charge, you will want to enlist a skilled lawyer. A good Denver criminal defense attorney will review the facts of your case, apprise you of your legal options, and develop compelling legal defenses to fight the charges in your criminal case. 

Here are some of the most common types of defenses used in criminal cases: 


When facing criminal charges, you may raise the affirmative defense and argue that you acted in self-defense. This is one of the most common defense strategies that can help justify your actions and absolve you from any liability, particularly in assault or murder cases. 

However, you must convince the court that the aim of your actions, which otherwise would be considered criminal, was to protect yourself from the aggressor. Also, you must prove that your actions were equivalent to the threat leveled against you. 

If, for example, you are being accused of homicide, you must show that the attacker would have otherwise killed you, and hence you committed the criminal offense to prevent your own death. 

Alibi defense 

Another common type of defense that can apply to criminal cases is alibi defense. In this defense strategy, you may argue that you were not the actual perpetrator of the crime, but someone else. It’s essential to keep in mind that sufficient and credible evidence is key to presenting a strong alibi defense. 

Coercion and duress

When the circumstances that led you to commit a crime involved coercion and duress, you may be able to use that as a defense argument. This is usually a criminal defense that shows that you did not willingly commit the crime. 

However, you must show that you acted out of fear or the threat of illegal force that was levelled against you or someone close to you. For coercion and duress to qualify as a defense argument, you must also show that your own actions did not lead you into the situation where duress and coercion occurred. 

The insanity defense

If you committed a criminal offense and did not have control over your actions, you may be able to use the insanity defense. This defense states that even though you committed the crime you are being accused of, you did not know that what you did was illegal. Therefore, you must support your argument by showing that you were sleepwalking, deluded, provoked, or seriously mentally disabled.

Other common types of defenses for criminal cases may include:

  • You are a victim of entrapment
  • Defense of others or property 
  • The allegations are false
  • You had no intention to commit a crime 
  • The statute of limitations has expired

The burden of proof

Regardless of your defense strategy, the burden of proof lies on you. That means you must convince the judge or jury that you are telling the absolute truth and support your arguments with all the evidence you can gather. 

Doing this is not as easy as it sounds. You must have a criminal defense attorney on your corner. An experienced defense lawyer understands the risks associated with each type of defense and will help you devise a compelling defense strategy to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence. 

If you have been accused of a criminal, DUI, or traffic offense in Colorado, our Denver criminal defense attorney is here for you. Call our office today at 303-529-2834 for a free consultation. 

16 Terms You Need to Know in Criminal Defense Cases
/ 30 June, 2021

Being arrested for or charged with a criminal offense is bad enough, but not knowing what to say or do is even worse. Your case becomes even more overwhelming when you do not understand the language used by law enforcement officers, prosecutors, or other professionals in the criminal justice system. But you don’t have to deal with the intimidation that comes with the legal jargon if you let the skilled Denver criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC take your case. Besides handling every aspect of your criminal case professionally, our lawyer will make sure you understand all legal terms relevant to your case, including:

1. Plaintiff

A plaintiff is a person, organization, or group of people who initiate charges over another person or group of persons.

2. Defendant

The defendant refers to the person or an entity to whom the plaintiff files a lawsuit. As a defendant in a lawsuit, you stand to lose the most in case of an unfavorable outcome, and it is always best to work with an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney.

3. Presumption of innocence

Presumption of innocence is a principle in law that considers every person accused of any crime innocent until proven guilty. For a court to find a defendant guilty, the plaintiff or the prosecution must prove their guilt in court beyond a reasonable doubt.

4. Beyond reasonable doubt

Beyond a reasonable doubt is a legal term that describes the standard of proof required to warrant a conviction in a criminal case. Usually, this burden of proof lies with the prosecution, meaning it’s their responsibility to remove any reasonable doubt in the jury’s minds that the accused is guilty of the crimes they are charged with.

5. Felony

Felonies are crimes that are viewed as severe by society and often include burglary, kidnapping, arson, murder, and rape. Because a conviction for a felony may attract a penalty of at least one year in jail to death, it’s always advisable to have legal representation when facing felony charges.

6. Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor is a crime of lesser severity than a felony and often carries less severe punishment – usually less than a year. Misdemeanor offenses include shoplifting, disorderly conduct, trespassing, simple assault, and other low-level offenses. 

7. Probable cause

For the police to arrest a person, conduct a search, or seize property perceived to be related to a crime, they must have probable cause. In simple terms, the accused must have acted in a way that warrants an arrest or search. 

8. Fourth amendment rights

The fourth amendment is a right enshrined in the American constitution prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures. It requires law enforcement officers to obtain a search warrant which must be justified by probable cause and supported by oath or affirmation.

9. Plea bargain

A plea bargain is a deal struck between the prosecutor and the defendant. In a plea bargain, the defendant may agree to plead guilty or no contest and instead get reduced charges, a lesser sentence, or have some charges dropped.

10. Bail

Bail is the money paid by the defendant to secure their release from police custody until the set date of appearing in court. It serves as collateral to ensure the suspect honors their promise to appear in court. 

11. Cross-examination

Cross-examination is when the opposing side’s lawyer asks questions to the other side’s witnesses, mostly in a bid to discredit their testimony. 

12. Due process

Due process refers to procedures that must be followed in a trial to ensure that all participants have their constitutional rights honored and protected. A skilled Denver criminal defense attorney can help you have your charges dropped if due process was not followed in the course of your trial.

13. Acquittal

An acquittal refers to a court ruling that declares the defendant is not guilty of the charges brought against them.

14. Sentencing

When a defendant is found guilty of a specific charge(s), the court proceeds to pass the befitting punishment referred to as sentencing in legal terms.

15. Legal representation

Legal representation means having a trained attorney representing you in court. Every defendant has a right to legal representation under the sixth amendment.

16. Miranda rights

Any conversations with the police are admissible as evidence in court only if the police clearly state Miranda rights to the suspect before taking a statement. The rights include the right to remain silent, have a lawyer during interrogation, and the right to a public attorney if you can’t afford one.

Contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney today

Court procedures and criminal case legal terms can be intimidating, but you don’t have to worry about that if you trust Steven J. Pisani to take your case. He is an exceptional Denver criminal defense attorney with a thorough knowledge of Colorado criminal law.

Please contact us online or give us a call 303-635-6768 today to have the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC look into your case and guide you through the legal terms relevant to your criminal charges.

How To Find A Good Denver Traffic Defense Attorney
/ 22 June, 2021

It’s not unusual for motorists to break traffic rules in Colorado. In fact, nearly every driver will get a traffic violation ticket at some point in their life. Depending on the circumstances under which the violations happen, they can have serious ramifications. These include costly fines, hikes in insurance rates, or worse, points against your driving license, community service, probations, driving license revocations, or even jail terms. If you have received a ticket for any traffic violation in Colorado, enlisting an experienced Denver traffic defense attorney is the best thing to do. Unfortunately, finding a good lawyer can be quite a hustle.

Here are tips to help you find the right traffic defense lawyer:

1. Experience is key

Experience reigns supreme when choosing a traffic defense attorney. You do not want to risk losing your case by hiring a new traffic defense law firm you saw on a Facebook ad.

Your lawyer of choice should have vast experience in traffic violation cases coupled with a history of winning cases. This way, you can be assured that they’ll work on your case in the best way possible to ensure the most favorable outcome. 

To identify your target law firm or attorney’s experience, it’s a good idea to check out their website. Most firms with years of experience take pride in it and will flaunt it on their website. 

2. Seek referrals 

Word of mouth from friends, family, neighbors, business associates, and workmates is another way to identify the best Denver traffic defense attorney. Most times, these individuals have no conflict of interest and will give their most honest opinion concerning the attorney or a law firm you are looking to hire.

The vast majority of the people you interact with on a day-to-day basis have received a traffic ticket at one point or the other and can give you their first-hand experience dealing with the traffic lawyer you are looking to hire.

3. Look for professionalism

When deciding on your lawyer’s choice, ensure you are comfortable sharing your personal information with them. The good thing about hiring a lawyer before having a ticket is that you have the time to compare your options.

Paying your potential candidates a visit to their offices is always a great idea. You can get an idea of how organized and professional they are just by being in their office and interacting with them. You do not want a disorganized lawyer handling your sensitive personal information. 

Additionally, ensure that you hire a lawyer who has your best interest at heart. Having a one-on-one conversation can help you determine how interested a lawyer is in solving your problems.

4. Understand their fees 

Different law firms or attorneys will charge differently depending on various factors, such as level of experience, geographical location, or the number of hours they spend on the case. 

When choosing a lawyer, ensure that you go for one within your budget without compromising on quality. An average-priced lawyer would be a great fit. Keep in mind that cheap can be expensive.

Let our Denver traffic defense attorney fight your traffic ticket.

No matter the level of caution you have on the road, mistakes happen. 

If you have received a traffic violation ticket in Colorado, there’s no reason to feel upset. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, we can help you fight your ticket and avoid the dire consequences that come with it. Our Denver traffic defense attorney, Steven J. Pisani, has years of experience helping Colorado residents, so you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. 

Please feel free to contact us today at 303-529-2834 to book a free initial consultation. 

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