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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: 

Self-defense 

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. 

What to Expect When Charged with Your Second DUI in Denver
/ 10 June, 2021

Getting a DUI can lead to devastating consequences. However, when you are charged with your second DUI, the severity of the consequences you face is much more significant. In fact, if you get convicted of a second DUI, it can result in you having a permanent criminal record and having a driving record at the state’s DMV. 

If you find yourself in a situation where you have been charged with your second DUI (or even your first one for that manner), hiring an attorney to help with the second DUI in Denver case is highly recommended. 

Potential Penalties After Your First Denver DUI in Denver

In 2015, getting a fourth DUI during your life was turned into a felony crime. Before this date, convictions were not as serious, and the consequences were not as severe. 

Now is the time to consider what you know and how things work after being charged with a DUI. 

When you receive your first DUI, some of the potential penalties you will face include:

  • Minimum of five days and maximum of one year in jail
  • Minimum fine of $600 with a maximum fine of $1000
  • Minimum of 48 hours of community service up to 96 hours of community service
  • Minimum of no time on probation with a maximum of two years on probation

Keep in that these are considered guidelines. They do not encompass all that a judge can do when it is time to sentence you. Some other requirements may be that you remain sober, avoid using alcohol, and never drink excessively. 

You may also be ordered to begin using a monitoring device and attend a victim impact panel. It all depends on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. 

Potential Penalties After Your Second DUI in Denver

In Denver, if you are charged with your second DUI and convicted, it is considered a misdemeanor. Because this is considered a more serious crime, it has higher potential penalties than your first DUI Does. 

Some of the penalties you will face after your second DUI in Denver include:

  • Minimum of 10 days in jail, maximum of one year
  • Fines of $600 up to $1,500
  • Maximum of four years of probation
  • Community service requirement of 48 up to 120 hours
  • Enrollment and completion of alcohol education classes
  • License revocation for up to one-year
  • 12 points assessed against your license
  • Use of an ignition interlock device for up to two years

Being Classified as a “Persistent Drunk Driver”

When you are convicted of the second DUI you are charged with; then you will be classified as something called a “persistent drunk driver.” If you are classified with this designation, there are more penalties that you may face:

  • Proof of your financial responsibility in the way of SR-22 insurance coverage for a minimum of two years
  • Use of an ignition interlock device for a minimum of two years to get your license reinstated 
  • Enrolling in alcohol education classes

Is It a Felony to Get a Second DUI in Colorado? 

Usually, if you are charged with a second DUI, it is considered a misdemeanor. Even a third-time offense will only be charged as a misdemeanor. It will turn into a felony offense if you receive four DUIs. 

Keep in mind, though that there are some exceptions. For example, if the accident resulted in someone’s serious bodily harm or even the death of another person, they can face felony charges. 

Even in cases where it is your first DUI, if a serious injury or the death of another person occurs, a felony charge may be applied. 

For example, vehicular assault DUI is considered a class four felony. This involves someone driving while under the influence and causing serious harm to someone else. With this situation, you can face between two and six years and may have to pay a fine of $500K or more. 

Another potential charge you will face is vehicular homicide DUI. This is considered a class 3 felony. If you are charged with this, you may face four to 12 years in jail and have to pay a fine of over $750K. 

Hiring the Best Attorney to Help with Your Second DUI in Denver

The best way to avoid finding yourself in this situation is to avoid drinking and driving. However, if you are pulled over in Denver for a DUI, hiring a qualified and experienced attorney is a must. They can help review the evidence in your case and provide you with insight and information about what you should ensure your case succeeds. 

There is no question that being charged with a DUI can be a stressful and often scary experience. While this is true, with the help of an attorney, you can build a defense and reduce the potential penalties that you face. If you have questions about your case or need more information, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC by calling 303-529-2834.

How A Criminal Background Check Affects You In Colorado
/ 27 May, 2021

It is estimated that approximately one in every three Americans has a criminal record. If you fall into this group, you may find it hard to get a job or a place to stay. The sad part is that even convictions for minor offenses may reflect on your criminal record. If you are facing criminal charges in Colorado, it would be best to have a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Denver working on your case to help you protect your future.

What is a criminal background check?

A background check can be defined as the process of verifying that a person is who they claim to be. A criminal background check usually goes beyond ascertaining a person’s identity to check their suitability for employment based on their criminal record.

Employers and volunteer organizations usually conduct criminal background checks on candidates to verify their criminal records and establish their suitability for employment. When performing background checks, employers or organizations can enlist third-party screening services or invest in software designed to conduct background checks. In most cases, employers and organizations opt for using background check companies to carry out background checks on potential candidates.

How long does a criminal background check take?

The amount of time required to complete a background check depends on several factors that include:

  • The level of criminal background check, 
  • The number of states the individual in question has lived or worked in, and 
  • The number of requests made within an individual background check.

While some criminal background check results may be available in a few hours, for example, the national database search, it may take some days or longer to get results for other types of screenings.

Different types of criminal record checks

In Colorado, there are five primary levels of background checks that employers could be interested in when doing a background check.

1. National criminal background check

This type of check involves searching the digitized criminal records across all states. It reports infractions, pending criminal cases, misdemeanors, felonies, active warrants, and history of incarcerations across the U.S. It searches the digitized records only, thus faster but less comprehensive.

2. Federal criminal court check

This type of criminal background check searches across all the federal and appellate court databases for convictions and pending federal crimes charges. Employers usually use this type of check to uncover incidents of fraud, identity theft, or embezzlement in potential hires.

3. State court checks

This check reveals criminal charges and convictions on a state level, including law enforcement reports. It reports on felony, misdemeanor, and pending cases of an individual.

4. County court checks

This combs the county courts for pending cases and prior convictions. It provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about an individual’s criminal record in their current county of residence. 

5. Sex offender registry check

Upon a conviction with a sex crime, offenders are required by law to register with the sex offender’s registry on a national and state level. The sex offender registry check checks across all states nationally to report if a candidate is a registered sex offender.

How far back does a background check go in Colorado?

Colorado applies a seven-year rule in regards to background checks. This is in line with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which states that background check reports cannot include arrests that are more than seven years old which did not result in a conviction. However, this rule has some exemptions, which include:

  • If the individual being considered for employment will be making an annual salary of $75,000 or more, or
  • The potential employee is being considered for a sensitive position in the medical or educational field.

How to remove criminal records from a background check

criminal record expungement
An experienced Denver criminal defense lawyer can help you with the sealing or expungement of criminal records.

If you have a criminal record, you need to know that it’s possible to have your criminal record removed from public access. However, this can be a complicated process that calls for working with a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Denver to either:

  1. Seal your criminal record: Record sealing is the process of removing a person’s criminal record from public access. Upon sealing, a record can only be viewed through a court order.  
  2. Expunge your criminal record: Expunging involves petitioning the courts to have the criminal records deleted.  For this reason, the conditions warranting expunging a criminal record is higher than that of sealing.

The process of having your records sealed or expunged in Colorado is a long one and can take between three to six months to have the courts accept or reject your request.

Contact a Denver criminal defense lawyer to help with clearing your criminal records

If you’re struggling with finding employment or housing due to criminal background check results, reach out to the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC. With over a decade of experience helping good people through tough times, our firm can help you manage your criminal records and move forward in your life. Give us a call at 303-635-6768 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.

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What To Know About a DUI in Colorado
/ 20 May, 2021

In Colorado, if you’re pulled over and the law enforcement officer finds out that you have a BAC of 0.08% or more, you’re likely to face DUI charges. However, if you are under 21, a BAC of as little as 0.02% can lead to underage drinking and driving (UDD) charges. Regardless of your circumstances, if you’re facing a DUI in Colorado, it’s best to work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Denver, CO who is familiar with the state laws and can walk you through what to expect and how to fight your DUI charges.

What happens during a DUI arrest?

Once you are pulled over for suspected DUI, the arresting officer may carry out a sobriety test to check your level of intoxication. Some of the tests may include a preliminary breath test on a handheld breathalyzer and the three standard field sobriety tests (FTS). These include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and the one-leg stand. 

Although an officer is allowed by law to perform these tests when making an arrest, taking the test is voluntary for a driver. That means a driver cannot be punished or charged with a crime for failing to take the test. If you have reason to believe that taking the test will incriminate you, it would be best to consult a DUI defense lawyer immediately. 

DUI vs. DWI

In Colorado, there are two levels of alcohol-related driving offenses depending on the prevailing circumstances. The first and the most serious is driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (DUI), while the second is driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs (DWI).

A person can be charged with DUI in Colorado if they have a BAC of 0.08% or 0.02% for persons under 21. On the other hand, a person may be charged with DWI if they have a BAC of up to 0.05% and if the driver’s ability to drive is in any way impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Penalties for DUI in Colorado

breathalyzer test for a DUI charge
Penalties for a DUI in Colorado include fines, jail time, community service, and license suspension.

 

In Colorado, the penalties for DUI are contingent on prior convictions. Here is a breakdown of the DUI penalties in Colorado.

First-time offender

Upon conviction, a first-time offense will carry a less severe penalty compared to a second or subsequent offense.

  • Five days to a maximum of one year in jail
  • Fines of between $600 to $1000
  • 48 hours up to a maximum of 96 hours of community service
  • 12-point demerit on the driving license 
  • Having their driver’s license suspended for a period of up to 9 months

Second and third time DUI offenses

A second DUI conviction in Colorado is also a misdemeanor. However, it carries potentially harsher penalties than the first conviction, including:

  • Fines of between $600 to $1500
  • Ten days to a maximum of one year in jail for a second offense and 60 days to 1 year in jail for a third conviction
  • Community service of between 48 to 120 hours, or 
  • 1-year license revocation if the repeat offense is within five years to the previous conviction for a second conviction and a two-year suspension for a third conviction.
  • Drivers may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed and functioning at all times when driving

Fourth DUI conviction

In Colorado, a fourth-time conviction with an alcohol-related offense is a class 4 felony that carries severe penalties, including: 

  • Fines of between $2000 and $5,000
  • Jail time of between 2 to 6 years in a Colorado state prison
  • 3-year mandatory parole
  • A two-year license suspension, or 
  • A requirement to have an ignition interlock device installed at all times while driving

Other possible consequences of a DUI conviction

The cost of a Colorado DUI conviction goes beyond the fines imposed on offenders, court charges, and legal representation fees. It is, therefore, essential to take the charges very seriously and work with a reliable DUI defense lawyer in Denver to avoid or reduce other consequences of a DUI conviction such as:

  • Higher cost of insurance premiums: If you are convicted of DUI, your car insurance premiums may go up because insurance companies view convicted drivers as riskier.
  • Difficulty finding employment: When hiring, most employers carry out a background check on potential candidates. Since a Colorado DUI conviction stays on the record for years, it may become difficult to find employment because many employers may view a DUI or DWI conviction as a red flag.

Hire an experienced Denver DUI defense lawyer today

If you find yourself facing a DUI charge in Colorado, working with an experienced DUI attorney is critical, considering the consequences of a conviction. Our skilled Denver DUI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC has over a decade of experience representing Colorado residents who have been faced with similar circumstances. Irrespective of your DUI charge circumstances, your case stands a better chance with us. Give us a call today at 303-635-6768 or contact us online for a free consultation.

What to read next: Tips For How To Deal With Police Officers

What You Need To Know About Your Miranda Rights In Colorado
/ 13 May, 2021

The Miranda Rights come into play during the arrest process and can critically impact your criminal case depending on if the arresting officer applied them or not. Because the Miranda Rights apply to everyone, it’s critical to know exactly what they entail. As an overview of the Miranda Rights, also known as Miranda Warning, is offered by the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute:

“ ‘Miranda warning’ refers to the constitutional requirement that once an individual is detained by the police, there are certain warnings a police officer is required to give to a detainee.”

Below, our experienced criminal defense attorney elaborates on the history and use of this constitutional right and how it impacts a Colorado criminal case.

Why is it called Miranda Rights?

Also shared by the same Cornell Law School source, here’s a breakdown of how the name came about:

“The requirement to give Miranda warnings came from the Supreme Court decision, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966). In Miranda, the Court held that a defendant cannot be questioned by police in the context of a custodial interrogation until the defendant is made aware of the right to remain silent, the right to consult with an attorney and have the attorney present during questioning, and the right to have an attorney appointed if indigent.”

It’s critical to understand that you have legal rights if you’re put under arrest. This can go a long way in helping you avoid a mistake that could come back to harm you at a later date, such as if your case moves to the courtroom. 

What are the Miranda Rights?

attorney acquired through miranda rights
According to the Miranda Rights, you have the right to an attorney if you’re placed in custody or during interrogation.

 

There are four important points that make up the Miranda Rights:

  1. You have the right to remain silent
  2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law
  3. You have the right to an attorney
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you

Read through those points again. Now, do you see why it’s so important to understand your Miranda Rights?

For example, the right to remain silent means you don’t have to answer any questions from the police. You can simply decline and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Just the same, you have the right to an attorney, which is something you should take full advantage of. 

Do juveniles and minors have Miranda Rights?

The short answer is yes. Juveniles, just the same as adults, are entitled to have their Miranda Rights read to them during an interrogation or if they’re held in police custody. Furthermore, officers are required to read the Miranda Warning in an age-appropriate manner. 

When do Miranda Rights have to be read?

It’s a common myth that Miranda Rights must be read any time a law enforcement official is discussing a crime or potential crime with a suspect.

Miranda Rights must only be given in the event that you are both in custody and subject to interrogation. 

But remember this: custody doesn’t always mean that you’re at a police station or in a police car.

What if the police fail to advise me of my Miranda Rights?

Should police neglect to advise you of your Miranda Rights, any statement or confession you make is presumed to be involuntary. As a result, it can’t be used against you in a criminal case. 

Also, any evidence related to that statement or confession is likely to be thrown out.

If the police failed to advise you of your Miranda Rights, share this fact with your legal team. There’s a good chance it’ll work in your favor as your case heads to court.

Protect your rights with an experienced criminal defense attorney

With so much gray area and a variety of questions associated with the Miranda Warning, it’s best that you consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. They can provide you with the guidance you need during this difficult time of your life. When you turn to the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC you never have to worry about the “other side” taking advantage of you, such as by violating your legal rights. From a plea bargain to defending you in court, we’re there every step of the way. If you require legal representation, contact us online or give us a call today to set up a free consultation.

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How To Defend Against Assault Charges In Colorado
/ 06 May, 2021

There are no two ways about it: assault charges have the potential to turn your life upside down. As serious as the situation you’re facing may be, it’s good to know that charges don’t always result in a conviction. There are many assault defense strategies that an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney can employ on your behalf to prevent a conviction and the consequences associated with it.

Assault charges 101: What is assault?

The definition of assault varies from one state to the next, but it’s generally defined as intentionally putting another individual “in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.” It’s important to note that physical injury is not required to be charged with assault.

In Colorado, there are three degrees of assault:

  1. First degree assault: This is the most serious type of assault, as it comes into play if you knowingly caused serious injury to another person. You can also be charged with first degree assault if you were acting negligently, thus leading to injury. 
  2. Second degree assault: This form of assault is less serious than first degree, but still associated with serious punishments if convicted. The main difference between second and first degree assault is that second degree is if you cause bodily injury — but not serious bodily injury. 
  3. Third degree assault: This type of assault is defined as knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury. 

What are the penalties in Colorado for assault?

The penalties for assault range in severity, with the potential to include: jail time, community service, and fines. Here’s a breakdown of penalties associated with each degree of assault:

  • First degree assault: Charged as a felony, a conviction carries a minimum prison sentence of six years. 
  • Second degree assault: Also a felony, a conviction carries a minimum prison sentence of four years. 
  • Third degree assault: As a class 1 misdemeanor, penalties can include up to two years in prison. 

What is assault and battery?

Assault and battery is generally more serious than assault only. Above, we talked about the three degrees of assault. Now, let’s look at some common examples of battery:

  • Grabbing a person with the intent to cause harm
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Unwanted touching

In many cases, if you’re charged with assault you’ll also be charged with battery. This can lead to a more serious punishment if convicted. 

What is aggravated assault?

Depending on the circumstances and evidence of the case, a simple assault charge can be elevated to a more serious aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is typically charged as first or second-degree assault, which are both felonies with the potential for a long prison sentence. 

Is it necessary to hit someone in order to be found guilty of assault?

You can be charged with and found guilty of assault even if you don’t strike another person. The only thing that is necessary is a reasonable belief that harmful contact will be inflicted on the victim.

Furthermore, striking someone isn’t the only form of assault. It can also entail things such as coughing or spitting if done in a purposeful manner.

What are the elements required to prove an assault?

  • The defendant intended to cause the victim harm or make them aware that they may be harmed.
  • The victim must believe that the defendant could be harmful to them.
  • The victim must believe that the harm was imminent, as opposed to a future threat.
  • The defendant must show some type of behavior that implies they have intentions to harm the victim.

What are the legal defenses to assault charges?

man arrested for assault charges
An experienced Denver criminal lawyer can challenge assault charges using various legal defense strategies such as that you acted in self-defense or duress.

 

Assault charges don’t always result in a conviction. You have the legal right to defend yourself against the charges, using strategies devised by an experienced Denver criminal defense lawyer:

  • Lack of proof or evidence: The victim must be able to satisfy the burden of proof by providing evidence to back up the claim of assault.
  • Involuntary intoxication: If you were involuntarily intoxicated at the time of the crime, such as the result of being drugged, you can argue that your actions were unintentional. 
  • Consent: It’s rare, but if the victim provided voluntary consent to the assault, it’s a sound defense strategy.
  • Duress: If you were under duress at the time of the crime, you can use this as a defense strategy. For example, you may be able to prove that someone forced you to choose between committing assault or suffering physical harm. 
  • Self-defense: With this, you admit that you committed the crime, however, you argue that you did so to protect yourself and/or someone else. 

Facing assault charges in Colorado? Contact our Denver criminal defense lawyer

If you find yourself faced with any type of assault charge, consult with an experienced Denver criminal defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC we have over a decade of experience helping good people through tough times across Colorado. We have successfully defended many people charged with assault, battery, and related crimes. Contact us online or give us a call today to schedule a free consultation. 

How to Fight A Red Light Camera Ticket in Colorado
/ 30 April, 2021

As a driver in the state of Colorado, it’s important to understand the many rules of the road. For example, when you find yourself moving toward a traffic signal, it’s time to consider your options for proceeding: Is the light green? Do you have enough time to stop if it turns yellow? Will you try to “beat” a red light? Do you have a good reason for running the light? Not only is it dangerous to you and other drivers to speed through a red light, but it can also result in trouble with the law in the form of a red light traffic ticket. Our Denver traffic ticket defense lawyer explains the legality of red light cameras in Colorado, how they work, and most importantly, how to fight a red light camera ticket.

Are red light cameras legal in Colorado?

It’s true that law enforcement officers are on the lookout for anyone who runs a red light. However, that’s not the only way you can find yourself in trouble. According to the Colorado General Assembly, red light cameras are legal in the state and are considered a form of Automated Vehicle Identification Systems (AVIS), along with photo speed vans. So, even if you think you’ve made it through a red light without trouble, that’s not necessarily the case. A red light camera may have caught you in the act.

Here’s how a red light camera works:

  • The system activates when motion is detected prior to the stop bar after the traffic signal has turned red.
  • A first rear image of your vehicle is shot.
  • A second rear image of your vehicle is shot. 
  • A license plate image is taken.
  • The system records all pertinent data, including the duration of the yellow and red lights, time of day, and the date. 

Red light cameras are designed to record a 12-second digital video of any violation. This includes six seconds before the light turns red and six seconds after. 

Even though automated vehicle identification systems are legal in Colorado, local jurisdictions are required by law to post signs indicating that cameras are in place. This is an important detail, as it may work in your favor as your Denver traffic ticket lawyer devises a defense strategy.

How much is a red light camera ticket in Denver?

Throughout the state of Colorado, the maximum penalty for a violation captured by a red light camera is $75. In the event of a red light camera ticket, no points will be assessed to your driving record. This is in contrast to a more traditional red light violation, which generally results in four points. If you’re caught on camera running a red light, you can expect to receive a notice of violation in the mail within 90 days.

How to get a red light camera ticket dismissed in Colorado

man receiving red light traffic ticket in the mail
Before you pay your red light camera ticket, consult with our experienced Denver traffic lawyer to review possible defense strategies.

The last thing you want to find in your mailbox is a notice of violation. However, with these cameras all over the Denver area, there could come a point when this happens. Your first instinct is to pay the $75 fine to put this behind you. While that’s an option, you don’t necessarily need to go down this path. There are many steps you and your Denver traffic lawyer can take to get your red light camera ticket dismissed:

  • Prove that you were not behind the wheel: The notice of violation is mailed to the vehicle owner, who is not necessarily the driver. If you can prove that you were not behind the wheel — such as by showing that you were at work at the time — you can avoid the fine. 
  • You don’t have to explain who was driving: Just because you can prove that you weren’t driving doesn’t mean you have to tell the state who was. 
  • Inspect the intersection: Red light camera zones in Colorado must be marked as such. So, before you pay your ticket, inspect the intersection for such signage. You may be surprised to find that it either doesn’t exist or is too difficult to spot while driving.
  • Cite your reason: Running a red light is dangerous, but there are times when it may be necessary. For example, if the roadway was too wet to slam on your brakes, you may have no choice but to slow down and coast through the red light. The same holds true if you’re in an emergency situation, such as rushing a loved one to a local hospital.

Fight back against a red light camera ticket with an experienced Denver traffic lawyer

If you find yourself holding a red light camera ticket in Colorado and have concerns about taking the right approach, consult with an experienced Denver traffic defense lawyer. You may find that you have strong legal defenses in your case that can help get your traffic ticket dismissed. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC we have over a decade of experience defending drivers against various types of traffic tickets. Contact us online or give us a call to schedule your free consultation and discuss your legal options. 

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