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What Are the Best Defenses to Theft Charges?
/ 27 December, 2022

Being charged with theft in Colorado comes with severe consequences if convicted. This is true regardless of whether or not the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A theft conviction can destroy your career and cause other unexpected consequences.

Conviction of a theft crime can have especially harsh consequences on someone’s life plan and affect their housing options, employment, the ability to start a business, school needs, and professional licensing.

In Colorado, theft crimes are also called “crimes of moral turpitude.” These types of crimes can stigmatize you, and unlike other criminal convictions, like possessing marijuana, theft-related charges negatively impact your personal reputation and character.

To many, theft is considered a more serious crime than others. This is true even if they carry the same potential punishment.

If you plead guilty to a theft crime, even a minor one like shoplifting, you need to seek the help of a legal professional. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, we can provide information and answers to any questions you have, such as:

  • What are the best defenses to theft charges?
  • How can I get a petty theft charge dismissed?
  • What evidence is needed to prove theft?
  • Can you be charged with theft if the item is returned?

We will provide you with the answers to any questions you have and help you build a defense against the charges you are facing. Here you can learn more about theft charges and theft defense strategies.

Understanding Theft Crime Charges in Colorado

Theft, also called larceny, is a term that includes many different criminal defenses. The basic elements of theft in Colorado include an action that is done to deprive someone permanently of an item or money.

The law specifically states the following:

That a defendant in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged, knowingly, obtained, retained, or exercised control over anything of value of another, without authorization or by threat or deception and intended to deprive the other person permanently of the use or benefit of the thing of value. 

Theft vs. Robbery vs. Burglary Charges in Colorado

As mentioned above, theft in Colorado includes taking anything of value that belongs to someone else without consent from that person. Depending on the value of the stolen property, theft may be a petty offense, a misdemeanor, or even a felony.

If force, intimidation, or threats are involved in taking property from someone, it is considered a robbery. This is always charged as a felony in Colorado.

A burglary occurs if you enter a property wrongfully to steal something or commit another crime. It is always a felony.

The potential penalties for burglary, robbery, and theft are much more serious than you may expect. They often include several years in prison in Colorado, especially in situations where someone was harmed or if the goal was to obtain any controlled substance.

Potential Penalties for Colorado Theft Convictions

You can find details related to theft in Colorado in Title 18, Article 4 of the C.R.S. The value of the items stolen depends on the possible penalties that you will face and includes the following:

  • If the value of the items stolen is under $300, it is a petty offense in Colorado.
  • If the value of the items stolen is over $300, but under $2,000, it is charged as a misdemeanor.
  • If the value of the items stolen is over $2,000, it is charged as a felony.

While the penalties for a theft conviction start low, they increase quickly as the value of stolen items increases. If the stolen property is worth $1,000,000 or more, then a conviction can result in a prison sentence of 24 years (or more).

Misdemeanor Theft Penalties in Colorado

If you are facing misdemeanor theft charges, the potential penalties include the following:

  • Class 3 misdemeanor: For theft involving over $50 and under $300 worth of goods or merchandise, you can face six months in jail or a fine of $50 to $750.
  • Class 2 misdemeanor: For theft involving over $300 and under $750 worth of goods or merchandise, you can face three to 12 months in prison and fines of $250 to $1,000.
  • Class 1 misdemeanor: For theft involving over $750 and under $2,000, you can face between six and 18 months in jail and fines of $500 to $5,000.

The district attorney prosecuting your case may wish to make the “victim whole.” This means they recover compensation on their behalf. In these cases, you may be ordered to pay restitution. The amount you will be ordered to pay can vary from one case to another, but restitution is on top of additional fines you are issued.

Potential Defenses to Theft Charges in Colorado

The best defense for theft charges in Colorado depends on the arrest circumstances. However, some of the offenses that may be effective include the following:

  • The property belonged to you.
  • Someone gave you the property.
  • You were only borrowing the property.
  • The property was not worth as much as the prosecution is claiming.

Hiring an attorney is recommended in these situations since they can evaluate the charges you face and create a custom defense strategy. This is the best way to get the quality and effective defense you need in these situations.

Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney for Help with Your Criminal Theft Charges

If you are facing criminal theft charges, our criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani is here to help. We can evaluate your case and help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.

Don’t wait to seek legal counsel as it can help you overcome the charges you are facing. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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How Much Is a Traffic Lawyer in Denver, Colorado?
/ 21 December, 2022

Receiving a traffic ticket is not the end of the world. However, if you are like some drivers, you may not want to give in and just pay the fine. Not only that, but the thought of having to endure traffic school makes you cringe. If this describes you, then there is a good chance you have looked into a traffic attorney near you.

However, before you hire this legal professional, you likely want to know – how much is a traffic lawyer in Denver, Colorado? After all, you do not want to pay more for legal representation than what your ticket is worth, right?

The answer to this is – it depends. Keep reading to learn more about the cost of hiring a Denver traffic lawyer and why hiring this legal professional may be worthwhile.

You can also contact the legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, for more information.

How Much Is a Traffic Lawyer in Denver, Colorado?

A few factors will impact the cost of hiring a traffic lawyer in Denver. There is no general or average answer to this question.

One factor determining the cost of legal representation is the amount of work your case will take. Many traffic lawyers charge by the hour. This means that the more time your case requires, the higher the fee will be.

However, other lawyers offer flat rates for their services. This can make legal representation more affordable – especially if your case takes more time and effort.

The best way to know what a traffic attorney in Denver will cost you is to call our offices. We can review the basics of your case and provide you with an estimate for our legal services. You can also look at our Denver traffic lawyer reviews to learn more about our services.

Are you unsure if you need the services of a traffic lawyer? If so, learn about some of the benefits of hiring this legal professional here.

They Know What to Look for and Consider

Have you ever heard of a situation where someone got a speeding ticket and then walked away from the situation without losing any money? If so, there is a good chance they hired a traffic attorney to help with their case.

An experienced attorney knows how to help their clients get out of having to pay a ticket. They do this by finding mistakes that the average person cannot.

If you plan to hire an attorney to help fight your traffic ticket, there is a good chance that it will be dismissed at your first appearance in court.

Negotiation Power

When it comes to a traffic ticket, a few things can go wrong. For example, the police officer did not consider all factors when writing your ticket. In this case, your attorney can find the issues and use them to fight for dismissal.

However, what if the officer was careful enough and there were no mistakes to find? You may think fighting the ticket is pointless. You should never jump to conclusions.

Even if there are no obvious issues with the ticket, your attorney can negotiate for you in court to help reduce the ticket. Your attorney may demand concessions since this is your first ticket or you have an immaculate driving record (at least up to this point). They may find some other reason to have your ticket reduced, too. These are all things you probably will not be able to do alone.

Attorneys Know Your Rights

When you try to handle a legal situation alone, you may not know your rights. However, with the help of an attorney, this is not the case.

When you have the services of a legal professional, you can feel confident that someone on your side is fighting for your rights who fully understands your rights. As a result, this will help improve the likelihood that your ticket will be dismissed or, at least, reduced.

The attorney you hire will know how to represent you best when you go before a judge and be able to argue on your behalf. This is all going to be beneficial in the long run.

Hiring a Traffic Lawyer Is Not as Expensive as You May Think

Hiring an attorney to fight a traffic ticket may seem unnecessary. However, it is not.

If it was too expensive, then traffic lawyers would not be a “thing.” In most situations, traffic lawyers offer their services for reasonable rates. It takes much less time to fight a traffic ticket than a felony charge. While it may be hard to believe, hiring an attorney can help you save hundreds of dollars – or more – when it comes to a traffic ticket.

Usually, people who hire an attorney to help fight a traffic ticket wind up paying much less in the long run. You can see the same benefits by hiring an attorney to help fight the traffic ticket you were issued.

Attorneys Help Reduce the Penalties You Will Face

When you receive a ticket, the officer likely believes you will pay the fine and move on with your life. However, fighting the ticket is something that most officers do not expect.

To uphold the ticket that is given, the officer must attend the hearing. If they do not show up, then your ticket will be dismissed. Even if the officer shows up, if you have an attorney, there is a good chance that your case will wind up in your favor.

This is because attorneys know the law and know how to fight the most common tickets that are issued. Because of this, just hiring an attorney gives you the upper hand in these situations.

Prosecutors for traffic tickets know they probably do not have a chance of a positive outcome. Because of this, with an attorney, it is much more likely that you will not have to pay for the entire ticket or any of the tickets. This is the power of hiring an attorney to help fight a traffic ticket.

Hiring an Attorney to Fight a Traffic Ticket Just Makes Sense

As you can see from the information here, there are more than a few reasons to hire an attorney to help fight a traffic ticket.

While you may be concerned about the cost of this, you should realize that, in most cases, the services of an attorney will be less than the cost of a ticket. You must consider all the related costs – the fine itself, the requirement to go to traffic school, and the points on your license. Hiring an attorney is the most affordable option when you add up all the potential costs. In many cases, they will even have the ticket dismissed, which makes the legal services they offer more than worth the small investment you make to hire them.

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What Are the Five Types of Theft Colorado?
/ 20 December, 2022

In Colorado, theft is called a crime of moral turpitude. You can face theft charges for several different reasons and in several ways.

Theft convictions in the state will result in you having a permanent criminal record. This can impact your finances and your career. You must understand the potential theft charges you can face, which will help you avoid them.

If you are arrested for theft, you have legal options. We recommend contacting our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, for assistance.

It is also important to note that the theft laws in Colorado cover many different offenses, including shoplifting, theft of services or property, theft by deception, embezzlement, extortion, and theft by receiving stolen goods or property. Here, you can learn more about these crimes and the potential penalties you will face if convicted.

Theft in Colorado Defined

The state of Colorado has a broad definition of theft. While it includes what is generally accepted as theft, like stealing money, vehicles, or property, it also includes the unlawful acquisition of any item of value by deception or threat or knowing that the property is stolen. For an act to be considered theft, the individual being charged with the crime (the defendant) must have the intention of depriving the owner of that property or the use of it permanently or demand that the rightful owner provide monetary compensation (or other compensation) to have it returned.

With this definition, theft includes receiving stolen property, shoplifting, extorting, embezzling, and stealing. According to the law, it is also illegal to intentionally misrepresent eligibility to receive public assistance or benefits.

Like in many other states, the law in Colorado has classified theft as a felony or misdemeanor based on the stolen item’s value. Here you can learn more about the different levels of theft as defined by Colorado Revised Statute 18-4-401.

Petty and Misdemeanor Theft

There are three different levels of petty and misdemeanor theft in Colorado. These include the following:

  • Petty Theft: This charge applies to stolen services or property worth less than $300 and carries potential maximum penalties of ten days in jail and fines of $300.
  • Class 2 Misdemeanor: Applies to stolen services or property valued from $300 to $1,000 and carries a potential maximum penalty of up to 120 days in jail and fines of $750.
  • Class 1 Misdemeanor: Applies to services or property valued at $1,000 but under $2,000 and carries a potential maximum penalty of up to 364 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

Grand or Felony Theft

Theft charges will become felonies if the stolen services or goods reach $2,000. There are five classifications of Grand or Felony theft in the state. Are you curious as to what the five types of theft are? If so, find the information here.

  1. Class 6 Felony: Applies to stolen services or property with a value of $2,000 to $5,000 and carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
  2. Class 5 Felony: Applies to stolen services or property with a value of $5,000 to $20,000 and carries a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
  3. Class 4 Felony: Applies to stolen services or property with a value of $20,000 to $100,000 and carries a maximum penalty of up to six years in prison and fines of up to $500,000.
  4. Class 3 Felony: Applies to stolen services or property with a value of $100,000 to $1,000,000 and carries a maximum penalty of up to 12 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000.
  5. Class 2 Felony: Applies to stolen services or property with a value of over $1,000,000 and carries a maximum penalty of up to 24 years in prison and fines of up to $1,000,000.

Prior Felony Offenders Face Enhanced Penalties

If someone is considered a habitual felon, which is someone who has been convicted of multiple felonies, then the maximum possible sentence is increased significantly. The specific sentence depends on the person’s prior convictions and the amount of time that has passed between each conviction.

Usually, someone who is a third-time felon will be punished with a sentence that is three times the maximum sentence (as described above).

Shoplifting Crimes and Convictions

Shoplifting is also considered theft in Colorado. The value of the product or item that a person conceals or shoplifts will determine the charges and potential penalties.

If someone is convicted of shoplifting within four years of their third felony theft that involves items taken from a store, they will receive the minimum sentence and not be considered eligible for a suspended sentence or probation.

Get Help with Your Colorado Theft Charges

You likely have questions if you are facing theft charges in Colorado. Common questions we get include:

  • Can you go to jail for petty theft?
  • Can I have my sentence reduced?
  • What is the punishment for theft?

Here you have a basic overview of the answers to these questions. This information will help you know what to expect if you ever face any of these crimes.

Also, if arrested for theft, be sure to contact our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, for help and information. We can review the facts of your case and help you build a strong defense. Our goal is to help you achieve the best possible outcome for the charges you are facing.

While there are no guarantees when it comes to criminal cases involving theft, we have years of experience representing clients in similar situations. We can use our experience, expertise, and resources to help you with your situation.

Read More

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Can I Be Searched for Drugs on Public Transportation?
/ 07 December, 2022

Seeing the red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror can be stressful. Not only are traffic stops frustrating, but they can also result in serious criminal charges.

However, when you are pulled over, you have rights. For example, you can say no if the authorities request to search your vehicle. You should use this right – even if you do not have anything to hide.

While this is true, do you know your public transit rights? Can the authorities search you and your personal property and press charges if they find drugs?

These are good questions and ones you need to know the answer to in case you find yourself in this situation. If you are charged with a drug crime, our Denver criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen J. Pisani, LLC, can help.

Related Article: How To Beat A Drug Trafficking Charge In Colorado

Public Transportation and Your Rights in Colorado

Tax dollars pay for public transit. It is also considered public property. While this is true, you can still refuse to be searched unless the officer has probable cause. This is a right given to you by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This right means that authorities cannot search your property or person if they do not have probable cause. Also, if they search you without probable cause, it is considered an “illegal search and seizure.” This evidence is not admissible in court.

When it comes to drug crimes in Colorado, the type of substance and amount you have in your possession is the main source of evidence used during a criminal trial. This means if the drugs have been seized by the authorities illegally, the charges against you will (likely) be dismissed.

Related Article: Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains: Denver’s Drug Laws

How the Fourth Amendment Applies to Situations When You Are on Public Transportation

When riding the bus or another source of public transportation, you have a legitimate expectation of privacy. This applies to your person and your personal belongings.

For example, if you have a clear or see-through bag holding an illicit substance, it is your “personal effects.” Because of this, it cannot be searched without probable cause. This situation does not apply to cases where the drugs are in the open and exposed.

If authorities see drugs in plain sight or if they have another reason to believe you possess drugs (disruptive behavior, odor, etc.), it is probable cause. They can legally search your person or belongings.

It is also possible to face drug charges if the police conduct a search under probable cause for some other crime, like theft.

What You Need to Know. You can legally say no if the police come onto the bus and request to search your belongings. While the situation may be intimidating, knowing your rights will ensure you exercise them in this situation.

Related Article: What Is a Level 1 Drug Felony in Colorado?

Public Transportation, Your Rights, and the Use of Drug Dogs in Colorado

It is not unusual to see working dogs at bus stations and airports. These dogs are specially trained to detect narcotics or explosives. The dogs can be used even if the police do not suspect anyone of possessing contraband.

The exception is once the train or bus has begun moving. At this point, it is not legally allowed to be stopped by a drug-sniffing dog. It is against the Fourth Amendment to delay a bus or another type of transit due to unreasonable suspicion. Therefore, you will typically see dogs working along the lines of passengers who are waiting to board or purchase a ticket.

Related Article: 3 Types of Drug Charges in Denver

What Happens if Authorities Find Drugs on You While on a Bus or Other Public Transportation?

You will probably be arrested if you are caught with drugs on a bus or other public transport in Colorado. While this is a stressful situation, it is recommended that you contact an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. With the help of an attorney, you can begin to create a strong defense for the charges you are facing.

This is a powerful defense for drugs found because of illegal search and seizure. In most cases, a quality attorney can request for the charges against you to be dismissed.

However, there are other potential defenses to these charges, including the following:

  • You were not in control of the drugs. In drug charges, “control” refers to someone with physical and personal control over the item in question.
  • You did not know about the drugs. It is only illegal to possess drugs when you intentionally or knowingly have control of an illegal substance. The prosecution must prove that you knew the drugs were in your  possession.
  • The drugs were found through an illegal search. As mentioned above, if the police do not have probable cause, they cannot legally search you. If they do, anything they find is not admissible in court.
  • Entrapment by the police occurred. Entrapment is a situation where the police encourage you to commit a crime (this is not common with these cases, but worth mentioning).
  • The drugs were planted on you. Someone put the drugs on your person or in your belongings to result in a criminal charge.

Remember, criminal charges are serious, and the penalties for a conviction are often severe. Because of this, you must find and hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you are arrested.

Related Article: Most Common Drug Arrest in Denver

Potential Penalties for Drug Possession in Colorado

Unlawful drug possession in Colorado is typically charged as a level 1 drug misdemeanor. If convicted, this charge results in up to two years of probation and fines of up to $1,000.

However, suppose you have over four grams of a schedule I or II controlled substance. In that case, it is charged as a level 4 drug felony, which is more serious and carries more serious penalties. If convicted of this charge, you can face fines of $1,000 to $100,000, six months to one year in jail, and up to one year of parole.

Colorado law states that it is illegal for anyone to possess a controlled substance knowingly.

This law applies to possessing a substance for personal use or simple possession. It applies to all types of narcotics except marijuana.

It is important to note that the specific charges you face will depend on the type and quantity of the drug you are caught with.

Related Article: Prescription Drugs and Drug Charges in Denver 

Contact Our Denver Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help

If you are charged with a Colorado drug crime, you have rights. One right is to seek legal counsel. At the Law Offices of Stephen J. Pisani, LLC, we have years of experience handling drug cases in and around Denver and can help with your case.

The first step is to contact our office to schedule an initial consultation. We will learn about your case and the charges you are facing. Our legal team will begin working to build a solid defense for the charges you are facing.

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Boating and Drinking in Colorado: What Are the Laws?
/ 06 December, 2022

Exploring the more than 2,000 lakes and reservoirs in Colorado is a great way to spend an afternoon, day, or weekend. Being on the water is relaxing and gives you time to catch up with family and friends.

It is not unusual to enjoy a few drinks while on the water; however, Colorado has specific laws related to the consumption of alcohol while on a boat. Knowing what the laws are will help you avoid legal trouble.

You may think drinking while on a boat is “no big deal.” After all, if a collision occurs, the possibility of serious injuries is less than in a car accident. While this is true, it does not mean there are no risks. Some boat accidents can cause serious injuries and may even lead to someone drowning after the impact.

You may face criminal charges if you are involved in a boat accident involving alcohol. If this happens, it is recommended that you contact our criminal law attorneys from the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC. We will investigate your charges and help build a solid defense for your situation.

Related Article: 5 Things You Should Know About DUI in Denver

Laws Regulating Alcohol Consumption While on a Boat in Colorado

It is not illegal to take alcohol on a boat. However, it is illegal to operate the boat under the influence of alcohol. In the state of Colorado, these offenses are taken seriously.

Suppose you are caught and arrested for BUI (boating under the influence). In that case, you can face severe consequences upon conviction, including up to a year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, mandatory community service, and the suspension of your boating privileges.

Before 2008, the legal limit of alcohol you could have to operate a boat was 0.10%. However, this was changed to 0.08% in 2008, making it the same as the range for a DUI (driving under the influence) charge.

Important Rules Related to Boating and Drinking in Colorado

BUI charges are not exclusive to boating. They also apply to Jet Skis, kayaks, canoes, and more. The law states that any watercraft operated by oar, paddle, wind, or motor is considered a boat.

According to today’s laws, all vessels or watercraft being physically operated or controlled by someone under the influence of alcohol can result in BUI charges.

For example, if you operate a non-motorized canoe with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.12% or higher, you will likely be charged with BUI.

BUI and DUI charges are similar but not identical. In Colorado, boats are not considered “motor vehicles.” This is not the case in many other states.

This means that BUI charges are not handled through the DMV and are not influenced by any DUI charges. Also, the points you have on your driver’s license are not impacted by BUI charges.

Related Article: What Are Possible Defenses to DUI and DWAI Charges in Colorado?

When Can the Authorities Stop Your Boat?

With DUIs,authorities must have probable cause to pull you over when driving. While this is true for  boaters, the standards for probable cause are much lower.

Sometimes, a boat is stopped to check the safety equipment on board. If evidence of alcohol or drugs is found during the stop, the authorities have the right to order the operator to submit to a BAC test.

Anyone operating a boat is piloting it. Also, if a boat owner allows someone intoxicated to operate their boat, the owner and operator may face BUI charges. Prior BUI convictions and refusing the BAC test can impact the outcome of a BUI hearing.

Potential Penalties for a Colorado BUI Conviction

The penalties can be severe if you are convicted of BUI in Colorado.

First Offense

For a first BUI conviction, you will face the following penalties:

  • Prohibited from operating a boat for a minimum of three months
  • Jail time of at least five days with a maximum of one year
  • Fines of $200 to $1,000
  • Up to 96 hours of mandatory community service

In some situations, first-time offenders can avoid jail time if they agree to complete a treatment program.

Second Offense

The following penalties apply to your second BUI if you receive it within five years of the first offense:

  • 60 days to one year in jail
  • 60 to 120 hours of mandatory community service
  • Prohibited from operating a boat for one year
  • Fines of $500 to $5,000
  • Up to two years of probation
  • Prohibited from drinking alcohol for up to a year (usually a stipulation of your probation)

If the court orders that you abstain from drinking and using drugs, it also has the authority to monitor the use of these items by any means necessary.

Related Article: Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?

The Potential Impact of Alcohol While Boating

It is important to understand the risks of boating and drinking. While it is illegal to do this, the dangers put you and others at risk while on the water.

Alcohol can impact your judgment, coordination, balance, and vision. These impairments increase the possibility of accidents for you, your passengers, and people in the water or on other boats.

According to data from the U.S. Coast Guard, in boating deaths that involved alcohol use, more than half of the victims had capsized their vessels or fallen overboard.

Many people don’t realize that alcohol use on the water can be more dangerous than on land. Things like the sun, wind, engine noise, motion, and vibration all accelerate the rate that you become intoxicated. These sources of stress can also increase fatigue, which results in a faster decline in your reaction time, judgment, and coordination.

You also must consider experience. Most boat operators don’t have as much experience operating a boat as they do driving a car. In fact, most boaters only have about 110 hours on the water each year. This lack of experience and confidence also increases the possibility of accidents, especially when combined with alcohol use.

The fact is that alcohol has several physical effects that can threaten your safety and well-being while on the water. These include the following:

  • Judgment and cognitive abilities deteriorate, making it harder to make good choices, assess situations, or process information.
  • Alcohol creates a sensation of physical warmth, which may keep you from getting out of cold water, causing hypothermia.
  • Physical performance is impaired, which can impact your balance, coordination, and reaction time.
  • Inner ear disturbances make distinguishing between up and down difficult if you fall in the water.
  • Vision issues like reduced depth perception, poor focus, reduced night vision, and problems telling between different colors occur with alcohol use.

All these issues increase the possibility of a boat accident significantly.

Related Article: What to Expect When Charged with Your Second DUI in Denver

Call a Criminal Law Attorney in Colorado to Help with Your BUI Case

Contact our criminal defense lawyers immediately if you are charged with BUI in Colorado. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, we can work to build a strong defense for your case and provide you with the aggressive legal services you need.

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What Are Common Penalties for Theft in Denver?
/ 30 November, 2022

When most people think of theft, they envision a masked individual robbing a bank or jewels from a museum. While these are certainly types of theft, they are not the only ones.

Any time you take something without someone else’s permission – to deprive them of it – you are committing theft. This includes shoplifting, pickpocketing, and even some types of fraud.

Of course, not all acts of theft are equal. Some are much more serious than others and can result in felony charges. This is usually the case when violence is involved or when large sums of money or valuable property are taken.

Whatever the circumstances, if you are caught stealing in Denver, you can expect serious penalties. These may include jail time, probation, and restitution to the victim.

Read on for everything you need to know about theft penalties in Denver, Colorado, and how our team at The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, can help you avoid them.

How is Theft Defined in Denver?

In Denver, Colorado, theft occurs when a person knowingly and unlawfully takes or exercises control over another person’s property with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive them of its use.

Colorado law recognizes several types of theft, including shoplifting, burglary, identity theft, and auto theft. The penalties for theft can vary depending on the value of the property stolen, the type of property stolen, and how it was taken. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, have experience handling all types of theft cases in Denver and can help you understand the charges against you.

What is the Difference Between Theft and Burglary?

Often, people use the terms “theft” and “burglary” interchangeably. However, there is a key distinction between the two crimes.

Generally speaking, burglary requires unlawful entry into a building with the intent to commit another crime. This could mean breaking into a home to steal valuables, or it could simply involve trespassing with the intent to commit an act of vandalism.

On the other hand, theft is taking something of value without the owner’s consent. This could involve shoplifting, pickpocketing, or even identity theft.

Misdemeanor Theft in Colorado

If caught stealing in Denver, your penalties will depend on the property value or cash you took. If the value is more than $50 but less than $2,000, it’s considered a misdemeanor crime. The sentence you receive will be based on the value of the item taken and your criminal history.

The penalties for misdemeanor theft offenses are as follows:

  • If the value of the goods stolen falls between $50 and $300, it is considered a Class 3 misdemeanor. This can result in up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $750.
  • If the value of the goods stolen is between $300 and $750, it is classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
  • Finally, if the value of the goods stolen is between $750 and $2,000, it is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. This can lead to up to 18 months in jail and fines of up to $5,000.

If you’re stuck, a Denver theft lawyer can help you understand the charges against you and the penalties you may face. Talk to our attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, to learn more about your options.

Felony Theft in Colorado

Felony theft charges in Colorado are serious business, and the penalties increase dramatically as the value of the goods or stolen cash increases.

  • If you’re convicted of stealing something worth between $2,000 and $5,000, you’re looking at a Class 6 felony, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and $100,000 in fines.
  • If the value of what you stole falls between $5,000 and $20,000, you face a Class 5 felony, with a possible prison sentence of three years and $100,000 in fines.
  • If the value stolen is between $20,000 and $100,000, you’re looking at a Class 4 felony and a potential prison sentence of six years.
  • If the value stolen tops out at more than $100,000 but is less than $1 million, you’re facing a Class 3 felony with a possible prison sentence of 12 years and fines of up to $750,000.
  • Finally, if the value stolen is more than $1 million, you’re looking at a Class 2 felony and a possible prison sentence of 24 years which may require fines of up to $1 million.

If you commit a felony theft offense, contact a Denver criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you navigate the criminal justice system and fight for a favorable outcome in your case.

Theft of a Firearm in Colorado

Colorado’s new firearm theft law is designed to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The law, which took effect in July 2020, reclassifies firearms theft committed during a second-degree burglary as a Class 3 felony.

As a Class 3 felony, judges can sentence convicted offenders to a fine of up to $750,000 and a prison sentence of four to 12 years. The bill was sponsored by Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly, although it did not quite gain unanimous support.

Before this law took effect, firearms theft was classified as a Class 4 felony punishable by a prison sentence of two to six years.

In other words, the new law doubles the time offenders could spend behind bars. The hope is that by increasing the penalties for gun theft, criminals will think twice before breaking into homes and businesses to steal firearms.

Only time will tell if the new law effectively deters crime, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Auto Theft in Colorado

Auto theft is a big problem in Colorado. In fact, the state has ranked number one in the nation for auto theft rates. And in the first six months of 2022, the trend has continued, with a 17.2% increase in motor vehicle theft. That means that criminals have stolen 24,044 vehicles so far this year – 3,463 more than the same period last year.

As you can imagine, the penalties for auto theft are quite severe. Colorado takes auto theft seriously – first-degree aggravated automobile theft is always a felony.

Depending on the vehicle’s value and the defendant’s criminal history, penalties include 1-12 years in Colorado State Prison and $1,000-$750,000 in fines.

Second-degree aggravated automobile theft is almost always a felony, with 1-3 years in prison and $1,000-$100,000 in fines possible.

The only time it’s a misdemeanor is when the vehicle is worth less than $2,000 and the defendant has no more than one prior auto-theft conviction – in which case the penalties are up to 364 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Steven J. Pisani, LLC  is a Denver, Colorado-based law firm that provides high-quality legal representation to those accused of theft and other crimes. If you or someone you know has been charged with a theft crime, contact us today for a free consultation.

Contact a Denver Theft Lawyer Today!

If you’ve been charged with theft in Denver, you must understand the possible penalties you may face. The severity of the charge will depend on the value of the property stolen and any previous convictions on your record.

A first-time offender can expect to pay a fine and may also have to perform community service. However, more serious charges can result in jail time.

If you’re facing theft charges, speak to our team of Denver criminal defense lawyers. We have extensive experience in this area of the law and can help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at (303) 529-2825 to schedule a free consultation.

Important DUI Laws in Denver 
/ 28 November, 2022

Being charged with a DUI can be a confusing and scary experience. If you’ve never had any trouble with the law before, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, DUIs are relatively common in Colorado. According to the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), more than 26,000 impaired driving cases were filed in Colorado in 2019.

Most people with a DUI can avoid jail time and get their charges reduced or dismissed entirely if they work with a qualified DUI attorney. But even if you have a good lawyer, it’s essential to understand the laws surrounding DUIs to make informed decisions about your case. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the most important DUI laws in Denver.

Related Article: What To Know About a DUI in Colorado

What Is DUI?

Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. DUI is a criminal offense in most jurisdictions, and penalties can vary depending on the severity of the offense.

In many states, a first-time DUI offense is punishable by fines, community service, and mandatory alcohol education classes. More serious offenses can result in jail time, the loss of driving privileges, and even the seizure of a vehicle.

Driving under the influence is a severe offense in Colorado. If you are caught operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, you will be charged with a DUI.

You can still be charged with DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, if your blood alcohol level is between 0.05 and 0.08 percent and you are deemed impaired by law enforcement.

This is a lesser charge than a DUI, but it is still a serious offense. If you are convicted of a DWAI, you will face fines, community service, and a possible license suspension. A Denver DWAI lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and avoid serious penalties.

Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, have represented clients facing DUI and DWAI charges in Denver and throughout Colorado. We know the ins and outs of Colorado’s DUI laws and can help you build a strong defense.

Related Article: What Are Possible Defenses to DUI and DWAI Charges in Colorado?

Express Consent in Denver

In Colorado, we take our DUI laws pretty seriously. And rightfully so – drunk driving is a leading cause of road accidents, injuries, and fatalities. But what many people don’t realize is that, by getting a driver’s license, you give “expres s consent” to submit to a chemical test if you’re ever pulled over on suspicion of DUI.

In other words, if an officer has reason to believe you’ve been driving under the influence, you must submit to a breath, blood, – or face some stiff penalties.

These include the immediate revocation of your driver’s license and a suspension for up to 12 months. Next time you’re out on the town, plan and designate a sober driver. It could save you a lot of hassle (and money) in the long run.

If you have any questions about your own situation, consult a Denver DUI lawyer. For a free consultation, contact us at (303) 529-2825.

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Zero Tolerance Law in Denver

Colorado has a zero-tolerance law for those under the legal drinking age of 21. That means anyone under the legal drinking age pulled over with alcohol in their system between 0.02 and 0.08 percent can be charged with a DUI.

Penalties for this offense include:

  • Five days to 1 year in jail
  • $600 to $1,000 in fines
  • 48 to 96 hours of community service
  • 9-month license revocation

Denver DUI attorneys from the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, can help if you or someone you know is under 21 and charged with a DUI. We understand the Colorado zero-tolerance law and can help you fight your charges.

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DUI Checkpoints in Denver

In recent years, Denver has implemented sobriety checkpoints to crack down on drunk and drugged driving. While these checkpoints have effectively reduced the number of DUI-related accidents, they have also been controversial.

Some argue that sobriety checkpoints violate constitutional rights, while others argue that they are essential for keeping the public safe.

A checkpoint is an exception to the probable cause rule. This means that police officers do not need probable cause to stop a motorist at a checkpoint. However, checkpoint stops must be conducted to minimize the intrusion on motorists.

While sobriety checkpoints are not without their detractors, remember they are an effective tool for reducing drunk and drugged driving.

Related Article: Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?

A probable cause for a DUI stop in Denver exists when an officer reasonably believes that a driver is intoxicated. This can be based on the driver’s behavior, such as swerving or weaving, or the field sobriety test results. If an officer has probable cause to believe a driver is intoxicated, they can make a DUI stop.

At a DUI stop, an officer will usually ask the driver to submit to a chemical test, such as a breath test. If the driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, they can be charged with DUI.

As discussed above, it is against the law to refuse to submit to a chemical test if you have been arrested for DUI. If you are convicted of DUI, refusing to submit to a chemical test can result in additional penalties, such as a longer license suspension.

Related Article: Is It Smart to Accept a Plea Deal in Your Denver DUI Case?

Buy and Possess Laws in Denver

The legal drinking age in Colorado is 21, meaning anyone under that age cannot purchase or possess alcohol. However, there are also laws in Denver that prohibit anyone under 21 from having alcohol inside a car that is in operation.

Even if the driver isn’t drinking, it’s illegal if there’s alcohol in the car. These laws are designed to discourage underage drinking and keep our roads safe. If you’re caught violating them, you could face fines, jail time, and even the loss of your driver’s license.

Related Article: 9 Mistakes You Should Avoid After a Denver DUI

Lookback Periods in Denver

In Denver, the law is clear regarding DUIs and lookback periods. If you have been convicted of a DUI, the court can use that conviction to enhance your sentence.

This means that even if your previous DUI conviction was years ago, the court could still give you a harsher punishment.

The good news is that judges also have the discretion to be lenient if your prior DUI conviction is not recent. A Denver DUI lawyer can help you argue for a lenient sentence if you find yourself in this situation.

Related Article: Is There a Statute of Limitations for a Denver DUI?

Get in Touch with a Denver DUI Attorney

The DUI laws in Denver are designed to keep our roads safe. You could face serious penalties if caught driving under the influence. These include fines, jail time, and the loss of your driver’s license.

If you are facing DUI charges, contact a Denver DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Our Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, offer a free consultation to discuss your case. We can help you understand your legal options and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

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What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony 
/ 22 November, 2022

If you are charged with a crime in Colorado, you may wonder – what’s the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony? 

In the criminal court system, there are three types of criminal charges:

  • Infractions
  • Misdemeanors
  • Felonies 

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An infraction is a minor offense and is usually related to traffic. Examples include not stopping at a red light or speeding. Penalties for infractions usually include small fines and don’t ever include jail time. 

Both felonies and misdemeanors are more serious offenses that can come with incarceration. Sometimes, a crime’s classification depends on its severity and other factors. 

It’s important to understand the difference between misdemeanors and felonies in Colorado. Also, if you find that you are facing these criminal charges, having an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC can help you build a strong defense. 

Felony vs. Misdemeanor Crimes 

Misdemeanor criminal charges in Colorado are considered mid-level crimes. They can carry punishments of up to two years in the county jail and fines of up to $2,500. 

Some common examples of misdemeanor crimes include the following:

  • Petty theft
  • Trespassing
  • Drug possession
  • Vandalism
  • Prostitution
  • Public intoxication
  • Reckless driving
  • Simple assault

The severity of the crime you are charged with determines if you will face jail time. 

Along with potential jail time, the other types of punishments used for misdemeanors include driver’s license suspension, community service, probation, and paying restitution to the victim. 

Even though misdemeanor convictions will go on your permanent criminal record, they will not be there forever. Usually, the offense will be removed from your record after you have completed the sentence. 

Related Article: 5 Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Lawyer

Types of Felony Crimes in Colorado 

Being charged with a felony is serious. In fact, it is the most serious type of criminal charge you can face. The punishment felony charges in the state of Colorado include incarceration in state prison, fines reaching up to $150,000, and sometimes, for extremely serious cases, being issued the death penalty. 

Some examples of crimes charged as felonies in Colorado include the following:

  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Perjury
  • Rape
  • Grand Theft
  • Murder

Felony convictions in Colorado will go on your permanent criminal record and come with other penalties. For example, once you are convicted of a felony, you are considered ineligible to hold public office or serve on a jury. You will lose your right to possess a firearm and be unable to vote in future elections. 

Additionally, many employers will avoid hiring someone with a felony conviction on their record. 

Are DUI Charges Misdemeanors or Felonies in Colorado?

Colorado has clear and strict rules regarding driving under the influence (DUI) charges. Your first three arrests for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will usually be misdemeanor charges. However, if you cause property damage or a bodily injury, the charges will likely increase to felonies. 

A Colorado law that was passed in 2015 resulted in anyone with three or more DUIs on their record facing felony charges for subsequent DUIs. This law helped to reduce the number of repeat offenders. 

If you are facing DUI charges in Colorado, it’s smart to contact our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC. We can help you build a solid defense to help you with your criminal case. 

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The “Wobble Statute” for Felony Drug Charges in Colorado

In the state of Colorado, some crimes are classified as both misdemeanors or felonies. These are referred to as “wobblers.” The crime’s circumstances will play a huge role in how they are charged. 

The “Wobbler Statute” is something you should understand if you are facing drug charges in the state. 

If you have been charged with a drug crime, you should know if the crime is considered a “wobbler.” 

Don’t wait to contact an attorney, whether you or someone in your family who is facing Colorado drug charges. Our attorneys will investigate the charges against you and explore the possibility of reducing the charges based on wobbler plea bargaining. 

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The Thin Line Between Colorado Misdemeanors and Felonies 

Sometimes there is a thin line between a felony and a misdemeanor charge. For example, if you threaten to assault someone but don’t do it, you will likely face misdemeanor charges. If you move forward with the threat and assault the person, then it can increase the charges to a felony in Colorado. 

Sometimes, the prosecution can make mistakes and file felony charges even if the offense should be a misdemeanor. This is one of the top reasons you should have the services of an experienced attorney who can find these mistakes and make sure they are fixed immediately. It’s also worth mentioning that a previous conviction of misdemeanor offenses can result in an upgrade to any subsequent crime. 

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Colorado Alternative Sentencing for Misdemeanors and Felonies 

Despite what many people believe, it’s not just minor offenses that are eligible for alternative sentencing. Sometimes, the judge will require a felon to attend anger management classes or drug treatment. If the individual finishes the course and the required counseling, the felony charges may be reduced to just a misdemeanor or even dismissed. 

Any misdemeanor that carries the risk of violence or harm, and repeat offenders are those who usually receive a jail sentence. Jail is usually avoidable with other types of misdemeanors. This situation usually replaces it with home detention, probation, deferred sentencing, special restitution, or community service. 

Sealing Misdemeanor and Felony Records 

A class one misdemeanor can be sealed five years after the sentence is completed. For class two and three misdemeanors, the period is two years. 

While this is true, any misdemeanor conviction for the following cannot be sealed:

  • Traffic misdemeanors
  • Domestic violence crimes
  • Crimes of violence

The felonies that cannot be sealed in Colorado include the following:

  • Leven one drug felonies
  • Domestic violence
  • Class one felonies
  • DUIs
  • Class two felonies 
  • Class three felonies
  • Sexual offenses

If you have a felony charge dismissed, it can be sealed immediately. All the other felony convictions (besides a level two drug felony) can be sealed after two years. A level two drug offense offender must wait for five years before their record can be sealed in Colorado. 

Related Article: How A Criminal Background Check Affects You In Colorado

Call Our Legal Team for Help and Information 

If you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges in Colorado, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC. We can review the charges you are facing and help you build a viable defense. 

We will also determine if your criminal charges may be reduced or dismissed. The earlier you call, the sooner we can get involved with your case and help ensure you have the best defense possible for your case. Our goal is to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome for their cases and provide help and guidance at each step of the legal process. 

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Do’s and Don’ts During a Denver Arrest 
/ 07 November, 2022

Being arrested in Denver is a scary and traumatizing experience. In situations where the circumstances around your arrest are unclear, the stress associated with the situation can be difficult to handle, confusing, and embarrassing all at the same time. 

The police must follow a set process and certain procedures when you are arrested. The law establishes these. They must also inform you of your constitutional rights. 

After doing this, they will take you into custody. You are not “free” to go, and you cannot walk away from the arresting officer. 

Certain conditions must be present for you to be arrested, which include the following:

  • You have been caught committing a crime. 
  • The police have probable cause to arrest you, and the arresting officer has established this. 
  • The court has issued an arrest warrant for you. 

When you are arrested, reacting emotionally and angrily is not unusual. Unfortunately, these reactions can make an already bad situation worse. 

If you are arrested, you have rights. One right is to speak to an attorney. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, our legal team can provide you with the legal representation you need to ensure you get the proper representation for your situation. 

Along with contacting our attorneys immediately (or as soon as possible after being arrested), be sure to know what you should and should not do during the arrest process. This information will help you avoid more serious penalties. 

Do Not Use Force or Resist an Officer

This applies to any interaction you have with the police. You should always cooperate with the police. 

When you are arrested, your rights will be read to you and you will be taken to jail. When you reach the detention center, you will be searched, and your fingerprints and photo will be taken. The police will create a report that details why you were arrested and other important information. 

Never resist. Never use force against the police. Remain calm and cooperative. 

The law states that you can face additional charges if you resist arrest. If you use force against the police or attempt to flee from them and cause an injury to an officer, you may face charges of battery on an officer. 

Do Request an Attorney and Remain Silent Until You Have One Present

It is never a good idea to sign a Miranda waiver when the police request you to do this. It would help if you waited to speak to the police until your lawyer arrived. 

It is required that you provide the arresting officers with some information. This includes the following:

  • Legal name
  • Identification (if you have it)
  • Date of birth
  • Address

Beyond this basic information, you do not have to talk to the police or answer their questions. 

Make sure you request a criminal defense attorney in Denver to represent you. Don’t talk to the police officers until your requested attorney arrives. You should avoid speaking to other people who are being held in the detention center, as well. 

It’s important to remember that the police want you to talk. Everything you say can be used against you, so it is best to remain silent. 

If you waive your Miranda rights, you may accidentally say something that will incriminate you somehow, which can exacerbate the situation. It’s best to talk to your lawyer first, which will help you determine what you should and should not say. 

It would help if you didn’t try to make decisions about your arrest or the charges against you without your attorney present. Refuse to sign anything or be in a lineup until you talk to a lawyer. 

Don’t Avoid Asking for Help to Get Out of Jail

When you are arrested, you should be able to call your attorney, your family, and even a bail company. Remember, when you are in jail, conversations are recorded. You should let your family know about your arrest, but don’t give any details about the situation. 

Get in touch with our criminal defense team to represent you and ensure you take the right steps after arrest. 

Do Pay Attention to What Happens During the Arrest

Sometimes, the police go “off script.” If this happens, your rights may be violated. If you believe this is happening to you, there are a few things you can do. One of the most important things is to pay attention to what is happening. 

You must write down everything you can remember, including the authority’s patrol car numbers and officers’ badge numbers. You should also write down the agencies the officers were from and any other details you can remember. 

If you are injured during the arrest, get medical attention, or request it when you can. 

You should file a written report with the internal affairs division or a civilian complaint board. 

FAQs About Being Arrested in Denver

If you are being arrested or arrested in Denver, you may have more than a few questions. Some of the most asked questions are answered here. 

Are the police required to tell you why you are being arrested?

The simple answer to this is no. The police are not required to tell you why you are under arrest. 

Within 48 hours, if you have not been bailed or bonded out of jail, you have the right to be seen before a judge and told what the charges are or released. When a judge sees you, that is when the charges filed against you are read. 

While this is true, when you are arrested, the police will likely provide you with some explanation about why you are being arrested or taken into custody. It’s important to remember when talking to authorities they want to get as much information out of you as possible. You should remain silent. 

Can the police detain you indefinitely? 

The answer to this is probably one you don’t want to hear – it depends. Your arrest can be pending for as long as it takes the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. 

In the state of Colorado, the standard is around 20 minutes. If you want to challenge your arrest and detention, you can have your criminal defense lawyer argue that the authorities kept you longer than necessary based on the circumstances. If a judge agrees with this, then the criminal charges that resulted in you being detailed will probably be dropped completely. 

It’s important to remember that when you are detailed, it is voluntary. This is true unless you have verbally asked to leave. 

If the police detail you, you should ask them if you can leave. If the officer confirms that you are free to go, it is up to you to leave the encounter and scene. If you decide to stay, then the detention is considered legal. 

What does “resisting arrest” mean in Colorado? 

The term “resisting arrest” is self-explanatory. If the police have probable cause to arrest you and you resist them in any way, you may face misdemeanor resisting arrest charges. Some examples of resisting arrest include running from the police or giving the authorities a false ID. 

You should be aware that some officers may threaten you if you don’t comply with a search request or if you fail to answer their questions. Don’t fall for this. You have the right to refuse police searches and to refuse to answer their questions until your lawyer is present. 

After the police arrest you, do you have to answer their questions?

If you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to seek legal counsel. If you are arrested, do not rely on the police to let you know about your right to remain silent and get the services of an attorney. Instead, state that you want to remain silent and that you need a lawyer. 

If the police continue to question you, repeat your wishes. This is your “legal shield.” You don’t have to talk and should avoid doing so since you may say something that incriminates you. 

Don’t Wait to Speak to a Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

It is smart to contact a Denver criminal defense attorney immediately if you are arrested in Denver. Our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, is ready to provide you with the legal representation you want and need. 

Our Denver law firm has provided legal services for clients for decades, and we will aggressively fight for your rights. Contact us today if you are arrested and need a strong defense team. We are here to help with your situation. 

Remember, the penalties for a criminal conviction can be severe. If you don’t have quality legal defense services, you may not have the representation needed to overcome these charges. Let us help you with our experience and resources. We can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case and situation. 

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Colorado Drug Laws Update: End of 2022 Edition
/ 31 October, 2022

During the summer months, the state of Colorado is full of fun things to do. From concerts and shopping to partying all hours of the day and night with friends, there’s no question that this is a fun place to live.

In many cases, these fun events result in the use of alcohol and other substances. Sometimes, both legal and illegal substances are present.

Regarding drug laws, Colorado is one of the most lenient states in the country. After all, marijuana is legal here. However, if you happen to violate one of the drug laws, it can result in serious consequences. Due to the impact a drug conviction can have on your life, it’s important to know exactly what the laws are.

If you are convicted of a drug crime, it can impact your family, job, and income. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, we are ready to help you fight the charges you are facing. We can help build a solid defense for the charges you are facing.

Colorado’s Latest Marijuana Laws

The state of Colorado legalized the use of recreational marijuana in 2012. The state has also legalized medical marijuana; however, you must have a residential identification card, which can be acquired at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

If you want to purchase this substance or consume marijuana, it is required that you must be 21 years old or more. If someone provides retail marijuana to someone under this age, it is charged as a felony.

If you are 21 years old, you can legally purchase one ounce of marijuana at a time from a licensed retail store. You have the right to possess as much as two ounces of this substance at a time in the state, too.

You should note that you must consume your marijuana in designated locations. These include:

  • Lodging: An example would be a hotel. The lodging provider can determine if marijuana can be consumed on their property.
  • Private property: This is your home. If you are a renter, you should check with your landlord before doing this. Some property owners may decide to ban the possession and use of marijuana on their property.

Just like there are places where you can consume marijuana, there are locations where it is illegal to do so. This includes federal lands like ski slopes, national forests, and national parks and public locations like amusement parks, restaurants, businesses, common areas at housing complexes, concert venues, sidewalks, and ski resorts.

It’s also possible for cities and towns in Colorado to set rules regarding marijuana consumption. Because these rules and laws can vary, it’s smart to investigate the local laws and rules before you use or consume marijuana.

Related Article: Can I Use Marijuana While on Parole or Probation in Colorado?

Understanding Colorado’s Schedule Classifications for Illegal Drugs

Just like the federal government, the government in Colorado has separated different types of controlled substances (drugs) into schedules. The schedules are categories created that highlight how likely a drug is to be abused. Drugs in Colorado are separated into the following schedules:

Schedule I

Schedule I drugs include peyote, heroin, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), PCP, and LSD. These are drugs that are likely to be abused and that don’t have any proven medical use.

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs in Colorado include methamphetamines, opium, hydrocodone, oxycodone, cocaine, fentanyl, and other drugs with a high likelihood of abuse. However, these drugs also have a proven medical use. If someone abuses these drugs, it can have significant psychological and physical consequences.

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs include ketamine, anabolic steroids, barbiturates, and other drugs that have a lower possibility of abuse than Schedule I and II drugs. However, it can still result in higher levels of dependence.

Schedule IV

Schedule IV drugs include sleep medications like zolpidem, anti-anxiety medications like diazepam, and other drugs with a set medical use and a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs.

Schedule V

A Schedule V drug includes over-the-counter medications and certain cough syrups that have a small amount of codeine. These types of drugs have a low potential for abuse and accepted medical use.

A recent law, HB19-1263, changed possession laws related to small amounts of Schedule I and Schedule II drugs from a felony to just a misdemeanor. However, even with misdemeanor charges, you will face serious penalties like fines, probation, and jail time. These can impact your ability to access housing and employment opportunities.

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Colorado Drug Penalties Explained

The penalties for Colorado drug crimes vary based on the substances involved, your age, and your actions (for example, distribution or possession).


Marijuana is legal in Colorado; however, driving while high is not legal. It is fine to transport marijuana in your vehicle if you keep it in a sealed container, but you can’t drive across state lines or bring it with you to Denver International Airport.

It is illegal to drive after consuming marijuana, and if caught, you will face DUI charges. Based on state law, the impairment level for marijuana is five nanograms per milliliter of blood.

If you are caught with more than the legal amount of THC in your system while you are driving, you will likely face DUI charges. However, getting a DUI charge with lower amounts of THC in your system is possible if it has impacted your driving ability.

According to the government in Colorado, using 10 mg or more of THC can result in impairment. It’s best to wait a minimum of six hours after you smoke up to 35 mg of THC before driving. For edibles, the waiting time is eight hours for up to 18 mg of THC.

Other Drug Penalties in Colorado

If you possess a controlled substance, the penalties you face depend on the drug you are caught with. For example, if you are caught with under four grams of a schedule I or II controlled substance, it is charged as a level 1 drug misdemeanor until your fourth offense. At this point, the charge is elevated to a level 4 drug felony.

The penalties for a level 1 drug misdemeanor charge include fines of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail. After getting out of jail, you can have two additional years of probation for your first two convictions. If you have a third or subsequent offense, then you will face jail time of up to 364 days.

If you are caught selling drugs, the potential penalties are more severe than just possessing them. If you give marijuana to a person under 21, you will face felony charges, which carry penalties of up to $1 million in fines and 32 years in prison.

Related Article: How To Beat A Drug Trafficking Charge In Colorado

Contact an Attorney for Help with Colorado Drug Charges

You can face significant penalties if you are caught with drugs in Colorado. To help protect yourself and your freedom, get in touch with a Colorado criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC. Our legal team will help you build a solid defense to help you overcome the charges you face.

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