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Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses: Fentanyl Arrests in Denver
/ 07 September, 2022

In the first few months of 2022, law enforcement partners from all throughout Colorado reported that they have already confiscated more illegal fentanyl than they did the whole previous year. Data from the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area showed that more than 2,000,000 units of fentanyl had been taken from local Colorado communities so far this year.

These numbers are massive and very concerning. In this guide, we’ll explore what’s happening in terms of the fentanyl crisis in Denver– and how a Denver drug crime lawyer can help you if you’ve fallen victim to fentanyl addiction.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a very potent painkiller. Like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and methadone, it is an opioid. For patients with chronic, severe pain, a slow-release patch containing fentanyl is most frequently administered. It may be extremely efficient and secure when utilized in this manner. When taken improperly, fentanyl is extremely deadly since it is significantly stronger than most other opioids—up to 100 times stronger than morphine. An overdose and death can result from even a modest quantity. Fentanyl patches that have been sold by or stolen from patients who were prescribed them are two possible sources of street fentanyl.

Fentanyl can be purchased as a powder or as a pill, and it can be added to other substances like heroin or cocaine. This particular kind of fentanyl is frequently offered as another drug, causing unaware consumers to ingest, snort, or inject it. People have overdosed often because they were unaware that the medication they were taking was fentanyl-contaminated.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses: The Growing Danger of Fentanyl in Denver

According to a UCHealth medical toxicologist, fentanyl is unquestionably the substance that doctors in Denver are treating the most frequently in overdose cases. Fentanyl overdoses are now as prevalent as having a stroke or a heart attack, according to Dr. Kennon Heard.

Heard treats both those with substance use disorders and—more often—occasional users who regularly mistake fentanyl for another medication. Over the previous five years, fentanyl use in Colorado and the south metro area of Denver has increased. Still, since 2020, when the drug surpassed methamphetamine as the number one killer in Colorado, it has exploded in use.

Data from the CDPHE demonstrates that the rising prevalence of fentanyl on the drug market is also reflected in the rise in overdose fatalities in the south metro area between 2015 and 2021. 101 fentanyl-specific overdoses, or 56% of all recorded overdoses that year, were reported in Arapahoe County in 2021. In 2020, there were 69 fentanyl overdoses, accounting for over 47% of all overdose deaths; despite this, fentanyl remained the most common opioid to cause overdoses in that year.

With nine fentanyl overdose fatalities in 2020 accounting for 18% of all overdoses that year, Douglas County had the greatest increase in fentanyl overdoses. Similar figures were recorded in 2021, with seven fentanyl overdoses accounting for 16% of all overdoses.

As a result, there is a disagreement between law enforcement and harm reduction proponents on how to effectively address the growing issue that claimed the lives of more than 900 Coloradans last year. The Fentanyl Accountability and Prevention Act, a new state legislation that took effect on July 1st, 2022, is also slated to reexamine the ideas of criminalizing drug users vs reducing their risks.

Massive Fentanyl Busts Result in Arrests– And Put Communities in Fear for the Future

Law enforcement officials in Colorado stated earlier in July 2022 that after several months of undercover investigation on people accused of supplying illicit fentanyl tablets, millions of lives may have been spared. In April, authorities in Aurora removed almost 170,000 pills from a car outside an apartment building. 30,000 fentanyl tablets were seized during an unrelated traffic check of a car on I-70 in February as it was traveling in the direction of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Following undercover raids and wiretaps between December 2021 and May, both cases were consolidated, and eight individuals were finally charged in both instances in June.

According to police, the inquiry that eventually led to a combined wiretap investigation involving the Judicial District, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Denver police forces started in December 2021. Over 1,000,000 fentanyl tablets had been seized in Colorado as of March 31; however, reps from the DEA seem to think that amount has doubled just a few months ago.

As the tablets arrive, it is challenging to maintain the computations current in real-time. More than 2,000,000 units of fentanyl have been taken out of Colorado so far this year, according to the law enforcement authorities’ report from last month. Such large amounts of fentanyl raise concerns resembling those raised by WMDs. Few have seen anything like what fentanyl has been doing to Denver communities when we examine the worst conceivable results of this poison being pushed out in big quantities in our communities.

According to data from the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illicit fentanyl killed 709 people in Colorado in 2021. It claimed 64 lives in the state in 2015. More than ever, people using illegal drugs have been spotted on state roadways. The amount of fentanyl found in pounds on Colorado’s roadways rose by 403% between 2017 and 2016. Besser claimed that money travels south while lethal narcotics travel east along the I-70 and I-25 corridors.

Is Harm Reduction the Solution?

The idea of harm reduction is a controversial one, according to Harm Reduction Action Center director Lisa Raville. However, she claims that the criminalization of the substance, as well as other drugs, has historically led to more serious overdose outcomes.

As it currently stands, the goal is to get fentanyl off the streets as quickly as possible and to defend individuals who have fallen victim to this addictive and potentially deadly poison.

A Denver Drug Crime Lawyer Who Will Fight For Your Case

In Colorado, you do not need to provide evidence of your innocence to have your drug charges dropped. It is the responsibility of the Colorado prosecution to establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Employing a capable drug charge defense lawyer will improve your chances of a successful conclusion, and in certain cases, a Colorado drug charge-discharge.

You should contact a drug defense attorney who defends drug charges in Denver once you have been charged with a drug offense in Denver, received a summons to appear in court, or are the subject of an investigation. To retain Steven J. Pisani’s legal services in relation to your Denver drug charges, get in touch with The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani right now. Drug accusations in Colorado are taken extremely seriously, and they may result in mandatory prison sentences, other severe penalties, and a criminal record that will have a long-term negative effect on your life. In your drug case, an early defense might make the difference between a conviction and a charge being dropped or another favorable outcome.

Give the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani a call today at (303) 529-1424 to schedule a consultation.

What do you think about the growing arrests for fentanyl in Denver? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

DUI Penalties for Drivers Under Age 21
/ 31 August, 2022

Denver DUI lawyers from the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC see multiple cases of DUI charges against people under age 21 every month. One reason for this is Colorado’s strict zero-tolerance policy on underage drinking and driving.

In Denver and throughout Colorado, the maximum Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) someone under 21 can have when driving is 0.02%, which is much lower than the legal limit for people over 21, which is 0.08%. While it’s obvious that it is illegal for anyone under 21 to drink and drive, it’s also illegal for underage people to purchase, possess, transport, buy, attempt to buy, or drink alcohol.

Not only is drinking and driving illegal, but it’s also extremely dangerous. Alcohol-related accidents are a common cause of death in Denver, and hundreds of teens die each year because of alcohol poisoning.

Potential Consequences of Underage Drinking and Driving in Denver

Underage drinking and driving are very common charges in Denver and throughout the state. Due to how serious the state takes this crime, it also has serious consequences. Anyone under 21 with a BAC of 0.02% to 0.05% caught drinking and driving can face charges.

Minors arrested for Underage Drinking and Driving in Denver may also face DWAI charges if they have a BAC of more than 0.05% and a DUI if their BAC is 0.08% or higher. With this conviction, the penalties are a one-year license revocation for a first offense and may carry other consequences.

The Breakdown of Underage Drinking and Driving Charges and Penalties for Minors

Anyone under 21 must understand the consequences they may face if they are arrested and convicted of UDD in Denver. A breakdown of the charges and all the potential penalties are found here.

First Underage Drinking and Driving Charge – Class A Traffic Infraction

The consequences of a conviction include:

  • Fines of up to $100
  • The requirement to pay court costs and surcharges
  • A maximum of 24 hours of useful public service and an additional $120 fee
  • Alcohol assessment the individual must pay for
  • Alcohol treatment or education the individual must pay for
  • Up to a three-month license revocation
  • Four DMV points

Since this is a traffic infraction and not a criminal charge, minors can request a probationary license called a “red license” after 30 days. They must keep this for the next two months, and the suspension or revocation is required to last for three months total. It’s at the discretion of the DMV to issue this license and is not guaranteed. The minor can only drive to work or school if the license is granted.

Second Underage Drinking and Driving Charge – Class 2 Traffic Misdemeanor

The consequences of a conviction include:

  • 10 to 90 days in jail
  • Up to $300 in fines
  • The requirement to pay court costs and surcharges
  • A maximum of 24 hours of useful public service and an additional $120 fee
  • Alcohol assessment the individual must pay for
  • Alcohol treatment or education the individual must pay for
  • Up to a six-month license revocation
  • Four DMV points

Third or Subsequent Underage Drinking and Driving Charge – Class 2 Traffic Misdemeanor

The consequences of a conviction include:

  • 10 to 90 days in jail
  • Up to $300 in fines
  • The requirement to pay court costs and surcharges
  • A maximum of 24 hours of useful public service and an additional $120 fee
  • Alcohol assessment the individual must pay for
  • Alcohol treatment or education the individual must pay for
  • Up to a 12-month license revocation
  • Four DMV points

With each of these charges, UDD defendants have the right to request a DMV administrative hearing to contest the loss of their license. However, they must win the DMV hearing and criminal case (which are separate) to avoid losing their license. Winning the DMV hearing but still being convicted of UDD will still result in the license revocation.

It’s worth noting that DMV hearings are more challenging to win than criminal cases. In a criminal case, the prosecution has the burden to prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the bar is much lower for DMV administrative hearings. Even if it doesn’t seem like a DMV hearing will be successful, requesting one is still a good idea.

Penalties for DWAI and DUI per se Convictions

If a minor has a BAC over 0.05% and under 0.08%, they can face DWAI charges. The penalties for a first offense misdemeanor conviction include:

  • Two to 180 days in jail
  • Fines of $200 to $500
  • Community service requirement of 24 to 48 hours
  • Eight DMV points

If the minor has a BAC of 0.08% or more, they can face DUI per se charges, which is also a misdemeanor. Potential penalties for this charge include:

  • Five days to one year in jail
  • Fines of $600 to $1,000
  • Community service requirement of 48 to 896 hours
  • Nine-month license revocation

How to Fight UDD Charges in Denver

Due to the seriousness of the charges and potential penalties, it is recommended that you get in touch with an experienced DUI defense attorney if you are facing UDD charges. Our legal team will work to build a defense for your case. Some of the potential defenses that can be used include:

  • The police didn’t have any reasonable suspicion to pull the person over.
  • During the traffic stop, the police didn’t have a basis for suspecting that the person had consumed alcohol, and the officer requested a breath test.
  • The breath test was not administered properly or was defective.

Using the defense that the minor was driving safely and not impaired is impossible. This is because the state of Colorado has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking cases. This means that a UDD is a strict liability offense. UDD laws in Colorado prohibit anyone who is underage from driving with almost any alcohol in their system. This is true even if the alcohol was caused by using mouthwash or eating something made with alcohol.

Don’t Wait to Get Help With Your Underage Drinking and Driving Charge

If you are charged with Underage Drinking and Driving in Denver or anywhere in the state, it’s important to contact our Denver DUI lawyers immediately. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, we are here to help with your charge and build a solid defense for your case. Thanks to our years of experience in the field, we will provide you with the aggressive legal defense in Denver you need and help you at both your DMV hearing and criminal trial.

The first step is to call our offices and schedule an appointment. We will use our experience and resources to help you beat the charge you are facing.

Read More

Steps to Take if You Are Arrested for a DUI in Colorado

What Are the Costs Associated with a DUI in Denver?

Why You Need an Attorney for Misdemeanor Charges
/ 24 August, 2022

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you may be tempted to represent yourself in court. After all, the penalties for a misdemeanor are typically not as severe as those for a felony, and you may feel confident that you can explain your side of the story to the judge. 

However, there are several good reasons why you should consider hiring a defense attorney. First of all, misdemeanors can still result in jail time, and an experienced attorney will know how to argue for leniency on your behalf. Secondly, a conviction will go on your criminal record, which can make it difficult to find a job or housing in the future. Finally, an attorney can help ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. 

If you are facing misdemeanor charges in Colorado, don’t try to go it alone. You can cushion the impact of your charges by getting the best defense attorneys in Colorado to represent you in court.

What is a Misdemeanor?

In the United States, criminal offenses are classified as felonies or misdemeanors. Felonies are major crimes that attract severe penalties such as lengthy jail terms or even death sentences, while misdemeanors may attract lower punishment. 

Most states have a one-year jail term limit for misdemeanors. As a result, you may be inclined to believe that misdemeanors do not affect your record. However, having a minor charge on your criminal record might have serious consequences. 

In Colorado, your jail term will vary based on the intensity of your crime. According to Colorado law, there are different classes of misdemeanors, and the judge will pass sentences based on the guidelines of the misdemeanor. 

An Overview of Colorado Misdemeanor Crime Classes and Penalties

Class 1 Misdemeanor

The most serious type of misdemeanor in Colorado is a Class 1 misdemeanor. These include property theft, unlawful sexual contact, indecent exposure, and criminal mischief. The average jail term that you may get for this crime is 6 to 24 months, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. However, if you assault any health professional or a first responder, your jail term may be higher, ranging from 24 to 48 months. 

If you are accused of a class 1 misdemeanor, getting the most experienced defense attorney on your case is your best bet. This way, you stand a chance of getting a lower sentence. 

Class 2 Misdemeanor

Invasion of privacy, criminal trespass, and criminal tampering are some of Colorado’s more common class 2 misdemeanors. If found guilty of any of these charges, you may be sentenced to a minimum of three months and a maximum of 364 days in jail. 

Class 3 Misdemeanors

These are the least serious crimes that are considered misdemeanors in Colorado. They include harassment, prostitution, disorderly conduct, and firework offenses. If you are accused of such a misdemeanor, your punishment may range from a $50 fine to a $750 fine. You may also get a jail term of six to twelve months. The upside to such a crime is that you can have it expunged from your record.  

Unclassified Misdemeanors

In every state, some misdemeanors may not fully fit into the classes defined. They, therefore, fall into the “unclassified category.” For instance, gambling and some unique traffic offenses may not fall into the same category as other misdemeanors. In cases where the law points out a crime as a misdemeanor but does not give the guidelines on the jail term, the judge can sentence you to up to 364 days.  

What Are the Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Defense Lawyer?

You are probably weighing your options to see whether hiring a defense attorney is worth the extra buck you will have to pay. Well, it sure is. Having a lawyer on your side has numerous advantages. Here are just a few examples:

A Lawyer Will Help Protect Your Rights

Regardless of the allegations you face, you have the right to plead innocent and defend yourself. While it is feasible to represent yourself in court, hiring a lawyer will secure the best possible outcome because your defense counsel is well-versed in the law. They can examine any problem and devise a solution that protects your rights. If you’re in doubt, you can always consult them and find the best way forward. 

A Lawyer Will Help You Avoid Criminal Records

If you are a first-time offender, you are most likely concerned about the fate of your criminal record. You don’t want the misdemeanor on your record to tarnish your reputation. Having defense attorneys represent you in court can assist you in avoiding such charges. Your lawyer can have your charges dropped or even erased from your record.

A Lawyer Will Help You Avoid Heavy Punishments

Your punishment may differ based on the severity of your crime and the classification of your misdemeanor. However, if you plead guilty, having a great defense attorney will lessen your sentence or the punishment the judge imposes on you. A skilled attorney will know how to negotiate a favorable sentence with the judge.

A Lawyer Will Appear in Court on Your Behalf

When you are charged with a misdemeanor, the world does not come to a halt. There may be occasions when you must attend an essential work meeting or be present for your loved ones. This is where your lawyer comes in.

Your attorney can appear in court on your behalf if you have a legitimate reason to be absent. This is especially useful if you are unable to attend court. For example, if you are very ill and unable to appear in court, having your attorney accompany you would be ideal.

A Lawyer Will Give You Specialized Attention

The state has the legal right to provide you with a defense attorney for your case. While this may be less expensive than employing your own defense attorneys, it may not be the best solution to your problem.

State defenders frequently work with a large number of criminals, making it difficult to focus on your case and give it the attention it deserves. On the other hand, private defense attorneys will devote their whole attention to your case. Depending on your agreement and hourly charges, you may have enough time to discuss your case with your private defense attorneys and devise a way out of the mess you are in. 

What Should You Do if You Are Arrested for a Misdemeanor?

Whether it is your first or seventh time being arrested, you are bound to freak out. Sadly, most people get into more trouble due to irresponsible behavior during an arrest. So, what should you do if you are arrested for a misdemeanor? 

Do Not Resist Arrest

The first tip you should always have in mind any time a police officer approaches you is never to resist arrest. In most states, that crime will attract additional penalties to your misdemeanor. It gets even worse if you violently assault the arresting police officer. 

Remain calm during the entire period of your arrest and respectfully ask why they are arresting you. You have a right to know why the police are arresting you.

Ask For Your Attorney

The next thing you should do is request an attorney. With all the tension surrounding your arrest, you need a voice of reason to help you figure out your next steps. And who better to do the job than your defense attorney

During an arrest, one of your most important rights is the right to legal representation. You should be allowed to call your attorney after an arrest.

Remain Silent

Another thing you should do is keep silent during the entire arrest period. One of the things that your arresting police officer should inform you is that you “have the right to remain silent since anything that you say may be used against you in a court of law.” Sometimes the officer may ask questions that may incriminate you in the long run. Even when the questions seem innocent and harmless, do not engage with the officers until you speak to your defense attorney.

Most defense attorneys advise that clients should not speak to the police without their legal representative.  

Remember the Details of Your Arrest

Things may happen so fast during your arrest that some of them escape your notice. However, it will pay to remember everything that happens. In cases where your rights were violated, you may have a slight chance of getting a lighter sentence or getting the charges dropped altogether.

So try your best to remember every word the officer said and every action they made during your arrest. Narrate all that to your defense attorney as soon as you can. 

Let Us Fight Your Case for You!

You might have heard stories of people getting outrageous sentences for minor misdemeanors. Without legal representation, you may worsen your situation and incriminate yourself when you take the stand. Fortunately, you do not have to go through your trial alone.

Contact the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, and let us fight for you. Our defense attorneys are the best in Colorado and have the best training and experience to get you through any charges and come out with a favorable outcome. Whether you are innocent or guilty, we are here to help. We believe in second chances, and we will help you convince the judge and jury as well. Reach us today and start building your defense.

Common Questions About Domestic Violence Laws in Colorado
/ 18 August, 2022

In Colorado, charges of domestic violence are frequent, and even when they are made in the heat of the moment without any threats of violence, these claims cannot be refuted either on the spot or in court. When domestic abuse is reported to the police in Colorado, the prosecutor and law enforcement are solely responsible for handling the case.

The most frequently asked questions concerning domestic violence accusations in Colorado are addressed in this handbook. It is highly advised that you seek the assistance of criminal defense attorneys like those at Steven J. Pisani, LLC if you or a loved one is facing a domestic violence accusation and related criminal charges in Colorado.

FAQs About Domestic Violence Laws in Colorado

How does the state of Colorado define domestic violence in law?

Domestic violence is defined under the Colorado Revised Statute as an act or threat of violence against a person with whom the actor is or has been in a close relationship. Along with physical assault, domestic violence may also involve verbal or emotional abuse. The definition of domestic violence in Colorado is very inclusive.

 For instance, intimate partners do not need to live together or be married in order to file a domestic abuse case. Spouses, ex-spouses, domestic partners, children, boyfriends, girlfriends, and roommates all qualify as domestic or intimate relationships.

Physical, mental, and verbal abuse as well as sexual assault all fall under the category of domestic violence. Any other offense committed against a person or their property that is used to force, control, punish, frighten, or take revenge against a current or past intimate partner also qualifies as domestic violence.

What are the penalties in Colorado for a conviction of domestic violence?

Domestic abuse is not treated as a distinct crime from the initial violent incident. If a person is found guilty of a crime and the court determines that domestic violence was a factor in the crime, the court will sentence the defendant for the charge while simultaneously requiring that he or she complete a program for treating domestic violence and undergo a treatment evaluation.

If the court feels that an assessment would help it decide on a suitable punishment, it may also order that a guilty defendant be assessed before being sentenced. A person condemned to jail for a crime involving domestic violence is not required to finish a treatment program.

When convicted of a new domestic violence charge that would normally be a misdemeanor, a defendant who has three prior convictions for offenses involving domestic violence is subject to harsher punishments. The prosecutor may ask the court to label the defendant a habitual perpetrator of domestic violence. In addition, the new violation carries a potential four-year jail sentence and is penalized as a Class Five felony rather than a misdemeanor. This violation can also result in fines up to $100,000.

What are the most common domestic violence charges that occur in Colorado?

The most frequent domestic violence offenses in the state of Colorado (and the majority of the nation) are assault, sexual assault, stalking, abuse of children/minors, harassment, intimidating behavior, abuse of the elderly, inappropriate sexual contact, kidnapping or false imprisonment, and breaking a court-ordered restraining or protection order.

Are Colorado police obliged to arrest an individual for probable cause in the context of domestic violence?

When law enforcement has reason to think that a crime involving domestic abuse occurred, Colorado has a legal policy in place requiring them to make an arrest.

Regrettably, the difficulty of establishing probable cause immediately leads law enforcement officials to initiate an arrest even when no crime has been committed. In Colorado, police look at five factors—intimidation, coercion, control, punishment, and retaliation—to decide if there is probable cause for a domestic violence arrest. Law enforcement officials are required to conduct an arrest if they have even the slightest suspicion that any of these signs are present.

Do domestic violence charges always come with a protection order?

Yes, a protective order is always required in Colorado after a domestic violence charge. The defendant is not allowed to drink alcohol and must stay away from the accuser while the injunction is in effect. In a court of law, disobeying a protection order (also known as CRS 18-6-803.5) is a class 1 misdemeanor. A first-time offender faces up to 364 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.

A civil protection order can be issued by any municipal, county, district, juvenile, or probate court to stop domestic violence. A defendant may be prohibited by protective orders from injuring, threatening, or interacting in any way with the protected person or individuals. Any further orders, such as excluding the defendant from the family home or granting temporary custody of small children, may be made by the court in order to safeguard the public. 

Under an additional category of restraining orders known as “extreme risk protection orders,” Colorado law also requires gun owners who face a high danger of gun violence to give up their weapons.

Can domestic violence cases be expedited?

Yes. In Colorado, cases of domestic abuse are handled quickly. This implies that the offender takes an initial plea during the first court hearing and that the police write out a police report the same day as the arrest. It is common for several weeks to pass between the arrest and the arraignment in non-domestic violence cases. 

Fast-tracking domestic violence cases aims to protect victims from abusive or violent behavior as quickly as feasible while also getting perpetrators treatment.

If a victim of domestic violence recants their accusation, will the charge be dismissed?

No. Certainly not straight away. Police have reason to suspect that purported victims who retract their claims of intimate partner violence. They presume that victims have hidden agendas, such as pressure from the defendant’s family to retract their account or a desire for the defendant to be released from custody so they may support their family financially. Additionally, despite the victim’s denials, prosecutors could have enough proof that domestic abuse took place. For instance, it’s possible that the claimed domestic violence event was recorded on camera.

Domestic abuse cases are treated severely by the courts. Only when the prosecution swears under oath that there is insufficient evidence to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt will a court throw out a domestic violence case. Therefore, prosecutors may decide to abandon the case before trial for lack of evidence if the victim persists in retracting and the only proof of domestic abuse is the victim’s first complaint.

The Criminal Defense Lawyers at Steven J. Pisani, LLC Can Help You Out of a False Domestic Violence Case

Domestic abuse charges are one of the most frequent situations we handle at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC. Colorado police arrive at the location as soon as a roommate, family member, or romantic partner dials 911. 

Police arrive, separate the participants, and collect statements while searching for tangible evidence. Then, recordings and evidence are offered as evidence. Police sometimes prosecute the incorrect individual or make a mistaken arrest because they seldom witness the domestic disturbance taking place and are instead left with conflicting testimonies.

The criminal defense lawyers at Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC understand how complicated and messy domestic violence accusations can be. 

That’s why we offer excellent and experienced criminal defense in domestic violence cases in the Colorado court system. Schedule a consultation with us today by calling 303-635-6768 to learn more about how we can help you with your domestic violence case.

How was our guide to common Colorado domestic violence law questions? Tell us your thoughts in the comments. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence in Colorado, our talented criminal defense lawyers at Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC are here to help. Get in touch with our team today.

Understanding Colorado’s “Make My Day” Law 
/ 11 August, 2022

Our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC believe everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes. However, when someone tries to break in or if there is an intruder, do you have the right to defend yourself, your family, and your home? This is a good question and one we answer here. 

If you are in a situation where you are facing criminal charges and need assistance, our attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani are ready to help. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options and our services. 

Keep reading to learn more about the “Make My Day” Law, how it can protect you, and all the details you need to understand. 

Colorado Stands Against Intruders 

The state of Colorado believes that homeowners have the right to feel safe in their homes and protect their property and family if threatened. The “Make My Day Law” grants homeowners immunity if they respond accordingly when threatened by a home invasion and burglary. In some situations, this law may be the only thing that prevents you from going to jail. 

The “Make My Day” law in Colorado was established in 1985. Under this law, homeowners have immunity from any prosecution if they shoot or kill someone breaking into their home if certain conditions are present. 

According to the law, the dwelling’s occupant is considered justified to use any level of physical force, even deadly physical force, against someone who has entered their dwelling unlawfully if the following circumstances apply:

  • The homeowner believes the intruder will, has, or is committing a crime and entering unlawfully. 
  • The homeowner believes the intruder could use physical force against someone in the house. 

Duty of Retreat in Colorado 

According to the Duty of Retreat doctrine, you can only use deadly force as a last resort. Even in cases of self-defense, if you can avoid the risk of death or harm by taking some other action, by running away, this is what you should do. While this is true, there was a ruling that stated you are not bound to run away or retreat before using deadly force if it is reasonable based on your circumstances. 

Unarmed Intruders 

If an intruder is unarmed, the law still applies. It does not matter if the person who comes into your dwelling uninvited has a gun or another weapon or not. If you think they will commit a crime against you, someone in your house, or your property, and you believe they could cause bodily harm, you have the right to protect yourself using any means. You have immunity in these situations from being prosecuted. 

This means that you can use a sword, baseball bat, shotgun, pistol, knife, or any other item you have to help defend yourself. 

Remember, though; not all states grant residents this right. If you travel outside of Colorado, be sure you know your rights when it comes to using deadly force against an intruder. 

Can You Kill Someone in Self-Defense Outside of Your Home?

The Colorado law allows those not in their home to kill someone in cases of self-defense or to defend others if they believe non-deadly force will not be adequate to stop the threat. Also, one of the following elements must exist in the situation: 

  • The victim believes that they or someone else is in imminent damage of a serious injury or death.
  • The person uses physical force against an occupant while they commit or try to commit a burglary. 
  • The person is committing or appears to be committing a sexual assault, robbery, or kidnapping. 

If these conditions are not present, then you can only use force that is “reasonably necessary” to fight away an aggressor. 

Important Stipulations to Colorado’s “Make My Day” Law

A common misconception about the self-defense law in Colorado, and the “Make My Day” law specifically, is that you have the right to shoot anyone who comes onto your property without getting in trouble. This is not the case. 

Using any amount of force against someone isn’t something that’s taken lightly, nor does the law justify killing another person without justification to do so. Hurting someone else or taking their life is a burden, no matter the justification. That’s why it is best to avoid this outcome when possible. 

For example, if someone comes on your property to steal something out of your vehicle or if they vandalize your property, you don’t have the right to shoot them or use other deadly force. For the situation to be considered legal to shoot someone based on this law, the intruder must be inside your home, and you should suspect that they have or will commit some type of crime and that they will harm you or someone else in your home. 

For the “Make My Day” law to apply to your situation, an intruder must be in your dwelling with you and be uninvited. Also, the intruder must be committing a crime along with being inside your home uninvited. 

An example of when the law would apply is if an intruder was threatening your spouse or child. In this case, you can reasonably assume the intruder is going to use force, even if it is slight, against someone in your dwelling. This even applies to situations where the intruder threatened someone with a weapon or just their fist. 

The entire point of the law is to ensure you can defend yourself when in your home without the risk of being prosecuted. However, it isn’t a blanket right to shoot someone who comes on your property. If there’s someone on your property illegally, but they aren’t inside your home, the immunity offered by the “Make My Day” law doesn’t apply to the situation. In this case, you will be held to Colorado’s self-defense law. 

Even if you are inside your home, you don’t have the right to shoot someone who has broken in and actively stolen something if they are not threatening someone in the dwelling with physical harm. 

If you are in public, the laws are unique. This means that the law doesn’t apply in all situations. While you can defend yourself in public, the situation is regulated based on laws other than the “Make My Day” law. 

While Colorado doesn’t impose a duty to retreat, it’s best to avoid violence when you can. If violence happens, it means someone will likely get hurt. Someone else may get arrested and even charged with a criminal offense. When you avoid a possibly violent situation or de-escalate the situation, you are doing what is smart and minimizing the possibility that you will suffer an injury, that you or your loved one will be injured, or that you will be arrested. 

Understanding Your Rights Under Colorado’s Make My Day Law

Understanding your rights based on the “Make My Day” law is important. This will help you avoid using unreasonable force and being charged with a crime. If you are facing criminal charges, our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC are ready to help. 

We have handled hundreds of criminal cases and will work to gather evidence to help you build a defense for your situation. Our goal is to help you reach the most agreeable outcome possible for your situation. 

Contact our legal team to discuss your criminal charges and ensure you know your rights and options. Being informed will help you handle any type of criminal charges. 

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Steps to Take if You Are Arrested for a DUI in Colorado
/ 07 August, 2022

DUI attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC understand how serious these charges are and their impact on your life and future. Because of the impact of this charge, you must take steps to avoid a conviction. Our legal team will help with your situation and work to build a strong defense to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Being pulled over is stressful. If you don’t know what you did or why you are being pulled over, don’t offer information the officer can use. Instead, let them state the reason for the stop. Remember, police must have probable cause to stop your vehicle.

This includes tangible infractions such as swerving, failing to stop at a red light, a broken windshield, and similar things. However, once the stop is made, they can question your whereabouts and even request a field sobriety test if they believe you were drinking.

Your first instinct may be to refuse the requested field sobriety test. This is especially the case if you have not been drinking. However, it is often in your best interest to comply with the officers.

Keep reading for more information on what you should do if you are pulled over and suspected of DUI in Colorado.

Comply with the Officer’s Requests

If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, complying with the requests made by police officers may not be easy. For example, they may request that you tell them your name and birthdate. They may also request your license and registration. These are all things you need to give to the officer without hesitating.

While you don’t want to incriminate yourself, it is possible for you to be compliant without answering the questions the officer asks. It is possible to stay silent and comply with the officer’s requests.

Refusing the Breathalyzer Test

You may have heard that you should refuse the breathalyzer test when pulled over and suspected of DUI. Even if you have overindulged in alcohol and know you will fail, refusing this test may be a bad idea. There are a few reasons for this:

  • You will show you are compliant with law enforcement officials.
  • Breathalyzers have an error rate of .005 to .02%. Because of this, false positives are possible. Additionally, some medical conditions can impact how accurate these tests are.
  • Police officers may incorrectly use a breathalyzer testing device, which can impact the results.
  • Results are lower with breathalyzers if you were drinking recently. If you wait to have a blood test at the police station, your BAC will likely be higher.

It’s really up to you if you decide to take the breathalyzer test. There are potential penalties if you refuse a breathalyzer test. For a first offense, you can have your license revoked for up to 12 months, up to 24 months for a second offense, and up to 36 months for a third offense. Keep in mind that even if you aren’t convicted of the DUI charges, you will likely still lose your license for this amount of time.

Follow the Given Instructions for a Field Sobriety Test

If the officer requests that you undergo a field sobriety test, be sure you listen to the instructions and follow them. These tests require you to perform several simple tasks like standing on one leg and walking and turning. Be sure to keep these tips in mind:

  • Take your glasses off when the officer requests you do this to complete the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test.
  • Don’t begin the tasks until the officer tells you to since starting early is a sign of impairment.
  • Ask the officer to repeat the instructions if you didn’t hear them or understand them.
  • Keep your arms by your sides during the One-Leg Stand and Walk and Turn exercises.

Avoid Incriminating Yourself

The police will ask you questions. They may ask what you have been doing or if you have been drinking. You don’t have to answer these questions. You can stay silent.

You shouldn’t try to “talk your way out” of the arrest either. Usually, the more you talk, the more likely you will say something incriminating. You have the right to remain silent; while you are required to provide the officer with your name, license, and registration, you can stop talking completely at that point.

If you are arrested and charged with DUI, the less you say, the better, since everything can be used against you.

Request a DMV Hearing

Even if you comply with the breathalyzer testing, you may have your license taken by the officer when you are charged with DUI. In this situation, you must contact the DMV within seven days of your arrest to request a hearing. Upon requesting the hearing, you can get a temporary driving permit from the DMV that’s good for 60 days or until your hearing date.

Write Down Everything You Can Remember

Most DUI cases are won or lost because of the details about the arrest. You should take some time to write down everything you can remember about the stop. This includes where and when the arrest happened, the conversation you had with the officer, and any other detail you can recall.

Consider a Plea Agreement

Plea deals will be a smart solution for some DUI cases. You need to talk to our DUI attorneys and let us evaluate your case. We can then figure out if this is a smart solution for you.

With a plea bargain, your attorney will work to help you get reduced penalties for your charges. This also lets you know the outcome of your case. Going to a jury trial is unpredictable, even if you believe your case is solid. Accepting a plea deal will usually help you save money and time since you don’t have to worry about going through a jury trial.

While this is true, several factors will determine if a plea deal makes sense for your situation. It’s best to let your attorney investigate the situation and evidence the prosecution has. At this point, they can let you know if you should accept a plea deal or go to trial.

Many attorneys encourage their clients to accept a plea offer, simply because there’s no way for sure to know the outcome if you go to trial. While this is true, you have the right to move forward and have a trial if that is what you decide. Our legal team can help you decide what option is right for your situation.

Many DUI cases in Colorado are charged as traffic misdemeanors. When facing these charges, can move forward with a trial. Bench trials are dedicated by a judge. Sometimes, this option may be best for your DUI case. It’s best to talk to our DUI attorneys to know if this is the case for you.

If you choose not to accept a plea agreement, the judge or jury will determine the outcome of your case based on the evidence produced by your attorney and the prosecuting attorney. If your verdict is not guilty, your case is over unless an appeal is filed. Your case will proceed to the sentencing phase for a guilty verdict.

Call Our DUI Attorneys for Help with Your Case

Being arrested for DUI is a serious charge. You should not take it lightly since the consequences of these charges are serious and can impact you now and in the future. Our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC understands Colorado DUI law.

We can help you build a case and defend your rights and freedom. You can count on our attorneys to give you the aggressive representation you need and deserve to help you beat your criminal charges. While there are no guarantees in these situations, we are here to help. Contact us today so we can review the charges you are facing.

Read More

Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains: Denver’s Drug Laws

Can I Be Arrested for Pot in Colorado?

What Are Your Rights When Pulled Over?
/ 02 August, 2022

Ever been pulled over by the police? If so, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of anxiety and uncertainty that comes with it. What are your legal rights when pulled over? Do you have to answer the officer’s questions? Can you refuse a search? What happens if you get arrested?

Even the most law-abiding drivers can find themselves in a situation where a police officer pulls them over. While you may not be familiar with criminal law, it’s important to know your rights when interacting with law enforcement.

In this blog post, we will discuss the legal rights that you have when pulled over by a police officer. We will also provide some tips on how to handle yourself during a traffic stop. So, whether you’ve been pulled over before or are just preparing for the possibility, read on for helpful information.

If you have any specific questions about your own situation, be sure to consult a criminal defense attorney. For a free consultation, please contact us at (303) 529-2825. 

What are Your Legal Rights When Pulled Over?

Listed below are some of the rights that a police officer is obligated to uphold if you or a loved one are ever stopped.

The Right To Pull Over Safely

You may notice a police car trailing you on the highway or any other unsafe place to stop. If that ever happens, do not pull over just yet. Slow down to show the officer that you are obliging and drive until you get to a safe place for you and the officer.

An ideal stopping place would be away from oncoming traffic. If it is nighttime, be sure to find the nearest well-lit point. Once you have stopped your car, please do not attempt to leave it until the officer orders you out of your vehicle.

Remember to use your flasher to indicate your intention to stop. Otherwise, the officer might think you’re trying to be elusive.

The Right To Know Why You Were Pulled Over

You have a right to ask the officer why they pulled you over. A law enforcement officer has to have probable cause to pull you over. For instance, were you speeding, or was there a problem with your tail lights? The law requires the officer to explain your fault to you for whatever reason.

The Right To Be Informed of Your Miranda Rights

You’ve seen it in the movies: The police arrest a suspect and, before taking them into custody, read them their Miranda rights. But what do these rights actually mean?

Before arresting you or taking you into custody, a police officer should give you the “Miranda warning.” This warning summarizes your rights during an arrest. The officer should inform you of your right to contact an attorney and that the state can offer one if you cannot afford legal representation. Finally, they must tell you that whatever you say or do can be used against you in court. In general, your Miranda rights protect you from self-incrimination.

If an officer fails to inform you of your Miranda rights, notify your criminal law attorney immediately since their failure to inform you of your legal rights may tip the scales in your favor.

The law also demands that you verbally acknowledge that you understand your legal rights during an arrest. If you or your loved one do not speak English, the police officer arresting you must find a translator.

The Right To Remain Silent

You would be surprised by the number of people who made their case worse by speaking during an arrest. That is why any criminal defense lawyer will advise you to remain silent whenever a police officer pulls you over or arrests you.

One of the most fundamental elements of your Miranda rights is your right to remain silent during an arrest. However, some states require you to give the officer any identification details they may need, such as your name or license number.

The Right To Refuse To Consent to a Search

You also have a right to decline an unwarranted search from the police officer politely. This right also protects your belongings and car. However, if the officer has reason to suspect you of a crime, then this right may be overruled, and the officer will proceed to search your belongings.

If you have any visible weapons or drugs, that may be a reason for a further search. In some instances, the officer may use a trained police dog to sniff for drugs. If the dog discovers drugs in your belongings, this might be used to justify a search.

The Right To Refuse Sobriety Tests in the Field

If you do not want to, you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test.  However, you should know that refusing a sobriety test may have its disadvantages. Your refusal to take a sobriety test may negatively affect your license. It may also attract fines in the long run.

You may be asking what the big deal is with sobriety tests. First of all, you may fail a test even though you are entirely sober because most tests are not as accurate as they should be. Also, most law enforcement personnel lack the expertise necessary to conduct effective field sobriety testing.

And, if you’re under the influence of alcohol, do you really want to add to the evidence against you by taking the test? The best option is always to exercise your legal right, turn down the test, and contact a lawyer to discuss your options.

How To Behave When Pulled Over

Now that you know your legal rights when pulled over, here are some of the key things you should do so that you do not lose them. How you interact with the police will go a long way in determining whether you will be arrested or released. Here are some of the things that you need to do.

Keep Calm

It is easy to freak out when you hear the siren or see a police car tailing you through your side mirror. However, you should try your best to calm your nerves. In most cases, your interaction with the police officer may escalate if you are tense. Calmly answer the questions the officer may ask and politely stand for your rights if you need to. Being rude to the officer may only land you in further trouble.

Get Out of Your Car If Ordered

Contrary to what you might have read or heard on social media, you do not have the right to remain in the car once a law enforcement officer orders you to get out.

Remaining in your car after an officer has ordered you out may be seen as disrespectful and often be confused with resistance to arrest.

Take Note Of Everything The Officer Does

Be vigilant in everything that the police officer does. From the time they start following you to the time they either arrest or release you. This way, you will be able to narrate everything to your lawyer. If the police officer violates your rights, you will need to describe everything they did in court.

Keep Your Hands in Plain Sight

When the police officer is approaching you, chances are that they are also slightly nervous since they do not know your intentions. For all they know, you might be an armed criminal bent on escaping arrest. It pays to keep your hands where they can see them, preferably on your steering wheel. Do not make any sudden movements.

Avoid reaching into your pockets or under your car seats (even to get your license out) without notifying the police officer. Do not grab your safety belt, as this may give the police officer the impression that you have not been wearing it.

What Not To Do When Pulled Over

Even as you focus on the right things to do when pulled over, here are some things you ought not to do. Doing them will either legally implicate you or worsen the situation that you are already in.

Do Not Resist Arrest

Resisting arrest is a crime in most states. The law requires you to cooperate with law enforcement officers if they have reason to suspect you. They may arrest and take you into custody before filing charges against you.

While your first instinct may be to make a run for it, it is never a wise idea to do so. Resisting arrest will only worsen your situation and land you in further trouble. Cooperate with the officer, and once in custody, request to contact your lawyer.

Do Not Assault The Officer

One of the worst mistakes you can make when pulled over by a police officer is becoming violent. Assaulting a police officer is a federal crime that could land you in prison or have you paying hefty fines.

Keep your temper in check. No matter what the police officer does, please do not attempt to hit them. The court may sometimes interpret your hostility as proof of guilt. Be as gentle as you can.

Do Not Admit Fault

Whatever happens, never admit fault when pulled over. As we mentioned, whatever you say to the policeman may be used against you when proving your guilt. If the officer asks whether you know what you did wrong, politely decline and let them know you do not.

Listen as they explain your mistake to you, but don’t admit to it without consulting your lawyer first.

Get Your Defense From The Best

The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC offers you a haven for any criminal case you are charged with. We have the best criminal law attorneys who will represent you. Whether you are accused of driving under the influence or resisting arrest, we have all it takes to defend you and ensure a favorable outcome in your court case.

We know that everyone has legal rights despite the offenses that they commit. We are always there to ensure that the legal rights of any of our clients are fully met. Contact us today and let us build your defense team.

Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains: Denver’s Drug Laws
/ 27 July, 2022

If you are in Denver and are charged with a drug crime, it is crucial to have a competent Denver drug crime lawyer help you navigate the corridors of justice. The laws governing drug crimes in Denver can be complicated and vary based on the type of drug involved.

Whatever drug crime you are accused of, you need to understand how the Denver drug laws operate and what you can do to get out of trouble. This article will discuss some of the key aspects of Denver’s drug laws.

Denver Drug Schedules – The Basics

According to Colorado state law, controlled substances are divided into five “schedules” depending on the drug’s potential for misuse. They include:

Schedule I Drugs

This category is reserved for the most dangerous drugs with a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use, such as PCP, magic mushrooms, heroin, and LSD.

Contact a Denver drug crime lawyer if you are ever accused of a criminal charge involving these drugs.

Schedule II Drugs

Unlike Schedule I drugs, some Schedule II drugs are used across the state for medicinal purposes. These potent medications, however, pose a high risk of addiction. As a result, the state prohibits the recreational use of narcotics as well as their uncontrolled manufacture and distribution. Examples include opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamines.

Any use of such drugs outside a medical expert’s prescription is illegal and may be termed a misdemeanor.

Schedule III Drugs

This class of drugs offers medicinal benefits without the heightened risk of dependency. This means that they are entirely free of addictive elements. Codeine, anabolic steroids, ketamine, and barbiturates are some of the drugs that fall in this category.

Schedule IV Drugs

The drugs in this level have a low potential for abuse and dependency compared to Schedule III drugs but still pose some risk. You can even get them as prescription pills at various drug stores. Such drugs include Valium and Ambien.

Schedule V Drugs

These drugs are the least addictive on this list. They are great for medicinal use, and you can often buy them as prescription drugs over the counter. For instance, your cold meds fall into this category. If you are accused of abusing prescription drugs, your penalty will be much less severe as compared to the other drugs on the list.

What Substances Are Legal in Denver?

In Denver, as in the rest of Colorado, the possession and use of marijuana is legal for adults over the age of 21. You can purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries, and there are also several private clubs where members can consume marijuana on site.

However, it is important to note that consuming cannabis in public places is still illegal, and you can only possess a small amount of marijuana at any given time.

In addition to marijuana, alcohol is also legal in Denver. You can purchase beer, wine, and liquor from various retailers, and there are no restrictions on consumption in public places. However, it is worth noting that Denver has a higher than average number of DUI arrests. It is always important drink responsibly!

Tobacco products are also legal in Denver. However, several regulations are in place regarding their sale and use. For example, you must be over the age of 21 to purchase tobacco products, and smoking is prohibited in many public places.

Denver has also decriminalized possession of small amounts of other drugs, including psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms and MDMA. While these substances are still technically illegal, possession is punishable only by a fine, and there is no risk of jail time. This change in the law reflects a growing acceptance of drug use in the city.

Drugs Crimes In Denver

Drug crimes in Denver fall into various categories. Drug possession, drug use, and drug manufacturing are the main categories when it comes to drug crimes in Denver.

Drug Possession

You can either be accused of true possession, constructive, or joint possession of drugs in Denver. For instance, if the police find you in physical possession of marijuana, that will be classified as true possession.

Constructive possession, on the other hand, will come into play if you control the drugs. For instance, if you are a drug supplier or act as a middleman between the buyer and seller, your offense will fall into that category.

Lastly, if you own drugs in collaboration with other people, then it is a joint possession. This means that whatever legal action is taken against you and your co-owners will be based on shared drugs.

Depending on what drugs you have or the amount you have, drug possession can either be a felony or a misdemeanor. Penalties can range from a few years in prison to life imprisonment.

Drug Use

In general, drug use in Colorado is a class 2 misdemeanor that will stay on your records forever. Well, unless, of course, you seek an expungement. You can be arraigned in court if you are found using and abusing any of the controlled drugs in the state. The weight of your case will vary depending on the drug you abused.

You may also be charged with wrongful use of marijuana. For instance, if you are not of age, that could count as a misdemeanor. The same applies to when you use marijuana in public.

Colorado law does allow for the use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances. To be eligible for a medical marijuana card, patients must have a qualifying condition such as cancer, glaucoma, or HIV/AIDS. 

They must also obtain a recommendation from a licensed physician. Once approved for a card, patients are allowed to purchase up to two ounces of marijuana per month from a state-licensed dispensary. 

Manufacturing or Selling Drugs

Just like the other drug crimes, manufacturing or selling drugs can either be a felony or a misdemeanor. As such, this crime may attract different penalties depending on factors such as the type of drug you were manufacturing, the amount involved, and your criminal record.

Judges may be slightly more lenient towards first-time offenders as opposed to drug peddlers with a record of the same crime.

The law may also be a bit softer if you are peddling marijuana compared to other controlled drugs.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Offenses in Denver, Colorado?

The penalties for drug offenses in Denver, Colorado, depend on the type and amount of drug involved and the offender’s prior criminal history.

Possession of any controlled substance is a felony, and manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances is also a felony and can result in up to 32 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Hang on; there’s more.

Sales of controlled substances are also felonies, carrying a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. Anyone convicted of a drug offense will also have their driver’s license suspended for at least one year.

In addition, all drug offenses are subject to asset forfeiture, meaning that the government can seize any property used to facilitate the crime.

The bottom line is that the penalties for drug offenses in Denver are severe, and anyone charged with a drug offense should consult an experienced Denver drug crime lawyer as soon as possible.

What Are Some Possible Defenses to Drug Charges in Denver?

Depending on the facts of the case, there are several possible defenses to drug charges that a good Denver drug crime lawyer can help you build. They include;

1. Lack of Knowledge

Lack of knowledge means that the defendant did not know that the substance was drugs or that they thought it was something else.

For example, if the defendant was given a pill by someone else and told it was a vitamin, they could not be charged with drug possession if it is later revealed to be MDMA.

In these cases, the lack of knowledge defense can be used to get the charges dropped or reduced. Ultimately, whether or not this defense is successful will depend on the case’s specific facts.

2. Lack of Control

In Denver, as in all jurisdictions, if the accused can prove they did not have control of the drugs, they have a valid defense. This is typically accomplished by showing that someone else planted drugs or that the accused was unaware of their presence.

For example, suppose you are charged with drug possession after police find drugs in your car. In this case, you may be able to avoid conviction by proving that the drugs belonged to your passengers and that you were unaware of their presence.

3. Self-defense

This defense may be available if the accused can show that they only possessed the drugs because they were trying to protect themselves from harm.

For example, if someone was being threatened by a dealer and agreed to hold onto their drugs to stay safe, self-defense could be a valid defense. Another situation where self-defense might apply is if someone was forced to participate in a drug deal against their will.

This can be difficult to prove, but it may be possible to argue self-defense in some cases successfully.

4. Necessity

This defense applies when the accused person can show that they committed the crime to prevent more significant harm from occurring.

For example, suppose someone is charged with possessing methamphetamine, they may be able to argue that they were using the drug to self-medicate for a mental health condition and that there were no other options.

While this defense is not always successful, it can sometimes be used to convince a judge or jury to find a person not guilty of drug possession.

Hire A Denver Drug Crime Lawyer Today!

If you are charged with a drug offense in Denver, the best thing you can do is to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A competent criminal defense attorney should be able to examine the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action.

Contact the experienced Denver drug crime lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC now for a free consultation if you have been charged with a drug offense in Denver. With us on your side, you have a considerably better chance of a good outcome in your case. We believe in safeguarding your interests! So call us today and let us assist you!

Can I Be Arrested for Pot in Colorado?
/ 20 July, 2022

In the state of Colorado, marijuana is legal. While this is true, the quantity you are legally allowed to possess, and what you can sell and cultivate are highly regulated.

If you are arrested for the possession of marijuana in Colorado, you have rights. To protect your rights, it’s smart to get in touch with a drug arrest lawyer at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani. You can also learn more about the laws in Colorado related to marijuana here.

Drug Classifications of Marijuana in Colorado

The FDA released a classification system for controlled substances in 1970. This system organized different drugs based on their level of abuse and addiction. Every state, including Colorado, has used this categorization of drugs to help with the development of penalties and sentencing for various drug offenses.

Under this system, marijuana is a Schedule I drug. Some scientists have contested that it should not even be on this level for several years, since it is in the same category as ecstasy and LSD, under the claim that the research opportunities are too restricted. Even with compelling arguments, the DEA refused to change the drug’s scheduling in 2016.

What Is a Schedule I Drug?

A drug that is classified as a Schedule I drug is one that’s considered to be more likely to be abused. They can be used for medical reasons if a doctor prescribes them. If a user does become addicted to a Schedule I drug, then they may develop acute physical and psychological dependencies. Marijuana, cocaine, morphine, hydrocodone, methamphetamines, methadone, Codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone are all listed under this classification.

Understanding Colorado’s Laws on the Unlawful Possession, Cultivation, and Sale of Marijuana

Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, there are laws in place related to the possession, cultivation, and sale of it.

Colorado Possession Laws

While smoking marijuana in Colorado is legal, regulations are still in place regarding how much you can possess. The penalties for breaking these laws vary based on the amount you possess.

If you have over two ounces and up to six ounces of marijuana (or three or fewer ounces of marijuana concentrate), it is considered a level 2 drug misdemeanor. If convicted, the crime is punished with three to 12 months in jail and fines of $250 up to $1,000.

If you have over six ounces of marijuana (or three or more ounces of concentrate), it is considered a level 1 drug misdemeanor. If convicted, the crime is punished with six to 18 months in jail and fines of $500 up to $5,000.

The Dispensing, Transfer, or Sale of Illegal Amounts of Marijuana

In Colorado, there are certain actions related to marijuana that are prohibited. If you are caught doing any of these, different sentences apply. The things that are prohibited include the sale, the transfer, or the dispensing of:

  • Over 2.5 pounds total of marijuana or one pound or more of marijuana concentrate to any minor if the individual is an adult and two years older than the minor.
  • Over one ounce but six ounces or less of marijuana or over one-half ounce but three or fewer) ounces of marijuana concentrate to any minor (an individual under 18) if the individual is an adult and two years older than the minor.
  • One ounce (no more) of marijuana or one-half ounce (no more) of concentrate to any minor (an individual under 18) if the individual is an adult and at least two years older than the minor.

In Colorado, the sale of marijuana to minors has become a huge issue. If you are found committing this crime, you will face severe consequences.

Marijuana-Related Penalties in Colorado

In the state of Colorado, the dispensing, transfer, and sale of marijuana is still considered illegal even though there are legalization laws in place. The following amounts of marijuana are not allowed to be sold or distributed in the state:

  • Over one ounce but under two ounces: Comes with fines of up to $100.
  • Under two ounces: Considered a class two petty offense and carries a punishment of up to 15 days in jail and fines of up to $100.
  • Two ounces to five pounds to minors (15 to 18): Considered a class 4 felony and carries a punishment of two to six years in jail and fines of $2,000 up to $500,000.
  • Over five pounds to minors (15 to 18): Considered a class 3 felony and carries a punishment of four to 12 years in jail and a fine of $3,000 up to $750,000.

Protect Your Legal Rights

If you have been arrested in Colorado for a marijuana-related case, you have rights. You can reach out to our drug arrest lawyer at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani. We will work to help protect your rights in these cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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What Is a Level 1 Drug Felony in Colorado?

3 Types of Drug Charges in Denver

What Is a Level 1 Drug Felony in Colorado?
/ 11 July, 2022

A level 1 drug felony in Colorado is a crime that (if convicted) comes with prison time of eight to 32 years and fines of $5,000 up to $1 million. If aggravating circumstances are present in the case, then the minimum prison sentence is 12 years. Additionally, if convicted of this crime, then it can never be sealed from your criminal record.

Keep reading to learn more about this drug charge, your rights, and why you should get in touch with our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani for help building a viable defense.

What Is a Level 1 Drug Felony?

A level 1 drug felony is considered the most serious criminal charge when it comes to drug felonies. This type of crime carries a much harsher and more serious punishment than level two, three, and four drug felonies in the state.

What Type of Sentence Will You Face for a Level 1 Drug Felony in the State of Colorado?

The range of penalties for a level 1 drug felony in the state of Colorado is between eight and 32 years in prison. You will also face between $5,000 and $1 million in fines. There’s also a $4,500 surcharge and a three-year period of parole, which are both mandatory.

As mentioned above, if there are aggravating factors involved in the case, then the minimum prison sentence will be 12 years. Cases of aggravated level 1 drug felonies occur when the individual was:

  • In confinement for a felony
  • On parole
  • An escape from confinement for some felony
  • On bond or probation for a different felony

Common Examples of Level 1 Drug Felonies

Some of the most common crimes that occur that result in a person being charged with a level 1 drug felony in Colorado include:

  • The sale of controlled substances including over 225 grams of schedule I or II drugs or over 112 grams of cathinone, ketamine, heroine, or methamphetamine; or over 50 milligrams of flunitrazepam.
  • Selling marijuana if the total amount is over 50 pounds or there are more than 25 pounds of marijuana concentrate.
  • The sale of marijuana to a minor when there are over 2.5 pounds of the substance or over one pound of marijuana concentrate. Also, the adult must be two or more years older than the minor being sold to.

Is It Possible to Have a Level 1 Drug Felony Sealed from Your Record?

It is possible for a level 1 drug felony conviction in Colorado to be sealed after a period of five years has passed from when it closed. However, if the charge is dismissed, there’s no waiting period to request having your record sealed.

Can You Have a Trial When Facing a Level 1 Drug Felony?

If you are arrested and charged with a level 1 drug felony in Colorado, you can have a jury trial that includes twelve jurors or a bench trial. If a jury trial is had, then you can request a smaller jury if needed, but there has to be a minimum of six jurors.

What Happens if You Are Not a U.S. Citizen?

A non-citizen who is convicted of a level 1 drug felony in Colorado will face deportation from the United States after they have completed their prison citizen. This is why it is so important for non-citizens who are facing drug crimes to get in touch with a lawyer to help fight these charges. Our legal team can help in these situations to ensure you have the best possible representation and defense in these cases.

Is There a Statute of Limitations to File Criminal Charges?

Prosecutors in Colorado have three years to file a level 1 drug felony against someone after the offense takes place. If the defendant is not in the state, then the statute of limitations can be paused for up to five years.

Get in Touch with Our Legal Team for Help with Your Colorado Drug Charges

If you are facing level 1 drug felony charges, or any drug charges, in the state of Colorado, our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani is here to help. We can review the charges and evidence against you and work to help you build a solid defense. Our team is here to help with your situation. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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