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What Steps to Take When Falsely Accused of Assault?

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27 May, 2022

If someone falsely accuses you of assault, the charge and potential conviction may impact your life in several ways. Just the accusation of this can cause issues for you at work, resulting in you losing your job.

Even just the accusation of assault can cause problems between you, your friends, and your family. If you face this situation, get in touch with our legal team at Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani right away. We can fight for your rights and help you overcome these charges.

What to Do if You Are Falsely Accused of Assault

When facing a false assault charge, there are a few steps you need to take to protect your rights. In this situation, we encourage you to do the following:

Use Your Right to Remain Silent

You aren’t legally required to disclose information besides your personal identification when questioned by the police. You don’t have to explain what happened or your side of things related to the event in question. You also don’t have to provide any type of written statement. Taking steps to protect your rights and remaining silent ensures that you aren’t providing information to the prosecution they can use against you to make you seem guilty of the crime.

Gather Evidence Related to the Situation

It’s a good idea to stay active and involved in your defense from the time you are arrested. If you are falsely accused of assault, then you need to begin gathering evidence to help prove you are innocent. Make sure to remember and tell your attorney about any witnesses who saw what happened. All this is going to be important when it comes to building a defense for your case.

Get in Touch with Our Legal Team

If you happen to be convicted of the assault charge, you can face severe consequences. Sometimes this even includes jail time. If you have been wrongly accused of assault, our team will start working on your defense right away. Our goal is to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.

Your Rights When Falsely Accused of Assault

No matter how someone makes you feel when you are arrested, you have rights. If you are falsely accused of assault, the rights that you have include:

  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to receive legal representation
  • The right to a speedy and fair trial
  • The right to gather and present evidence to defend yourself

It’s important to remember that with any criminal charge, you are innocent until the prosecution proves that you are guilty.

Tips to Help You with Your Case When Falsely Accused of Assault

If you are facing some type of wrong or false assault charge, it’s important to ensure you make smart decisions as you navigate through the legal system.

When facing these charges, we encourage you to:

  • Always cooperate with the police during your arrest. If you are aggressive or fight back, it may make you appear guilty.
  • Take advantage of the right you have to remain silent
  • Gather evidence to prove your side of the case
  • Don’t contact the person that accused you of assault
  • Never post on social media about the assault accusation, your arrest, or other related information
  • Show up for all your meetings with your lawyer and court dates

The Impact of False Imprisonment on Assault Charges

Something that is common in many assault charges in cases of false imprisonment. This occurs when someone prevents someone else from being able to move freely. If you are in a confrontation or argument with someone else, make sure you allow them to leave or walk away if desired.

Make sure to never keep them from leaving, which means don’t stand in front of an exit or door. Also, don’t force someone to stay in a spot or sit if they are trying to leave.

We Can Help You Build a Defense Against False Assault Charges

If you are falsely accused of assault, the legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani is ready to help with your case. We will investigate your situation and gather evidence to help prove your innocence. We have defended countless cases like yours and will work tirelessly and fight for your rights aggressively inside and outside the courtroom. The best thing you can do is to get in touch with us as soon as possible after you are arrested. This will give us plenty of time to build a strong defense for your case.

Read more: 

The Possible Impact of Social Media on Your Colorado Criminal Case

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

Court Etiquette and Your Criminal Charge

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26 May, 2022

Going to court to defend yourself against criminal charges is serious. When you are in the courtroom, the outcome of your case and, sometimes, your future lies in the hands of the judge or jury.

Because of this, you want to make a good impression. Part of making a good impression is following proper courtroom etiquette.

At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, we work to prepare our clients for court, including helping them present themselves the proper way. Some etiquette tips that will go a long way for your day in court can be found here.

Turn Off Your Electronic Devices

There are signs in almost every courthouse in the area (and the country) that prohibit the use of phones inside the courtrooms. Even though these signs and warnings are seen everywhere, phones are regularly going off and disrupting the proceedings.

In some cases, the judge may even get so frustrated with this that they charge the guilty party with contempt of court. This isn’t uncommon and is something that has happened in the past.

Don’t Take Tobacco, Gum, Drink, or Food into the Courtroom

In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for attorneys and judges to smoke a cigarette or cigar in their chambers. In some cases, this even happened during the trial. Today, though, gum, drinks, food, tobacco, and other items like this are prohibited inside the courtroom. You should also leave your e-cigarettes at home.

Wear the Right Clothing

When you go to court, you need to dress in a way that shows respect and dignity – for yourself and the court. Don’t wear t-shirts with offensive pictures or words, cut-off shorts, caps, low-cut blouses, or spandex to court. Wearing pajamas isn’t a good idea either.

It’s also worth noting that there are some courts that have stricter dress codes than others, so it is best to know ahead of time what is expected.

Stand When the Judge Enters

The judge presiding over your case is the “authority figure” in the courtroom. However, they also represent the law. It is respectful and expected that you stand when they enter. When the bailiff says “all rise,” be sure to stand up to show your respect for the judge, court, and law.

Don’t Take Your Kids to Court

In most situations, the courtroom is not a place that children need to be. Not only will they have to sit quietly for an extended amount of time, but in some situations, the topics being discussed aren’t always kid friendly.

In fact, there are many jurisdictions that forbid children from being in the courtroom. Also, daycare service isn’t provided. Because of this, you need to make sure you have arranged for childcare on the date you are supposed to be in court.

Don’t Engage in “Inappropriate” Behavior

Remember, when you are in court, especially for a criminal charge, it is a serious place. You need to show respect for the authority and dignity of the court. Falling asleep, propping your feet up, and rustling newspapers is not respectful.

Avoid Outbursts in the Courtroom

It’s not uncommon for emotions to be high when you are in the courtroom. After all, the verdict or decision of your court case (especially for criminal charges) can change your life. Even though this is the case, part of courtroom etiquette is refraining from outbursts, facial expressions, or gestures.

Protecting Your Rights in Court by Following Proper Courtroom Etiquette

As you can see, there are a few things you should and should not do when in court. If you want to make a good impression and set yourself up for success, then following the etiquette tips here is highly recommended.

At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, we are ready to help ensure you represent yourself well in court. We will go over proper courtroom etiquette and ensure that you don’t make any missteps that may hurt your case. Our goal is to help you achieve the most positive outcome for your criminal case possible.

Read More:

Understanding the Criminal Process in Colorado

The Possible Impact of Social Media on Your Colorado Criminal Case

Understanding the Criminal Process in Colorado

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22 February, 2022

Criminal procedures can be complex, laden with various steps that can be nearly impossible to navigate. In no other state is this truer than in Colorado. 

Colorado has one of the most complicated criminal procedures of any state in the country. If you or someone you know is facing criminal proceedings, you need a criminal lawyer who is well-versed in the state’s system. 

Hiring the right criminal defense lawyer is indeed a must to battle criminal charges, but it is half the battle. The other half lies in knowing what to expect during criminal defense proceedings. Colorado’s criminal process consists of eight steps, beginning with the arrest and ending with sentencing. 

Between these two points is when your criminal defense lawyer will be of most help. Read on to learn more about the steps involved in Colorado’s criminal process. 

1. Arrest 

The criminal process in Colorado begins as it does in many other states — with an arrest. The arrest involves a police officer taking a suspected offender into custody. 

If a police officer has a warrant of arrest, he or she can take a suspected offender into custody. However, there are situations wherein a police officer can make an arrest without a warrant. 

One situation is if the police officer sees the person in the act of committing the crime. For example, if a police officer was on routine patrol and sees an individual robbing another, he or she can go in pursuit and arrest the culprit. 

The officer, with sufficient reason to suspect an offender, can also make an arrest. In such a situation, the arrest would still be lawful even if the suspect was not caught in the act. 

During an arrest, the police officer may read an offender’s Miranda rights. This is not an absolute necessity, especially in situations when the offender was caught committing a crime. 

2. Advisement

There are two advisements during criminal case proceedings — the first and the second. 

The first advisement represents the first time the offender will be in court. During the first advisement, the offender — now the defendant — will be notified that legal action is being taken against him or her. 

The court will also inform the defendant that he or she will be under investigation. It is also during this time when the court informs the defendant of the charges. 

During the second advisement of charges, the court needs to ensure that the defendant understands the reasons for his or her arrest. Failure of the court to do this will constitute a mistrial, delaying the resolution of the case even further. 

3. Bond Hearing

The second advisement involves the judge setting a bond amount. The bond is an amount of money the defendant needs to pay. By paying the set bond, the defendant can be free temporarily. The defendant will not be in police custody throughout the resolution of the criminal case. 

As you might imagine, the bond can be worth a lot of money. The defendant with the aid of a criminal lawyer can challenge the amount and petition for a lower bond. 

Defendants in criminal proceedings are entitled to being free on a bond. The only exception is for defendants accused of homicide.

There are consequences for a defendant trying to escape the state or refusing to report back to court on a bond. If the defendant does either, he or she will be arrested.  

4. Preliminary Hearing

The preliminary hearing is where you will really need the counsel and representation of your criminal lawyer. During the preliminary hearing, your criminal lawyer can challenge the accusations and charges brought to you by the DA (district attorney). 

During the preliminary hearing, the judge will not be making any rulings. However, it is during this stage of the proceedings that your attorney can disprove any evidence the DA has against you. 

Doing this successfully will result in reasonable doubt in regards to your charges. This can take you a step closer to resolution and acquittal. 

5. Disposition Hearing

The disposition hearing takes place after your criminal lawyer’s full and comprehensive review of all evidence and records pertinent to your case. The disposition hearing is not a trial. Rather, it is time when your criminal lawyer can negotiate a plea with the DA. 

A plea bargain during the disposition hearing can have several outcomes. These can be: 

  • The reduction of a sentence
  • The dismissal of some charges
  • An agreement on the sentence

Because the disposition hearing is not a trial, the DA is under no obligation to present all evidence against the defendant. The accused will also not be in attendance and will not need to testify. 

6. Arraignment

Arraignment is when you either plead guilty or not guilty. A plea of “not guilty” sets in motion events that will culminate in a jury trial and final sentencing. 

If you plead guilty, on the other hand, you will be sentenced based on the terms agreed upon during your plea bargain. 

7. Trial Before a Jury (If You Plead Not Guilty)

The jury trial is the final step in the criminal process before sentencing. It is during this time that all parties involved in the case will be in attendance. It is also when the victim will testify, along with the DA’s complete presentation of his or her case against you. 

The jury trial takes place before a judge and jury. The jury will consist of six to 12 people, to whom your criminal lawyer and the plaintiff’s counsel will argue their respective cases. 

Once your criminal lawyer and the DA have presented their cases, the jury will convene for deliberation. The results of the deliberation will result in your exoneration or conviction. 

8. Sentencing

If the jury deems that the DA has not mounted a sufficient case and argument against the defendant, the jury will not find the defendant guilty. On the other hand, if there is sufficient evidence that points to the accused’s hand in the crime, the jury will find the defendant guilty as charged. 

After the jury’s deliberation, the judge will make a decision. The judge will decide on the defendant’s punishment or go based on the results of the jury’s consensus. 

Hire an Experienced Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer

The criminal process of Colorado can be lengthy and complicated. While the state allows for self-representation, it is not a course of action recommended by anybody. Going about fighting charges on your own will be an uphill battle — one you are likely to lose. 

The pivotal part of fighting off charges is by proving reasonable doubt. In other words, the ability to disprove the charges brought by the DA can make or break your criminal defense. For this, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows the nuances of Colorado’s criminal court process. 

If you or someone you know is anticipating criminal proceedings, know that there is help available. For decades, we at Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC  have fought for clients facing criminal charges and won. 

Additional reading:

5 Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Lawyer

16 Terms You Need to Know in Criminal Defense Cases

5 Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Lawyer

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01 December, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A criminal case that goes to trial can be:

  • Drawn out
  • Expensive
  • A humiliating and unnerving experience

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

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

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

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

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

Hire a Denver Criminal Lawyer that Ticks All Your Boxes

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

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

Sources:

https://www.robertmhelfend.com/criminal-defense/questions-ask-defense-attorney/

https://bit.ly/3FYPuSm

https://www.alu.edu/alublog/what-makes-a-good-lawyer/

Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Attorney

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23 October, 2021

7 Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Lawyer

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

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

1. Do You Offer a Free Initial Consultation?

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

2. How Long Have You Been Practicing Criminal Law?

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

3. What Are Your Fees?

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

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

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

5. Who Will be Handling the Case?

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

6. How Many Jury Trials Have You Handled?

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

7. How Available Are You?

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

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

Types of Defenses for Criminal Cases

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02 July, 2021

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

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

Self-defense 

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

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

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

Alibi defense 

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

Coercion and duress

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

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

The insanity defense

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

Other common types of defenses for criminal cases may include:

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

The burden of proof

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

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

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

16 Terms You Need to Know in Criminal Defense Cases

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30 June, 2021

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

1. Plaintiff

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

2. Defendant

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

3. Presumption of innocence

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

4. Beyond reasonable doubt

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

5. Felony

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

6. Misdemeanor

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

7. Probable cause

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

8. Fourth amendment rights

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

9. Plea bargain

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

10. Bail

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

11. Cross-examination

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

12. Due process

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

13. Acquittal

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

14. Sentencing

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

15. Legal representation

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

16. Miranda rights

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

Contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney today

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

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

How A Criminal Background Check Affects You In Colorado

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27 May, 2021

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

What is a criminal background check?

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

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

How long does a criminal background check take?

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

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

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

Different types of criminal record checks

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

1. National criminal background check

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

2. Federal criminal court check

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

3. State court checks

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

4. County court checks

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

5. Sex offender registry check

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

How far back does a background check go in Colorado?

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

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

How to remove criminal records from a background check

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to read next: Arrest Warrant vs. Bench Warrant vs. Search Warrant: What They Mean For Your Colorado Criminal Case

What You Need To Know About Your Miranda Rights In Colorado

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13 May, 2021

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

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

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

Why is it called Miranda Rights?

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

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

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

What are the Miranda Rights?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Do juveniles and minors have Miranda Rights?

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

When do Miranda Rights have to be read?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Protect your rights with an experienced criminal defense attorney

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

What to read next:

How To Defend Against Assault Charges In Colorado

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06 May, 2021

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

Assault charges 101: What is assault?

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

In Colorado, there are three degrees of assault:

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

What are the penalties in Colorado for assault?

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

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

What is assault and battery?

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

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

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

What is aggravated assault?

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

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

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

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

What are the elements required to prove an assault?

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

What are the legal defenses to assault charges?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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