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What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony 

22 November, 2022

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

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

  • Infractions
  • Misdemeanors
  • Felonies 

Related Article: Facing the Failure To Appear In Colorado Criminal Courts

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

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

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

Felony vs. Misdemeanor Crimes 

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

Some common examples of misdemeanor crimes include the following:

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

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

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

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

Related Article: 5 Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Lawyer

Types of Felony Crimes in Colorado 

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

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

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

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

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

Are DUI Charges Misdemeanors or Felonies in Colorado?

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

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

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

Related Article: Understanding the Criminal Process in Colorado

The “Wobble Statute” for Felony Drug Charges in Colorado

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

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

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

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

Related Article: Court Etiquette and Your Criminal Charge

The Thin Line Between Colorado Misdemeanors and Felonies 

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

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

Related Article: How Character Letters Can Help In Colorado Criminal Cases

Colorado Alternative Sentencing for Misdemeanors and Felonies 

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

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

Sealing Misdemeanor and Felony Records 

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

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

  • Traffic misdemeanors
  • Domestic violence crimes
  • Crimes of violence

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

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

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

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

Call Our Legal Team for Help and Information 

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

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

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Common Uses for a Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer: Statistics, History, and More

Why You Need an Attorney for Misdemeanor Charges

Common Uses for a Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer: Statistic, History, and More

28 September, 2022

In 2020, Denver was recorded as having a higher average crime rate than other cities in the U.S. This applies to both violent crimes and property crimes.

While this is true, the city is considered a generally safe place to live.

However, there are situations when you may find you have been arrested for a crime. Regardless of if you are guilty, it’s important to begin forming a strong defense for the charges. One of the best ways to build a solid and effective defense is by using the services of a Denver criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC.

Reasons to Hire a Criminal Attorney

Hiring a criminal lawyer gives you the best odds of the courts opting to dismiss or reduce the criminal charges you face. The lawyer you hire will have the connections, information, and knowledge needed to help build a strong defense. This is true whether you face a drug possession charge, DUI, domestic violence, or another criminal charge.

When you hire our team of legal professionals, you can count on us to search for any weaknesses or loopholes in the prosecutor’s case, which will help increase your chances of getting through the criminal proceedings without a conviction. For example, we can help argue that you should receive a reduced sentence, which is a viable possibility for many first-time offenders.

Along with providing the aggressive criminal defense that you deserve, our legal team will help you navigate this emotionally draining and stressful situation. We will answer all your legal questions and provide you with sound counsel and advice. Our team will also help you better understand what you can expect from a criminal trial and go to scheduled hearings on your behalf. We can also provide many other services to help you feel hopeful about your future.

Top Crimes in Denver (2021 vs. 2022)

It’s important to understand what the most common types of crimes are seen in Denver. We can provide representation for anyone who is facing criminal charges for one or more of these charges and others.

Compared to 2021, the following crimes are up for 2022:

  • Sexual Assault: Up by 12.4% for 2022
  • Property Crime: Up by 6% for 2022
  • Car Thefts: Up by 22.3% for 2022
  • Serious Assaults: Up by 9.6% for 2022
  • Reported Violent Crime: Up by 8.7% for 2022
  • Robberies: Up by 5.6% for 2022
  • Drug Crimes: Up by 24.5% for 2022
  • Car Thefts: Up by 22.3% for 2022.

The crimes that have remained on par with 2021 rates include DUIs and hit-and-run accidents. Several crimes are down from 2021, including bike thefts and burglaries.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need a drug possession lawyer, DUI lawyer, or a criminal defense lawyer for another crime, we are here to help.

Benefits Offered by Representation from Our Well-Rounded Legal Team

With help from our attorneys and legal staff, you can feel confident that you have a wealth of experience on your side. We offer our clients a collaborative approach to ensure they get the best possible representation for their situation. We have connections in the Denver area and beyond that can help us build a solid defense for our clients. While we can offer an array of criminal defense services, some of the most common cases we see include:

  • DUIs
  • Drug possession (or other drug-related charges)
  • Domestic violence
  • Assault
  • Misdemeanor crimes
  • Felony defense
  • Weapons charges
  • Theft
  • Juvenile defense
  • Criminal record sealing
  • Traffic defense services

As you can see, our law firm is dedicated to helping those who are facing minor and more serious criminal charges in Denver and surrounding areas.

What to Consider When Searching for a Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

If you need the services of a criminal defense attorney in Denver, you need to realize that not all law firms or lawyers are the same. You should research your options before choosing what law firm best suits your needs. You can find the right one for your situation by considering the following:

  • A lawyer who is communicative and responsive and can give your case the attention it needs and deserves.
  • Experience representing clients in similar situations.
  • A track record of positive case results.
  • Comprehensive understanding of all laws related to your criminal charges.

Don’t Wait to Seek Representation from Our Criminal Defense Attorneys in Denver

Have you been charged with a crime in Denver? If so, our legal team can provide you with the legal representation you need. Get in touch to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, we can provide the representation you need for the legal charges you are facing.

Read More 

Why You Need an Attorney for Misdemeanor Charges

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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.

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!

What Not to Do if Pulled Over in Denver?

17 June, 2022

There’s no question that if you are pulled over in Denver, it can be a confusing and stressful situation. When you are under stress, it isn’t uncommon to make mistakes. However, making a mistake when being pulled over can lead to serious consequences.

Our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani is ready to help if you do find yourself in trouble with the law, but we also know that avoiding these types of situations is best. Some of the things you should never do when pulled over by the police in Denver can be found here.

Being informed is the best way to protect yourself and your rights. Keep this in mind to ensure that you know what to do and what to avoid.

Don’t Panic

When you see red and blue lights flashing behind you, you need to stay calm and avoid panicking. Usually, police officers are going to be on high alert when they pull someone over. Because of this, you need to stay calm and be sure to cooperate with the officer. Remember, the police have a job to do – enforce the law. If you panic, it will make the situation tenser and can lead to undesirable outcomes.

Don’t Take Your Seatbelt Off

You should wait until the officer is at your window and can see what you are doing to reach down to remove your seatbelt. While it may be a habit to take off the belt when you stop your car, if you remove it before the officer comes up to talk to you, they may assume that you were not wearing one at all. In this case, they are going to issue you a ticket for this, too.

Don’t Talk Unless the Officer Speaks to You

You should always wait to say anything until the officer lets you know why you have been pulled over. Be sure you give them time to approach your vehicle and let them take the lead when it comes to a conversation. If you talk first, it may make you seem guilty or make it look like you are being combative. These are two things that may lead to more trouble in the long run.

Don’t Argue with the Officer

Even if you don’t agree with the allegations the officer has made against you, it is important to be compliant and obedient to their requests. This is going to help the entire situation move along more smoothly.

Don’t get angry or lose your temper. If you do, this is going to be included in the officer’s notes. If you go to court to make a plea for a reduced charge or lesser sentence, the judge or prosecuting attorney will ask the attorney to let them know more about why you were stopped. If the police officer reports to them that you said something inappropriate or that you were hostile, then it may be difficult to achieve a positive outcome for your case.

Also, staying kind and upbeat may help you avoid getting a ticket – while this isn’t guaranteed, it can’t hurt.

Don’t Reach for Anything Until You Tell the Officer What You Are Doing

If a police officer is coming up to your vehicle and you make a sudden movement, it may be seen as a threat. This means that you should never reach for something until the officer requests it – this includes your license or registration.

If you want to reach for something, let the officer know what you are doing first. Also, only roll your window down a few inches so that you can pass your license and insurance card to the officer.

You need to also keep your hands visible so that the officer can see them clearly. Sometimes, police are nervous when they come up to a vehicle. They don’t know what the intentions are of the occupants or if they have any weapons on them. Because of this, you should make sure that you always keep your hands visible.

Let Our Legal Team Help if You Are Facing Criminal Charges

Being pulled over can be a difficult and stressful situation. While this is true, our legal team is ready to help. Contact us today for more information. We can review your case and situation and help build a strong defense strategy. Our goal is to provide aggressive Denver legal defense for our clients to help them with their legal situation.

While we can’t make any guarantees, you can count on us to use all our resources and abilities to help you in your time of need.

What Steps to Take When Falsely Accused of Assault?

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.

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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

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.

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Understanding the Criminal Process in Colorado

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Understanding the Criminal Process in Colorado

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

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.



Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Attorney

23 October, 2021

7 Questions to Ask Your Denver Criminal Lawyer

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

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

1. Do You Offer a Free Initial Consultation?

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

2. How Long Have You Been Practicing Criminal Law?

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

3. What Are Your Fees?

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

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

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

5. Who Will be Handling the Case?

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

6. How Many Jury Trials Have You Handled?

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

7. How Available Are You?

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

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

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