In the early stages of a case, it might seem like the seemingly unlimited power and resources of the government are crashing down on you. This can be terrifying and overwhelming. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney that has a broad base of experience is critical. There might be defenses to your case you are not aware of, ways to possibly suppress evidence, or other strategies that can help limit your exposure. It is also important that your attorney is familiar with the local court system, which includes the prosecutor, the judges, and sometimes, the police involved in investigating your case. Do not go into the courtroom without an experienced and well informed advocate.
In many cases, it is important that your defense start gathering evidence as quickly as possible. Memories fade over time and the physical evidence will not be the same in 30 days. Getting a jump on these issues prior to your first court appearance goes a long way in increasing your options and setting up a winning game plan for your case.
What are the penalties?
If incarceration is imposed, jail is usually imposed for a misdemeanor while prison is imposed for most felonies. The most serious misdemeanor offense is a class one misdemeanor and is punishable with 6 to 24 months in the county jail. There are three different levels of misdemeanors and they all have different sentencing ranges. For felonies, there are six different levels of severity, each with its own sentencing range. On the bottom end, class six felonies carry anywhere from 1 year to 18 months DOC. On the high end, class one felonies are punishable with a lifetimes sentence without parole. If a prison sentence is imposed, Colorado has a very complicated statutory scheme that explains how and when an inmate is eligible for parole and other release options if an inmate is not eligible for release on parole.
Many felony sex offenses carry what is called an "indeterminate" sentence. This penalty is extreme because it imposes an undetermined length of prison or probation and the inmate is only released if and when the person is considered rehabilitated. Misdemeanor and felony sex offenses also must comply with the guidelines promulgated by the Sex Offender Management Board. These rules can impact whether or not you can have contact with minors (including your children), where you are allowed to live, whether you can access the internet, and many other things.
Many times, the fight in a criminal case is over whether a "community based" penalty should be imposed or incarceration should be imposed. Examples of community based sentences would include probation, community corrections, treatment courts, and other sentences that make rehabilitation the primary goal of the sentence. A person may need rehabilitation for a drug issue, mental health issue, or something else.
Generally speaking, most misdemeanors and felony offenses in Colorado are probation eligible. Most of the exceptions to this general rule involve convictions for violent crimes. Colorado's probation statute gives judges the discretion to impose a wide variety of conditions, so long as the conditions are intended to help a person lead a law abiding life.
You Will Need An Experienced Criminal Attorney
Are you facing Felony or Misdemeanor charges in Longmont, Berthoud, Erie, Niwot, Firestone, Frederick, Lyons, Mead or Dacono? Choosing an experienced lawyer is the best decision you can make early on in your case. To schedule a free consultation, call The Merson Law Office at 970-219-2923 or 303-776-3511. Or fill out an intake form here.
Merson Law Office, LLC 636 Coffman, Suite 200 Longmont, Colorado 80501 firstname.lastname@example.org (970) 219-2923 or (303) 776-3511 Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.