When Do You Need a Criminal Attorney in Colorado?
Whether you were charged with a misdemeanor violation of the state’s fire ban or were involved in a felony case in Grand Junction, it’s never a good idea to sit on a criminal charge in Colorado. From the damaging impact on————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- your personal and professional reputation to the increased likelihood of jail time, neglecting to retain proper legal representation in a criminal case is a sure way to receive the brunt of your possible sentence. If you’ve recently been charged with a criminal offense, here’s what you need to know about hiring an attorney.
The role of criminal defense
If you’ve ever seen an episode of Law & Order, you’re in luck. Criminal defense attorneys operate in a largely similar capacity to their television counterparts. They’re involved in every stage of the defense process, from assessing the particulars of a case to advising you on your plea, as well as what happens should your case progress to trial. As opposed to a public defender, a criminal defense attorney has much more time and effort to devote to your specific case.
Whether you’re looking at a Colorado Springs or Denver criminal attorney, their role in the courtroom is invaluable if your case goes to a trial. They’ll also craft the best approach for your case based on whether or not your case takes place in front of a jury or a single judge. When a jury is involved, much of your attorney’s efforts go towards assessing how to present your case and plea to a panel of strangers whereas their existing knowledge of how your particular judge sentences cases have a greater impact on a single judge hearing.
Common criminal cases
Not all charges under the umbrella of criminal law are equal in severity or consequence. However, any criminal charge should be taken seriously no matter what. Even in a legal marijuana state like Colorado, one of the most common criminal offenses is drug possession. Where you can and can’t legally carry and use marijuana varies throughout the state and some cities even have their own bans.
Another common criminal offense is driving under the influence. In a state that is rife with breweries, distilleries, and pubs, Colorado sees plenty of DUI and DWI offenses. As a result, disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct charges are fairly common as well. If it’s your first DUI offense, you may be lucky enough to take a diversion program, pay a fine, and do community service. If you’re facing your second or later intoxicated driving charge, the penalties quickly escalate, and your need for a qualified attorney skyrocket.
Navigating the sentencing process
The saying goes “innocent until proven guilty” but in the court of public opinions, that’s not necessarily true. Once you’re charged with a crime, or even if you’re falsely accused, that’s typically your first punishment. Frequently, accused criminal offenders deal with a significant dip in reputation. While an attorney will have a difficult time restoring your good name, they’ll have a much easier time clearing it or at least reducing your sentence.
If you’re thinking of representing yourself, understand that the odds are against you. While many prosecutors and defenders have relationships with one another and are willing to strike deals, the likelihood of a positive sentence reduction plummets if you’re on your own. A good criminal attorney knows how to use their connections and industry knowledge to reduce the severity of your sentence through a no contest plea or even get a case dismissed. This will vary from case to case, though. Whether or not it’s your first offense also has a bearing on the effectiveness of a sentence reduction, as well.
The time is now
If you’re asking yourself if you need to hire a criminal defense attorney, chances are the answer is yes. If you’ve been charged with a crime, the sooner you hire legal representation, the better. It’s your best bet for protecting yourself at every stage of the process, from the arrest onwards. Unless you’re absolutely confident that you can represent yourself to a favorable outcome, do some research on Colorado’s top criminal attorneys so you make the right decision for both yourself and your case.