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April 2019 Archives

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Which factors are most responsible for car wrecks?

A recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified what factors create the most danger in traffic crashes, and which are most protective. Interestingly, although the largest share of federal traffic safety dollars is spent on speed enforcement, only about 7 percent of all accidents are attributable to excessive speed.

151 people exonerated in 2018 after losing 1,639 years of freedom

Our criminal justice system is meant to protect defendants' rights. Many of our constitutional amendments were specifically written to guarantee certain rights for criminal defendants, including the right to due process of law, to have competent counsel, to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, to confront the evidence and witnesses against you and more.

Analysis: Red light cameras causing accidents, not preventing them

We have all seen them: the cameras that sit on top or near the traffic lights. To date, there are at least six in the City of Boulder. For example, there's one at the intersections of 28th Street and Arapahoe Avenue, yet another one at 47th Street and Valmont Road. But just why are these red light cameras there? What do they do? And do they actually reduce the number of accidents or create more? 

Understanding mandatory protection orders in Colorado

People need to be safe and feel safe. If there is a real threat of violence - or an act of violence has already occurred - it is important to make sure this does not happen again. To try to ensure this, Colorado has very strict laws regarding domestic violence and protection orders. This is a good thing when a real threat exists, but can create havoc in cases of false domestic violence accusations.

Supreme Court: Cops need warrants to search vehicles in driveways

The Fourth Amendment guarantees freedom from "unreasonable" searches and seizures by government agents like police officers. That has generally meant that the police are required to obtain warrants before they arrest someone or search their property -- unless the police can point to a recognized exception to the warrant requirement. These exceptions include emergencies, situations where the person consents, and situations where evidence could quickly and easily be carried away or destroyed.

Driving while high: 'If you feel different, you drive different'

Since marijuana was legalized in Colorado, we've learned a lot about driving while high. A surprising number of people seem to be unaware that driving under the influence of marijuana can get you charged with DUI. Some people don't even think that driving while high is dangerous.

Lawsuits: Defective highway guardrails caused horrific injuries

Two recent personal injury lawsuits accuse a national manufacturer of interstate guardrails of negligence. Two accidents occurred in which the guardrails failed to "telescope" into one another as designed. Instead, the pieces separated and speared into the crashed vehicles, killing one woman and causing another to suffer a leg amputation.

Does the Eighth Amendment prohibit excessive asset seizures?

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case in which a defendant's SUV was seized by the state after he was convicted of a drug crime. Many states and the federal government engage in asset seizures after drug and other arrests, often before a conviction has been obtained. All the government has to prove is that the assets in question can be tied to illegal activity -- either having been purchased with proceeds of a crime or used in the commission of it. So, what was the problem here?

Unsafe road conditions? Take precautions

While it's true people in Colorado understand snow driving better than anyone in the rest of the country, that doesn't mean it would hurt to brush up on exactly what you should do when the snow gets bad. And even though it's now spring time, it certainly doesn't hurt to keep the following pieces of information in mind for next year:

Divorcing when you have a child with special needs

When it comes to divorce, there is one major consideration that is different for parents of special needs children. Your child may not transition to normal adulthood at age 18. You may be co-parenting with your divorcing spouse for a long time to come. Moreover, certain financial choices you make during your divorce could not only impact their lives but also affect their eligibility for benefits.

File sealing: Giving people second chances

"No one should underestimate how much even the most minor of misdemeanor convictions — including marijuana or trespassing or any kind of conviction — can affect someone's ability to get a job, to get housing and to function fully in society." 

Being there for your imprisoned loved one

The imprisonment of a loved one can send your life into total disarray. On top of your own responsibilities, you may have taken on their responsibilities, too. While they are away, someone must collect their mail, contact their creditors, pay their bills, etc. 

Driving IS as dangerous as you think

We've all been there. You're driving down the road and you see the car in front of you swerving in and out of their lane. Are they drunk? Looking down at a phone? Trying to grab something out of the back seat? Whatever it is - the immediate thought of, "I need to get away from this person," is normal.

Top 5 things to know about felony DUIs in Colorado

Colorado takes a strict stance when it comes to repeat impaired or intoxicated driving offenses. While it used to be that drivers with three or more drunk driving convictions would get a misdemeanor charge for a fourth, all of this changed a few years ago. Now, repeat impaired or intoxicated drivers face much harsher sentencing and a potential felony conviction. 

Can you get a DUI for driving with a hangover?

Going out with friends last night, you thought you did the right thing. You had too much alcohol to drink, or used too much of some other substance, and decided to play it safe and spend the night.  No need to risk a drunk driving or intoxicated/impaired driving arrest. In the morning - maybe feeling not the greatest from the night before - you took a Tylenol, washed it down with a big glass of water and started the drive home.

Insurers: Preliminary data shows legalization increases crashes

It's not all fun and games in the states that have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. As you might expect, a good deal of responsibility is required when using legal weed -- especially when you will be driving. Unfortunately, it appears that legalizing cannabis may have caused the car crash rate to increase by as much as 10 percent.

Denver group pushes to decriminalize mushrooms

You may have heard about an initiative to decriminalize “magic mushrooms.” Do not take this to mean that psychedelic mushrooms are legal or that – if passed – this would apply to Boulder. Possession of these mushrooms is still very much illegal and people caught with them still face very serious criminal charges.

After overdoses, should drug dealers be charged with homicide?

Alexandria S. is not what you think of as a drug dealer. A suburban mother of three, she became addicted to her prescription Percocet while being treated for back pain. When she couldn't get off Percocet, she turned to heroin, which is chemically similar. Across the street, her neighbor was also suffering from an opioid addiction.

3 steps to file sealing in Colorado

It is the dreaded question on a job application: Have you ever been arrested for a crime? This one question alone can quickly turn a promising opportunity into a moot point, as the employer suddenly glosses over the rest of your resume and credentials.

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