Boulder Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged with a crime feels overwhelming and confusing. The criminal justice system processes people without regard to their individual circumstances, personalities and stories.
Often, judges are concerned with moving through their dockets, prosecutors are focused on controlling their caseloads, and the individual people caught in the system are categorized as “defendants,” labeled with a case number and processed. Frequently, people exit the system feeling deprived of their day in court and angered by the way that they were treated.
At Dolan + Zimmerman LLP, we will vigorously protect your right to a fair and just process. To our Boulder criminal defense lawyers, you are more than just a case number. You are a person who deserves to be treated with dignity. By telling your story to others involved in the justice system, we can help you seek a fair outcome.
Why Work With Us?
- We will search for solutions to your case from every angle to achieve the best possible results.
- We are committed to our clients and intentionally limit our caseload to ensure we give each case the attention it deserves.
- Our team of attorneys are available 24/7 for support and assistance. You will never have to worry about accessibility or updates.
Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney in Boulder
Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense in Boulder, it is critical to have a skilled criminal defense lawyer representing you. Once you retain a criminal defense lawyer, they will take a number of steps to develop the best defense strategy for you, such as:
- Investigating your case, including the facts surrounding your arrest and the available evidence. Depending on the issues you face, your attorney may hire expert witnesses to testify and dispute the evidence against you.
- Explaining the criminal court process and their defense strategy. Your Boulder criminal defense attorney will advise you on what plea you should enter and attend your arraignment, as well as all other court hearings with you. They will file any necessary motions, such as a motion to suppress improperly obtained evidence, and will represent you at trial if necessary.
- Your attorney may attempt to resolve your case through a plea agreement with the prosecutor to reduce your charges to a lesser offense, reduce your sentence, or both. Hiring a defense attorney with an established name and network is beneficial and helps negotiations and proceedings move more quickly.
When it comes to your future and your freedom, hiring an experienced Boulder criminal defense attorney is crucial to the success of your case.
Handling Misdemeanors to Felonies
All criminal matters can impact your life in an unpleasant way. At our firm, we handle numerous types of small and large cases, including:
- Driving under the influence: We handle first-time DUI and DWAI charges, repeat DUI and DWAI charges, felony DUI charges, vehicular assault and vehicular homicide charges, and other types of charges related to driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Sex offenses: We represent clients charged with sex assault, indecent exposure, unlawful sexual contact and other sex offenses. We also handle cases involving accusations of sexual harassment and assault. These charges carry serious potential consequences and require careful guidance by experienced attorneys.
- Domestic violence: We have extensive experience in representing clients charged with misdemeanor and felony domestic violence offenses, and in cases involving charges related to domestic abuse.
- Traffic violations: Traffic violations can trigger serious consequences for your driving privilege. We can help you keep your driver’s license intact.
- Restraining orders: As soon as a restraining order is filed against you, it is important to seek legal guidance. Our attorneys are skilled in navigating the justice system effectively.
- Drug charges: Colorado authorities take drug charges very seriously. Whether you are charged with misdemeanor possession or a felony charge like distribution, we can protect you.
- Post-conviction proceedings: If you have been convicted of a crime and need representation for an appeal, or need information and assistance regarding file sealing or expungement, we can help. If you are facing probation violation proceedings, we can help with that, too.
Criminal charges and convictions can have a dramatic impact on professional licensure, immigration status, driving privileges, parental rights, and professional and educational opportunities. They can reduce your ability to lead a productive and dignified life. We will work with you to help minimize or eliminate the consequences of criminal charges.
A Wrongful Arrest in Colorado Can Significantly Impact Your Life
An arrest and being charged for a felony crime can be detrimental to your life. For example:
- It can prevent you from getting certain jobs. Some occupations will not consider you for employment if you are facing a felony charge.
- Depending on the charge, it may be difficult to open a bank account or take out a loan, impacting everything from starting a checking account to purchasing a car or a home.
- It can complicate your ability to move or find someplace to live. Property management companies and landlords often complete extensive background checks on prospective tenants.
- Relationships with friends and family may be ruined by your arrest or charges for a crime. Criminal charges and convictions can also limit your child custody rights.
Trying to get your charges dropped or reduced can turn your life around.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony
In Colorado, criminal charges are separated into three categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Infractions are minor offenses such as traffic tickets that typically are penalized with a small fine and no jail time, whereas misdemeanors and felonies carry severe penalties and are punishable by incarceration.
A misdemeanor charge is a mid-level crime that is a less serious criminal violation than a felony. However, they can still be punished with a jail sentence of up to 18 months in addition to a fine. A felony is the most severe crime that can be charged in Colorado. They carry higher penalties, such as long-term prison sentencing and hefty fines.
Colorado Misdemeanor and Felony Crime Classes and Sentences
Colorado’s criminal code divides misdemeanors into three classes, according to the severity of the allegations and their penalties.
|Colorado Misdemeanor Class|
(C.R.S. § 18-1.3-501)
|Possible Jail Sentence||Possible Fines|
|Class 3 (e.g., theft ($50 to 300), disorderly conduct, prostitution, fourth-degree arson)||Up to 6 months||$50 to $750|
|Class 2 (e.g., theft ($300 to $749), second-degree arson, resisting arrest, violating a protection order)||3 to 12 months||$250 to $1,000|
|Class 1(e.g., theft ($750 to $1,999), indecent exposure, second-degree forgery)||6 to 18 months||$500 to $5,000|
Felonies are divided into six different classes.
|Colorado Felony Class(C.R.S. § 18-1.3-401)||Possible Jail Sentence||Possible Fines|
|Class 6(e.g., pretending to be a peace officer, animal cruelty, possessing over 12 ounces of marijuana)||12 to 18 months||$1,000 to $100,000|
|Class 5 (e.g., forgery, refusal to pay child or spousal support)||1 to 3 years||$1,000 to $100,000|
|Class 4 (e.g., manslaughter, identity theft, sexual assault, theft worth $20,000 to $100,000)||2 to 6 years||$2,000 to $500,000|
|Class 3 (e.g., first-degree burglary, first-degree assault)||4 to 12 years||$3,000 to $750,000|
|Class 2 (e.g., human trafficking, racketeering, second-degree murder)||8 to 24 years||$5,000 to $1,000,000|
|(e.g., first-degree murder, child abuse causing death of a child under 12, first-degree kidnapping)||Life Imprisonment or Death (Capital Punishment)||No fine|
In extreme or aggravated cases, the punishments may be far more extensive than the ranges listed above. Drug offenses are separately classified in Colorado. Drug felonies are divided into levels according to C.R.S. section 18-1.3-401.5(2)(a) and (b) and apply to offenses committed on or after October 31, 2013.
|Colorado Drug Felony Level||Possible Jail Sentence||Aggravated Jail Sentence||Possible Fines|
(e.g., attempting to commit a level 3 drug felony, possessing a controlled substance (that contains any quantity of GHB, flunitrazepam, ketamine, or more than 4 grams of a schedule I or II substance)
|6 to 12 months||1 to 2 years||$1,000 to $100,000|
(e.g., attempting to commit a level 2 drug felony, distributing an imitation controlled substance to a minor (if the adult is at least two years older than the minor))
|2 to 4 years||4 to 6 years||$2,000 to $500,000|
(e.g., sale or distribution of materials to manufacture controlled substances, possession of materials to make methamphetamine and amphetamine
|4 to 8 years||8 to 16 years||$3,000 to $750,000|
(e.g., selling marijuana to a minor if the person is an adult and is two years older than the minor (over 2.5 lbs of marijuana, or more than 1 lb of marijuana concentrate), selling controlled substances (more than 112 grams and contains methamphetamine, heroin, ketamine, or cathinone))
|8 to 32 years||None||$5,000 to $1 mil|
Can My Case Get Dismissed?
There is no definitive answer as to whether your case can get dismissed since it will depend on your charges and the facts surrounding your arrest. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney can develop several legal strategies to persuade the prosecutors to drop your charges or have them reduced. If you are a first-time offender, the judge may grant a deferred judgment. A deferred judgment means you must first complete various sentencing terms, such as counseling and paying a fine, and then the case will get dismissed.
What to Do After an Arrest in Boulder, CO
We highly recommend following these tips – before, during, and after an arrest in Boulder:
- Try to remain calm despite the stressful circumstances. Acting out erratically or emotionally can make the situation profoundly worse.
- Listen intently to the arresting officers and follow any orders, even if you disagree with why you are being arrested. If you fail to comply or resist arrest, they may tack on additional charges.
- You may have heard the saying that, “everything you say or do can be used against you in the court of law.” It’s true. Try to remain as silent as possible about your situation. The state can use any admissions of guilt or emotional outbursts to discount your credibility at a later time.
- Contact a Boulder criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As soon as you hire representation, they will give you support, peace of mind, and guidance regarding next steps and throughout the proceedings.
How Long Will My Case Stay on My Record?
It is usually impossible to expunge or “seal” a conviction from your criminal record in Colorado, despite having completed probation. However, there are exceptions for specific offenses, such as municipal violations, crimes involving controlled substances, petty offenses, and a few others. It is typically a one to five-year waiting period to seal a conviction. Dismissed cases, untried cases, and cases in which you were acquitted are all eligible for a record seal. You can seal your petty or municipal conviction if you:
- Wait three years to file the appropriate paperwork from the day your sentence is up;
- Haven’t been charged or convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or misdemeanor traffic offense in those three years; and
- You don’t have a commercial learner’s permit or driving permit and are trying to seal a misdemeanor traffic offense.
Some other scenarios where you can petition for a record seal include:
- Were arrested but never charged;
- Were charged, but the case was dismissed;
- You were never charged, and the statutes of limitations passed;
- Acquitted from the crime;
- Successfully completed a diversion program; and
- Finished your deferred judgment and sentence
It’s important to note that you cannot seal your record if your charges were dropped because of a plea bargain.
Finding Creative Solutions to Protect Your Future
Criminal defense lawyers cannot best serve their clients by taking the same approach every time. No two cases are the same. You are not the same as any of our previous clients, and your needs are not the same.
We consider the complete picture when determining the most effective strategy to achieve your goals. We consider how different approaches will not only affect the final outcome of your case, but also how they will affect your professional life, your family life and your future opportunities.
For past clients, we have worked outside the confines of the criminal justice system to find unique solutions. We have successfully negotiated private contracts and helped some clients participate in unauthorized diversion programs instead of facing harsher consequences. We will work tirelessly to find a resolution that supports your unique best interests.
Contact a Boulder Criminal Defense Lawyer
At our firm, your first 10 minute consultation is free. Call us today at 303-593-1874 to discuss your case with one of our experienced lawyers. You may also contact us online by filling out a contact form.