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Boulder Criminal Defense FAQ

If you have been charged with a crime, it’s likely that you have a lot of questions. At Dolan + Zimmerman LLP, our criminal defense lawyers in Boulder understand the fear that can accompany the unknown. The following is a list of some of the more common criminal defense questions our clients ask us. We hope this page provides you with some of the answers you are looking for.

What Is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

Felonies are more severe crimes than misdemeanors and carry heavier sentences. The punishment for a misdemeanor often includes fines, probation, community service, or shorter jail sentences.

If convicted of a felony, you will face a jail sentence, ranging from a few months to multiple life sentences. The degree of sentencing in a case of a felony has to do with the individual’s criminal record, the charges, if there are casualties or injuries, and more.

How Will A DUI Charge Affect My Driver’s License?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. A DUI case can lead to a variety of different consequences for your driver’s license. The extent and nature of these consequences will vary based on factors, including your age, your driving history, and the specific facts of your case. We can help you navigate this complex area with cases involving a DUI charge.

How Will A Drug Conviction Impact My Student Loans?

A drug conviction can make you ineligible for federal student loans. If you are currently receiving financial aid, you may lose it due to a drug crime conviction. It is possible to regain eligibility after losing eligibility for federal student loans through two clean drug tests, completion of a rehabilitation program or waiting until the following school year.

How Can I Challenge A DUI Charge?

There are almost as many answers to this question as there are DUI cases. Each case presents a unique factual scenario with different combinations of factual, technical, statutory and constitutional defenses.

What Should I Do If I Get Pulled Over?

If you get pulled over, it is important to remain calm and cooperative and to refrain from making any statements to the police.

Do Police Have To Arrest Someone During A Domestic Violence Situation?

In domestic violence situations, Colorado police do have to make an arrest if there is probable cause that a domestic violence-related offense occurred. An arrest does not always lead to a conviction.

What Crimes Are Considered Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is considered aggressive and abusive behavior towards a family member perpetrated by another member of the same family. It could be against a child or spouse. It often involves physical injury and manipulative and coercive actions.

Domestic abuse may involve the following types of abuse:

  • Sexual abuse: happens when there is an attempt to force sexual relations on someone unwilling.
  • Physical abuse: this involves all manner of violent behavior, including hitting, punching, slapping, biting, and shoving.
  • Emotional abuse: this is an attempt to intentionally deflate or invalidate the sense of worth and value in a victim.
  • Economic abuse: this happens when there is an attempt to incapacitate the victim financially.

When Do Police Have To Read You Your Rights?

Police are required to read you your Miranda rights only when you are both in police custody and under interrogation. Outside of these circumstances, police do not have to read your rights.

Is Law Enforcement Allowed to Search My House, Car, or Person?

Law enforcement is typically only allowed to search your person, your house, or your car when they have obtained a search warrant. If they ask to search you or any of your property without a warrant from a judge, you have a right to decline. Keep in mind that there are some exceptions to the warrant requirement where a police officer can search your house or car without obtaining a warrant. For example, if you are arrested, the police automatically have the right to do a search incident to arrest. This means they can search you following an arrest without obtaining a warrant.

If I’m Pleading Guilty, Do I Still Need a Lawyer?

It is not uncommon for people to think all they’ll get is a slap on the wrist once they plead guilty and perhaps ask for forgiveness. This is far from the truth. The implications of pleading guilty may be more severe than you think. In addition to a fine, you may be sentenced to a lengthy jail term, especially for criminal offenses.

You need a lawyer to help you do the following, even when pleading guilty:

  • Confirm if the prosecution has sufficient evidence that you committed the crime in the first place.
  • Determine if another resolution is possible, such as a lesser offense plea or getting you into mandatory counseling sessions in exchange for dropping the charges.
  • Once you are sentenced, your attorney can help clear your name down the line via expunging or sealing your record if applicable.

What Is the Difference Between a State Criminal Charge and a Federal Criminal Charge?

A state criminal charge is defined by the individual states’ criminal codes. A federal criminal charge is defined by the United States Code, a collection of laws established by congress.

Federal charges arise from a violation of federal criminal laws or crimes of national concern, such as federal tax fraud, terrorism, postal fraud and interstate crimes, and offenses committed on federal properties. The agencies investigating and prosecuting them are also federal and may carry heavier punishments.

In some cases, a crime can be an offense against both the state and federal government and can be a state criminal charge or federal criminal charge.

When Do You Need A Lawyer?

You can never seek legal advice too soon, but you can seek advice too late. As soon as you know you have a problem — whether you are arrested or involved in a car accident — it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer. The sooner you get help, the sooner your lawyer can start building your defense.

Get More Answers In Your Free 10-Minute Consultation

In your first consultation, our Boulder DUI defense attorney can answer any other questions you have. We will also help you better understand what to expect from your specific situation. To talk to one of our lawyers, please call us at 303-593-1874 or send us an email.