Month: November 2017

Can You Be Arrested, But Not Charged With A Crime?

Can You Be Arrested, But Not Charged With A Crime?

Every criminal case will begin with an arrest, but that does not mean that every arrest will lead to criminal charges. Some people that are arrested will later find out that they are not facing criminal charges. Why does this happen? Here are some of the situations where you can be arrested but not charged with a crime:

The Victim’s Request

The victim of the crime does not get to decide if criminal charges will be filed against a defendant—that’s the state’s job. But, the victim can still influence whether or not the defendant is charged. For example, the victim can make it clear that she will not cooperate with investigators if charges are filed. If this happens, the state may no longer have enough evidence to use against the defendant so they may decide not to file charges.

Inadmissible Evidence

The prosecutor will probably not file charges against the person that has been arrested if he realizes that the evidence cannot be used in court. For instance, evidence that was found in an illegal search cannot be used against the defendant. If this is the only evidence the state has to prove its case, the prosecutor will not file charges.

New Evidence

If new evidence quickly comes to light that proves you’re innocent, criminal charges may never be filed against you. This usually happens when a witness comes forward after your arrest to clear your name.

Minor Crime

A prosecutor can decide not to file charges against someone that has committed a minor crime. Prosecutors often do this when the person that has committed the minor crime has no prior record and does not seem as if he is a threat to the community.

Lack of Evidence

The state has very limited resources, so prosecutors do not want to waste valuable resources on a case that is unwinnable due to lack of evidence. Therefore, criminal charges will not be filed after an arrest if the state believes that they do not have enough evidence to convince a jury of your guilt.

If you have been arrested, it’s important to remain calm and remember that getting arrested does not always mean that you are being charged with a crime.

Get in touch with a criminal defense attorney immediately following an arrest—even if you have not been charged with a crime yet. The criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will immediately step in and begin aggressively defending your rights. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Legal Standards of Proof for Civil and Criminal Cases

Legal Standards of Proof for Civil and Criminal Cases

Before a defendant is found guilty in a criminal case, the prosecutor must provide enough proof to convince the jury that he truly did commit the crime. Likewise, a defendant cannot be ordered to pay a plaintiff in a civil case unless the plaintiff’s attorney has provided adequate proof of the defendant’s liability. But, how much proof is enough? Here are the legal standards of proof for civil and criminal cases:

Preponderance of the Evidence

Preponderance of the evidence is the legal standard of proof that is used in the majority of civil lawsuits, including personal injury cases. To meet this legal standard of proof, the plaintiff in a civil case must provide evidence that shows there is a greater than 50% chance that the defendant is liable. To put it simply, the plaintiff must show that the defendant is more likely than not liable for the damages.

For example, let’s say a jury is deciding whether a defendant is liable for the car accident that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The jury decides that 60% of the evidence shows that the defendant is liable, but the other 40% of the evidence does not or is questionable. In this situation, the jury must rule in favor of the plaintiff because she was able to provide a preponderance of evidence showing the defendant’s liability.

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

The beyond a reasonable doubt legal standard of proof is used solely in criminal cases. This is the highest legal standard of proof, meaning more evidence is required to prove this legal standard of proof than any other.

Contrary to popular belief, “beyond a reasonable doubt” does not mean that the jury must be 100% convinced of the defendant’s guilt in order to reach a guilty verdict. It simply means that the jury must find a defendant guilty if the evidence is so convincing that it would be impossible for a reasonable person to doubt the defendant’s guilt. The jury must ask themselves if there is any other logical conclusion that can be reached based on the evidence. If there could be another logical explanation for the evidence besides that the defendant committed the crime, the prosecutor has not met this legal standard of proof.

If you have been injured or charged with a crime, the personal injury attorneys and criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm can help. We will thoroughly review your case, help you understand your legal options, and then stand by your side through every step of the legal process. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Who is Liable in Parking Lot Car Accidents?

Who is Liable in Parking Lot Car Accidents?

Most car accidents occur on interstates, highways, and city streets, but many occur in parking lots as well. Drivers are typically traveling much slower in a parking lot than they would be on a major street, but that does not mean that these crashes should be taken lightly. A low impact car accident can still lead to serious injuries and significant property damage. Who is liable for the injuries and damage that occurs in parking lot car accidents? Here’s what you need to know:

Backing Out of Parking Spaces

Accidents often occur when one driver is backing out of a parking space and he collides with another vehicle that is traveling through the parking lot. Drivers that are backing out of parking spaces are required to look both ways to ensure that there are no cars coming. For this reason, the driver that is backing out of the space is usually held liable in this situation.

Driving Forward Through Parking Spaces

Many people that are parked in a parking space drive forward through an empty parking space in front of them instead of backing out when they are ready to leave. It’s much easier to pull forward than it is to back out, but unfortunately, the driver’s line of sight may be obstructed. He may not be able to spot cars that are approaching in the parking lot as he pulls through the parking space. As a result, the driver may collide with another vehicle that is traveling straight through the parking lot.

Similar to the first scenario, the driver that is exiting his parking space is responsible for making sure that he will not hit another vehicle on his way out. Therefore, the driver pulling through the parking space will most likely be found liable.

Two Drivers Leaving Parking Spaces

If two cars are parked near each other, it’s possible that the vehicles will collide if both drivers decide to leave their parking spaces at the same time. Both of these drivers have an obligation to check for oncoming traffic before backing out, so it’s possible that both drivers will be found to be partially at fault for the accident.

Collisions in the Parking Lanes

Cars can also collide when they are driving through the parking lot. In a parking lot, drivers must use extra caution and be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice if the car in front of them finds a parking spot and decides to turn in. If a car is rear ended in a parking lot, it is typically not the leading driver’s fault.

If you have been involved in a car accident in a parking lot, seek legal representation at once. The personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will fight tirelessly to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How Can Prior Convictions Affect Your Criminal Case?

How Can Prior Convictions Affect Your Criminal Case?

A number of factors can affect the outcome of your criminal case, including whether or not you have prior convictions on your criminal record. How can your past come back to haunt you? Here are some of the ways:

Plea Deals

Plea deals are made between prosecutors and defendants all the time, but a judge must sign off on them before they are official. If a defendant has a prior conviction on his record, this could influence the judge’s decision to approve or reject the plea deal. The judge may reject the plea bargain if he feels that a defendant with multiple criminal convictions does not deserve a plea bargain. He could also reject it if he feels the deal did not adequately punish the defendant considering his criminal record.

Sentencing

Prior convictions can also affect the punishments that a defendant will face for any new crimes that he commits. For example, a first time DUI offender will face up to one year in jail, but defendants with three prior DUI convictions can face up to six years behind bars.

In this example, the law requires an enhanced sentence for defendants with prior convictions. But in other cases, a judge can decide to enhance a sentence for defendants with prior convictions even if it is not required by law. A defendant’s criminal record is one of many factors that may be taken into consideration during the sentencing phase of the trial.

Character Attacks

One of the prosecutor’s goals is to convince the jury that the defendant is capable of committing the crime. In order to do this, the prosecutor will often attack the defendant’s character by discussing his prior criminal convictions. For example, let’s say a defendant is on trial for domestic violence and has been convicted of assault in the past. The prosecutor will most likely bring this up during the trial to show the jury that the defendant has a history of committing violent crimes. Even if the defendant’s prior convictions were for completely unrelated crimes, such as theft or DUI, the prosecutor could still mention them to paint a negative picture of the defendant.

If you have been charged with a crime, it’s important to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney right away. Contact Reisch Law Firm today so our criminal defense attorneys can fight to ensure your prior criminal convictions do not continue to affect your future. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Using Mediation to Resolve Personal Injury Cases

Using Mediation to Resolve Personal Injury Cases

A personal injury case isn’t always resolved in a courtroom—in fact, the vast majority of them are resolved before going to trial. If you want avoid going to trial, talk to your personal injury attorney to determine if mediation is an option in your case. How can plaintiffs use mediation to resolve personal injury cases? Here’s what you need to know:

The Basics of Mediation

Mediation is a process that involves both parties of the lawsuit in addition to a neutral, third party mediator. The goal of mediation is to bring both sides together so they can reach an agreed upon resolution to the case.

What Happens During Mediation

The third party mediator will explain how the process works at the beginning of the first session. Everyone involved will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement before the discussions begin. Then, both the plaintiff and defendant will have an opportunity to explain their case to the mediator. Both sides are allowed to have legal representation during mediation, but that does not mean the session will turn into a courtroom brawl. In some cases, the mediator will even put the plaintiff and defendant in two different rooms to avoid issues.

The mediator plays an important role in this process. He will help both the plaintiff and defendant evaluate each other’s cases and guide them towards a resolution. Some mediators will even offer their own opinions regarding which side has a stronger case.

The Benefits of Mediation

A trial can drag on for months—in some cases, even years—so many victims prefer mediation because it allows them to reach a resolution much faster. Mediation is also far less expensive since you will not have to pay your attorney for representing you for months in court. Finally, mediation gives you more control over the outcome of your case. If you go to trial, the jury will get to decide your fate. However, mediation gives both parties the opportunity to give their input and suggest resolutions. Therefore, you will have a say in the final outcome of your personal injury case if you choose mediation.

There are many benefits to mediation, but it’s not right for everyone. To learn if mediation is a good fit for your case, talk to the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Can A Judge Reject A Plea Deal?

Can A Judge Reject A Plea Deal?

Plea deals are agreements made between a defendant and prosecutor that often involve a defendant pleading guilty in exchange for reduced charges or a lighter sentence. Even if the defendant accepts the plea deal, it can still fall through if the judge rejects it. Why would a judge reject a plea deal? Here are some of the reasons:

The Victim or Victim’s Family

Judges do not have to take the victim’s best interests into consideration when evaluating a plea deal, but many of them do. If the victim or the victim’s family has made it clear they are not happy with the terms of the plea deal, this may be enough to convince the judge to reject it.

Prior Criminal Record

The judge will also look at the defendant’s prior criminal record when deciding whether to reject or accept the plea deal. If the defendant has never been charged or convicted of a crime before, the judge is more likely to accept the deal. However, defendants that have a history of breaking the law will be treated differently. The judge may think that these defendants do not deserve a lighter sentence since they have repeatedly demonstrated that they are not law-abiding citizens.

The Community

Is it in the best interests of the community to give the defendant a lighter sentence or allow him to face reduced charges? Most judges will ask themselves this question when reviewing the details of a plea deal. For example, a judge may not think it is good idea to release a defendant with a violent history back into the community. If the plea deal allows the defendant to go on probation instead of spending time behind bars, the judge may reject it to protect the general population.

Punishment Doesn’t Fit the Crime

After reviewing the plea deal, the judge may come to the conclusion that the prosecutor compromised too much when making the deal. For instance, the judge may think that the prosecutor is offering a sentence that is far too light given the nature of the crime that was committed. When this happens, the judge can reject the current deal.

Have you been charged with a crime? The criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will review the details of your case and help you understand your legal options. We will be with you every step of the way to ensure that your rights are protected beginning the moment that you are arrested. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Complete vs. Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

Complete vs. Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves protected by bones that stretches from the brain all the way down to the lower back. Without the spinal cord, it would be impossible for your brain to communicate with the rest of your body. For this reason, any damage to this area of the body can be devastating. Sadly, thousands of people sustain complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries ever year.

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

A complete spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord is totally compressed or severed. After a complete spinal cord injury, the brain is no longer able to communicate with the parts of the body located below the injury site. For example, a complete injury in the lumbar spine, which is located in the lower back, may paralyze the victim from the waist down.

There’s no question that these injuries are serious, and sometimes life-threatening. If the injury occurs high on the spine, the brain may be unable to send signals to the lungs, which means the victim will be unable to breath on his own.

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

An incomplete spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord is partially compressed or severed. Because the spinal cord is not completely compressed or severed, communication between the brain and the body is affected, but not completely cut off. Victims that have sustained incomplete spinal cord injuries may still be able to move parts of the body below the injury, but movement may be drastically reduced. Other victims retain some feeling in these parts of the body, but the sensation is not nearly as strong as it once was. It can be hard to determine the extent of the damage caused by an incomplete injury. In fact, many doctors say it can take weeks to understand the severity of the injury.

Being treated by competent, experienced medical professionals makes all the difference for these victims. Incomplete spinal cord injury victims may see some improvements in their condition with the right treatment plan, but of course, this is never a guarantee. On the other hand, an incomplete injury can also become a complete injury if the doctor fails to quickly take action to reduce swelling and prevent further damage.

A spinal cord injury can drastically reduce the quality of your life. If you have been injured as a result of another person’s negligence, seek legal representation right away. The personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will ensure that you are fairly compensated for your traumatic injuries. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What is a Wet Reckless Charge in Colorado?

What is a Wet Reckless Charge in Colorado?

Drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) can face serious penalties, including possible jail time, fines, and license suspension. Due to the severity of the consequences, many DUI defendants ask if there’s a chance they will be offered a plea deal. Some defendants are given the opportunity to accept a plea deal known as a “wet reckless.”

A wet reckless is a type of plea bargain offered to DUI defendants. In this deal, the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for the prosecutor reducing his charges to reckless driving. A reckless driving charge is still serious, but not nearly as serious as a DUI charge, which is what makes this deal attractive to defendants. For example, defendants could face up to one year in jail, a suspended license, and up to $1,000 in fines for their first DUI conviction. These penalties are much more severe than the penalties for reckless driving, which include up to 90 days in jail and up to a $300 fine.

Unfortunately, this plea bargain will not be offered to everyone who is charged with DUI. In the state of Colorado, the wet reckless bargain is only offered in cases where the evidence against the defendant is weak. To put it simply, a prosecutor will only offer this deal when he feels as if he does not have enough evidence to convict the defendant of DUI.

Most prosecutors will also only offer this plea bargain to defendants that do not have a prior criminal record. If this is not your first DUI charge, it’s unlikely that you will be offered a deal. You should also consider this deal off of the table if you injured or killed someone as a result of your intoxication.

It’s important to note that you should never accept this plea deal without talking to a criminal defense attorney first. Accepting a plea bargain may seem like the easy way out, but it’s not the best choice for everyone. Make sure that you understand how accepting a plea bargain will affect your criminal record and your future before making this decision.

At Reisch Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to fighting for your freedom. If you have been charged with DUI, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team about your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?

Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?

A slip and fall accident occurs when a person injures himself after slipping or tripping on something. There are many different hazards that can cause someone to lose his footing, which is why these accidents happen so frequently. But, where do slip and fall accidents occur the most? Here are some of the most common locations:

Private Residences

Most people assume that a slip and fall accident can only occur on a commercial property, but that’s not the case. Slip and fall accidents can also occur in private residences such as a friend or family member’s home. Most of these accidents are covered by homeowners’ insurance, whereas accidents on commercial properties are covered by liability insurance.

In most cases, the homeowner would be responsible for the victim’s injuries. However, if the accident occurred on a rental property, the landlord or the tenants may be responsible, depending on the nature of the hazard that caused the fall.

At Work

Every year, many people are injured in slip and fall accidents while on-the-job. Victims that are injured at work are entitled to compensation, but they must file a workers’ compensation claim as opposed to a personal injury lawsuit.

Hotels and Resorts

Hotels and resorts often have huge properties that are hard to maintain. As a result, many safety hazards may exist on these properties. For instance, the area around the hotel’s pool could become slippery when wet, creating a hazard for guests that are passing through. Guests can also slip and fall on torn carpet, uneven floorboards, or defective stairs at a hotel or resort.

Grocery Stores

It’s no surprise that slip and fall accidents often occur at grocery stores since these businesses tend to see a lot of foot traffic on a regular basis. Grocery store customers could slip on a spill in one of the aisles or they could trip over a product that has fallen off of the shelves. It’s possible that customers could even trip over a pothole in the parking lot when walking into the store. To avoid these accidents, storeowners and employees must work diligently to get rid of any safety hazards on the property.

Slip and fall victims may be able to hold the property owner liable for their injuries. But, proving liability and recovering compensation is incredibly challenging without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney from Reisch Law Firm. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How Dram Shop Laws Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case

How Dram Shop Laws Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case

Over 10,000 people were killed in car accidents involving a drunk driver in 2015, and many more sustained serious, non-fatal injuries. These victims are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent, drunk driver that caused them harm. But first, victims should learn how dram shop laws affect their personal injury case.

Colorado’s Dram Shop Laws

Businesses should never serve alcohol to someone who is under the age of 21 or who appears to already be intoxicated. But unfortunately, many businesses do so anyways. Businesses that sell alcohol to minors or individuals that are clearly intoxicated can be held liable in the event that these customers’ injure or kill someone due to their impairment.

For example, let’s say a local bar knowingly serves a minor alcohol. After having a few drinks, the minor drives home and crashes into another vehicle, seriously injuring the driver. In this situation, the bar should have never served the minor alcohol since she is under the legal drinking age. According to the dram shop laws, the bar could be held liable for the victim’s injuries. This means the victim may be able to recover compensation from both the intoxicated driver and the bar that served her.

Colorado’s Social Host Liability Laws

It’s important to note that the dram shop laws only apply to businesses. If the minor in the example above had been drinking at a friend’s house, the dram shop laws would not be relevant, but social host liability laws could be.

A social host is anyone that serves alcohol in a private setting. Social hosts can continue to serve guests that are already intoxicated without facing legal consequences. However, they can be held liable for serving minors alcohol.

Take another look at the example above. Let’s say the underage driver had been consuming alcohol at an adult friend’s house instead of a bar. In this case, the friend could be held liable for the injuries caused by the minor’s intoxication because he shouldn’t have served her alcohol in the first place. Under these circumstances, the victim may be able to recover compensation from both the intoxicated driver and the driver’s friend.

Have you been injured by an intoxicated driver? You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. But first, contact Reisch Law Firm today to speak with our team of experienced personal injury attorneys about your rights and legal options. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.