Month: December 2017

Common Weapons Crimes in Colorado

Common Weapons Crimes in Colorado

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to bear arms. However, there are state and federal laws that regulate how people buy, sell, carry, and use guns and other weapons. Violating one of these laws is serious and could lead to a number of different penalties. Here’s a look at some of the most common weapons crimes in Colorado:

Possessing A Dangerous or Illegal Weapon

Some weapons are completely banned, which means anyone found in possession of them could be charged with a crime. “Dangerous” weapons are firearm silencers, machine guns, short shotguns, short rifles, and ballistic knifes, whereas “illegal” weapons are metallic knuckles, gas guns, and blackjacks. Possessing a dangerous weapon is a felony in Colorado, but possessing an illegal weapon is only a misdemeanor.

Prohibited Use of Weapons

You could be charged with a crime for the improper use of a weapon even if that weapon is legally owned. For example, aiming a firearm at another person or recklessly shooting a gun are prohibited by law.

Unlawfully Carrying A Weapon

Weapons are prohibited in certain places such as schools, colleges, and universities. Carrying any kind of weapon on school grounds is a felony—even if you legally own the weapon. To comply with the law, the weapon must be unloaded and remain in your vehicle if you are on school property.

Illegal Discharge of A Firearm

Anyone who is permitted to own and carry a firearm must use it responsibly, which means only discharging it when it is absolutely necessary. Recklessly firing a weapon in any kind of home or building is considered an illegal discharge of a firearm. It’s also illegal to recklessly fire a weapon into a car that is occupied by at least one person. Firing a weapon for no reason is incredibly dangerous, which is why this crime is classified as a felony.

Unlawful Purchase of Firearms

Certain individuals, such as those who have been convicted of a felony, are not allowed to own a firearm. Helping a felon—or anyone else who is prohibited from owning a firearm—obtain a gun is illegal. This means you cannot purchase a firearm or transfer ownership of a firearm to someone who is not allowed to own one.

Have you been charged with a weapons crime? If so, seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney right away. At Reisch Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys will protect your rights through every step of the legal process. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What Are Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws?

What Are Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws?

One of the first things that defendants want to know after being charged with a crime is the possible penalties that they will face if convicted. Because of this, every defendant in the state of Colorado should know about mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

The Role of the Judge

If a defendant is convicted of a crime, he will go to the sentencing phase of his trial. In most cases, the judge presiding over the case will reference the sentencing guidelines when deciding how to punish the defendant. Sentencing guidelines offer judges suggestions on how to sentence defendants that are convicted of certain crimes. For example, the DUI sentencing guidelines state that a first-time offender should receive between 5 days to 1 year behind bars, up to 2 years of probation, and a fine between $600-$1,000.

A judge would reference these guidelines when deciding how to sentence a first time DUI offender. If this is the first time the defendant has been arrested and he has shown remorse for the crime, the judge may decide to let him off with a few months of probation and the minimum fine. Sometimes, the judge even gives the defendant a lighter sentence than what is recommended in the guidelines.

How Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws Affect Your Case

Judges do not have as much power when mandatory minimum sentencing laws apply to your case. If a crime has a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must comply with this law. For example, let’s say a defendant is convicted of DUI for the second time in five years. The law states that defendants with two DUI convictions on their records must spend a minimum of 10 days in jail. This means the judge has no choice but to sentence this defendant to at least 10 days in jail—even if he believes that the defendant deserves a lighter sentence.

Which Laws Have Mandatory Minimum Sentences?

There are many state and federal laws with mandatory minimum sentences, but these sentences most often affect repeat offenders. Colorado’s habitual offender law imposes mandatory minimum sentences on anyone who has repeated multiple felonies. For example, a defendant who has four felony convictions on his record and is convicted of a violent felony will face a mandatory life sentence without parole for at least 40 years. Of course, not all mandatory minimum sentences are this extreme.

If you have been charged a crime, seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney at once. The criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will work tirelessly to reach the best possible outcome in your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What is Expressed Consent?

What is Expressed Consent?

Anyone who operates a motor vehicle in the state of Colorado needs to be familiar with expressed consent laws. If you’re not familiar with expressed consent laws, it will be difficult to defend your rights if you are ever suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs.

What is Expressed Consent?

The law states that all drivers that operate motor vehicles in Colorado must consent to chemical testing if they are ever arrested by a police officer who has probable cause to believe they are intoxicated. Drivers who are believed to be under the influence of alcohol must consent to either a blood or breath test, while drivers who are believed to be under the influence of drugs must consent to a urine test. This law is referred to as “expressed consent” because it is assumed that any driver who operates a vehicle in Colorado has consented to these terms.

In most cases, drivers that are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol will get to choose between a blood or breath test. But, be sure to choose carefully. Changing your mind and asking for the other test can be considered a refusal. The test must be performed within two hours of the arrest or the results may not be valid.

What Are the Penalties For Refusing A Test?

There are penalties for refusing to consent to a chemical test. First-time offenders will have their driver’s licenses suspended for a period of 12 months, but this doubles to 24 months if this is the second time you’ve refused to take a test.

Drivers who refuse to take the test could face additional penalties if they are convicted of DUI. Even though a test was never performed, the driver can still be convicted based on other evidence gathered by the arresting police officer. For this reason, it’s important to understand that refusing the test does mean you will not be charged with DUI.

Mandatory Tests

Sometimes, a driver does not have the right to refuse to take a test. For example, if a driver injures or kills someone while he is believed to be under the influence, law enforcement has the right to physically restrain the driver in order to perform a test.

If you have been charged with DUI, seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney right away. Regardless of whether you refused the test or not, the attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will fight tirelessly for your freedom. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Handle the First Call With An Insurance Adjuster

How to Handle the First Call With An Insurance Adjuster

Have you been injured in a car accident? If so, expect to receive a phone call from an insurance adjuster at the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance adjusters typically make the initial phone call shortly after they are notified of the accident, so it’s possible that you will still be in pain or a state of shock when your phone rings. But, it’s important to pull yourself together so you don’t make any crucial mistakes during this call that could affect the outcome of your case. Here’s how to handle the first call with an insurance adjuster:

Do Not Give Detailed Personal Information

The insurance adjuster will attempt to get as much personal information as possible from you during this call. There’s no reason to provide him with any personal information besides your legal name, address, and phone number. If he asks about your work history, income, or family, politely decline to answer the question.

Avoid Discussing Your Injuries

Do not go into detail about the injuries that you sustained in the accident or comment on the level of pain you are experiencing. This information can be taken out of context and used against you later on in the case. Instead, make it clear that you are seeking medical attention from a doctor and will provide the insurance company with more information when it is available. Do not tell the insurance adjuster which doctors you have seen or if you have been treated for any injury so far.

Don’t Settle

Sometimes, an insurance adjuster will make an offer during the first call. Do not accept this settlement—or any settlement—until you have talked to an attorney. There is no way for you to know the extent of your injuries immediately after an accident, so it’s impossible to calculate the value of your claim at this point. The insurance adjuster is hoping that you will settle for a small amount of money before you find out that your claim is worth much more. Don’t make this mistake—always turn down settlements that are offered during this first call.

Say No to Recorded Statements

An insurance adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement about the accident, but this is not a good idea. Politely tell the insurance adjuster that you are not interested in providing a recorded statement and will provide a written statement at a later date.

Dealing with an insurance company can be tricky, and if you make a mistake, it could affect the outcome of your case. To protect your best interests, let a personal injury attorney at Reisch Law Firm communicate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The Different Types of Assault Crimes in Colorado

The Different Types of Assault Crimes in Colorado

A person commits assault when he recklessly or intentionally injures someone else. But, this is just a general definition of assault. The law in Colorado goes into much more detail by defining various types of assault crimes.

First vs. Second vs. Third Degree Assault

Assault can be charged in the first, second, or third degree in Colorado. The charge that you face will depend on a number of factors, including intent, the presence of a deadly weapon, the occupation of the victim, and the severity of the victim’s injuries. For example, causing serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon is first degree assault, whereas causing serious bodily injury without a deadly weapon is second degree assault. Threatening a public official such as a judge, firefighter, or police officer with a deadly weapon can be charged as first degree assault. However, exposing a public official to hazardous materials or bodily fluids with the intent to annoy or harass him or her is considered assault in the third degree.

These two examples illustrate how factors such as the intent of the crime, the victim, and the use of a deadly weapon could affect the charges that you face.

Vehicular Assault

A person can also be charged with vehicular assault in the state of Colorado. This crime is committed when someone’s reckless driving seriously injures another person. The defendant does not need to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs in order to be charged with this crime. As long as the defendant’s driving was reckless enough to cause a serious injury, he can face charges regardless of whether he was intoxicated or not.

Defending Assault Charges

There are a number of ways that a criminal defense attorney can defend you against assault charges. In some cases, an attorney may successfully get the charges dropped by arguing that you were using self-defense. But, sometimes an attorney’s goal will be to have charges reduced to a lesser crime. For example, an attorney may be able to have your first degree assault charges reduced to second degree assault if he proves you were not using a deadly weapon at the time the crime was committed.

Have you been charged with assault? Let a criminal defense attorney at Reisch Law Firm fight these charges. We will develop a unique defense strategy that can be used to reach the best possible outcome in your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What is a No Contest Plea?

What is a No Contest Plea?

Everyone knows that a criminal defendant can plead guilty or not guilty, but many people are not familiar with the third option of pleading no contest. A defendant who enters a no contest plea is not admitting that he committed the crime, but rather acknowledging that he does not contest the charges. Basically, pleading no contest is a way of telling the court that you admit the facts in the indictment are true, but you do not admit guilt. How is this any different from pleading guilty? When should you plead no contest? Here’s everything you need to know:

No Contest vs. Guilty Pleas

Defendants who plead no contest will be treated in the same manner as defendants who plead guilty. They will have criminal convictions on their records and will be sentenced by the judge. The main difference between the two pleas is a defendant who pleads no contest is not admitting guilt. This may not seem like much, but it is incredibly beneficial for defendants who may face civil cases in the future.

For example, let’s say a man is driving while under the influence of alcohol and crashes into another vehicle, injuring the driver inside. An officer arrives at the scene shortly after the crash and charges the man with DUI. In this scenario, the man may face a criminal case for violating the law and a civil case for injuring the other driver. If he pleads guilty, the injured driver can use this against him in the civil case. But if he pleads no contest, the injured driver may have a harder time proving he was intoxicated and negligent at the time of the crash.

When to Plead No Contest

It’s strongly recommended that you do not enter a plea without talking to a criminal defense attorney first. If you are asked to plead no contest as part of a plea deal, do not agree to do so before talking about your options with an attorney. Many people think that pleading no contest will help them avoid some of the potential penalties of a criminal conviction, but that’s not the case. It’s important to understand the consequences of pleading no contest and how they will affect your future before making this decision.

If you are facing criminal charges, seek legal representation from the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. We will thoroughly review the details of your case and help you make the best decisions for your future. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Spot A Concussion

How to Spot A Concussion

Many people think that a concussion is nothing more than a minor bump to the head, but that’s not the case. A concussion is one type of traumatic brain injury, so it’s nothing to take lightly. Some of the symptoms of a concussion may not appear right away or may not seem serious at first. As a result, many people that sustain this injury fail to seek medical treatment in a timely manner. How can you spot a concussion? Follow these tips:

Disorientation

Concussion victims are often disoriented after hitting their heads. They may not remember what happened, even if it’s only been a few minutes since they sustained the injury. Some people think this is a normal reaction to being involved in an accident, but confusion is actually a symptom of a serious head injury.

Loss of Balance

Someone who has sustained a concussion may experience a loss of balance. If someone appears to be unsteady on his feet after hitting his head, this is a sign that he has sustained a concussion.

Loss of Consciousness

Some concussion victims will briefly lose consciousness after hitting their heads. But, do not assume that someone did not sustain a concussion simply because he never lost consciousness.

Physical Symptoms

Victims may complain of extreme fatigue, nausea, dizziness, or headaches after sustaining a concussion. A concussion can also make the victim more sensitive to certain stimuli such as light or noise. If someone seems bothered by a loud noise or a bright light, this is a sign that he has sustained a concussion.

Mood Changes

It may take hours, days, or even weeks for a concussion to cause noticeable changes in a victim’s mood. Some victims experience mood swings while others report being incredibly irritable for long periods of time. It’s also possible for a concussion victim to feel extreme sadness. The victim may complain of “feeling down” or may cry much more than usual. It can be hard to be around someone who is dealing with these changes, but try to remember that the victim may not have any control over his emotions because of the injury.

It’s important to note that this is not an all-inclusive list of concussion symptoms. Each concussion is unique, so the victim may exhibit a wide range of symptoms. To play it safe, it’s best to seek medical attention from a doctor if you ever hit your head after a fall, traffic collision, or any other type of accident.

Have you sustained a concussion in an accident? If so, contact the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. We will work tirelessly to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Factors That Affect the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim

Factors That Affect the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim

Personal injury victims are often eager to know how much their claim is worth so they know what they should expect to receive in a settlement. To get an idea of what your claim is worth, it’s important to understand how the value of a claim is calculated. Calculating a personal injury claim involves much more than simply adding up medical expenses and lost wages. There are a number of different factors that could affect the value of your personal injury claim, including:

Shared Fault

If you were partially to blame for the accident that caused your injuries, this will affect the amount of compensation that you are awarded. For example, if you were found to be 20% responsible for the accident, the compensation that you are awarded will be reduced by 20%.

Type of Injury

The type of injury sustained by the victim can also affect the value of the claim. A victim who has sustained a traumatic injury, such as spinal cord or brain damage, will typically receive more compensation than a victim who has suffered a broken bone. This is because serious injuries require more extensive medical treatment, which means the victim will incur more expenses treating these injuries. Serious injuries can also have a greater impact on the victim’s life, which can increase the compensation awarded for pain and suffering.

Medical Treatment

The type of medical treatment that you receive after an accident can also affect the value of your claim. Victims who are only treated by chiropractors and physical therapists after an accident may not be offered as much by the insurance company. To avoid this problem, it’s recommended that you visit a doctor so you can show the insurance company that you have been diagnosed and treated by a physician.

Recovery Time

How long did it take you to fully recover from your injuries? In most cases, a longer recovery time means more compensation. Why? Victims can argue that a lengthy recovery has caused them a great deal of pain and suffering. Many victims will also be forced to take time off of work as they recover. The longer the recovery, the more the victim will lose, so the defendant will have to compensate the victim for these lost wages.

Have you been injured in an accident? Find out if you have a personal injury case by contacting Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will review your case to determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The Cost of A DUI

The Cost of A DUI

Defendants that are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) are often so concerned about being sentenced to time behind bars that they forget about the other possible penalties of a conviction. The staggering cost of a DUI may take a lot of defendants by surprise. Here are some of the expenses you should expect:

Alcohol Education Classes

After a DUI conviction, defendants are typically ordered to complete a certain number of hours of alcohol education classes. These classes aren’t free, and the defendant will be expected to foot the bill. Depending on the number of hours that you are ordered to complete, alcohol education classes could cost between $150-$1,000.

Ignition Interlock Device Rental

DUI defendants will also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles after regaining their driving privileges. The cost of renting an ignition interlock device will vary depending on the length of time you are required to use one. It’s estimated that this will cost between $480-$1,460.

Fines

Defendants who are convicted of DUI may be ordered to pay fines as a penalty for breaking the law. First-time DUI offenders should expect to pay between $600-$1,000, but this number will be higher for repeat offenders.

Car Insurance Rates

Most DUI defendants are surprised to learn that their car insurance rates will increase drastically after a conviction. Why? DUI offenders are considered high-risk drivers, which means insurance companies will charge them more for coverage. Unfortunately, DUI offenders will remain in the “high-risk” category for up to five years after their conviction. Over this time period, DUI offenders should expect to pay thousands of dollars for their insurance coverage.

Other Minor Expenses

There are a number of other minor expenses that DUI defendants will have to pay. For example, defendants are required to pay a $26 court fee. Defendants will also have to contribute $15 to the brain injury fund, $33 to the victim compensation fund, and $78 to the victim assistance fund. DUI offenders are required to pay a chemical testing fee of around $90, which covers the cost of the blood, breath, or urine test that was performed after their arrest.

Avoid the costs of a DUI by working with a criminal defense attorney who can fight the charges that have been filed against you. If you have been charged with DUI, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What Are the Damage Caps in Colorado Personal Injury Cases?

What Are the Damage Caps in Colorado Personal Injury Cases?

Anyone who is injured due to the negligent acts of another person has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. Victims may be able to recover damages for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But, many victims are unaware that there are damage caps that limit the amount of compensation they can be awarded. Here’s what you need to know about damage caps in Colorado personal injury cases:

Types of Damages

Before learning about damage caps, it’s important to understand the three different types of damages that may be awarded in a personal injury case. The first type is economic damages, which are awarded to compensate victims for any expenses they have incurred or losses they have suffered as a result of their injury. Economic damages typically cover current and future medical expenses and lost wages. The second type is non-economic damages, which compensate victims for emotional pain and suffering. Finally, there are punitive damages, which are only awarded in cases where the defendant acted with extreme malice or negligence.

It’s important to note that compensation is never guaranteed in a personal injury case. A personal injury victim is only awarded damages when he is able to prove his losses, expenses, and suffering.

Damage Caps

Each state has the right to limit the amount of compensation that can be awarded to personal injury victims. In Colorado, there are no restrictions on economic damages, but there are caps on non-economic and punitive damages. The cap on non-economic damages is frequently adjusted for inflation, but as of 2008, it has been set at $468,010. The cap on non-economic damages is increased to $936,030 in cases that involve “clear and convincing evidence” that justifies more compensation.

But, there are a few exceptions to this rule. In medical malpractice cases, victims cannot be awarded more than $1 million total. Medical malpractice victims also cannot be awarded more than $300,000 in pain and suffering.

There is another exception that applies to victims that have suffered permanent physical impairment. The cap on non-economic damages does not apply to these victims, so they can recover an unlimited amount of compensation.

The state of Colorado has also limited the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded to a victim. Punitive damages cannot exceed the total amount of economic and non-economic damages. Therefore, if the plaintiff is awarded $100,000 in economic and non-economic damages, he cannot be awarded more than $100,000 in punitive damages.

If you have been injured by the negligent acts of another person, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will fight tirelessly to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation permitted by law. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.