Month: January 2018

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Colorado?

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Colorado?

In most cases, a police officer needs to have probable cause to pull you over on the side of the road. However, the Supreme Court made an exception to this rule by allowing police officers to set up DUI checkpoints. This doesn’t mean that a police officer can stop any driver and claim it is part of a DUI checkpoint, though. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has released guidelines that law enforcement officers are supposed to comply with at checkpoints.

The Selection of the Checkpoint Location

Law enforcement officers need to consider a number of factors when choosing the location of the checkpoint to ensure that having the checkpoint will not put drivers or officers in harm’s way. For example, if a road has a high speed limit and a lot of traffic, it may not be safe for an officer to stand on the side of the road to perform sobriety checks. It also won’t be easy to pull drivers over for the checkpoint without interrupting the flow of traffic. For these reasons, this type of location would not be recommended.

Warning Signs

The guidelines also state that law enforcement officers need to warn drivers that they are approaching a sobriety checkpoint. This can be done with warning signs, road closures, or traffic cones.

Police Presence

People may feel uncomfortable pulling over on the side of the road if they don’t see uniformed police officers at the checkpoint. If someone who is in an unmarked car or not wearing a uniform is running the operation, drivers may think it is not a legitimate checkpoint. To make drivers feel more at ease, there must be a strong police presence with uniformed officers and marked vehicles.

Choosing Which Vehicles to Stop

Law enforcement officers must decide what type of approach to take when choosing which vehicles need to be stopped. Even at a checkpoint, it is illegal to stop vehicles at random. It is legal to develop a system where every third or fifth vehicle is stopped. If any changes need to be made to the system, the change must be documented with an explanation as to why it was needed. For example, officers may decide they need to pull over every tenth vehicle instead of every fifth because of traffic congestion. If this happens, the officers need to document that the reason the change was made was to ensure the checkpoint did not interrupt the flow of traffic.

Were you arrested for DUI at a checkpoint? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm today. The first thing our criminal defense attorneys will do is make sure that law enforcement was following the proper protocol at the DUI checkpoint. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Lump Sum vs. Structured Settlements in Personal Injury Cases

Lump Sum vs. Structured Settlements in Personal Injury Cases

Most personal injury cases are resolved before going to trial because the parties are able to reach a settlement outside of the courtroom. A settlement will require the defendant to compensate the plaintiff for his injuries. The compensation will either be paid all at once, which is known as a lump sum settlement, or in small payments over a specific period of time, which is known as a structured settlement. Which one of these types of settlements is better? Here’s what you should know about lump sum vs. structured settlements in personal injury cases:

Easier to Pay Bills With A Lump Sum Settlement

One of the reasons why personal injury victims are often so eager to settle is because they have medical bills and other expenses to pay. However, it can be difficult to pay the totality of your bills if you are given a structured settlement. You may need to wait for several payments to come through before you are able to pay off medical bills associated with your injury.

If the defendant would rather pay a structured settlement, ask if they are willing to provide a larger payment upfront so you can cover all of your expenses.

Managing A Lump Sum Payment Can Be Difficult

Receiving a large sum of money all at once can be a lot for one person to handle. You may not know what to do with the money or what type of account to keep it in. Some people may start spending the money even though they know that they should probably save it. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing a large amount of money, it’s best to ask for a structured settlement.

Taxable Income

The compensation that you are awarded for your physical injuries is not taxable, however other types of compensation are. For example, compensation that you are awarded for emotional injuries is taxable as long as there was no physical injury. This is rare, but if you are offered a settlement in case where you only suffered emotional injuries, a structured settlement may be better. This way, you do not receive a lump sum of cash that is considered taxable income.

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will carefully review the details of your case to determine if you should move forward with a claim. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Is It Legal to Grow Marijuana At Home?

Is It Legal to Grow Marijuana At Home?

Recreational marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, but the production and use of cannabis is still heavily regulated. For example, it is still illegal to have more than one ounce of marijuana in your possession or to purchase marijuana under the age of 21. There are also laws regulating the growth of cannabis plants. Is it legal to grow marijuana at home? Here’s what you need to know:

Legal Limits on Cannabis Plants

Colorado law used to allow every adult over the age of 21 to have up to six cannabis plants growing at home, however no more than three of them could be flowering at once. But, a new law was recently passed that drastically reduces the number of cannabis plants that residential users are allowed to grow at home.

As of January 1, 2018, the legal limit for recreational cannabis plants is 12 plants per household. The legal limit is no longer set per adult, but rather per household. Therefore, even if you have more than two adults in your home, the legal limit will still be 12 plants per household. Medicinal users have the option of asking the state for an exemption. If their request is granted, medicinal users are legally allowed to have up to 24 plants in their household.

Growing Rules & Regulations

Even if you have fewer than 12 plants growing in your home, you could face legal trouble if you do not comply with the rules and regulations of growing marijuana. All marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed and locked area, which means it is not legal to grow cannabis outdoors.

If there is anyone who is under the age of 21 in your home, the plants must be locked away in an area that cannot be accessed by minors. If anyone under the age of 21 ever visits your home, it’s important to make sure the minors do not have access to your plants.

Finally, no one who is growing cannabis plants at home can sell marijuana products. Retailers must go through a lengthy procedure to obtain the licensing they need to sell marijuana products. As a home grower, you do not have a license and are therefore not legally authorized to sell marijuana products to other people.

Have you been charged with a crime for violating one of these rules? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our criminal defense attorneys will fight tirelessly to protect your freedom and your future. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Consequences for Repeat DUI Offenders in Colorado

Consequences for Repeat DUI Offenders in Colorado

A repeat offender typically faces more serious penalties than a first-time offender since committing multiple crimes shows a pattern of reckless behavior and disregard for the law. This is especially true for DUI offenders in Colorado, who face harsher penalties if they are repeat offenders.

Consequences For First-Time DUI Offenders

First-time DUI offenders can face a maximum of one year behind bars, but there is no minimum jail sentence if this is your first DUI conviction. Although jail time is a possibility, most first-time offenders can avoid this penalty. These DUI offenders may also be sentenced to up to two years of probation, between 48-96 hours of community service, and between $600-1,000 in fines.

Even though it’s their first offense, they can still have their license suspended for up to nine months.

Consequences For Repeat Offenders

If a defendant is convicted of DUI for the second time, he could face fines of up to $1,500, between 48-120 hours of community service, and up to four years of probation. It’s mandatory that second-time offenders spend at least ten days in jail, but they can be sentenced to up to four years total. Second-time offenders, like first-time offenders, can have their license suspended after a conviction as well. But, the suspension for second-time offenders can last for up to one year, which is longer than what is required for first-time offenders.

The penalties get even worse if you have four or more prior DUI convictions on your record. Fourth DUI offenses—and all subsequent offenses—are charged as felonies instead of misdemeanors. Fourth-time offenders can be ordered to complete between 48-120 hours of community service and spend up to six years behind bars.

Even if the judge is lenient and decides to only sentence a fourth-time offender to probation, the law states that the defendant must serve between 90-180 days in jail. If the defendant participates in a work release program as part of his sentence, he will still have to spend between 120 days to two years behind bars to meet the minimum sentencing requirements.

These repeat offenders may also have to adjust to life without a car since their driving privileges can be revoked for up to three years.

Every DUI offender should have legal representation, but it becomes even more important if you are a repeat offender. The criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will aggressively defend your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Everything You Need to Know About Denver’s Drug Court

Everything You Need to Know About Denver’s Drug Court

Drug addiction is a disease that affects many people in the state of Colorado. People that are addicted to drugs often find themselves facing criminal charges for drug possession, driving under the influence, or drug distribution. The state often sentences these individuals to do time behind bars instead of getting them the help they need to overcome their addiction. But, that may change for some drug offenders thanks to Denver’s drug court.

What is Denver’s Drug Court?

The drug court is a specialized court that focuses on treating and rehabilitating drug offenders so they can improve the quality of their lives and avoid a life of crime.

Who is Eligible For Drug Court?

Being charged with a drug crime does not mean that you will automatically qualify for drug court. Defendants are only eligible if this is their first drug offense and they are being charged for possession of a small amount of drugs. However, the District Attorney’s office will have the final say as to who should be included. This means the DA has the right to exclude someone who meets these qualifications and include someone who doesn’t.

How Does Drug Court Work?

The defendant will be placed under supervision of the drug court after sentencing. Then, the defendant will be required to complete three separate phases of the drug program before he officially graduates. Each phase has a different set of rules that must be followed or the defendant will face penalties. For example, participants are expected to enroll in a treatment program and submit to 8-10 urine drug tests per month in phase one. There are many different treatment options to choose from, including group therapy sessions, inpatient and outpatient treatment, and support groups. In phase two, some of the rules include completing community service, submitting to fewer urine tests per month, and attending all hearings in court.

The duration of each phase depends on the participant’s progress. In order to move to the next phase, the participant has to meet certain requirements. Moving from phase two to three requires having 90 consecutive days of clean urine screens, for instance. After the three phases are complete, the participant graduates from the program and receives a certificate that recognizes this accomplishment.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will help you understand all of your legal options. For some defendants, participating in this drug program is the best choice. If it’s right for you, we will work tirelessly to ensure you are chosen to enroll. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

When is Texting and Calling Considered Harassment in Colorado?

When is Texting and Calling Considered Harassment in Colorado?

Texting and calling someone may seem harmless, but in some cases it crosses a line and becomes illegal. When is texting and calling considered harassment in Colorado? Here’s what you need to know about this crime:

Harassing Texts and Phone Calls

The law defines many different types of harassment, but one of the most common ones involves harassing texts and phone calls. Calling another person over and over can be considered harassment, even if the person doesn’t answer or you hang up when he does. Sending texts—even if they are sent anonymously—can be considered harassment if they contain obscene, harassing, or threatening messages.

The time of day that you place these calls or send these texts may be used to determine if your behavior is harassing or not. Repeatedly contacting someone at an inconvenient hour is illegal. Most people assume that an “inconvenient hour” refers to the middle of the night, since this is when people would be the most annoyed by a phone call or text. But, that’s not the only time of day that could be considered inconvenient. It can be argued that any hour of the day is inconvenient if the calls or texts interfere with the victim’s ability to enjoy her privacy in her home.

The Intent of the Crime

In order for a behavior to be labeled as harassment, the intent of the accused must be to harass, annoy, or alarm the victim. A prosecutor must be able to prove intent to convict a defendant of harassment. A defendant who never intended on causing any harm by calling a victim or sending a text message should not be convicted of harassment.

Criminal Penalties

There are a number of penalties that you may face if you are convicted of harassment. This crime is usually charged as a class 3 misdemeanor with maximum penalties of up to six months in jail and up to $750 in fines. However, the crime can be charged as a class 1 misdemeanor if the victim was targeted because of her race, religion, or national. Defendants who are convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor can face up to $5,000 in fines and 18 months in jail.

Harassment may be a misdemeanor, but it still carries serious penalties. If you have been charged with harassment, seek legal representation at once. Let the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm defend you against these charges. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Can A Criminal Conviction Affect Your Professional Licensing?

Can A Criminal Conviction Affect Your Professional Licensing?

Many people are required to obtain a license in order to work in their field, including nurses, teachers, real estate agents, and accountants. These professionals need their licenses in order to stay employed and earn income, which means a license suspension or revocation can be devastating. If you have been charged with a crime, it’s important to learn how a criminal conviction can affect your professional licensing.

The state board that is responsible for issuing licenses in your field needs to be notified as soon as possible if you are convicted of a crime. Each board may have its own rules regarding how long you have to report a conviction. For instance, attorneys that are licensed to practice in Colorado must report any criminal conviction besides traffic offenses within 14 days.

After being notified, the board will review the details of your conviction and determine if any penalties should be imposed. In most cases, the board will schedule a hearing, which you will be required to attend.

Each board has its own rules regarding how criminal convictions will affect the individual’s license. For example, the Colorado Board of Accountancy’s rules state that a license can be revoked or suspended if an accountant is convicted of any felony crime. On the other hand, the licensing board for teachers in the state of Colorado lists out specific crimes that could warrant a revocation or suspension of a teacher’s license. Some of the crimes on this list include indecent exposure, child abuse, sexual assault, felony drug crimes, and unlawful sexual contact.

Other boards do not have as many restrictions. The board that regulates real estate property appraisers only takes disciplinary action if the crime that the individual was convicted of is related to the job, such as fraud, theft, embezzlement, and bribery.

The board will take a number of factors into consideration when determining what disciplinary action to take, including your prior record and the nature of the crime. If the board decides to suspend your license, the suspension will go into effect immediately. This decision, as well as the decision to revoke your license, can be appealed.

Do you have a professional license? If you have been charged with a crime, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our criminal defense attorneys will fight tirelessly to protect you from the penalties of a conviction. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Are Nursing Homes Liable For Medication Errors?

Are Nursing Homes Liable For Medication Errors?

Many elderly adults have health conditions that need to be treated with prescription medications. This is especially true of nursing home residents, who often rely on employees at the nursing home to provide them with their medications. But, what happens when someone makes a mistake and a nursing home resident is injured as a result? Here’s what you need to know about medication errors in nursing homes:

Types of Medication Errors

There are many different types of medication errors that can occur inside a nursing home, including:

  • Giving the victim too much or too little of the medication
  • Giving the victim the wrong medication
  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Administering the medication incorrectly

These errors may not seem serious, but they can significantly harm the victim. In severe cases, victims can suffer from allergic reactions and organ failure. Some medication errors may even be fatal.

Proving Liability

A nursing home is not automatically held responsible for medication errors that occur within the facility. The victim must be able to prove that the nursing home was negligent in order to recover compensation in a personal injury claim.

For example, let’s say the error was related to the administration of the medication. The nursing home may be liable if it is determined they failed to properly train their employees on administering medication. A nursing home can also be held liable if an employee simply handed a resident the wrong medication or the wrong amount of a medication because she was distracted or in a hurry. Sadly, this is far too common in nursing homes due to understaffing issues.

However, third party healthcare providers and pharmacists can also be held liable for these errors. For instance, a doctor who accidentally prescribes the wrong medication would be held liable for his mistake. Pharmacists can be held liable if they do not fill the prescription properly. Both doctors and pharmacists may be liable if they fail to realize that a newly prescribed medication may produce dangerous side effects if taken with another medication that the victim is already on. In these situations, the nursing home would not necessarily be liable unless the doctor or pharmacist was employed by the facility.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medication error in a nursing home, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will get to the bottom of why the medication error occurred to determine who can be held responsible. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Tell if You Have A Slip and Fall Claim

How to Tell if You Have A Slip and Fall Claim

One of the first thoughts that may cross your mind after a slip and fall accident is filing a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your injuries. Many slip and fall victims successfully recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But, this does not mean that every person who slips and falls will automatically be compensated. Here’s how you can tell if you have a valid slip and fall claim:

You Were Not to Blame

Were you partially or totally responsible for the accident? In Colorado, personal injury victims can recover compensation as long as they were not more than 50% responsible for the accident. A slip and fall plaintiff who was illegally on the property at the time of the accident may hold more than 50% of the blame, which means she will not be able to recover compensation. It’s best to talk to an attorney about the role that you could have played in the accident to determine if it will affect your ability to recover compensation.

The Property Owner Was Negligent

Property owners are often held liable for slip and fall accidents due to premises liability laws. These laws state a property owner must maintain safe conditions on his property to protect his guests from harm. Therefore, if a slip and fall accident occurs because of an unsafe condition on someone’s property, the owner can often be held liable.

However, the victim must be able to prove that the property owner’s failure to maintain safe conditions was negligent. To do this, the plaintiff must prove one of these conditions is true:

  • The owner created the safety hazard that caused the accident.
  • The owner knew about the safety hazard that caused the accident, but did nothing to fix it.
  • The owner should have known about the safety hazard because a “reasonable” property owner would have.

The first two conditions are straightforward, and can typically be proven through surveillance camera footage, witness testimony, and other evidence. But, proving that an owner should have known about a condition can be a bit more complex. This is typically proven by showing the hazard existed for a long period of time or was located in a place that should have made it obvious to the property owner. If an attorney believes it is possible to prove the property owner is liable, then you may have a valid slip and fall claim.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident to gather the evidence we need to prove liability. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Who is Liable For Trampoline Park Injuries?

Who is Liable For Trampoline Park Injuries?

Trampoline park injuries are on the rise, according to a new study published in Pediatrics. Researchers found that the number of children who had to go to the emergency room due to a trampoline park injury rose from under 600 in 2010 to nearly 7,000 in 2014. Some children suffer minor injuries such as ankle sprains, but others sustain far more serious injuries, including fractures, spinal cord damage, and head trauma. If your child is injured at a trampoline park, it’s important to know who you can hold liable for his injuries.

The Trampoline Park Owner

Property owners have a legal obligation under premises liability laws to keep their properties safe so guests do not injure themselves. Therefore, if a child is injured while at a trampoline park, the property owner could be held liable.

Property owners are typically held liable for trampoline injuries if the injuries occurred as a result of poorly maintained equipment. For example, an owner can be held liable if a child injuries himself on an old trampoline that clearly needed to be repaired. The owner’s failure to repair the trampoline would most likely be seen as negligence, which is why he would be liable.

If a child is injured because he was not being supervised, a property owner can also be held liable. For instance, let’s say the trampoline park employees are supposed to closely supervise small children, but fail to do so. If a child who is supposed to be under supervision injures himself, the trampoline park owner can be held responsible.

The Manufacturer of the Trampoline Park

Manufacturers must ensure the trampolines they produce and sell to trampoline parks are safe. If an injury occurs due to a defective trampoline, the manufacturer can be held liable for the victim’s injuries. For example, if the part that is designed to attach the trampoline mat to the frame is defective, the mat may detach while a child is jumping on it. This can lead to serious injuries, and the manufacturer would be liable for producing a defective product.

A Trampoline Park Guest

In some cases, another guest at the trampoline park could be held liable for the child’s injuries. This occurs when the child’s injury is a direct result of another guest’s negligence. For instance, a guest can be held liable if he intentionally pushes a child off of a trampoline and the child breaks his ankle.

Has your child been injured at a trampoline park? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will immediately get to work to identify the liable parties so we can recover compensation on behalf of your child. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.