Month: May 2018

What Are Extraordinary Risk Crimes in Colorado?

What Are Extraordinary Risk Crimes in Colorado?

The sentence for a criminal conviction is partly determined by how the crime is classified. For instance, a felony crime will carry more serious penalties than a misdemeanor crime. But, there’s another crime classification that can affect the way a defendant is sentenced. Here’s what you need to know about extraordinary risk crimes in Colorado:

What is an Extraordinary Risk Crime?

When a crime presents a substantial risk of harm to society, it is classified as an extraordinary risk crime. If a crime is classified as an extraordinary risk crime, the maximum sentence imposed on the defendant convicted of the crime can be increased.

Which Crimes Are Classified As Extraordinary Risk Crimes?

Both felonies and misdemeanors can be classified as extraordinary risk crimes. Some of the many extraordinary risk crimes include:

  • Assault in the third degree
  • Child abuse
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Stalking
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Repeat violations of domestic violence protective orders

How Does This Classification Affect Sentencing?

The maximum sentence can be increased if the crime is classified as an extraordinary risk crime. If the crime is a misdemeanor, the maximum sentence can be increased by six months. If the crime is a felony, the maximum sentence can be increased by anywhere from six months to four years depending on the class of felony. For example, the maximum sentence for an extraordinary risk crime that is a class 3 felony can be increased by four years, whereas the sentence for a class 6 felony can be increased by six months.

However, it’s important to note that this classification simply increases the maximum possible sentence, not the maximum actual sentence. For example, third degree assault is a class 1 misdemeanor. This class of misdemeanor crimes usually carries a sentence of between 6-18 months in jail. But, since it is classified as an extraordinary risk crime, the maximum sentence is increased to 24 months. This means the judge can impose a sentence of 6-24 months in jail if a defendant is convicted of this crime. The judge does not have to sentence the defendant to the maximum of 24 months, but it is an option. Therefore, the enhanced sentence may not affect every defendant convicted of extraordinary risk crimes.

If you have been charged with a crime, it’s in your best interests to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney from Reisch Law Firm. Our attorneys have years of experience representing clients facing a wide range of misdemeanor and felony charges. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What Happens After You Complete Probation?

What Happens After You Complete Probation?

People who are convicted of crimes can face a number of different penalties, including probation. This alternative sentence gives defendants the opportunity to avoid incarceration as long as they comply with the terms of their probation for a specified period of time. Probationers must follow certain court-ordered rules during their probation period, but what happens after they complete probation? Here’s what to expect at the end of probation:

How to Determine When Probation is Over

Every defendant will be informed of the length of their probation during their sentencing. If a probationer violates the terms of the probation, the court has the option of extending the probationary period. But otherwise, the probation will come to an end after the probationer has completed the sentence. Once probation is over, the probationer is no longer required to comply with the terms of probation. If you’re unsure of the details of your probation, feel free to ask your attorney or probation officer for help.

Some probationers can apply for an early termination of their probation. When deciding whether or not to grant an early termination, the court will consider many factors, including the nature of the probationer’s crime and his compliance with the terms of probation.

The Probation Will End if Conditions Are Met

If you are not applying for early termination, your probation will terminate on the last day of your sentence. However, it’s important to ensure that you have met all of the court-ordered conditions of probation prior to this date. If any of the conditions have not been met, the court may decide to extend the sentence or impose other penalties. Review the conditions of your probation with your probation office in advance so you can make sure there is nothing left for you to do.

The Conviction Remains on Your Record

Probationers must understand that their criminal conviction will remain on their record even after probation is over. The conviction is not erased simply because the probationer served his time. Having a criminal record could make it harder to find a job or housing since it the conviction will appear in background checks. But fortunately, some people will be eligible to seal their records in the future so their convictions are not visible to the public. After your probation is over, meet with an attorney to find out if you are eligible.

If you have been charged with a crime, seek legal representation from the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm at once. Our team will fight 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 Happens When Out-of-State Residents Get DUIs in Colorado

What Happens When Out-of-State Residents Get DUIs in Colorado

Colorado is a popular tourist destination, so it’s common to see tourists throughout the state. Many of these tourists rent cars once they arrive or take their own vehicle to get here so they can get around easily. These tourists—just like the residents of Colorado—are prohibited from driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. But unfortunately, many people think that the laws don’t apply to them when they are far away from home in a different state. What happens when out-of-state residents get DUIs in Colorado? Here’s what you should know:

Out-of-State Residents Face the Same Penalties

The penalties for DUI are the same for both residents and tourists. This means out-of-state residents will face jail time, probation, fines, community service, license suspension, and mandatory enrollment in an alcohol education course. Leaving the state—even if you plan on never returning—will not help you avoid these penalties.

Sentences Can Be Served in the Defendant’s Home State

Defendants are usually allowed to serve their sentences in their home state. For example, if a defendant who resides in another state is sentenced to probation, the court will usually allow him to complete the terms of probation in his home state.

It’s Best to Hire An Attorney

It’s not required that out-of-state DUI defendants hire criminal defense attorneys, but it’s strongly recommended. Criminal defense attorneys can defend you against the charges and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Plus, hiring an attorney may make dealing with these criminal charges more convenient as well. This is because a criminal defense attorney may be able to appear in court on your behalf so you are not forced to travel to Colorado for every court date.

The Driver License Compact

Most states are part of the Driver License Compact, which is an agreement made between states to exchange information on drivers’ license suspensions. This means if an out-of-state resident’s license is suspended in Colorado because of a DUI, this information will be shared with his home state. As a result, the driver’s license will be suspended in his home state even though the crime was committed in Colorado. The driver will not regain driving privileges until he has completed the Colorado DMV’s requirements for reinstatement.

It’s important for out-of-state residents to understand that a DUI will follow them home. If you have been charged with DUI, contact Reisch Law Firm as soon as possible. Let our experienced criminal defense attorneys handle every aspect of your case so you don’t have to travel back to Colorado. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Common Defense Strategies Used in Arson Cases

Common Defense Strategies Used in Arson Cases

Arson is a serious crime that is committed when someone intentionally or recklessly sets fire to their own or someone else’s property. Arson can be charged in the first, second, third, or fourth degree, depending on the nature of the crime. Anyone who is charged with this crime can face severe consequences, including years behind bars. But fortunately, an arson charge does not always lead to a conviction. Here are some of the most common defense strategies used in arson cases:

The Fire Was Accidental

In order to be convicted of first, second, or third degree arson, the prosecution must be able to prove that the defendant intentionally set the property on fire. If there is evidence that shows the defendant was responsible for the fire, the criminal defense attorney may not try to disprove this fact. Instead, attorneys can argue that the defendant did not intend on starting the fire. If it can be proven that the fire was an accident, the charges may be dropped or reduced to fourth degree arson.

There Was No Intent to Defraud

Defendants who are facing third degree arson charges are being accused of setting fire to something in an attempt to defraud insurance companies or other parties. When representing these clients, criminal defense attorneys often focus on showing that the defendant did not intend on defrauding anyone. If the defendant did not have this intention, the charges may be reduced.

The Investigation Was Incomplete

Law enforcement officials investigating the fire often conclude that someone committed arson if they are unable to determine the exact cause of the fire. If there is insufficient evidence of arson, a criminal defense attorney can hire a private investigator and other expert witnesses to analyze the evidence gathered from the scene. In some cases, these expert witnesses are able to find major flaws in the investigation, such as witnesses that weren’t questioned or evidence that wasn’t tested. This strategy can be used to create doubt in jurors’ minds by showing them that the investigation was flawed. Sometimes, this strategy can convince the jury that the investigators simply blamed the fire on someone because they were unable to identify the true cause and eager to wrap up the investigation.

Have you been charged with arson? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm as soon as possible. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will use a unique defense strategy to protect your freedom. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Do You Need A Personal Injury Attorney With Trial Experience?

Do You Need A Personal Injury Attorney With Trial Experience?

People often assume that personal injury lawyers spend most of their time arguing in court, but that’s not necessarily true. About 95% of personal injury cases are settled outside of the courtroom, which means personal injury attorneys only need to go to court for about 5% of their cases. Even though most cases will be resolved without ever going to trial, it’s still in your best interest to find a personal injury attorney with trial experience. Here’s why:

Send A Message to the Insurance Company

Insurance companies are familiar with local personal injury attorneys, so they know which ones have trial experience and which ones don’t. If you hire an attorney with trial experience, this tells the insurance company that you are willing to take the case to court if they don’t make a fair offer.

Why does this matter? Insurance companies know how expensive personal injury trials can be, so they will usually go to great lengths to resolve cases outside of court. If the insurance company knows that you are willing to take the case to court, the adjuster may make a sizable offer to convince you to settle. Without an attorney with trial experience, it would be difficult to recover a fair amount of compensation from the insurance company.

Be Prepared For Every Scenario

It’s not likely that your case will go to trial, but it’s possible. Hiring a personal injury attorney with trial experience is a good way to prepare for this unlikely, but possible scenario. If your case ends up in court, there’s no need to worry about how your attorney will perform since you chose someone with plenty of trial experience.

Building A Case

An attorney must be able to put together a strong and convincing case in order to win a verdict in court. The best personal injury attorneys begin planning for a trial as soon as they accept the case. These attorneys think about what evidence will be needed to persuade a jury of the defendant’s liability and the most impactful way to present this evidence. Attorneys with trial experience also immediately begin to identify possible defenses that could be used against the plaintiff so they can figure out ways to defeat these strategies. All of these tasks require unique skills that are only found in personal injury attorneys with trial experience. If you hire an attorney without trial experience, he may not know how to build a convincing case around the evidence, which could affect your ability to recover compensation.

There are many reasons why hiring a personal injury attorney with trial experience is in your best interests. If you have been injured, seek legal representation from the personal injury attorneys with at Reisch Law Firm today. Our attorneys are known for winning sizable verdicts on behalf of our personal injury clients. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The Most Common Defense Strategies Used in Slip and Fall Cases

The Most Common Defense Strategies Used in Slip and Fall Cases

Property owners are responsible for maintaining safe conditions on their properties to ensure that visitors do not injure themselves. Because of this legal obligation, property owners are often held accountable for slip and fall accidents that occur on their property. But, this does not mean that property owners immediately take the blame for every injury sustained on their property. Many property owners put up a fight in an attempt to avoid liability in a personal injury case. How? Here are some of the most common defense strategies used in slip and fall cases:

“You’re to blame.”

A property owner can only be held liable if his negligence led to the victim’s slip and fall injuries. Therefore, many property owners will try to escape liability by proving that it was actually the victim’s negligence that caused the slip and fall accident. For example, if a grocery store customer is too distracted by her phone to notice the “Wet Floor” sign, she may be found partially or totally responsible for her injuries if she slips on the wet floor.

Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state, which means victims can still recover compensation for their injuries if they were less than 50% responsible for the accident. But, if a victim is determined to be partially responsible, he will not receive as much compensation. This means defendants can use this strategy to lower the amount of compensation they owe the plaintiff.

“You were trespassing.”

Trespassers do not have the same rights as legal visitors. Trespassers can only recover compensation for injuries deliberately caused by the property owner. If a trespasser is hurt in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, the property owner is not liable unless he deliberately created a safety hazard to hurt the victim. Therefore, property owners can use this as a defense in slip and fall cases in order to escape liability.

“You knew the risks of coming onto my property.”

The assumption of risk defense can also be used in a slip and fall case. This defense comes into play when the victim knew that participating in a certain activity was risky, but decided to do so anyways. If she was injured as a result of the activity, she may be held partially or totally liable since she knew of the risks beforehand. For example, let’s say a property owner warns his guest that the stairs leading up to his house are slippery from a recent rainstorm. The guest walks up the stairs anyways, slips, and injures herself. In this case, the guest knew of the risk involved and chose to engage in the activity anyways, so she may be held partially or totally liable.

These defense strategies may be common, but they’re not always effective. If you have been injured in a slip and fall, let the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm fight to hold the property owner accountable. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

When Can A Defendant’s Criminal Charges Be Reduced?

When Can A Defendant’s Criminal Charges Be Reduced?

A criminal defense attorney will always fight to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. If the attorney thinks that it is possible to get the charges completely dropped, this is the outcome he will pursue. But in some cases, the attorney may think that the best possible outcome is to get the criminal charges reduced instead of completely dropped.

What Does it Mean to Reduce Criminal Charges?

Every criminal charge should be taken seriously, but some charges are more serious than others. If the charges against you are reduced, it means that you will be charged with a less serious crime. For example, let’s say you are arrested and charged with menacing, which is similar to assault. Menacing can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the nature of the crime, but in this case, you are charged with felony menacing. If the charges are reduced, it means the state change your charges to misdemeanor menacing instead of felony menacing.

When Are Criminal Charges Reduced?

There are several reasons why the state might decide to reduce your criminal charges. First, the prosecution may reduce your charges if you agree to a plea bargain. This means the prosecution will charge you with a less serious crime as long as you agree to plead guilty to it. Many criminal cases are resolved with plea bargains, but it’s important not to accept one of these deals before speaking with an attorney.

Prosecutors can also be forced to reduce criminal charges if they realize they do not have enough evidence to convict you of the original charge. For instance, consider the menacing crime example from above. The difference between felony and misdemeanor menacing is the former involves the use of a deadly weapon. As the prosecutor starts to build his case, he may realize that he does not have evidence of the deadly weapon. Or, he may realize that the evidence of the deadly weapon will not be admissible in court. Instead of risking a not guilty verdict at trial, he may decide to reduce the charges to misdemeanor menacing, which he will be able to prove.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm as soon as possible. Our attorneys will fight tirelessly to reach the best possible outcome in your case, which may involve reduced charges. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Recover Compensation For PTSD After An Accident

How to Recover Compensation For PTSD After An Accident

Car accidents can cause serious injuries such as broken bones, concussions, and spinal cord damage. But sometimes, the emotional injuries that occur as a result of a car accident cause much greater pain than the physical injuries. People who were involved in catastrophic accidents can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. Fortunately, it may be possible for these victims to recover compensation for PTSD after an accident.

Proving PTSD After An Accident

Car accident victims will not be compensated for any injuries that cannot be proven. When a victim has a physical injury, it can usually be proven with lab reports or X-rays. But, PTSD won’t show up on MRI results or in blood work, which means it is more difficult to prove. To prove PTSD, car accident victims turn to expert witnesses. It’s common for car accident victims to use the mental health professional that has made the PTSD diagnosis as their expert witness. This individual will be able to provide the most valuable information since he is the one who is treating you.

How Expert Witnesses Can Help

If the case goes to trial, the expert witness needs to begin by describing his experience in the mental health field. This is necessary because it helps the jury understand why the witness should be considered an expert in the field. If this information is not mentioned, the jury will not know whether or not the witness can be trusted.

Next, the witness needs to explain what PTSD is, how it is caused, and the symptoms of this condition. The jury should clearly understand how tragic experiences such as car accidents could lead to PTSD.

The expert witness should then begin to describe your diagnosis. The jury should hear about the symptoms you were experiencing, when they first began, and why the expert decided to diagnose you with PTSD. The witness also needs to go over how this condition has interfered with your life. Has it affected your personal relationships? What is your current mental state? How severe are the symptoms? This information can be used to help the jury decide whether or not to award you pain and suffering damages for your PTSD.

If you have been diagnosed with PTSD after an accident, it’s in your best interests to seek legal representation from the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm. Let our attorneys fight for the compensation you deserve for these painful emotional wounds. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What is a Preliminary Hearing?

What is a Preliminary Hearing?

Every criminal case starts with an arrest. But, what happens next? Many people aren’t familiar with the different steps in the criminal justice process, so they don’t know what to expect after being arrested. One important step of the process is known as the preliminary hearing, which occurs after a defendant has entered a plea of not guilty.

Your criminal defense attorney may refer to a preliminary hearing as the “trial before the trial.” This is because the judge will use this hearing to determine if there is enough evidence against the defendant to move forward with the trial. It’s important to note that the judge is not reviewing the evidence to determine if the defendant is guilty or innocent. He is simply responsible for reviewing the amount and nature of evidence to see if the state has enough evidence to convince a jury of the defendant’s guilt.

Who is Eligible For a Preliminary Hearing?

Some defendants may never have a preliminary hearing. Why? First of all, these hearings can only be requested when the defendant has been charged with a felony. All defendants who have been charged with class 1, 2, or 3 felonies can request a preliminary hearing. Some defendants who have been charged with class 4, 5, or 6 felonies may also qualify. Defendants who have been charged with a misdemeanor do not have the right to request a preliminary hearing.

Defendants who have entered a guilty plea will also not be granted a preliminary hearing. Since this hearing is used to determine if a trial is appropriate, there’s no need to schedule one for a defendant who has already admitted guilt.

What Happens During A Preliminary Hearing?

A preliminary hearing is very similar to a trial. Both sides will get to present their arguments to the judge instead of a jury. Both the prosecution and defense are also allowed to call witnesses or present physical evidence to prove their case. The defense’s goal is to convince the judge that the prosecution’s case is too weak to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the judge agrees with the defense, the case will be dismissed. But, if he sides with the prosecution, a trial will be scheduled.

If you have been charged with a crime, it’s in your best interests to seek legal representation from the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm as soon as possible. Let our attorneys protect your rights and fight for your freedom through every step of the criminal justice process. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded to Personal Injury Victims?

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded to Personal Injury Victims?

There are three main categories of damages that can be awarded to a personal injury victim: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic and non-economic damages are awarded to victims who have incurred expenses, experienced losses, or suffered physically or mentally as a result of their injuries. But, when are punitive damages awarded to personal injury victims?

An Introduction to Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are supposed to be used to punish the defendant for his extremely negligent conduct. Therefore, these damages are not awarded to compensate the victim for specific expenses or losses, but rather to teach the defendant a lesson.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?

Punitive damages are not awarded in every personal injury case. To recover punitive damages, the plaintiff must prove that their injuries were a result of the defendant’s decision to “commit an act of fraud, malice, or willful and wanton conduct.”

Most personal injury victims that recover punitive damages do so by proving that the defendant committed an act of willful and wanton conduct. This means the defendant knew he was acting in a manner that could put others in harm’s way, but continued to do so anyways. The court often finds that these defendants acted with a complete disregard for the safety of others and should be punished using punitive damages.

Many victims that are awarded punitive damages successfully prove that the defendant acted with malice, not willful or wanton conduct. This is done by proving the defendant’s actions were intentional because he had a desire to hurt the plaintiff.

How Much Compensation Will Be Awarded?

There is a cap on punitive damages in Colorado. Punitive damages cannot exceed the amount of non-economic and economic damages awarded to the personal injury victim. For instance, if the plaintiff is awarded $50,000 in non-economic and economic damages, he will not be able to recover more than $50,000 in punitive damages.

It can be difficult to recover punitive damages since the court reserves them for cases where the defendant acted with extreme negligence or malice. A personal injury attorney can review your case to determine if you should ask the court to order the defendant to pay punitive damages.

If you have been injured, seek legal representation from the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm. Our personal injury attorneys will aggressively pursue compensation for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.