Author: Scott Reisch

The Difference Between Civil and Criminal Cases

The Difference Between Civil and Criminal Cases

There are two types of cases that may be tried in courts in the United States: civil and criminal cases. What’s the difference? Here’s what you to need to know:

How Legal Action is Initiated

If you want to file a civil lawsuit against someone who has wronged or harmed you, the ball is in your court. You can hire an attorney and begin the process of taking legal action against the defendant. Throughout the trial, you and your attorney will make decisions together on how the case should be handled.

However, victims are not in control in a criminal case. Victims are responsible for reporting crimes to law enforcement officers who will then investigate their allegations. A criminal case will only begin if law enforcement can find enough evidence to arrest and then charge someone with a crime. At this point, the state, not the victim, will be responsible for presenting the evidence against the defendant. Victims may be called during the trial as witnesses, but they have no say in other matters of criminal cases.

Some criminal cases do not involve any victims. For example, you can be arrested for driving under the influence even if you have not harmed anyone. Regardless of whether this is a victim or not, the state will be the one who prosecutes the defendant in the criminal cases.

Standard of Proof

In a criminal case, the evidence that is presented must prove that the defendant committed the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the prosecutor cannot prove this, the defendant should not be convicted of the crime. However, the standard of proof is different in civil cases, which must be proven by “the preponderance of evidence.” This standard of proof is much lower than the proof that is required in a criminal case. Why? A lower standard of proof is permitted in civil cases because the penalties are far less severe than those of criminal cases where someone’s liberty or freedom is at stake.

The Outcome

The outcome in civil and criminal cases is also different. The goal of a criminal case is to determine whether the defendant is innocent or guilty, and if he is guilty, what punishments he should face as a result of the crime. However, the goal of a civil case is to determine whether the defendant should be ordered to compensate the plaintiff. The jury does not determine whether a defendant should face criminal penalties such as jail time or probation during a civil case—this only comes into play in criminal cases.

Reisch Law Firm handles both civil and criminal cases. If you are facing criminal charges, our criminal defense attorneys will defend your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, our personal injury attorneys will ensure you recover the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Prepare For a Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney

How to Prepare For a Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney

Before you hire a personal injury attorney, it’s important to attend a consultation where you discuss your case and learn more about the law firm. But to make the most out of this consultation, you will have to spend a bit of time preparing for it. Here’s how:

Bring all of your documentation.

It’s recommended that you document evidence related to the accident and the injures you have sustained. This may include photographic evidence, witness statements, police reports, and your medical records. Bring all of this documentation with you to the consultation so the attorney thoroughly understands the details of your case. If possible, make copies of all of these documents so you can leave them with the attorney after the consultation is over.

Research the law firm.

Personal injury attorneys will use the consultation to learn more about your case, but you should use this time to learn more about the attorney. Before you arrive at the appointment, research the law firm so you know what questions you should ask. For example, let’s say you were involved in a slip and fall accident, but the attorney’s website mainly contains information for car accident victims. You will want to ask the attorney whether he has experience handling slip and fall cases, and if so, how successful he has been representing these clients in the past.

Create an outline.

Many people leave consultations with attorneys and realize they left out very important details regarding their cases. A personal injury attorney will need to know the ins and outs of your case before deciding whether he should take it on, so take the time to create a brief outline prior to the consultation. The outline should include important dates such as the accident date, dates of medical treatment, and date you were contacted by the at-fault party’s insurance company. Include as much detail as possible in this outline so the personal injury attorney has a very clear picture of the events that took place.

Bring a pen and paper.

If you are meeting with multiple attorneys before deciding which one to hire, bring a pen and paper with you to each meeting so you can take notes. This will help you remember the details of each consultation so you can review your notes later and decide which attorney you would like to hire.

Now that you know how to prepare for a consultation with a personal injury attorney, it’s time to schedule one. Contact Reisch Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation regarding your personal injury case. Get in touch with our law office by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What to Do if the Police Pull You Over

What to Do If the Police Pull You Over

If you suddenly see the bright flashing lights of a police car behind you, it’s normal to feel a bit nervous or intimidated. But, how you act when the police officer approaches your vehicle could affect the outcome of the traffic stop. Here’s what to do if the police pull you over:

Prepare for him to approach the car.

Find a safe spot to pull over and immediately do so. Then, prepare for the police officer to approach your car by rolling down the window. If you are smoking a cigarette, put it out prior to him coming to your window. If the traffic stop occurs at night, you may want to turn on the light inside your car so the police officer knows that you are not hiding a weapon or anything else that could cause him harm. Then, keep your hands firmly planted on the steering wheel unless the police officer advises you to do something else.

Be polite.

Don’t give the police officer a reason to dislike you. Be polite when you speak to the officer and do not exhibit any signs of aggression. When you address the officer, call him or her “officer,” “ma’am,” or “sir” to show respect. Being rude will not get you anywhere—in fact, it may make matters worse for you.

Move slowly.

Don’t make any sudden movements while a police officer is by your car. If you quickly and suddenly reach for something in back of your vehicle, the police officer may assume that you are reaching for a weapon. Instead, move slowly and announce what you are doing. For example, if the police officer asks you to hand over your license and registration, but it is in the glove compartment, clearly state that you are going into your glove department to retrieve the requested documents.

Know your rights.

You and your passengers have the right to remain silent during a traffic stop. Exercise this right if the police officer begins to question you. But, don’t just sit there silently. Politely inform the police officer that you will be exercising your right to remain silent. You also have the right to say no to unlawful searches of your vehicle. Unless the police officer has reason to believe that your car contains evidence of a crime, he cannot search your vehicle without your consent. Don’t give consent under any circumstances.

If you have been arrested after being pulled over by a police officer, get in touch with a criminal defense attorney right away. Contact Reisch Law Firm so our attorneys can immediately begin working on your case and defending your rights. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The Benefits of Working With a Personal Injury Attorney After a Car Accident

The Benefits of Working With a Personal Injury Attorney After a Car Accident

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, working with a personal injury attorney is your best chance at recovering the compensation you deserve. Although it is not legally required that you hire an attorney in order to recover compensation, it’s strongly recommended that you do so. Why? Here are some of the many benefits of working with a personal injury attorney after a car accident:

Attorneys Can Assess the Value of Your Claim

If you attempt to recover compensation without an attorney, how much will you ask for? It’s much more difficult to determine how much your claim is worth than it may seem. Why? Let’s say you have suffered a back injury in a car accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may compensate you for current and future medical expenses. But, to ensure you receive enough to cover all of your bills, you will need to calculate how much you think your expenses will be. If you don’t realize that you may need additional treatment in the future, you may underestimate the value of your claim and receive an unfair settlement that doesn’t cover your expenses. An attorney knows how to calculate both current and future damages so you won’t run into this problem.

Communicating With the Insurance Company

Personal injury attorneys are skilled negotiators, so they will have no trouble communicating directly with the insurance company to negotiate the terms of a fair settlement. If you attempt to communicate with the insurance company on your own, you may end up falling for one of their tricks that affects your settlement. For example, an insurance adjuster may take some of your statements out of context and use them against you to prove that you were partially or completely at fault for the accident. This won’t happen when you work with an experienced attorney who knows how to handle an insurance company.

Access to Resources

Some personal injury cases are more complicated than others. In complex cases, you may need to call upon expert witnesses to prove your version of events. For example, you may need to hire an expert to reconstruct the car accident and prove the other driver was at fault. But, it can be difficult for you to find and hire these expert witnesses if you don’t have an attorney representing you. As a result, you may be unable to provide evidence that the other party was negligent.

Trial

Most personal injury cases are settled outside of the courtroom. However, there is a chance that your case will go to trial. If so, you will need an attorney who can represent you well in court and present a strong case that proves you are entitled to compensation.

Are you ready to work with a personal injury attorney now that you understand how beneficial it is to do so? Contact Reisch Law Firm today to talk to our team of personal injury attorneys who have experience representing clients in cases involving traffic accidents, dog bites, medical malpractice, slip and falls, and more. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Surprising Distracted Driving Statistics

Surprising Distracted Driving Statistics

Distracted driving occurs when a driver operates a vehicle while also attempting to do something else, such as texting, making phone calls, changing the radio station, eating, talking to other passengers, or applying makeup. There are three types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. If you are visually distracted, it means your eyes are off of the road, whereas manual distraction indicates that your hands are off of the steering wheel. Finally, cognitive distraction means that your mind is not focused on other things besides the road in front of you. By now, you should know about the potential dangers associated with distracted driving. But, just how dangerous is it? Take a look at these surprising distracted driving statistics:

Length of Time

If you send a text message while driving, your eyes will be off of the road for an average of five seconds. This may not seem like much time at all until you realize that a car traveling at 55 mph can cover the length of a football field within just five seconds. Plus, even though your eyes are only off of the road for five seconds, it’s estimated that you will remain distracted for up to 27 seconds even after you put your phone down.

Texting

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), using a cell phone while driving causes over 1.6 million crashes every year in the U.S. Texting is the most common type of distraction. In fact, one of out every four traffic accidents is caused by drivers who were texting at the time of the collision. This has led researchers to determine that texting while driving is far more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.

Teens & Cell Phones

Distracted driving is prevalent among drivers of all ages, but teens are the biggest offenders. Teens are aware that texting is dangerous, but that doesn’t stop them from doing it. Despite 94% of teens acknowledging that texting while driving is dangerous, over one-third of them admit to doing it anyways.

Teens & Other Distractions

Cell phones aren’t the only distractions that teens face on the road. Teens that have other passengers in the car are far more likely to get into an accident than teens that are by themselves. If a teen has one passenger, he becomes twice as likely to get into a fatal accident. But with two or more passengers, the teen becomes nearly five times as likely to get into a fatal crash.

Have you been injured by a distracted driver? If so, get in touch with the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. We can help you prove the driver was acting negligently at the time of the accident so you can recover the compensation you deserve.. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

How to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 people are killed in motorcycle accidents every year. In fact, motorcyclists are almost 30 times more likely than people who ride in cars to die in an accident and five times more likely to be severely injured. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that it’s important for motorcyclists to do everything possible to avoid motorcycle accidents. But, how? Follow these tips:

Make yourself more visible.

It’s common for drivers who collide with motorcycles to say that they never saw the motorcyclist before the accident. Be aware of this while you’re on the road and try to maximize your visibility to avoid getting into an accident. Wearing brightly colored clothing and turning on your lights after dark will help, but you should avoid riding in drivers’ blind spots as well.

Don’t stop directly behind cars.

Rear-end collisions can be deadly for motorcyclists. To avoid getting into one of these accidents, don’t ever stop directly behind the car in front of you while in traffic. Instead, stay to either the right or left of the car. Why? If you angle your motorcycle to the right or left of the vehicle in front of you, you are creating an escape path that could save you if the car behind you fails to brake in time to avoid a collision. If you realize the car behind you is not braking quickly enough, you can easily maneuver out of the way to avoid the accident.

Do not share a lane with other motorcyclists.

Many motorcyclists enjoy taking their bikes out for a ride with their friends, which is fine as long as you do not share lanes. Why is sharing lanes so dangerous? Let’s say that you are out for a ride when you spot a pothole in the road in front of you. If you are alone in the lane, you can easily swerve out of the way to avoid hitting the pothole. But, if you are sharing the lane with another motorcyclist, there may not be anywhere for you to go. You may have to choose between hitting the pothole or swerving out of the way and colliding with the other motorcyclist in your lane. You could end up with serious injuries either way, so it’s important to avoid this dangerous practice.

Don’t ride in the right lane.

If you are traveling on an interstate, it’s best to avoid riding in the right lane. Cars will be entering and exiting from the right lane, which means you will have to navigate around drivers who may not see you as they are merging onto the interstate. It’s much safer to ride in the other lanes so you don’t have to constantly watch for drivers merging into you.

Unfortunately, motorcyclists who follow all of these safety tips may still be injured by a negligent driver. If this happens to you, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys can help you win the compensation you need to pay your medical bills, recover from your injuries, and move on from this tragic accident. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What Types of Criminal Charges Can You Face in Colorado

What Types of Criminal Charges Can You Face in Colorado?

Each crime is classified based on its severity. As a result, you can face two different types of criminal charges in Colorado: misdemeanors and felonies. Here’s what you need to know about each of these charges:

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanor crimes are not as serious as felony crimes, but that doesn’t mean you should take misdemeanor charges lightly. Misdemeanor crimes are classified as either class 1, 2, or 3 crimes, although some crimes remain unclassified in the state of Colorado.

The most serious type of misdemeanor is a class 1. If you are convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor, you can face up to 18 months in jail along with a fine of up to $5,000. For certain offenses 24 months in jail is possible. Even the least serious type of misdemeanor charge, which is a class 3 misdemeanor, could lead to time behind bars. A class 3 misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to six months in jail as well as a fine of up to $750.

Felonies

Felony crimes are considered to be much more serious than misdemeanor crimes, and as a result, the punishments that you face if convicted of a felony are harsher, too. Most felony charges are punishable by a minimum of one year in state prison. Some felony charges in Colorado are unclassified, but others are classified as either class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 crimes.

Class 1 felonies are the most serious charges that you can face. An example of a class 1 felony in Colorado is first degree murder. If you are convicted of a class 1 felony, you may face a life sentence in prison or even the death penalty. On the other end of the spectrum are class 6 felonies, which are the least serious type of felony charge. However, you can still face serious penalties if convicted of a class 6 felony, including up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $100,000.

Some states also charge certain crimes as infractions, which are less serious than misdemeanors. For example, the state of California can charge someone who is disturbing the peace with an infraction. However in the state of Colorado, infractions are civil charges, not criminal charges so they do not carry the same penalties.

Regardless of whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you will need a criminal defense attorney by your side. If you are facing criminal charges, contact Reisch Law Firm today to discuss your legal options. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The Benefits of Working With a Criminal Defense Attorney vs. Public Defender

The Benefits of Working With a Criminal Defense Attorney vs. Public Defender

Anyone who has been arrested has the right to an attorney. If the charges that you face carry possible jail time, you will also have the right to a court-appointed attorney, known as a public defender, if you cannot afford a criminal defense attorney. Which is the better option if you have the choice? Here’s a look at the benefits of working with a criminal defense attorney vs. public defender:

Choice

Working with a criminal defense attorney means you will get to choose the attorney that represents you. This means you can look for an attorney who has experience representing clients in cases similar to yours and who has been successful defending the charges that you face. But, if you work with a public defender, you will end up with whoever the court assigns to your case.

Time

Public defenders often cannot spend very much time with each client because of the number of cases they are expected to handle at once. As a result, it may be difficult to get your legal questions answered or explore other legal options because your attorney may not have time to talk about your case. However, a criminal defense attorney will hold your hand throughout the entire legal process. These attorneys aren’t forced to take on more cases than they can handle, so they have much more time to devote to fighting for the best possible outcome in your case.

Plea Deals

Many public defenders don’t have time to take each of their cases to trial, so they may attempt to settle as many as possible through plea deal negotiations with the state. If there is a lot of evidence that can be used against you, it may be wise to take the plea deal. But, many defendants may end up with a better outcome by going to trial. If you want an attorney who will do what’s in your best interests instead of trying to close the case as quickly as possible, you will need a criminal defense attorney instead of a public defender.

Reputation

Criminal defense attorneys will not get hired by other clients if they don’t have a good reputation. Because of this, they will fight tirelessly to achieve a favorable outcome in your case. The better the plea deal or verdict is for you, the better it is for a criminal defense attorney’s reputation as well. However, public defenders do not have to advertise for clients, so the pressure to do well in order to maintain a positive reputation is not there.

Are you ready to hire a criminal defense attorney instead of relying on a public defender? Contact Reisch Law Firm today to discuss your legal options. Our team of criminal defense attorneys will guide you through every step of the legal process and fight tirelessly on your behalf. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What Are Your Rights After an Arrest

What Are Your Rights After an Arrest?

If you have been arrested by a police officer, it’s important to protect your rights. What are your rights after an arrest? Here’s what you should know:

The right to know why you are being arrested.

A police officer must have a reason to arrest you, and he must inform you of that reason if you ask for it. If the police officer has a warrant for your arrest, you have the legal right to see the warrant. But, the police officer does not necessarily need to show you the warrant at the time of your arrest. It is your right to see the warrant within a reasonable amount of time after you have been arrested.

The right to remain silent.

The right to remain silent is one of the most important rights that you have, and you should always choose to exercise it if you have been arrested. You cannot be penalized for exercising this right, but you can hurt yourself if you choose not to exercise it. Anything that you say to a police officer or anyone can be used against you to prove your guilt. Even if you think you’re not saying anything incriminating, your statements can be taken out of context and twisted around by law enforcement. For these reasons, any good criminal defense attorney will tell you that you should always remain silent following an arrest.

The right to contact someone.

Everyone who has been arrested has the right to get in touch with someone to let that person know of the arrest. You may have seen on TV or in movies that people only get one phone call, but that is not always true. You are able to make multiple phone calls until you get ahold of someone.

The right to a criminal defense attorney.

If you have been arrested, you have the right to a criminal defense attorney, regardless of the severity of the charges that you face. In cases where jail time is a possible consequence of a conviction, you will have the right to a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford to hire one on your own. It’s important that you ask for an attorney as soon as possible after you have been arrested. Do not sign anything or make any statements without first consulting with a criminal defense attorney about your case.

If you have been arrested, contact Reisch Law Firm as soon as possible. Our criminal defense attorneys will immediately step in to protect 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.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that within the next 24 hours, around 430 people will be taken to the emergency room for injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. Why are so many pedestrians getting hurt? Here are some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents:

Left-Hand Turns

Pedestrians are far more likely to get hit by a car that is turning left than by a car that is turning right. This is because the pedestrian is focused solely on walking straight through the intersection, and the driver is focused only on waiting for a break in traffic so he can make the left turn.

Violation of Traffic Signals

Drivers and pedestrians must pay close attention to traffic signals to determine when it is safe to walk or drive. If a driver fails to follow a traffic signal, he could end up hurting a pedestrian. For example, a driver who makes an illegal U-turn at an intersection could end up colliding with a pedestrian who thought it was safe to walk because there was a no U-turn sign.

Poor Visibility

Most fatal pedestrian accidents happen during the late afternoon, evening, or night hours when visibility is greatly reduced. Pedestrians should attempt to make themselves more visible by wearing reflective clothing when they know they will be walking outside after sunset.

Distracted Driving

Drivers who are talking or texting on their cell phones, eating, putting on makeup, or playing with the radio put pedestrians’ lives in danger. These drivers often do not see a pedestrian until it is too late to avoid an collision. It can be difficult to avoid these type of drivers, but not impossible. Pedestrians should always try to get a good look at the driver before crossing an intersection. If he is not looking at the road, you shouldn’t walk in front of him until you have made eye contact and confirmed that he is stopping.

Crossing Outside of an Intersection

If you are walking on the street, it’s strongly recommended that you only cross at marked intersections. Drivers expect to see pedestrians crossing at intersections, but they may not be prepared to see them crossing the street outside of an intersection. As a result, drivers may fail to spot pedestrians when they are crossing the street outside of an intersection.

Have you been injured by a negligent driver? Pedestrians may be able to recover compensation for their injuries, but first they will need to get in touch with a personal injury attorney. Don’t delay any longer—schedule a free consultation with Reisch Law Firm today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.