The Differences Between State and Federal Charges

The Differences Between State and Federal Charges

There are two types of criminal charges that you may face: state and federal charges. The vast majority of defendants face state charges, but it is still important to learn about federal charges in case you ever find yourself facing these serious accusations. Here’s an overview of the differences between state and federal charges:

Crimes

Defendants who are accused of violating state laws will face state charges. However, defendants who commit crimes on federal property, cross state lines while committing a crime, or commit a federal crime will face federal charges. In some cases, the crime that you are being accused of is both a state and federal crime. State and federal prosecutors decide on a case-by-case basis how and where to prosecute these crimes that violate both state and federal law.

Prosecutors

Federal prosecutors will be responsible for handling cases involving federal charges, whereas state prosecutors take on cases involving state charges. Both state and federal prosecutors are skilled legal professionals that have a deep understanding of the law. However, federal prosecutors typically have fewer open cases than state prosecutors. This means that a federal prosecutor has more time to gather evidence and build a case against you, which could result in a stronger case.

Investigations

Federal investigations are much more thorough than state investigations. Why? Crimes that occur at the state level are investigated by county and city police departments, whereas crimes at the federal level are investigated by federal agencies. The FBI, IRS, SEC, and DEA may be involved with a federal investigation, and they have far more resources at their disposal than state investigators. Federal agencies will leave no stone unturned when investigating a crime, so your attorney must be prepared to face a tough trial.

Penalties

The penalties that you may face will vary depending on the nature of the crime. But in general, the penalties for being convicted of a federal crime are much more serious than penalties for being convicted of a state crime. Defendants who are convicted of a federal crime are typically given longer sentences, which will be served in a federal prison as opposed to a state prison.

If you are facing state or federal charges, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys 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.

Can You Be Charged With DUI If You’re Not Driving?

Can You Be Charged With DUI If You’re Not Driving?

If you have been charged with DUI, it means that you are being accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But, it’s important to understand that you do not actually have to be driving in order to be charged with this crime.

The law does not define “driving,” but it does define the word “driver.” According to Colorado state law, a driver means any person who either drives or is in physical control of the vehicle. Look closely at this definition. The word “or” here indicates that the driver does not have to be actually driving the vehicle in order to be charged with DUI as long as he is in physical control of the vehicle at the time of his arrest.

The law does not define “physical control,” which means this is open to interpretation by police officers and the courts. You may think that the state would need to prove that the vehicle was in motion at the time, but that’s not the case. In 1986, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that it was not necessary to prove that the vehicle was moving in order to establish that someone was in physical control of the vehicle.

So, what does it mean to be in physical control of the vehicle? Physical control of a vehicle is typically determined by one or more of these factors:

  • The defendant’s location in the car
  • Whether or not the keys were in the ignition
  • Whether or not the engine was running
  • The location of the vehicle
  • Any other factors that lead law enforcement officers to believe that you had the intention or the ability to put the car in motion.

Based on this loose definition of physical control, it’s possible for someone to be arrested when he is not driving. In fact, if you decide to start your car and take a nap in the driver’s seat while intoxicated, a police officer can arrest you for driving under the influence. In this case, sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition may be enough to show that you were in physical control of the car.

Many innocent people are accused of driving under the influence even when they were not actually driving their cars. If this happens to you, let an experienced criminal defense attorney at Reisch Law Firm fight the charges that have been filed against you. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What is Probable Cause?

What is Probable Cause?

Everyone should be familiar with their rights so they know how to protect them when interacting with law enforcement. One of the terms that you should know is probable cause, which is a key issue that arises when a police officer wants to conduct a search, make an arrest, or obtain an arrest warrant.

Arrests

In order to arrest someone, the officer must establish probable cause. This means the officer must have sufficient reason to believe that the individual has committed a crime. For example, let’s say a jewelry store is robbed and a police officer encounters someone who matches the description of the suspect. The officer may notice that the individual is wearing jewelry that is similar to the pieces that were stolen. These two pieces of evidence would be enough to establish probable cause, which means the officer could make an arrest. If an arrest is made without probable cause, the arrest will not be valid.

Officers must also establish probable cause in order to obtain an arrest warrant from a judge. The officer must show the judge that he has reason to believe the person who is named in the arrest warrant has committed a crime. If the judge believes the officer does not have probable cause, the warrant will not be issued.

Searches

To obtain a search warrant from a judge, a police officer must establish probable cause. The officer must have evidence that shows a crime was committed at the location or evidence of a crime that was committed will be found at the location.

Most of the time, a police officer will need a warrant to search your property, however there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, a police officer only needs probable cause to search a vehicle during a traffic stop. Let’s say a police officer pulls you over and then sees what appears to be a small bag of drugs sitting in your passenger seat. This would give the officer probable cause to search the vehicle. The smell of illegal drugs could also be enough evidence to establish probable cause and conduct a search of the vehicle without a warrant.

If you have been charged with a crime, seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney at once. The attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will carefully review your case to determine if the officer had the right to arrest or search you. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What’s the Difference Between DUI and DWAI Charges?

What’s the Difference Between DUI and DWAI Charges?

Almost everyone is familiar with DUI charges, but not many people know about DWAI charges. DUI stands for driving under the influence, while DWAI stands for driving while ability impaired. What’s the difference between DUI and DWAI charges? Here’s what you should know if you are being accused of committing either one of these crimes:

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Testing

The legal limit in the state of Colorado is 0.08, which means if you are above this limit, you can be charged with DUI. However, many people don’t realize that they can still face criminal charges even if their BAC is below 0.08. Drivers who have a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 can be charged with DWAI because the law assumes that anyone within this BAC range is impaired. Furthermore, a police officer can arrest you for DWAI even if your BAC is below 0.05. However, in order to do this, the police officer must have a reason to believe that your ability to drive has been impaired.

Determining the Appropriate Criminal Charges

The district attorney will sometimes charge someone with DWAI when he believes the defendant was under the influence, but does not have enough evidence to convict him of DUI. In some cases, it’s possible to have DUI charges reduced to DWAI charges with the help of a criminal defense attorney.

Penalties

The penalties for each of these crimes are different. DUI is a more serious crime than DWAI, which means the penalties are more serious as well. If you are a first time offender, the penalties for DUI could include up to one year in jail, up to $1000 in fines, 48-96 hours of community service, and a license suspension. However, if you are convicted of DWAI for the first time, you will face up to 180 days in jail, up to $500 in fines, and 24-48 hours of community service.

Both of these criminal charges also add points to your driving record. DUI adds 12 points, while a DWAI adds 8 points. Keep in mind that anyone who has earned 12 points on their driving record within a year will have their license suspended. This means that even though your driver’s license is not automatically suspended if you are charged with DWAI, it could be suspended if adding these 8 points to your record gives you a total of 12 points that have been earned over the last year.

Have you been charged with DUI or DWAI? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm today. A criminal charge does not always lead to a conviction—especially if you are represented by our criminal defense team. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Common Slip and Fall Hazards at Hotels and Resorts

Common Slip and Fall Hazards at Hotels and Resorts

No one ever expects to get hurt while on vacation, but unfortunately, many slip and fall accidents happen at hotels and resorts. Don’t let an accident ruin your rest and relaxation—look out for these common slip and fall hazards at hotels and resorts:

Weather Conditions

Hundreds of guests travel in and out of large hotels everyday. If it’s raining or snowing outside, these guests will carry water, mud, and sludge into the hotel on their shoes and clothing. Unfortunately, employees often fail to clean the mess that is made around the main entrances of the hotel or resort, which creates a dangerous slip and fall hazard.

Poor weather conditions can also create hazards outside of the hotel or resort. For example, if the staff fails to salt the steps leading into the building, a guest may slip on a patch of ice and seriously injure himself.

Mopped or Waxed Floors

The employees at hotels and resorts work hard to keep the property sparkling clean, but sometimes a deep clean causes slip and fall accidents. If the floors inside a hotel or resort have recently been mopped or waxed, they may be slippery for a while. To avoid liability, the hotel or resort should have signs up that warn guests about the slippery floors ahead, but many places fail to put these signs in place. As a result, guests lose their footing on the newly cleaned floors and injure themselves.

Parking Lots

Hotels and resorts often have huge parking lots to accommodate all of their guests. Sadly, many slip and fall accidents happen in these parking lots before the guests even get the chance to check into their room. Guests may encounter cracks in the sidewalks or potholes that cause them to fall in the parking lot. It’s also possible that inadequate lighting in the parking lot could contribute to the accident since it’s much harder to spot hazards in the dark.

Flooring

A number of flooring hazards could cause guests at a hotel or resort to slip and fall. For example, guests could easily trip over torn carpeting or slip on a rug that isn’t secured in place. Guests could also lose their balance if the wooden floorboards inside a hotel or resort are uneven. To prevent these slip and fall accidents and avoid liability, hotel and resort property owners must do their part to ensure every inch of the flooring is in good condition.

Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will gather the evidence that we need to prove the property owner should be held liable for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The Importance of Waiting For the Police After A Car Accident

The Importance of Waiting For the Police After A Car Accident

It’s never a good time to get in a car accident, but some times are worse than others. If you’re rushing to work or trying to get to an important meeting, the last thing that you want to do is wait around for the police to arrive at the scene, especially if it was a minor accident. But, don’t underestimate the value of waiting for the police after a car accident.

The police officer who arrives at the scene will gather information that he needs to write an official report. This report will include the location, date, and time of the accident, in addition to details on any property damage and injuries sustained by the drivers or witnesses. The police may also include statements from the parties involved in the accident, as well as the officer’s opinion on how was at fault.

Clearly, there is a wealth of information in the police report, which is why this document can play such a big role in your personal injury case. A police report can support your version of events and prove to the other driver’s insurance company that you were not to blame for the accident. But, if you didn’t wait for the police, you won’t be able to provide this evidence to the insurance company, which may affect your ability to recover compensation.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why a police report matters in minor accidents where there are no injuries. It often takes hours—or even days—for the symptoms of an injury to appear. In many cases, what starts off as a minor symptom can slowly become worse over a matter of a few hours. So, even though you think you will not need a police report at the scene of the accident, it’s very likely that you will regret this information later on when it becomes clear that you are injured.

It’s been proven that passengers and drivers can sustain injuries in low-speed collisions. In fact, it’s possible to sustain injuries even if the car that hit you was traveling at 10 miles per hour. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to call the police and wait for them to arrive so you have an official police report that summarizes the accident.

Contact a personal injury attorney after leaving the scene of the accident. The team at Reisch Law Firm will thoroughly review your case to determine if you are entitled to compensation. To learn more about your options, schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Written vs. Recorded Statements After A Car Accident

Written vs. Recorded Statements After A Car Accident

As soon as the at-fault party’s insurance company is notified of the accident, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case. Shortly after, the insurance adjuster will contact you to discuss the accident and damages. The insurance adjuster may try to pressure you to explain your version of the events in a recorded statement. But, most personal injury attorneys recommend that you put a statement in writing instead of agreeing to record it. What’s the difference? Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of written vs. recorded statements:

Recorded Statements

Insurance companies prefer that you provide recorded statements. Why? The insurance adjuster that is assigned to your case gets to control the conversation because he will be the one asking you questions. This means they can choose to focus on any aspect of the case that they are interested in, which they don’t have the opportunity to do if you submit a written statement. They also have the chance to ask you misleading questions in order to get you to make a statement that can be used against you later on in the case. Even something as minor as saying “I’m fine” when asked “How are you?” could be taken out of context and used against you.

An insurance adjuster will usually ask you to give the recorded statement during the initial phone call about your case. As a result, it’s very likely that you will not be prepared or know what you should avoid saying. This is another reason why insurance adjusters prefer recorded statements. By putting you on the spot, they may be able to get the information they need to lower the value of your claim.

Written Statements

Your personal injury attorney will probably prefer that you submit a written statement as opposed to giving a recorded statement. Why? An attorney can help you put your thoughts in writing and approve the statement before it is sent to the insurance company. He will prevent you from submitting a statement that is unclear or that contains information that you should not provide to the insurance company.

Car accident victims also don’t have to worry about answering questions if they choose a written statement. This gives you complete control over the tone and content of the statement.

If you have been injured, it’s important to contact an attorney before speaking to the insurance company. At Reisch Law Firm, we know exactly how to handle insurance adjusters who are not looking out for your best interest. Our team will aggressively negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you recover the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How “Respondeat Superior” Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case

How “Respondeat Superior” Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case

One of the first steps in a personal injury case is determining liability. In order to identify who is liable for your injuries, it’s important to understand the concept of “respondeat superior.” Here’s what you need to know about this legal doctrine:

What is Respondeat Superior?

Respondeat superior, which translates to mean “let the master answer,” is a legal doctrine that states an employer may be responsible for the actions of his employee under certain circumstances.

When is an Employer Liable?

An employer cannot be held liable for something that an employee does during his private time. But, an employer is liable for the actions of his employee in the “course of employment.” Basically, this means that if an employee was on the clock and conducting business on behalf of the employer at the time of the accident, the employer may be liable.

It will not always be clear whether an employer is liable for your injuries or not. For instance, an employer is typically liable if one of his delivery truck drivers collides with another vehicle while making deliveries. Therefore, if you are hit by a delivery truck driver, you might automatically assume the employer is liable. But, if the driver was clocked out for a lunch break at the time of the accident, the employer is not liable. It’s best to let an attorney investigate and help you determine whether respondeat superior will come into play in your case.

Types of Cases Involving Respondeat Superior

This legal doctrine may come up in many different types of personal injury cases, but it is especially common in truck accident cases. Why? Truck accidents are often caused by negligent truck drivers. If a negligent truck driver injures or kills someone in a collision, the employer can be liable since the driver was on the clock and performing his basic job duties at the time of the accident.

Why does it matter who you hold liable for your injuries? Employers typically have more insurance coverage than their employees. This means if you can prove that the employer is liable, it may be possible to recover more compensation that you would have received if the individual was the only liable party.

If you have been injured, let a personal injury attorney step in and help you identify the liable parties. The personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm have years of experience representing clients who have been injured by negligent employees. To learn about your legal options, schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The 4 Rules For Giving a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case

The 4 Rules For Giving a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case

Sitting for a deposition in your personal injury case can be nerve-wracking. Your personal injury attorney will thoroughly prepare you prior to the deposition so you know what to expect. But, he may fill your head with a list of do’s and don’ts that leave you feeling overwhelmed. Don’t worry—prepping for a deposition doesn’t have to be complicated. According to the American Bar Association, there are only four simple rules that you need to remember when preparing for a deposition in a personal injury case.

Rule #1: Listen to the question.

Make sure that you listen to the entire question before you start to think of an answer and respond. Don’t interrupt the person who is asking the question or assume that you know what he is asking before he finishes. Be patient so you can hear and process every word that he says.

Rule #2: Be sure you understand the question.

Anything that you say during a deposition can be used as evidence in your case. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you understand the question before you begin to answer it. If you are not 100% sure that you understand a question, ask for clarification. You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed that you don’t understand something.

Rule #3: Think carefully about the answer.

Don’t immediately begin to respond to the question. It’s recommended that you give yourself at least five seconds to think over your answer before you start to respond. This will give you time to think carefully about what you are saying and how it will be interpreted by the other party. Many people fail to pause before responding because they don’t want to seem dishonest, but this should not be a concern. No one will assume that you are trying to think of a lie if you take a few moments to gather your thoughts before responding.

Rule #4: Make it short and sweet.

It’s not a good idea to ramble on and on when answering a question. Respond in short, clear sentences so nothing that you say can be misconstrued. If you give a lengthy response, the other party may hear something of interest and begin asking you follow-up questions that he would have never asked if you hadn’t volunteered the information. Avoid these unnecessary complications by keeping it short and simple.

So you see, preparing for a personal injury deposition doesn’t have to be as challenging as it once seemed. But, it’s still in your best interest to work with an experienced attorney who will be by your side during the deposition to protect your rights.

If you have been injured due to another person’s negligence, seek legal representation from Reisch Law Firm at once. Our personal injury attorneys will guide you through every step of the legal process. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Maximum Medical Improvement & Your Car Accident Claim

Maximum Medical Improvement & Your Car Accident Claim

When should you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company after a car accident? You should never accept an offer before you know the value of your claim, otherwise you won’t know how much compensation you deserve. But, in order to calculate the value of your claim, you will need to know exactly how injured you are and how the injuries will affect you in the future. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement before accepting a claim.

What is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?

Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the point at which a victim’s condition has improved as much as it is going to improve. For some victims, this means that they have fully recovered from their injuries. For instance, someone with a broken bone will reach MMI when the bone completely heals and the cast has been removed. But for others, MMI could mean that no further improvements are expected even though the victim is still experiencing symptoms. This can happen with many types of injuries, but it is especially common with brain and spinal cord injuries.

Why Should You Wait Until MMI?

If you don’t wait until MMI to calculate the value of your claim, it’s very possible that you will underestimate how much your claim is worth. If you have a brain injury, there’s no way of knowing what treatment you will need in the future, how long you will need to be treated, and how the symptoms will continue to affect your life until you have reached MMI. Even if a doctor predicts early on that you will make a full recovery, do not accept a settlement offer just yet. Remember, doctors can be wrong, and it’s very difficult to predict how someone will recover from traumatic injuries.

To illustrate why this is important, consider this example. A mild brain injury victim may be told in the early stages of treatment that he should fully recover within a matter of months. But after one year of treatment, the victim is still suffering both physically and emotionally even though he has reached MMI. If the victim had accepted a settlement in the early stages of his case, he may not have factored in the costs of future treatment and pain and suffering. Therefore, he would have ended up settling for an offer that is far less than what he deserves.

Once you accept an offer, there’s no way to go back and ask for more money from the insurance company, which is why it’s so important that you be patient and wait to reach MMI.

If you have been injured in a car accident, do not accept an offer without talking to a personal injury attorney. The team at Reisch Law Firm will help you calculate the value of your claim so you know how much compensation you deserve. Then, we’ll start fighting to recover the full amount for you. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.