Tag: criminal case

How to Get Evidence Thrown Out in Court

How to Get Evidence Thrown Out in Court

Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted of one. To convict a defendant of a crime, the prosecution must present evidence that proves the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, some of the evidence that the prosecution wants to use may not be admissible in court. Here are some of the reasons why evidence is thrown out of court:

Fourth Amendment Violation

The Fourth Amendment protects people from unlawful searches conducted by law enforcement officers. In most cases, a police officer must have a search warrant to conduct a search of someone’s property and seize evidence during the search. But, there are exceptions to this rule that permit law enforcement officers to conduct searches in certain situations.

The prosecution cannot use evidence that has been gathered in an unlawful search. If a criminal defense attorney believes this kind of evidence is being used against you, he can fight to have it thrown out of court.

Miranda Rights

Anyone who is being questioned by law enforcement officers has a number of rights, which are referred to as Miranda rights. These rights include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Law enforcement officers must read these rights to anyone who has been taken into custody for questioning. If they fail to do so, the statements the suspect makes during the interrogation may be thrown out of court.

For example, let’s say you are taken into custody for questioning and no one reads your Miranda rights. You do not realize that you have the right to remain silent, so you confess to committing theft. Because you were not informed of your rights prior to the interrogation, this confession will most likely be ruled inadmissible.

Handling Errors

The prosecution must be able to show who had possession of each piece of evidence from the time that it was collected to its presentation in trial. They must also be able to show that the evidence was handled and stored properly. If it can be proven that there was an error made during this process, the evidence could be thrown out.

For instance, let’s say law enforcement officers failed to mark the bags of drugs that were seized during a search of the defendant’s home. Because there were no marks or labels on the evidence, the defense can argue that law enforcement has no way of distinguishing this evidence from bags of drugs seized from other suspects. This argument could convince the judge the throw the evidence out of court.

If you are being accused of committing a crime, seek legal representation from the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm. We will aggressively poke holes in the prosecution’s case in order to fight the charges. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What to Expect During A Sentencing Hearing

What to Expect During A Sentencing Hearing

Criminal cases often end with “not guilty” verdicts that set the defendant free. However, a criminal case is far from over if the defendant is found guilty. Every defendant who is convicted of committing a crime must attend a sentencing hearing. Here’s what to expect:

The Purpose of A Sentencing Hearing

During a criminal trial, it is the jury’s responsibility to determine if the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If the jury reaches a guilty verdict, this means the defendant will be punished for his crime, but it does not specify how the defendant should be punished. The defendant’s punishment—or sentence—is determined during a sentencing hearing that takes place after the defendant is found guilty.

Parties Involved in the Sentencing Hearing

Both the prosecution and the defense will be at the sentencing hearing, along with the judge and in some cases, the victims of the crime. It is the judge presiding over the case—not a jury—that is in charge of sentencing the defendant. But, there is one exception to this rule. The jury is involved in the sentencing process when the defendant faces the death penalty.

How Judges Determine Appropriate Sentences

The judge will listen to arguments from both the prosecution and defense before deciding how to sentence the defendant. The defense’s goal is to get the lightest possible sentence for the defendant. To do this, the criminal defense attorney could argue that the defendant would benefit from alternative sentencing such as treatment programs or probation. The defense can also tell the judge that the defendant regrets committing the crime. Attorneys argue that their clients should not be punished severely because they have learned from their mistakes and are no longer a threat to the community.

The points made in these arguments are not the only factors that the judge will consider when determining an appropriate sentence. The judge will also consider the nature of the defendant’s crime, the sentencing guidelines established by the law, and the defendant’s prior criminal record. Once a decision has been reached, it will be announced to all parties involved in the hearing.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact Reisch Law Firm at once. Our criminal defense attorneys represent the accused from the moment charges are filed until the case is resolved. Let us 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.

When Can the Entrapment Defense Be Used in a Criminal Case?

When Can the Entrapment Defense Be Used in a Criminal Case?

There is no “one size fits all” approach to criminal defense. Attorneys will need to carefully review the details of a client’s case before determining the appropriate defense strategy to use. In some cases, it may be appropriate to use the entrapment defense to fight criminal charges.

What is the Entrapment Defense?

Entrapment occurs when an individual commits a crime because he was induced into doing so by law enforcement. The defense attorney will use this strategy to prove that his client should not be convicted of a crime that he would otherwise not have committed if law enforcement were not involved.

When Can Entrapment Be Used?

There are several elements that must be proven in order to successfully use the entrapment defense. First, the defendant must show that either a law enforcement officer or someone acting under the direction of a law enforcement officer was involved. This defense cannot be used if someone with no connection to law enforcement pushed you to commit a crime.

Then, the defendant must prove that he would not have committed the crime if this individual did not induce him to do so. Most entrapment defenses allege that law enforcement used threats, harassment, or fraud to get the defendant to commit a crime. For example, let’s say an undercover police officer said that he would hurt the defendant’s family if the defendant did not rob a convenient store. In this case, the defendant’s decision to commit a crime was based solely on threats of violence. If the undercover law enforcement agent was not involved, the defendant would not have committed the crime, which means he was entrapped.

The Difference Between Entrapment and Opportunity

It’s important for defendants to understand the differences between an opportunity and entrapment. The entrapment defense cannot be used when law enforcement simply offered the defendant an opportunity to commit a crime. For example, if an undercover officer asks if he can buy drugs from you and you sell them to him, this is not entrapment. The officer posing as a customer is giving you an opportunity to commit a crime by selling drugs, but he is not entrapping you. If he forces you to find and sell him drugs by harassing or threatening you, this is entrapment.

If you have been forced to commit a crime, let the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm help. Our criminal defense attorneys will immediately begin gathering evidence that can be used to prove entrapment. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How Do Aggravating Factors Affect A Defendant’s Criminal Case?

How Do Aggravating Factors Affect A Defendant’s Criminal Case?

Many different factors are taken into consideration when determining an appropriate sentence for a defendant who has been convicted of a crime. Something the judge must consider when sentencing a defendant is the presence of aggravating factors. What are aggravating factors and how can they affect your case? Here’s what you should know:

What Are Aggravating Factors?

Aggravating factors are specific circumstances under which a defendant’s felony crime is considered to be more serious. These specific circumstances are:

  • The defendant was on parole or probation for another felony at the time he committed this felony crime.
  • The defendant was convicted of a crime of violence, including but not limited to murder, first or second degree assault, kidnapping, first degree arson, and aggravated robbery.
  • At the time of the crime, the defendant was under confinement or in a correctional institution because of a previous felony conviction.
  • The defendant was an escapee from a correctional institution at the time of the crime.
  • The defendant committed the crime while he was on appeal bond after being convicted of a previous felony crime.
  • At the time of the crime, the defendant was on bond following the revocation of his probation, which he was sentenced to after committing a previous felony crime.

If any of these aggravating factors apply to your case, it’s important to understand how their presence could affect your case.

How Will the Presence of Aggravating Factors Affect Your Sentence?

The presence of one of these aggravating circumstances does not mean that you will definitely be sentenced to prison. However, if the judge sentences you to time behind bars, the presence of these aggravating factors can affect the length of time that you will be incarcerated.

For example, let’s say you are convicted of a class 3 felony and the judge has decided to send you to prison. The sentencing range for a class 3 felony in Colorado is between 4-12 years. If aggravating circumstances are present, the judge must sentence you to at least 8 years, since this is the midpoint of the sentencing range for this crime. The judge cannot sentence you to more than two times the maximum term, or in this case, more than 24 years.

Have you been charged with a crime? If so, you will need guidance from the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm. Our criminal defense attorneys work tirelessly to fight for the best possible outcome in our clients’ cases. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What Decisions Will Defendants Have to Make In A Criminal Case?

What Decisions Will Defendants Have to Make In A Criminal Case?

Being charged with a crime can change your life in an instant. But more importantly, the decisions that you make after being charged with a crime could affect the rest of your life. Here are some of the decisions that defendants will have to make in a criminal case:

Plea Bargains

It’s estimated that between 90-95% of all cases are resolved through a plea bargain, so it’s very likely that a deal will be offered to you at some point. Deciding whether or not to take the deal is one of the many decisions you will need to make in your case. Taking a plea deal means pleading guilty, accepting the consequences, and living with a conviction on your record. But, it also means a shorter criminal case, which leads to fewer legal fees, and lighter consequences.

Choosing An Attorney

Hiring the right criminal defense attorney could make or break your case. Experienced attorneys may be able to negotiate better plea deals, secure your release from custody, and poke holes in the prosecution’s case in the courtroom. Do your research before hiring an attorney so you can find one who has had success representing clients in cases similar to yours.

Taking the Stand

Defendants do not have to take the stand and testify if the case goes to trial, but they can if they believe it will help their case. This is another important decision that could have a significant effect on your future. It’s impossible to predict how the jury will respond to you as a witness or how well you will hold up during cross-examination. Don’t make this decision without going over the pros and cons of taking the stand with your attorney.

Appealing the Verdict

Defendants who are found guilty at trial may be able to appeal the verdict if they believe that mistakes were made during the trial that affected the outcome. For example, if it is discovered that one of the jury members was secretly talking to a witness about the case, the jury member’s vote could have been affected by these private conversations. As a result, the court may find that this is grounds for an appeal.

Deciding whether or not to appeal can be challenging. Appeals can be time-consuming and expensive, so defendants have to decide whether they should accept the verdict or take another chance.

Have you been charged with a crime? If so, get in touch with Reisch Law Firm today. You will need to discuss these important decisions with an experienced criminal defense attorney so you can make the best choices for your future. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How Social Media Can Affect Your Criminal Case

How Social Media Can Affect Your Criminal Case

Law enforcement officers can use many different types of evidence against you in court, including evidence obtained from social media. In fact, posts, photos, check-ins, and tags on social media can all be used to prove that you committed a crime. How? Here are some of the ways social media can affect your criminal case:

Photos

Do you have any incriminating photos on your social media pages? Even if you didn’t post the photos, it’s possible that you have been tagged in an incriminating photo by someone else. For example, the state may use pictures of you smoking marijuana or posing with drug paraphernalia in the background as evidence if you are being charged with drug possession.

Check-Ins

Facebook and other social media platforms allow you to check-in to a location so you can share what you’re doing with all of your friends. It may seem harmless to check into a bar or restaurant when you’re out celebrating with friends, but what if you are pulled over later for DUI? The fact that there is proof you were at a bar prior to being arrested will not work in your favor.

A check-in can also be used to show that you were in the area where the crime was committed. For instance, law enforcement may find it suspicious that you were located just a few blocks away from a home that was burglarized. This won’t be enough to prove their case, but it can be used to place you near the scene of the crime.

Posts

The things you post on social media can also be used against you in a criminal case. For instance, let’s say you are charged with first degree assault, which means you intentionally caused bodily injury to another person. Your criminal defense attorney could argue that you did not intend on hurting anyone, so you should be charged with third degree assault instead of first degree assault. However, if you posted something on social media about wanting to hurt the victim, this can be used to prove intent.

Don’t let social media affect the outcome of your case. Let your attorney look through your social media pages to determine if there are any posts or photos that could be used against you. An experienced attorney will be able to advise you on how to prevent social media evidence from hurting your case.

Have you been charged with a crime? Let the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm guide you through the process. We will offer you advice every step of the way to ensure you don’t make any mistakes that could impact your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Legal Standards of Proof for Civil and Criminal Cases

Legal Standards of Proof for Civil and Criminal Cases

Before a defendant is found guilty in a criminal case, the prosecutor must provide enough proof to convince the jury that he truly did commit the crime. Likewise, a defendant cannot be ordered to pay a plaintiff in a civil case unless the plaintiff’s attorney has provided adequate proof of the defendant’s liability. But, how much proof is enough? Here are the legal standards of proof for civil and criminal cases:

Preponderance of the Evidence

Preponderance of the evidence is the legal standard of proof that is used in the majority of civil lawsuits, including personal injury cases. To meet this legal standard of proof, the plaintiff in a civil case must provide evidence that shows there is a greater than 50% chance that the defendant is liable. To put it simply, the plaintiff must show that the defendant is more likely than not liable for the damages.

For example, let’s say a jury is deciding whether a defendant is liable for the car accident that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The jury decides that 60% of the evidence shows that the defendant is liable, but the other 40% of the evidence does not or is questionable. In this situation, the jury must rule in favor of the plaintiff because she was able to provide a preponderance of evidence showing the defendant’s liability.

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

The beyond a reasonable doubt legal standard of proof is used solely in criminal cases. This is the highest legal standard of proof, meaning more evidence is required to prove this legal standard of proof than any other.

Contrary to popular belief, “beyond a reasonable doubt” does not mean that the jury must be 100% convinced of the defendant’s guilt in order to reach a guilty verdict. It simply means that the jury must find a defendant guilty if the evidence is so convincing that it would be impossible for a reasonable person to doubt the defendant’s guilt. The jury must ask themselves if there is any other logical conclusion that can be reached based on the evidence. If there could be another logical explanation for the evidence besides that the defendant committed the crime, the prosecutor has not met this legal standard of proof.

If you have been injured or charged with a crime, the personal injury attorneys and criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm can help. We will thoroughly review your case, help you understand your legal options, and then stand by your side through every step of the legal process. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How Can Prior Convictions Affect Your Criminal Case?

How Can Prior Convictions Affect Your Criminal Case?

A number of factors can affect the outcome of your criminal case, including whether or not you have prior convictions on your criminal record. How can your past come back to haunt you? Here are some of the ways:

Plea Deals

Plea deals are made between prosecutors and defendants all the time, but a judge must sign off on them before they are official. If a defendant has a prior conviction on his record, this could influence the judge’s decision to approve or reject the plea deal. The judge may reject the plea bargain if he feels that a defendant with multiple criminal convictions does not deserve a plea bargain. He could also reject it if he feels the deal did not adequately punish the defendant considering his criminal record.

Sentencing

Prior convictions can also affect the punishments that a defendant will face for any new crimes that he commits. For example, a first time DUI offender will face up to one year in jail, but defendants with three prior DUI convictions can face up to six years behind bars.

In this example, the law requires an enhanced sentence for defendants with prior convictions. But in other cases, a judge can decide to enhance a sentence for defendants with prior convictions even if it is not required by law. A defendant’s criminal record is one of many factors that may be taken into consideration during the sentencing phase of the trial.

Character Attacks

One of the prosecutor’s goals is to convince the jury that the defendant is capable of committing the crime. In order to do this, the prosecutor will often attack the defendant’s character by discussing his prior criminal convictions. For example, let’s say a defendant is on trial for domestic violence and has been convicted of assault in the past. The prosecutor will most likely bring this up during the trial to show the jury that the defendant has a history of committing violent crimes. Even if the defendant’s prior convictions were for completely unrelated crimes, such as theft or DUI, the prosecutor could still mention them to paint a negative picture of the defendant.

If you have been charged with a crime, it’s important to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney right away. Contact Reisch Law Firm today so our criminal defense attorneys can fight to ensure your prior criminal convictions do not continue to affect your future. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The Steps of a Criminal Case

The Steps of a Criminal Case

Many people aren’t sure of what to expect after they have been arrested, which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. In the event that you are ever taken into custody, it’s important to understand the steps of a criminal case.

Arraignment

Within a few days after your arrest, you will appear in court before the judge for your arraignment. The judge will inform you of the criminal charges against you and ask you to enter a plea. Defendants can either plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. The judge may also decide to set bail at the arraignment or announce that you are being held without bail.

Preliminary Hearing

If you have been charged with a felony, a preliminary hearing may be scheduled in your case following the arraignment. During this hearing, the prosecutor will present the evidence that you committed a crime to the judge. The judge will carefully review the evidence to determine if the case against you is strong enough to warrant a trial. If the judge does not believe there is sufficient evidence, the charges against you will be dropped.

Pre-Trial Conference

Both sides will begin preparing to take the case to trial. Before the trial begins, there will be a pre-trial conference regarding your case. During this conference, the defense and the prosecution may negotiate the terms of a plea bargain for the defendant. This conference is also used to file motions, which are requests submitted to the judge asking him to rule on a certain matter. For instance, a criminal defense attorney may file a motion to have certain evidence excluded from the case. The judge will typically rule on these motions during this pre-trial conference.

Trial

If you do not accept a plea bargain, the case will proceed to trial. Your criminal defense attorney will work with the prosecution and the judge to carefully select an unbiased jury that will be responsible for deciding your fate. After the jury has been finalized, the trial will start.

The trial will begin with an opening statement from the prosecution, followed by an opening statement from the defense. Each side will then have the opportunity to call witnesses, introduce evidence, and present their case, with the prosecution going first. Each witness will be cross-examined by the other side’s attorney before stepping down from the stand.

After both sides have presented their cases, they will each get to make a closing argument to the jury. Then, the jury will be given instructions and sent to deliberate. The jury members will return to the courtroom when they have reached a verdict, which will be read to the court.

Sentencing

If you plead guilty or no contest or you are found guilty in court, you will have to attend another hearing for sentencing. This is where you will be informed of any fines, community service, probation, jail or prison time.

If you have been arrested, contact Reisch Law Firm as soon as possible. Our attorneys can represent you throughout the entire legal process to defend you against the charges and ensure you are making the best decisions for your future. Schedule a free consultation by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.