| Read Time: 4 minutes | Criminal Defense

How Much Does a Domestic Violence Attorney Cost in Colorado?

An Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Explains Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Protect Your Rights If You Face Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado If you have domestic violence charges in Colorado, you probably realize you should consider hiring a domestic violence defense attorney to help you. However, you may be worried about the expense of hiring a domestic violence defense lawyer if you were forced to leave your house, your possessions, and your family behind because of the charges. You might feel like you must choose between representing yourself, asking for the public defender, or hiring a lawyer who quotes you a low fee. It is understandable if you do not know what you should do.  You could lose your family, freedom, and way of life when facing domestic violence charges. No amount of money could replace losing any of those things we hold dear. The best way to reduce the impact domestic violence charges have on your life is to hire a highly experienced and knowledgeable former prosecutor to be your domestic violence defense attorney. What You Should Know About the Cost of a Domestic Violence Charge in Colorado  The expense of hiring a criminal defense lawyer is a legitimate concern for most people who face domestic violence charges. As you weigh your options, you should have a solid understanding of how Colorado’s domestic violence laws work and how a conviction of those charges will affect your life. Most lawyers will evaluate your case and quote you a fee based on the severity of the charges, the likelihood of resolving the case without a trial, and how much work the lawyer must devote to your case to achieve a just outcome for you. What Are Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado? Domestic violence charges in Colorado encompass a large number of criminal offenses.  However, they are not a category of charges themselves. Rather, the prosecutor can seek to add a domestic violence enhancement to your charges if the relationship between you and the alleged victim meets the definition of an intimate partnership.  In Colorado, any two people who are or were significant others, spouses, or have a child in common, even if they do not live together, are in an intimate relationship. People who engaged in a sexual relationship may also qualify as intimate partners; however, the existence of an intimate partnership does not solely depend on sexual relations.  The possible punishment you face increases significantly if the prosecutor brings charges against you with the domestic violence enhancement. Therefore, you face the maximum penalty for the underlying charge and additional conditions for domestic violence such as: Automatic protection order during the case; Probation with mandatory treatment and counseling; House arrest; Loss of right to keep and bear firearms; and Habitual offender designation.  The habitual offender designation is a separate charge that the prosecutor could tack onto your original sentence if you have three domestic violence convictions. The convictions do not have to be with the same victim. If you lose your domestic violence case and are a habitual offender, you face a Class 5 felony. The mandatory parole term for a Class 5 felony is years parole that you must serve after your prison term for the underlying charge.  Violating the automatic protective order is a crime as well. Violating a protective order is a Class 2 misdemeanor if it is your first offense. You could spend a year in jail and receive a $250 fine if you violate the protective order. However, you could receive as much as 18 months in jail along with a $500 fine if you have a prior conviction for violating a protective order. Charges Commonly Associated with Domestic Violence Enhancements Each of the criminal offenses that fall under the umbrella of domestic violence carries significant jail time as well as other harsh consequences that can unravel your life quickly. However, some domestic violence charges are more serious than others. Examples of domestic violence charges are: Assault, Criminal mischief, Menacing, False imprisonment or kidnapping, Abuse of an elder, Unlawful sexual contact, Child abuse, Stalking under “Vonnie’s Law,” and Criminal harassment. These are just examples of criminal offenses often subject to domestic violence enhancements. In reality, the prosecution can add a domestic violence enhancement to any crime. A conviction for any one of these charges could result in jail or prison time in addition to the domestic violence enhancements. Moreover, you need to understand that aggravating factors could also increase the penalty you face. Pregnancy is a common aggravating factor in a domestic violence case. As a consequence, misdemeanor assault could become a felony if the alleged victim is pregnant when the alleged assault took place. Cost Does Not Equal Price The cost of representation by a well-trained and highly experienced domestic violence lawyer is low when you compare it to the value of the things you stand to lose. Do not think of a price tag when considering which lawyer you should speak to about your Colorado domestic violence charges. Instead, think of the value you will get for your money. Colorado Springs domestic violence defense attorney Austin Lux of The Lux Law Firm is a former prosecutor who knows the Colorado justice system well. As your domestic violence defense lawyer, he will use all his knowledge, experience, and resources, as well as his sterling reputation with prosecutors and judges alike, to achieve justice for you. In the end, justice has no price. Contact Austin Lux today or call (719) 368-7698 to find out more about his plan for your successful defense.

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| Read Time: 6 minutes | Criminal Defense

Colorado Sentencing Guidelines: Overview and Penalties

Former Colorado Prosecutor Explains Colorado Sentencing Guidelines If police in Colorado charge you with a criminal offense, you are probably concerned about the punishment you could receive if you are convicted. You may worry that a judge could sentence you to jail or prison, levy excessive fines, and impose probation. However, you should remember that a judge can only impose a sentence based on Colorado sentencing guidelines after a conviction.  Having an experienced criminal defense attorney fight to protect your rights is the first step in maintaining your innocence and preserving your freedom. As an experienced former prosecutor, Austin Lux now works for you. Austin understands Colorado sentencing guidelines and can help limit your exposure to Colorado’s harsh criminal penalties. Criminal Sentencing in Colorado Colorado uses a four-tiered sentencing structure for its criminal offenses. Like all states and the federal government, Colorado has felonies and misdemeanors. Additionally, Colorado classifies some minor offenses as petty misdemeanors. Finally, municipal ordinance violations and infractions comprise the fourth category of criminal offenses in Colorado. City and town governments enact ordinances or by-laws that are enforceable only within the particular municipality. Each criminal statute and municipal ordinance defines the severity of the offense. Also, the individual laws will specify whether the crime belongs to a particular class of offense. The class structure used by the Colorado sentencing guidelines sets the parameters for minimum and maximum punishments allowed for the specific offense. Colorado Misdemeanor Offenses The Colorado sentencing guidelines arrange misdemeanors into four general categories. They are Class I, Class II, Class III, and uncategorized. Additionally, Colorado treats some misdemeanors, such as DUI and minor drug offenses, differently from other misdemeanor offenses. Colorado drug laws rank crimes as misdemeanors and felonies but use a different classification system to signify the severity of the charge.  Colorado’s misdemeanor offense statute also sets forth the maximum fine the law allows a judge to impose. Additionally, the statute requires that every person who goes to jail for any misdemeanor offense must serve their time at the county jail rather than in the state prison system. Class I Misdemeanors in Colorado Class I misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor offenses under Colorado sentencing guidelines. After a conviction for a Class I misdemeanor, the potential jail sentence is between six and 18 months in the county jail. The court may impose a fine between $500 and $5,000 as well. Class II Misdemeanors in Colorado Class II misdemeanor charges carry a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail with a minimum of three months of incarceration. Additionally, fines for Class II misdemeanors range from $250 to $1,000. Class III Misdemeanors in Colorado Class III misdemeanor charges carry a maximum jail sentence of six months along with a potential fine ranging from $50 to $750.  Punishment for Uncategorized Misdemeanors Colorado sentencing guidelines do not specify punishments for uncategorized misdemeanors. Generally speaking, any misdemeanor that the legislature did not classify or for which it did not specify a range of sentences carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail. The court may impose a fine of no more than $1,000 as well. Drug Misdemeanor Offenses Colorado sentencing guidelines specify that drug offenses should have different penalties than other misdemeanor offenses. Colorado law refers to drug misdemeanors by level. Anyone convicted of a Level 1 drug misdemeanor faces a sentence from six to 18 months in jail. The potential fines range from $500 to $5,000.  Level 2 drug misdemeanors are less serious than Level 1. A conviction for a Level 2 drug misdemeanor could result in a jail term not to exceed 364 days, along with fines up to $750. Recent changes in the law decreased the potential penalties for Level 1 and Level 2 drug misdemeanors. For a Level 1 misdemeanor committed after March 1, 2020, the jail term is capped at 180 days. The court can impose two years of probation and issue fines as well. Similarly, a conviction for a Level 2 drug misdemeanor carries a 120-day maximum sentence along with one year of probation. The possible maximum penalties increase with third and subsequent convictions for misdemeanor drug crimes. Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses and Petty Crimes Traffic offenses and petty misdemeanors are less serious offenses, generally. Class I traffic misdemeanors carry a possible jail term between 10 days and one year, with fines of $300 to $1,000. Class 2 traffic misdemeanors can result in 10 to 90 days in jail, with fines ranging from $150 to $300.  DUI and DWAI are also misdemeanors unless the person has had four or more offenses. These crimes have their own sentencing structure.  A petty offense in Colorado carries possible jail time. Class I petty misdemeanors have jail sentences capped at six months, along with a maximum fine of $500. The penalties for Class II petty misdemeanors are less severe than Class I petty offenses.  Judges enjoy broad discretion when sentencing people convicted of misdemeanor crimes. Probation instead of incarceration is an option in many circumstances, especially if the person charged has no previous offenses or a few minor offenses on their record. Additionally, a judge could accept a deferred adjudication instead of a guilty finding for misdemeanor crimes. Deferred adjudication is advantageous to most people because the procedure allows them to keep convictions off their record. Colorado Felony Sentencing Guidelines Convictions for all felonies in Colorado require the offender to serve their sentence in the state prison. Judges can place offenders on probation and assess fines as well for felony convictions. As with misdemeanors, the severity of the crime dictates the potential prison time. Statutes in Colorado often break down the severity of offense into degrees. Assault is a typical example of how degrees of a crime dictate the presumptive sentence a court may impose. Colorado law separates assault into first, second, and third degrees. The seriousness of each assault determines the degree of offense and the class of felony. It’s essential to seek expert legal help from an experienced criminal defense attorney in Colorado if you face any charges, especially felonies. A...

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