| Read Time: 4 minutes | Category Name

Colorado Misdemeanor Crimes By Class

A Misdemeanor in Colorado Can Seriously Affect Your Future Misdemeanor charges in Colorado can have serious consequences. Even though misdemeanor offenses do not carry the potential for a state prison sentence, you could still spend time in a county or local jail. Additionally, a judge could order you to pay fines, complete a probationary term, attend counseling, or perform community service. There are collateral consequences that you could suffer as well.  Therefore, no matter what class of misdemeanor you face in Colorado, you need to take these charges seriously. Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer, Austin M. Lux, has a deep understanding of Colorado criminal law and procedure. As a prosecutor, Attorney Lux gained a tremendous amount of experience. Now, he calls on his wealth of experience to help you find justice. Contact Attorney Lux right away if you have any questions about a misdemeanor in Colorado. Class 1 Misdemeanor Colorado Class 1 misdemeanor offenses are the most serious among the misdemeanor classes in Colorado. The maximum sentence for a Class 1 misdemeanor is 18 months in jail or a county correctional facility. The minimum sentence is six months. Additionally, you may be liable to pay a fine up to $5,000 or as little as $500. A judge has the authority to sentence you to jail and assess a fine. Notwithstanding, the judge can give you probation instead of sending you to jail.  Examples of Class 1 Misdemeanors in Colorado include: Criminal mischief; Third-degree assault; Property theft; Failing to register as a sex offender; Second-degree forgery; and Violation of a protection order with a previous conviction for violating a protection order. The foregoing list is merely an example of all of the Class 1 misdemeanors in Colorado. Third-degree assault falls into a special category of charges called extraordinary risk crimes. An extraordinary risk crime carries up to four years in jail or a county correctional facility if the victim assaulted was on duty as a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or mental health professional at the Department of Human Services. Otherwise, third-degree assault carries up to two years as an extraordinary risk according to the Colorado misdemeanor sentencing guidelines. Class 2 Misdemeanor Colorado The possible period of incarceration for a Class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado is up to 364 days. The minimum jail sentence is three months. Fines range from $250 to $1,000. A judge could sentence you to both jail and a fine. However, a judge could also choose to put you on probation instead of sending you to jail. Common Class 2 misdemeanors in Colorado include: Resisting arrest; Fraud by check; Violating a protective order; Obscenity; Invasion of privacy; Disorderly conduct; Transfer of a large-capacity ammunition magazine; and Minor in possession of alcohol. Colorado classifies numerous offenses as Class 2 misdemeanors. As always, you should seek expert representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney if you face a Class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado. Any unclassified misdemeanor carries the same possible penalty as a Class 2 misdemeanor. Class 3 Misdemeanor Colorado A Class 3 misdemeanor in Colorado may carry jail time. After a conviction, you could serve up to six months in jail. The judge could also order you to pay a fine ranging from $50 to $750. As with other misdemeanors, the judge could order you to complete probation as an alternative to jail. Examples of a Class 3 misdemeanor in Colorado includes: Prostitution; Soliciting prostitution; Criminal trespass (either second-degree or third-degree); Negligent child abuse with no injury; Failing to attend jury duty; and Harassment. Colorado recognizes numerous additional Class 3 misdemeanor offenses. A conviction for any crime, even a Class 3 misdemeanor, can have serious implications for you and your family. Talk with knowledgeable Colorado Springs defense attorney, Austin M. Lux. He knows the effect any misdemeanor conviction could have on your future. Drug Misdemeanors Colorado law includes some drug offenses in misdemeanor classes in Colorado. Drug misdemeanors are either Level 1 or Level 2. Level 1 drug misdemeanors pertain to possession crimes like possession of six or more ounces of marijuana. The court could levy a fine and place you on probation for up to two years. However, a violation of probation could land you in jail for six months.  Level 2 drug misdemeanors, such as possession of more than two ounces of marijuana but less than six ounces, carry a four month potential jail sentence. Alternatively, the judge could give you one year of probation with 120 days to serve if you violate probation.  Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses Misdemeanor classes in Colorado include traffic offenses. A Class 1 traffic misdemeanor carries a 10 day minimum jail sentence, up to a maximum of one year. The fines range from $300 to $1,000. A Class 2 traffic misdemeanor, such as reckless driving, carries between 10 and 90 days in jail, along with a fine between $150 and $300. Call on Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorney, Austin M. Lux, Right Away if You Have a Misdemeanor in Colorado A misdemeanor conviction can lead to significant repercussions, so you should treat these charges seriously. When the weight of the government comes against you, even on a misdemeanor, you need an experienced attorney who will fight for you. As a former prosecuting attorney, Austin M. Lux knows how prosecutors think. Therefore, he knows just how to negotiate with them on your behalf.  Don’t let the state infringe on your rights. Contact Colorado Springs defense attorney Austin M. Lux today at 719-368-7698.  

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Criminal Defense

Understanding the Best Way to Get Domestic Violence Charges Dropped in Colorado

Calling 911 because of a domestic argument sets in motion a series of events that can never be taken back. Law enforcement officers will soon arrive and begin investigating. They will arrest and charge anyone they believe committed the crime of domestic violence. And they don’t need a lot of evidence to make an arrest. All they need is probable cause, meaning that a reasonable person would believe that the accused probably committed a crime. They do not need to perform a thorough investigation. Typically, the word of one person is enough. After an arrest, the police send their reports to the local prosecutor who then decides whether domestic charges should be pursued against the accused. The chances of getting domestic violence charges dropped are very slim. However, it can happen. If anyone knows if domestic violence charges could be dropped in Colorado, it’s Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer Austin M. Lux.  As a former prosecutor, Austin uses his vast experience and knowledge to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your domestic violence case.  How to Get Charges Dropped for Domestic Violence Plea Bargains Often, it is not in a defendant’s best interest to take a case to trial. Juries are unpredictable, and while having your day in court may appeal to criminal defendants, the cold truth is that jurors’ decisions can change on a dime. For this reason defense attorneys and prosecutors alike usually want to see if a plea bargain can be reached. Negotiations between lawyers who know how the facts of the case apply to the law and what their case’s chances at trial would be, can help resolve cases more quickly and without the stress and uncertainty of trial.  No-Drop Policy A necessary part of the prosecutor’s job in most cases is the authority to drop or reduce a charge to a lesser offense if justice is better served by doing so. And although part of the court’s job is to attempt to ensure that justice is done in every case, the judge does not have the authority to tell a prosecutor what to charge. What to charge and what level to charge it at is exclusively the realm of the prosecutor. However, the prosecution no longer enjoys full authority to charge as they see fit in Colorado domestic violence cases. That is due to our “no-drop” policy for domestic violence cases. Colorado domestic violence laws do not allow the prosecutor to plea bargain the case down to lesser charges, except in limited circumstances. When Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped in Colorado? Under Colorado law C.R.S. 18-6-801(3), the court does not allow a person accused of a domestic violence charge to plead guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to a charge unless it specifically includes a domestic violence designation. In other words, in many cases, the prosecutor is limited in their ability to reduce the charges to something that does not involve domestic violence allegations. Burden of Proof Unfortunately, this can sometimes tie a prosecutor’s hands. Even if the prosecutor in a specific case believes that the facts warrant lowering the charges to something unrelated to domestic violence, the law limits their ability to do this. One situation where a prosecutor can do this is when they believe they do not have enough evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. To lower the charges, a prosecutor must tell the court that they do not believe they have enough evidence to meet their burden of proof. Then, they can lower the charges. Alternatively, if the prosecutor believes their case is particularly weak, they can drop the case entirely. Domestic Relationship Possibly the best way to get domestic violence charges dropped in Colorado is when the prosecutor makes a good faith representation to the judge that they cannot prove the accused and the alleged victim were either currently or formerly in an intimate relationship. Since this is an essential element for a domestic violence charge, the absence of such a relationship means the prosecutor cannot prove all elements of the charge. Alleged Victim Recants Other states may allow prosecutors much more leeway to plea bargain on domestic violence cases. It is not uncommon in domestic cases for the alleged victim to later recant and want to drop the charges. Typically, after some time has passed, an accuser will go to the prosecutor and recant their story. The alleged victim might even tell the judge they don’t want to go forward with the case because the couple has reconciled their differences. Accusers often think this is enough to make the case go away. But they would be wrong in most instances. Sometimes, the alleged victim might go so far as to not show up for court.  Or they may become antagonistic to the prosecution. Even so, it is now out of the accuser’s hands. The prosecutor may not plea bargain your case to a lesser charge or dismiss the charges unless their case cannot be proven without the accuser’s help. Instead, the prosecutor must proceed to trial unless you want to plead guilty or nolo contendere to a domestic violence charge. Getting the Your Domestic Violence Charges Dropped May Depend on the Nature of Your Relationship Colorado law defines domestic violence as an act or threatened act of violence committed by one person against another, who is or was involved in an intimate relationship with one another. Intimate relationship in Colorado includes relationships such as: Spouses, Former spouses, Unmarried couples, Past unmarried couples, or People who have a child together, even if they never lived together. The courts take three factors into account when determining whether an intimate relationship exists. Judges look at the length of time the couple was together, the nature or type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the couple. Sexual relations can indicate an intimate relationship. However, Colorado law does not require a sexual relationship to find that an intimate relationship exists. Increase Your Chances of Getting Domestic...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | DUI Defense

What Should You Do If You Have a First Offense DUI or DWAI in Colorado?

The world might seem like it was coming down on you after police locked you up for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with ability impaired (DWAI) in Colorado. Why wouldn’t you feel that way? You’ve been arrested, the police took your driver’s license, and now you have to go to court to face criminal charges. The fear of the unknown can be overwhelming. You are justified to wonder what you should do next.  Talking to a Colorado Springs DUI defense lawyer is the best move you can make immediately after your arrest. Colorado Springs DUI attorney Austin M. Lux should know. He was a decorated prosecutor and now he uses all of his extensive experience to help people just like you. Austin will review your case thoroughly and work closely with you to develop a defense strategy to achieve the best outcome possible for your DWAI Colorado first offense or Colorado DUI first offense.  What Are the Colorado DUI Laws for a First Offense? DUI and DWAI for a first offense in Colorado carry the same penalties, for the most part, even though the charges are slightly different. Colorado created its DWAI laws and DUI laws in the same statute. In its entirety, that statute criminalizes driving under the influence, driving with ability impairment, and driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or greater. Driving with a BAC of 0.08 or greater is called DUI per se. DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI without an accident or as a first offense is a misdemeanor.  So, What Does DUI, DWAI, and Driving at 0.08 BAC Mean?  DUI means that a person is operating a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol, consuming drugs, or a combination of both. For this act to be a crime, the driver’s ability to drive must be substantially impaired. This means that you do not have the physical or mental ability to exercise clear judgment, use due care, or maintain physical control of the vehicle.  DWAI means essentially the same thing as DUI, except that the police can charge you so long as they have any evidence that alcohol, drugs, or both affected you to the slightest degree while driving.  DUI per se means that a person gave a chemical test for alcohol and the person’s BAC is 0.08% or higher. The police do not need any evidence that the person was actually impaired—the chemical test result is sufficient. A chemical test may consist of a blood or breath test.  The law places a time limitation on the validity of a chemical test. A person could be found to be guilty of DUI per se only if the person took the chemical test within two hours after driving. Otherwise, the test results are irrelevant for that charge.  Nonetheless, the prosecution could pursue charges alleging DUI or DWAI against you. DWAI Colorado First Offense Punishments A DWAI Colorado first offense carries less severe consequences than DUI per se or DUI Colorado first offense. The potential jail time for a DWAI first offense in Colorado is two to 180 days. However, the judge can suspend the two-day minimum sentence as long as the offender attends a substance abuse evaluation and completes the recommended treatment. Successfully completing the probationary period means you will not spend any time in jail. Notwithstanding, the minimum jail sentence is ten days if the chemical test result was 0.20 or greater. Fines for a DWAI Colorado first offense range from $200 to $500. The court will add costs as well. The court may also sentence you to 24 to 48 hours of community service and assess a $120 fee. Fortunately, the court will not impose any additional license loss. DUI Colorado First Offense Penalties  DUI and DUI per se charges are more severe than DWAI. Under Colorado DUI laws, a first offense carries a minimum five-day jail term of up to one year. The judge can suspend the five-day jail sentence if you attend a substance abuse evaluation. You need to successfully complete any recommended treatment. As with DWAI, a chemical test that results in a 0.20 BAC or above triggers a 10-day minimum jail term. Other penalties for a Colorado DUI first offense conviction include: Fines ranging from $600 to $1,000; Court costs and surcharges; 48 to 96 hours of community service along with a $120 fee; and License revocation for nine months if you did not lose your license administratively—however, the court must revoke your license for one year if the conviction results from ingesting a controlled substance. These are the criminal penalties you face. You could face other consequences as well. Those include job loss, losing your right to carry a firearm, and paying increased auto insurance rates. Administrative Penalties for DWAI Colorado First Offense Colorado, like every other state, enacted an implied consent law. The implied consent law means that everyone operating on a public roadway consents to take a chemical test. However, the police must believe the driver is impaired. Refusing a chemical test requires the motor vehicle department to automatically revoke your license. Additionally, they will revoke your license if your chemical test result is 0.08 or above.  The license suspension for a first-time offender whose BAC is 0.08 or above is nine months. You could apply for a restricted license after serving one month of the revocation. Also, you must take alcohol education classes and consent to use an ignition interlock device. If you refuse the chemical test, you must serve two months of the license revocation and agree to use an ignition interlock device to get a restricted license. Also, you must take an alcohol education class. Contact Colorado Springs DUI Defense Attorney Right Away for Help with Your DWAI Colorado First Offense Sitting down with Colorado Springs DUI defense lawyer Austin Lux to discuss your options right away. Acting quickly can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty associated with a DUI charge. With Austin Lux, an award-winning defense lawyer on your...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Marijuana Cultivation Defense

What to Know About Being Charged For Mailing Edibles in Colorado

Marijuana laws are in flux across the country at this time. If you live in Colorado, California, Massachusetts, or many other states, you may know that your state legislature has relaxed marijuana laws. However, the federal government and many other states continue to enforce marijuana laws strictly. As a result, you cannot lawfully ship marijuana, THC oil, or edibles through the mail within Colorado.  Illegally shipping marijuana products through the mail can lead to severe punishments. Talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is a former prosecutor if you face charges for shipping marijuana in Colorado. Attorney Austin Lux is a knowledgeable, passionate, and skilled defense attorney who could help you achieve the best outcome for your shipping marijuana charges. Sending Drugs Through the Mail Penalty Under the federal drug guidelines, marijuana is a Schedule I drug. Therefore, shipping marijuana is a trafficking offense under federal law. Not only is shipping marijuana a federal crime, so is shipping THC oil and edible marijuana products. The severity of your sending drugs through the mail penalty for shipping marijuana depends on the amount of marijuana authorities seize. Shipping between 1 and 49 plants or less than 50 kilograms of a mixture carries a five-year federal prison sentence. The maximum penalty is 10 years for a person charged with a second federal offense.  The federal penalties increase as the amount of marijuana increases. Federal sentencing guidelines indicate that shipping marijuana weighing between 50 to 99 plants or 50 to 99 kilograms of a mixture carries a 20-year prison sentence. If the feds charge you with having 100 to 999 plants or 100 to 999 kilograms of a marijuana mixture, then you face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison with a five-year minimum mandatory term.  Finally, 1,000 or more plants or 1,000 or more kilograms carry a potential life sentence with 10 years minimum mandatory federal prison sentence.  How Do Federal Authorities Discover Unlawful Shipping of Marijuana? Federal and state authorities learn of marijuana shipments in many ways. Investigators track shipments from suspicious senders or locations. Sometimes investigators get tips from informants about a shipment coming in. Drug officers commonly use drug-sniffing dogs to discover contraband in the mail as well. Investigators will not always seize a suspicious package as soon as they detect one. Instead, they will track the package to its destination. After police track the suspicious package to the delivery location, they will continue their investigation and try to determine who received the package.  Police have a couple of options at this point. The first option is to apply for a search warrant and obtain the authority to search for the suspect package. As part of the search warrant execution, investigators will try to identify the person who received the package initially. They will also try to figure out who else lives at the target location. What Should You Do If Police Go to Your Home to Search for a Package? Drug investigators will pursue all people who may be involved in shipping marijuana. Federal drug investigators have a reputation for pressuring people to talk to them. Of course, you never have to speak to the police. You can invoke your right to remain silent and not answer any questions. Police and prosecutors cannot use your silence against you.  You should call an experienced and dedicated drug crimes defense attorney right away if the police go to your home with a search warrant. You cannot stop the police from searching your home if they present a search warrant to you. However, having a lawyer like Austin Lux on your side when the police come knocking on your door could help you avoid forfeiting your rights and hurting potential defenses. Colorado State Laws Prohibit Delivery of Marijuana, THC Oil, and Edibles Without a License Even though Colorado relaxed its marijuana laws, the industry remains highly regulated. While possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use is legal, distribution remains illegal. Therefore, you could face criminal charges in a Colorado state court instead of a federal court for distributing marijuana. Distributing more than two ounces of marijuana is a felony. The potential penalties you face depends on the total weight of the drugs distributed.  You Are Not Automatically Guilty if You Receive a Package in the Mail Containing Marijuana You might think that you are automatically guilty if drug investigators allege you sent or received a package of marijuana through the mail. That is not true. A skilled drug defense lawyer will work with you to create a defense strategy that gives you the best chance to achieve a favorable outcome.  The government has to prove that you knowingly received or sent marijuana beyond a reasonable doubt. If you did not know what you sent or received then you could have a viable defense. Additionally, you could challenge the lawfulness of the investigators’ actions by contesting the search warrant. A successful challenge to the search warrant could win the case for you entirely.  Call an Experienced Colorado Drug Crime Lawyer Immediately  Do not hesitate to call an experienced, savvy, and dedicated Colorado Springs drug defense lawyer right away if you have been arrested or are under suspicion of shipping marijuana. As a former county prosecutor, Austin Lux is uniquely qualified to give you the best chance of having a successful outcome. Time is always of the essence. Call Attorney Lux now at 719-368-7698 before it’s too late.

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | DUI Defense

Charged with a DUI from Marijuana in Colorado

Over the past decade, society has taken a more relaxed attitude when it comes to marijuana.  Colorado was one of the first two states, along with Washington, to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. However, despite the fact that adults can purchase, consume, and grow marijuana legally, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. At the Lux Law Firm, founding attorney Austin Lux represents clients facing all types of DUI cases, including marijuana DUIs in Colorado. As a seasoned trial advocate, Attorney Lux has extensive experience handling DUI cases and commands an impressive knowledge of the complex laws that govern these claims. And as a former prosecutor, he understands how the government handles marijuana DUIs—and knows what it takes to beat even the toughest cases. If you would like to speak with an experienced Colorado DUI defense attorney, please contact us online today. Colorado Marijuana DUI Laws While it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, marijuana DUI cases are quite different from those that involve drinking and driving. For one, alcohol DUI cases impose a “per se” blood alcohol limit. This means that if your blood-alcohol limit is over a certain amount, you are guilty of drunk driving. This is the case even if there was no evidence that alcohol actually impaired your ability to drive. Marijuana DUI cases are different in that there is no “per se” limit. Instead, prosecutors must prove that you were under the influence of marijuana and that the drug impaired your ability to drive. In a way, this makes it harder to prove a marijuana DUI case because it isn’t enough to prove that marijuana was in your system. That said, there is a presumption that marijuana-impaired your ability to drive if you had more than five nanograms of THC in your system. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana and is what gives users a “high” or “stoned” feeling. When you consume marijuana, your body immediately starts breaking down the drug in a series of chemical reactions. Initially, the byproduct of these reactions is the creation of THC. Over time, the body continues to break THC down into inactive metabolites. Therefore, marijuana can remain in your system for up to several weeks after consumption. But the presence of inactive metabolites in your blood does not mean that you are high or that you cannot drive safely. Thus, just because you have marijuana “in your system” doesn’t mean that you were intoxicated. How Colorado Proves a Marijuana DUI Case To prove you guilty of a Colorado DUI, the prosecution must establish that you had THC in your system and that your ability to drive was impaired. Unlike alcohol, marijuana does not show up on a breath test. Thus, police officers will typically administer a blood test if they think you were driving under the influence of marijuana. However, the government does not need to present chemical test results to prove you were under the influence of marijuana. In some cases, prosecutors will proceed with a case even if there was no blood test performed. For example, if you refuse to provide a blood sample prosecutors can still go forward with the case. In these situations, the prosecution may rely on other evidence of intoxication, such as: Bloodshot or watery eyes; The smell of marijuana in the car; The presence of marijuana in the car; The presence of a pipe or other drug paraphernalia; and Other indications that you were high. Unsafe to Drive Regardless of whether the prosecution has chemical test results, it still needs to show that you were in a condition that made it unsafe for you to drive. Prosecutors typically try to establish this element through a police officer’s observations. For example, the government may try to prove you were impaired by marijuana by showing: You caused an accident; You drove too fast or too slowly; You couldn’t stay in your lane; You drove erratically; or You violated any other traffic law. Given the complexity of Colorado DUI laws, there are many defenses to these cases. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the laws as they apply to your case and develop a compelling defense. Defenses to Marijuana DUI Cases There are potential defenses to every crime, and marijuana DUIs are no exception. Defenses to a marijuana DUI charge typically involve challenging either the elements of the offense or the manner in which the officers obtained the evidence the prosecution intends to use against you. Challenging the Elements of a Marijuana DUI On the most basic level, prosecutors must prove two things to successfully bring a marijuana DUI case against you. First, that you were under the influence of marijuana, and second, that the marijuana-impaired your driving. The prosecution must prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If your defense attorney can cast enough doubt on either of these elements, you may beat the case. Common ways to attack the elements of a marijuana DUI case include establishing the following: You were not under the influence of marijuana; Your driving was not dangerous; or A traffic violation was not the result of marijuana intoxication. If you can prevent the prosecution from proving the elements of the offense, the judge or jury will have no choice but to find you not guilty. Challenging the Evidence in a Marijuana DUI Case The second way to beat a DUI case is by challenging the evidence. In most marijuana DUI cases, this involves filing a motion to suppress. A motion to suppress is a pre-trial filing in which your attorney argues the evidence the prosecution wants to use against you is not legally admissible. Typically, motions to suppress surround the manner in which the police officers obtained evidence. In this context, “evidence” may be physical evidence, such as marijuana found inside the car or an officer’s observations of intoxication. You can also seek to suppress the results of a blood test. For example,...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Criminal Defense

How Much Does a Domestic Violence Attorney Cost in Colorado?

Why You Should Hire a Domestic Violence Attorney to Protect Your Rights 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. Visit Our Office

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | DUI Defense

Penalties for a First-Time DUI in Colorado

Colorado imposes serious consequences on drivers convicted of driving under the influence. These potential penalties increase in severity if a driver receives multiple DUI convictions. Luckily, a first-time DUI conviction in Colorado carries the potential of the least severe punishment.  The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) published a report analyzing over 26,000 DUI cases filed in Colorado in 2018. The report indicated that Colorado prosecutors convicted the driver of DUI in 88% of the cases. Over one-third of the individuals convicted of DUI already had at least one DUI conviction.  An experienced DUI defense attorney can vigorously defend your DUI case, aiming to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Attorney Austin M. Lux with the Lux Law Firm possesses extensive knowledge of Colorado’s strict DUI laws. Contact us today for assistance with your DUI. What Happens if You Get a DUI in Colorado? Colorado prohibits operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Colorado considers “under the influence” to include when the driver: Has his or her ability to drive safely substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol; or Has a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.  First-time DUI convictions carry a variety of consequences, including: Between five days and one year in jail; A fine up to $1,000; License revocation for up to nine months; Up to 96 hours of community service; and Substance abuse education classes.  Drivers convicted of DUI with a BAC above .15% receive a “persistent drunk driver” classification, resulting in enhanced penalties.  Unlike some states, Colorado does not have a “lookback period” after which prior drunk driving offenses are removed from your record. Any previous DUI in a U.S. state is considered a prior DUI. Before accepting a plea agreement, individuals charged with DUI should consult with a DUI defense attorney about options available in their case. Failure to do so could result in the waiver of several constitutional rights. Colorado’s Express Consent Law Colorado has an express consent law, meaning that every person driving on Colorado’s roads agrees to submit to a chemical test if a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The refusal to submit to a chemical test carries penalties separate from a DUI charge. The consequences of refusing a chemical test include: The refusal can be used as evidence of guilt at trial; Designation as a “persistent drunk driver”; and Your license will be suspended for one year by the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  In the event your license is suspended for one year, completing alcohol education courses and agreeing to installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for up to two years creates the opportunity to have your license reinstated earlier. Additional Consequences Associated with a DUI Conviction In addition to the possibility of jail time and probation, courts enforce additional restrictions on drivers convicted of DUI. Drivers with a DUI conviction often face consequences stemming from their DUI outside of the penalties ordered by the court. Ignition Interlock Devices Colorado requires drivers with first-time DUI convictions to install an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle for at least eight months. An IID is a breathalyzer installed in a vehicle designed to measure the alcohol in the driver’s breath. The IID prevents the vehicle from starting until a breath test is completed. For individuals who use drive as a part of their job responsibilities, an IID could affect your employment.  Additionally, IID installation and maintenance is not cheap and the cost is borne by the offender.  Other Possible Repercussions A DUI conviction goes on your permanent criminal record and will appear anytime someone runs a background check. In fact, Colorado does not allow traffic convictions to be sealed or expunged. Some employers prohibit employees from having a DUI conviction on their criminal record. A DUI conviction could result in termination depending on the industry of employment. Insurance companies increase rates for drivers convicted of DUI. Additionally, certain housing applications disqualify applicants with a prior criminal conviction. Between fines, alcohol education classes, and other requirements, monetary obligations negatively impact many drivers convicted of DUI. How Can a Colorado DUI Attorney Help Me?  An attorney with experience handling Colorado DUI cases can present arguments to the prosecutor for why your DUI charges should be lessened or dropped. Common defenses to DUI charges include: Inadequately trained police officers; Unreliable chemical test results; Lack of probable cause for the traffic stop; Improperly administered field sobriety tests; and Lack of proper Miranda warning. Depending on the circumstances of your traffic stop and arrest, a DUI attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to have your case dismissed or your charges reduced.  Contact an Experienced DUI Attorney with The Lux Law Firm Today Attorney Austin Lux began his legal career as a Deputy District Attorney, prosecuting dozens of criminal cases and delivering numerous trainings to local law enforcement agencies. Austin made the transition to private practice in order to advocate for his individual clients in the courtroom.  Austin’s experience as a former prosecutor provides him with inside knowledge of the process of DUI convictions. In 2020, Austin was named a Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Under 40 in Colorado, an honor awarded to less than 1% of Colorado criminal defense attorneys. Contact our office today for assistance with your DUI case.

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | DUI Defense

Colorado Felony DUI Laws: Overview and Defense

Consider Hiring an Award-Winning Colorado DUI Defense Lawyer to Defend Your Charges of Felony DUI   Charges of felony DUI in Colorado are severe. You face felony DUI jail time and other repercussions if you stand convicted of a Colorado DUI felony. Therefore, you need to do everything you can to protect your rights. Would you know where to turn if you face criminal charges that could ruin your life?  Award-winning DUI defense lawyer Austin Lux possesses the necessary knowledge, skill, and determination to make a difference when you and your family need it most. You can rely on former county prosecutor Austin Lux to fight vigorously to protect your valuable rights. To speak with an experienced Colorado DUI lawyer, please contact us today. Is a DUI Considered a Felony in Colorado? Colorado law establishes a felony charge for DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, and DUID. Most folks understand DUI as an abbreviation for driving under the influence. DUI per se refers to a chemical test result of 0.08 or greater. However, Colorado also uses the abbreviation DWAI or driving while ability impaired, as well. DWAI refers to a chemical test result between 0.05 and 0.079 when the police have the slightest evidence of intoxication. Additionally, Colorado law prohibits driving under the influence of drugs or DUID. We will refer to these charges collectively as DUI. The penalties for these charges are similar. The difference between the three charges lies in the evidence the police plan to use against you.  How Many DUIs Are a Felony in Colorado? Under Colorado law, DUI charges are misdemeanor offenses until you have three prior convictions. Your fourth and subsequent DUI offenses are Class 4 felonies.  Colorado, unlike some other states, uses a lifetime lookback rule for prior DUI convictions. Under Colorado law, any conviction for a DUI in any state or U.S. territory, no matter how old, serves as evidence of a prior conviction.  State law restricts prior convictions to convictions for separate offenses instead of several charges stemming from one incident. Also, state law allows prosecutors to use convictions from other states or territories. These convictions count as long as the acts constituting a DUI crime in those jurisdictions would be a crime if committed in Colorado as an adult. Colorado law allows prosecutors to use convictions for various offenses to prosecute a Colorado DUI felony. The prosecution can use any combination of convictions for DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, DUID, vehicular homicide involving alcohol or drugs, and vehicular assault.  Colorado law explicitly requires the prosecutor to set out the prior convictions in an indictment or information. The rule is essential to a person facing a felony DUI in Colorado. As we will see later, attacking the prior convictions might be a valid defense to a Colorado DUI felony. This defense could not attack the prior convictions if the prosecutor did not notify the person charged. What Is a DUI Conviction Under Colorado Law? Colorado law explicitly defines conviction as a verdict of guilty. A judge or jury could enter the guilty verdict after a trial or pleading guilty. The term conviction also applies to deferred judgments and sentences as well as deferred adjudications.  However, the prosecution cannot use a deferred sentence or adjudication against you as a prior conviction if you completed the deferred sentence successfully. Thus, the prosecution could use a deferred sentence or deferred adjudication against you if you failed to satisfy the conditions set by the court, or you pick up another offense while on a deferred sentence or deferred adjudication. Felony DUI Penalties in Colorado Colorado strictly punishes individuals convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI offense. Felony DUI in Colorado is a Class 4 felony. As such, the sentencing judge could sentence you to prison for up to six years, which is the maximum sentence for a Class 4 felony.  Colorado law gives judges some leeway. Not every person convicted of felony DUI will go to prison. Under Colorado law, a felony DUI can result in a jail sentence of 90 to 180 days if the judge determines that is the proper sentence. Alternatively, the judge could sentence you from 120 days up to two years in jail if you qualify for a work-release program.  As with every crime, the penalty depends on the facts of the case, the person’s history. The judge could also reduce the penalty if they find extraordinary mitigating factors exist. However, the prosecution has some say in the potential penalties. The prosecution has another powerful tool it could use to exact even stricter punishment. The judge could sentence you from the midpoint of the Class 4 felony sentencing range (four years) up to double the maximum sentence (12 years) for a Felony DUI conviction. However, the prosecutor must prove that aggravating circumstances exist before the judge could sentence you to an enhanced penalty.  Additional Felony DUI Penalties Colorado’s DUI law authorizes the sentencing judge to impose additional sanctions for a Colorado DUI felony. In addition to incarceration, the judge must impose sanctions such as: 48 to 120 hours of community service; A monetary fine between $2,000 and $5,000; Level II alcohol or drug education and treatment; Two years of probation;  Parole for at least three years; and Two years of mandatory ignition interlock use after the reinstatement of driver’s license. The minimum driver’s license revocation for a felony DUI in Colorado is one year. Reduced Sentence for Colorado DUI Felony Colorado’s DUI law expressly prohibits plea bargaining unless the prosecution in good faith convinces the judge that the case is weak as initially charged. Only then can the judge accept a plea to a non-alcohol, a non-drug-related crime, or underage drinking and driving.  However, the law’s prohibition on negotiating a DUI case to reckless driving or other lesser offense does not mean that the judge will throw the book at you for a Colorado felony DUI conviction. Colorado’s DUI statute expects judges to examine whether incarceration is the best option in each specific...

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| Read Time: 6 minutes | DUI Defense

Colorado DUI Laws: Fines and Penalties

Learn What You Need to Know If You Face a DUI in Colorado Facing a DUI in Colorado could lead to grave consequences. Colorado DUI laws are some of the toughest in the nation. Thus, you will need the assistance of a highly-skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer.  If police arrested you in Colorado Springs, you should not wait to contact a DUI lawyer who has a proven track record of successfully defending DUI cases. Austin M. Lux was a prosecutor. Now he is an award-winning Colorado Springs DUI defense attorney. Austin focuses his practice on defending people charged with a Colorado DUI, among other criminal offenses. You can rely on Austin’s experience and extensive knowledge of Colorado DUI laws to help avoid the harsh consequences of a mistake. Colorado DUI Penalties Under Colorado DUI law, a person can be convicted of DUI if they operate a motor vehicle when  Their ability to drive safely is substantially impaired by either drugs or alcohol, or  They have a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or greater. Driving under the influence (DUI), driving with your ability impaired (DWAI), and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) are crimes that fall under the same law. Penalty for First Offense DUI in Colorado A first DUI offense charge in Colorado is a misdemeanor. The penalty for a first DUI conviction in Colorado is surprisingly harsh. After a conviction for a first DUI in Colorado, if you took a breath test or chemical test that gave a result of 0.08 or greater, you face: Between five days and one year in jail; A fine not to exceed $1,000; Compulsory license revocation of up to nine months; Community service obligation up to 96 hours; and Alcohol education classes. The judge could put you on probation to ensure that you satisfy all the requirements following a first DUI conviction. Mandatory Jail Time for a DUI First Offense Prosecutors can seek an enhanced penalty against a person facing DUI charges in Colorado for many reasons. Enhanced penalties often include mandatory jail time, along with other sanctions. The prosecution could seek an enhanced penalty if you have a breath or chemical test resulting in a BAC of 0.20 or greater. In that case, the judge must sentence you to at least 10 days in jail. The judge has the discretion to grant you a work release or serve your sentence on home confinement while wearing a GPS ankle bracelet. The Difference Between DUI Per Se and DWAI DUI per se refers to providing a chemical test result or a breath test result of 0.08 or higher. DWAI is a charge that can be based solely on the observations of the police officer. To support a conviction for DWAI, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused drove when the person’s ability to do so safely was impaired. This can be done even without the results of a chemical test or if the chemical test results fall between 0.051 and 0.079 BAC. The penalties for a DWAI conviction are less severe than a conviction for DUI per se. The potential sentence for a conviction of DWAI includes: Two days to 180 days in jail; A fine not to exceed $500; 48 hours of community service; and Eight points against your driver license. The judge has the authority to place you on probation for a conviction of DWAI as well.  The reduced penalties for DWAI are not necessarily an incentive to refuse the breathalyzer because of Colorado’s express consent law. Express Consent Law in Colorado You should be aware that Colorado has an express consent law. Therefore, any person who drives in Colorado agrees to take a chemical test if a police officer believes that the driver is under the influence.  Refusing to take the chemical test has consequences. First, Colorado law allows the prosecution to use the chemical test refusal as evidence of guilt at your trial. Essentially, the prosecution gets to argue to the jury that you refused the breath or other chemical test because you knew you had a BAC of 0.08 or above. That is compelling evidence. Secondly, the Colorado DMV will suspend your license for one year for refusing the breath test and may consider you to be a persistent drunk driver (PDD). You have the opportunity to reinstate your license if you take alcohol education classes and agree to use an ignition interlock device for up to two years. Colorado law imposes these sanctions against you even if the jury finds you not guilty after trial. These are administrative penalties and work in conjunction with any criminal penalties imposed. You have the right to appeal the DMV’s decision to suspend your license for refusing to take a breath test. You must file that appeal within seven days of your DUI arrest. Missing that deadline means you lose your right to appeal. Second Offense DUI in Colorado If police charge you with a DUI second offense, then you are facing potentially more severe repercussions. However, the length of time between your first and second offenses may determine whether the judge treats you as a first-time offender. If you have a second DUI in Colorado, the judge could treat you as a first-time offender if your prior conviction was at least 10 years prior. You should be aware that all convictions for DUI outside of Colorado count toward a second offense DUI. The first and second DUI penalties are similar. For a DUI second offense, which is a misdemeanor, you face up to: A minimum of 10 days in jail, with a maximum of one year; A fine between $600 and $1,500; License suspension for at least one year; At least 48 hours of community service, up to 120 hours; Two years of probation; Level II alcohol education; and Possible installation of an ignition interlocking device. The judge can also order you to enter into a treatment program for alcohol addiction for a second DUI in Colorado....

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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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