The consequences of a criminal conviction in Colorado is very serious. It’s important to know your rights and have a criminal defense attorney on your side of the law to protect your freedom and reputation.
Whether you are facing criminal charges for the first time, or you have been through this process before, it is important that your criminal case be handled successfully. Whether you are trying to keep a spotless record clean, or trying to avoid a prison sentence, there is much at stake. Generally, the more serious the offense, the more likely that even a first conviction could result in jail or prison. This is especially true if the defendant has a prior criminal record. For more information about the possible penalties that could result from your charge, please visit our sentencing page.
Regardless of what charge you are facing, your criminal attorney must analyze the evidence against you, and develop any defense evidence you might have, in order to accurately tell you whether you will likely be convicted or not at trial. Routinely, people are falsely accused of crimes. Naturally in such a case, your attorney’s goal will be to have your case dismissed, and in the alternative to win your case at trial. In other cases, the District Attorney’s case will be unbeatable, and the evidence against you overwhelming, in which case you will probably need an effectively negotiated plea agreement. In still other cases, it will be “shades of grey,” and the potential outcome at a trial of your case will be uncertain.
Thus, a crucial part of effective representation is to help the accused decide whether a jury trial or a plea agreement is the best route to the end of the case. The stronger your defense case, the stronger your negotiating position is with the District Attorney before trial. More importantly, in cases where the accused is at great risk of losing based on the evidence, effective representation can often “control the damage” by getting the DA to agree to a reasonable outcome.
When your Denver criminal attorney helps you to decide whether the District Attorney has a strong chance of proving you guilty, he must consider how the evidence in your case measures up against the legal “elements” of that offense – as they appear in the law books. Regardless of the charge you are facing in Colorado, the DA must prove each of several different elements. In all cases, the first elements are the same:
- That you (not someone else),
- In the County of Denver (for example), State of Colorado,
- On the date and place charged,
- The elements that follow these are the ones that are unique to the crime you have been charged with. For example, in a domestic violence / Harassment case, the other elements include:
- With the intent to annoy, harass, or alarm,
- Striked, shoved, or kicked (the victim),
If the District Attorney fails to prove any single element to the jury, then the jury must find the defendant not guilty. Your attorney may attack some or all of these elements during trial. In the example above, your defense may be that yes, you struck the person, but it was in self-defense, and therefore it was not your intent to “annoy, harass, or alarm” the person.
The approach is the same regardless of the criminal charge. Sometimes the elements are provable, and sometimes one or more are not. An experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer will be able to spot where the District Attorney’s weak spots are, and develop the best possible attack to them. As mentioned above, forecasting what will happen in court ahead of time can prevent unwanted results. If your attorney sees a dead end for your defense case ahead, you may be able to avoid serious punishment. On the other hand, in cases where the District Attorney is making an unreasonable offer and / or you have a strong defense case, trial is likely going to be your best option.
Avoiding a Criminal Conviction
Effective representation is essential to avoiding criminal convictions where that is possible. Many cases are based on false accusations or faulty evidence. Experienced criminal defense involves not only challenging the District Attorney’s case, but also developing your own defense case. If the case against you is too strong to overcome, your attorney will help you to control the damage through negotiation.
We accept all felony and misdemeanor cases, even if they are not listed here. Because all charges are made up of “elements,” the job for your Denver criminal lawyer is similar regardless of the charge you are facing. Disproving one of the elements, or challenging the DA’s proof successfully on any element, will result in a not guilty verdict. Different rules of evidence come into play for different types of charges. Below is a list that includes the most common Colorado criminal charges:
Common Misdemeanor Charges
- Child Abuse
- Protection Order Violation
- Unlawful Sexual Contact
- Criminal Mischief
- False Imprisonment
- Disturbing the Peace
- Disorderly Conduct
Common Felony Charges
- Weapons Charges
- Child Abuse
- Sexual Assault
- Auto Theft
- Drug Offenses
- White Collar Crimes
Please call our office for a free consultation regarding your criminal charge. Please be prepared to tell us precisely what you are charged with, when you must appear in court, and what court your case will appear in. Kevin Churchill will answer any initial questions you may have and discuss your representation.