If you are being charged with a felony in Fort Collins, Colorado–you need help. You need an experienced, qualified, and competent criminal defense lawyer. Your defense attorney should have a presence and reputation in Fort Collins so that you have the best opportunity to have your case dismissed or charges reduced.
In Colorado, felonies are the most serious criminal charges. Felonies can carry harsh penalties, including prison, loss of rights, fines, and lengthy probationary periods. Being convicted of a felony will permanently impact your future.
The Colorado state court system is divided into 22 judicial districts. Fort Collins is in the 8th judicial district. Fort Collins felony cases are handled at the Larimer County Justice Center located at 201 La Porte Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80521.
What Are the Different Types of Felonies?
There are two categories of felonies: non-drug offenses and drug offenses. Non-drug offenses are divided into 6 classes, and drug felonies are divided into 4 classes. Each class of felony has the following presumptive range of sentences:
- Drug Felony Class 1: 8 to 32 years in prison, fine $500,000 to $1,000,000
- Drug Felony Class 2: 4 to 8 years in prison, fine of $3,000 to $750,000
- Drug Felony Class 3: 2 to 4 years in prison, fine of $2,000 to $500,000
- Drug Felony Class 4: 6 months to 1 year in prison, fine of $1,000 to $100,000
- Class 1 Felony: Life in prison.
- Class 2 Felony: 8 to 24 years in prison, fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000
- Class 3 Felony: 4 to 12 years in prison, fine of $3,000 to $750,000
- Class 4 Felony: 2 to 6 years in prison, fine of $2,000 to $500,000
- Class 5 Felony :1 to 3 years in prison, fine of $1,000 to $100,000
- Class 6 Felony: 12 to 18 months in prison, fine of $1,000 to $100,000
The presumptive range of prison can be increased if there are certain “aggravating factors,” or if the offense is classified as an “extraordinary risk crime.” Some aggravating factors are when a weapon is used during the crime, when the defendant was on probation/parole at the time the offense was committed, and when the defendant has previous convictions. Some extraordinary risk crimes are certain child abuse crimes, crimes of violence, and certain drug offenses involving manufacturing or trafficking.
How Can a Fort Collins Felony Lawyer Help?
In addition to the sentence, felony convictions carry harmful collateral consequences. The repercussions of having a felony criminal record extend far beyond what most people realize, and as time has passed, these collateral effects have dramatically increased. Criminal records may negatively affect:
- Job applications
- College acceptance
- Housing applications
- Child Custody
- Ability to adopt
- Privilege to own/possess a firearm
- Healthcare licenses
- Cannabis industry work licenses
- Gaming licenses
A felony defense lawyer can make a difference. Not only do criminal defense lawyers analyze what can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but they also look at the practices of law enforcement. If law enforcement violates a right or important procedure, criminal defense lawyers are able to use these errors to suppress evidence or even have charges dismissed.
Felony Jury Trials in Fort Collins
When charged with a felony, the defendant has a right to a jury trial. Fort Collins felony jury trials consist of 12 members of the community. For a conviction, all 12 members must agree that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, for an acquittal, all 12 members must agree that the prosecution has not proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the 12 jury members cannot reach a unanimous decision (one way or the other), the case ends in a “hung jury,” and the prosecution can retry the case at a later date.
Having a defense lawyer who has conducted jury trials is important. Some defense lawyers, while still practicing criminal defense, have little to no experience in front of a jury. The most effective criminal defense attorneys will have conducted jury trials as there is no replacement for actual trial experience. Burnham Law lawyers have extensive trial experience.
Use Of Experts And Investigators
Fort Collins prosecutors have an army of experts and investigators. Fort Collins uses experts in many areas, such as drug/alcohol recognition, domestic violence, ballistics, blood splatter, DNA testing, etc. In addition, Fort Collins prosecutors have access to investigators to help gather facts and witnesses to alleged crimes.
At Burnham Law, we aim to level the playing field against the prosecution. We believe that if the prosecutors have these tools, so should our clients. We contract with some of the state’s best investigators and some of the nation’s best experts.
Being charged with a felony places everything important in life at jeopardy. The lawyers at Burnham Law are here to help. Our mission is to have the criminal charges dismissed and when dismissal is not possible, to greatly reduce the charges. Burnham Law understands that these are difficult times for our clients, but with our representation, our clients have the best chances to mitigate the effects that felony charges have on their lives.