Being charged with a crime in Fort Collins, Colorado, is a stressful and scary time in the lives of those charged. Even the most well-intentioned people can find themselves being accused of a crime in Fort Collins. Once the criminal process begins, it is swift, confusing, complex, and cares little about those charged. When it comes time to deal with a Fort Collins arrest, you need an attorney who is going to do all they can to get you past this difficult time and who will level the playing field against the prosecution.
The Colorado state court system is divided into 22 judicial districts. Fort Collins is in the 8th judicial district. Fort Collins misdemeanor cases are handled at the Larimer County Justice Center located at 201 La Porte Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80521.
What are Fort Collins Misdemeanor Charges?
Fort Collins misdemeanors cover a wide range of conduct. Some misdemeanors are comprised of the most minor conduct, while other misdemeanors consist of serious criminal conduct. The most common misdemeanors in Fort Collins are DUI (driving under the influence), assault (bar fights), and theft. On the other end of the spectrum, the misdemeanors charged in Fort Collins also include sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.
Do You Need To Hire A Lawyer For A Misdemeanor?
Because misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, many wonder if hiring a criminal defense attorney is necessary. What many people fail to realize is that misdemeanors carry severe penalties. There are three “classes” of misdemeanors in Colorado if committed prior to March 1, 2022, and two “classes” of misdemeanor in Colorado if committed after March 1, 2022. All classes have potential jail sentences. In fact, a Class 1 misdemeanor carries a possibility of up to 2 years in jail if committed prior to March 1, 2022, and up to 364 days if committed after March 1, 2022.
In addition to the possibility of jail, any misdemeanor conviction results in a permanent mark on your criminal record. The repercussions of having a 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
- Scholarship opportunities
- Housing applications
- Child Custody
- Privilege to own/possess a firearm
- Healthcare licenses
- Cannabis industry work licenses
- Gaming licenses
Criminal defense lawyers do 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.
Misdemeanor Jury Trials in Fort Collins
When charged with a misdemeanor, the defendant has a right to a jury trial. Fort Collins misdemeanor jury trials consist of 6 members of the community. For a conviction, Prosecutor has proven every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, in order for an acquittal, all 6 members must agree that the prosecution has failed to prove an element beyond a reasonable doubt. If the 6 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 essential. 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 many jury trials as there is no replacement for actual trial experience. The attorneys at Burnham Law 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, accident reconstruction, etc. In addition, Fort Collins prosecutors have access to investigators to help gather facts and witnesses to any 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.
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 less to worry about and more to look forward too.