Answers To Your Criminal Defense Questions

Facing charges concerning a criminal offense can be a frightening and intimidating experience. I am J. Keith Collins, a Boulder, Colorado, criminal defense attorney, and I will give you the effective representation that you need. To help you better understand the goings on of a criminal defense case, my firm has assembled a list of frequently asked questions that will help you and may bring you some ease.

Should I Talk To Police If They've Arrested Me And Accused Me Of A Crime?

  • Anything you say to law enforcement can be used against you in court. You should speak with an attorney before talking with any law enforcement officers. So make sure to contact an attorney. Law enforcement is required to read you the Miranda rights, which provides an arrested person with the right against self-incrimination and the right to hire an attorney.

Why Should I Hire A Defense Attorney For A Criminal Case?

  • Don't make the blunder and attempt to represent yourself. Retain someone who knows the legal procedures within Colorado. And by working with an attorney, you have the best chances to get the criminal charges lessened through a plea bargain agreement, or dropped entirely.

How Can I Help In My Defense?

  • Listen to your attorney and follow his or her advice and suggestions. And while your case is pending, you also must stay out of trouble.

What Happens At An Arraignment?

  • The first part of the court proceeding is the arraignment. During this formal hearing, the person charged with a crime appears in front of a judge. The judge reads the charges, asks the person charged with the crime (the defendant) several questions. These questions include whether the defendant has an attorney or needs a court-appointed attorney. The defendant answers to the charges against them by making a plea of "not guilty" or "guilty." The judge also decides whether to change the bail amount or even release the defendant on his or her own recognizance. Finally, the judge decides the date for any future court proceedings such as a preliminary hearing or trial.

Is A Plea-Bargaining Agreement A Good Option?

  • A plea bargain is all about negotiating to get you a better deal. Most criminal cases never go to trial. Instead, parties settle many cases through the plea-bargaining process. An attorney can skillfully work and negotiate with prosecutors, and the penalty will be less than if you had chosen to go to trial.

What Evidence Do Prosecutors Have Against Me?

  • Courts require disclosure of all relevant facts and documents in a court case to the other side before a trial begins. This process has been around since the late 1940s and is known as "discovery." So you and your attorney will know what evidence prosecutors have. When you receive this information, it is critical to give it a thorough, detailed review.

What If My Case Goes To Trial?

  • If all chances of a plea bargain attempt fail, your case will go to trial. You must be prepared because you will likely be in attendance with your attorney. Dress and behave appropriately in court. At a trial, a judge or jury will decide your fate. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will introduce evidence as well as witnesses, who testify. The trial will conclude with closing arguments by the prosecution and the defense. Then the jury or judge will make their decision.

What Can I Do To Lessen My Sentence?

  • If you want to improve your outcome in the court's eyes, you can take specific steps that may benefit you. Some of those steps may include enrolling in a drug rehabilitation program or seeking help through a counselor or therapist. If the judge notices that you are trying to change and improve your life, he or she may give you the benefit of the doubt at a sentencing hearing.

What Sentencing Alternatives Exist?

  • An experienced attorney can help create an alternative sentencing situation for you. Some of these options would include electronic home detention, probation, work furlough or community service. You would likely receive a lesser criminal sentence by going through these options.

Explain The Differences Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony

  • In Colorado, as in other states, crimes are categorized as misdemeanors and felonies. Between the two groups, felonies are the more serious crimes and are punishable by a prison sentence of one year or more and lead to steep fines. Crimes in this category include murder, kidnapping, treason, sexual assault, sex offenses against children, and the sale and possession of certain drugs. Misdemeanors can lead to jail terms of up to 18 months as well as fines. This group would include petty theft and traffic offenses.

A Lawyer Who Puts Your Needs And Concerns First

For answers to all of your criminal defense questions, contact my law office by calling 720-443-5875 or communicating with me online.