Criminal Defense – what to expect from your attorney
Your criminal defense and Colorado criminal defense lawyer is critical when you are accused of any crime. This is the person that you will look to for advice and will rely on to explain to you what is going on, what to expect, how to act, and even if you will face time in jail. You must interview your potential criminal defense attorney and make sure the attorney that you hire is the one that you feel you can ask any question about your case. When you have a question or don’t understand something, you need to have a criminal defense attorney that will take the time to explain everything in a way you understand. If you are afraid to ask to tell your defense attorney something, you may have critical information that could help or hurt your case.
We would encourage to you consider the impact that the wrong attorney may have on your case and your pocketbook. By taking the time to consider if the attorney is right for you, you may say time and money. Price is important, but it should not be your only consideration. If you want an attorney that will give you attention and to properly investigate your case, this may factor in to the end cost.
Before you decide who to hire for your criminal defense lawyer, we recommend that you keep in mind the following principles.
- Experience in your issue: Ask your prospective criminal defense attorney if he or she have defended cases like yours before.
- Experience in your jurisdiction: Ask your prospective criminal defense attorney if he or she is familiar with the jurisdiction
- Communication: Ensure there is a proper system to communicate effectively with your criminal defense attorney
- Cost: Ensure that you understand the terms and cost of your criminal defense, including extra expenses, such as a private investigator.
- Reviews: are there any public reviews that the attorney can share about other representation
Our Approach to the Defense of a Criminal Case
Criminal cases have a unique life cycle. The time periods for each cycle may very depending on the complexity of the case and the issues involved. This is meant to be an outline of the different stages to give a road map of a defense to criminal charges.
Stage One- the Accusation
This this when the government charges you with a crime, it can be called a compliant or information. The document lists the crimes that you are being charged with and on or about the date of the offense. Many times, if you are being charged with a misdemeanor or municipal court charge, these are commonly filed directly by the police officer in Colorado. If you face a felony charge it most likely was filed by the district attorney’s office.
The police only need probable cause to arrest and charge you will a crime. This is way lower than the proof needed to convict you of a crime, which is beyond a reasonable doubt.
Stage Two- Bond Hearing
Some charges will not have a bond hearing. If you do, this is the hearing that the court sets bail and any conditions to your release. Commonly, the courts will set terms such as no alcohol or drug use, including marijuana, no contact with victims, and other conditions that the court deems necessary. If you face bond conditions you should have discussed this with your attorney prior to the hearing. If you did not have an opportunity to have your attorney present at the bond hearing, you may file a motion to change any adverse terms and conditions of bond.
Stage Three- Discovery and Investigation
This stage is critical to your case. During this stage, the government must release the evidence that it has against you. It should be throughly reviewed and any potential weakness should be identified and investigated. This is typically done in connect with your attorney and his or her investigator. After the discovery and investigation is complete you should plan on attending a meeting with your attorney to discuss plea options, trial strategy and likelihood of success at trial.
Stage Four- Trial or Plea Acceptance
The last stage is the decision to either accept a plea offer or set the matter for a jury trial. This is your decision, not your attorneys. Even if your attorney believes that there is not a high likelihood of success at trial, you may still opt for a trial. Many other considerations must go into your decision to go to trial or accept a plea offer, such as job restrictions, loss of job, loss of license, loss of liberty, and not to mention, you may not have done the crime that you are being accused of. If you decided to take your case to trial, you and your attorney will begin with trial preparation. If you decided to accept a plea offer, ALL consequences of the plea and all expectations should be clearly explained to you.
Although, each attorney will offer you a different approach there are three main core values that continue throughout the defense of your criminal case:
- Contact and Communication It is vital to your defense to be in contact with your attorney. You cannot feel confident about the status of your case and/or progression of a criminal investigation unless there is good communication between you and your criminal defense lawyer. You may not reach us at the exact time that you call or email; but your issue will be directed to the correct person and you will receive a response within one day. We also offer set meeting times to make sure you have ample time to ask all of your questions.
- Necessity to Review of all Evidence Prior to giving a meaningful opinion and advisement of options in any criminal case, it is important to know your side of the story and the basis for the accusations (the other side of the story). This could include a review of police reports detailing the investigation completed by the officers, other witness investigation, forensic investigation, and medical investigations. Without a complete review of the accusations, your Colorado criminal defense attorney would not be able to evaluate your case.
- Preparation & Strategic Planning A criminal case has a life cycle, starting with a bail hearing, arraignment, pre-trial hearing, motions, and jury trial. Each phase has a unique purpose and must be planned in advanced. There are many defenses and motions that may be important to your case or potential pre-trial negations. Preparation and strategic planning are a part of any good criminal defense. With a plan in place that you understand can take some of the stress off of you and your family during the pendency of the case.
If you have been charged with a crime in the Denver Metro Area or believe that you may be charged with a crime, you need to make sure your criminal defense is solid, call a Colorado Criminal Defense attorney at (303) 747-4686 or click for an evaluation for a consultation.