If you’ve been arrested in Colorado Springs and think you can wait until later to hire a criminal defense attorney, or maybe are thinking you can represent yourself at your first court appearance or arraignment, you could be making a huge mistake that can cost you thousands of dollars and months or years in jail.
“You have the right to an attorney. If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you…”
You’ve probably heard those words spoken by police officers in countless movies and TV shows as they put the handcuffs on a suspect. That part of the Miranda warning which must be read when police make an arrest is based on the constitutional right to counsel established in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
This means that if you are arrested and charged with a crime in Colorado Springs, a lawyer from Colorado’s Office of the State Public Defender will be assigned to represent you if you can’t afford to get one on your own.
A free lawyer? Who would turn that down?
The reality is that relying on a public defender if there is any chance you could hire a committed private Colorado Springs defense lawyer is a risky proposition.
Not because the attorneys who work at the public defender’s office are bad lawyers, don’t have your best interests at heart, or won’t work hard to protect your rights – they aren’t, they do, and they will. But the reality is you may not qualify for a public defender due to your income, and even if you do, they simply may not be able to adequately protect you from the consequences of a conviction.
Here are three reasons not to use a public defender if at all possible:
If you’re anything like me, you take a lot of pride in your “do-it-yourself” attitude. When it comes to things like home improvements, car repairs, or other jobs, you’d rather learn how to take care of it than pay someone to take care of it for you. With so much information available on the internet, you can pretty much figure out how to do anything yourself now.
After all, if your noble efforts fail, you can always call an electrician, plumber, or mechanic to finish the job.
But what if the consequences of a bad “DIY” project included losing your job, spending years of your life behind bars, being separated from your family, and having a future hobbled by a criminal record you can never shake? You might think twice about trying to save a few bucks by taking on the project yourself.
If you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime in Colorado Springs, representing yourself can be one of the worst and riskiest decisions you could ever make. This is not the time to try to make things up as you go along. Here are just three reasons why you need to retain a Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney rather than try to defend yourself:
Alcohol is legal in Colorado, but as you know, driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Colorado is not.
The same goes for marijuana. While recreational pot is now legal in Colorado, driving under the influence of marijuana in Colorado is not and can be charged as a DUI. An arrest and conviction for driving with pot in your system can lead to the same penalties and consequences you’d face for drunk driving.
You’ve worked hard to build a life for yourself and your family here in Colorado after immigrating to the United States. You know how challenging the immigration process is and how confusing immigration law can be. But you’ve followed the rules, obtained your coveted green card, and your future here looks bright. You may even be on the verge of becoming a U.S. citizen.
And then you get charged with DUI. Now, everything hangs in the balance.
A Colorado Springs DUI conviction can have wide-ranging and profound impacts on your immigration status, including your ability to become a naturalized citizen as well as the risk of deportation.
If you’re a non-citizen residing in or around Colorado Springs, you face all of the same consequences of a DUI conviction that US citizens do: jail time, hefty fines, loss of driving privileges and more.
You blew it. You were pulled over, given a field sobriety test, and then blew above the legal limit for alcohol on a breath test administered by the officer.
You failed. You were arrested for DUI and taken to the police station where they took a blood test that confirmed the results of the breath test and showed that the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream exceeded .08.
You’re out of luck. With those test results in hand showing that you were driving while intoxicated, Colorado Springs prosecutors have all they need to convict you for DUI and there’s nothing you can do about it.
That is just not true.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a Colorado Springs DUI, you have rights. You have defenses. You have the ability to challenge the legality of your traffic stop, the constitutionality of your arrest, the validity of the test results, and admissibility of other evidence that form the cornerstone of the prosecution’s case against you.
But it can be complicated. Challenging DUI evidence and getting DUI evidence dismissed requires a thorough knowledge of the law as well as a deep understanding of the science behind the breath, blood, and other testing used by law enforcement to prosecute DUI cases.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime in Colorado Springs, you have a lot of choices to make. Do you speak with the police? What plea do you enter? Should you negotiate with the prosecutors?
Every decision is important when you are caught up in the criminal justice system. But there is one decision above all others that can make the difference between a future burdened by jail time, a criminal record, and a tarnished reputation and one in which your current ordeal is resolved in a way that allows you to move forward with your life: your choice of a criminal defense attorney.
There is no shortage of criminal defense lawyers in Colorado and the Front Range. So how do you find the Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney who is right for you? What qualities should you be looking for in a lawyer who will hold your future and your freedom in his or her hands?
I am constantly in Court. Almost every day I am in court on various types of criminal offenses, from speeding tickets to DUI’s, from harassment to felony level assault.
An interesting and unique part of appearing in court is appearing in front of various types of judges. Usually around election time, someone will ask me how I feel about the judges in El Paso County and Teller County. People want to know if our judges are honest and trustworthy. They want to know if they do a good job.
Colorado Springs Style is a magazine dedicated to Colorado Springs events, local businesses, and all things Colorado Springs.
Every year the magazine surveys over a thousand licensed attorneys located in El Paso County. The purpose of this survey is to determine whom Colorado Springs lawyers consider to be among the "top" attorneys in Colorado Springs.
The survey is a peer-to-peer review that takes advantage of the knowledge of people in the law industry to provide a list of highly recommended attorneys for whatever trouble you may find yourself in, from criminal law to bankruptcy.
Any attorneys, in good standing with the El Paso County Bar Association, were eligible for selection and the votes were polled in an unbiased manner.
It is an honor to be selected among the Top Attorneys for Colorado Springs consistently since 2016 because it represents a mutual respect and appreciation among my peers. I appreciate being selected for this award and am grateful to all of my colleagues for their vote of confidence.
One of the most common citations issued by law enforcement is speeding and driving violations.
On any given day in Colorado Springs and the surrounding communities, I would not be surprised if law enforcement issues hundreds of driving citations.
The charges range from simply speeding, careless driving, reckless driving, driving under restraint, no proof of insurance and no registration. More serious and gratefully less common are driving cases such as DWAI, DUI, vehicular assault, and vehicular homicide. The consequences of violating the law range from a small fine and no points, to massive fines, supervised probation, and even large amounts of prison time.
The criminal justice system in absolutely overflowing with cases. Every district attorney has more cases than they can possibly handle. The courts barely have the time to fit in all of the people that come before the court for judgment. The cost on society is astronomical and growing farther out of control. The prisons and jails are at maximum capacity and the numbers eligible for detention are not shrinking. The cause of such a problem is varied and widespread. The solution will not be found in legislation or the Courts. It is the reality of our justice system.
At this wonderful time of year, there are always reasons to celebrate. Regardless of your faith, it is a time of year when family and friends are important. For many, these gatherings involve alcohol.
If you drink during the holidays, there are many things to remember and some advanced planning can save you both regret and money. Please allow me to give you some advice when it comes to alcohol and the holiday season (or for that matter any season).
My client was driving with her child in the car when a man cut her off. He began driving erratically and road raging. Clearly he was angry at my client. She was afraid for her life and what he would do to her. He slammed on his brakes.
A moment before she had been driving, running errands. In a moment, she felt her life, and the life of her child, was in danger. How was she going to diffuse the situation?
A moment later, she saw a semi truck ahead. She saw her opportunity. She stepped on the gas and quickly accelerated and passed the semi-truck. She then changed lanes and put on her brakes hiding behind it. It worked, she had escaped from the man who seemed to want to hurt her. However, the drama was far from over...
The criminal jury system is the final protection against people innocent of a crime being convicted. As a Colorado Springs Criminal Defense attorney, I rely on the jury system to protect my clients. A recent case demonstrates the importance of our system.
One of my clients came to me with a ticket for driving under the influence of marijuana (marijuana DUI). The difficult part for her was that she was not under the influence of anything. She was stopped for speeding and as soon as the Officer smelled marijuana and found out she had a medical marijuana card, it was all over. She cooperated and performed the road side tests as instructed, thinking that if she did what they ask the police would realize she was sober. However, that realization did not occur. She was arrested and her blood drawn. That blood draw would end up proving her innocence. When the result came back to her it showed that she was absolutely sober.
May I get personal for a moment? When you are looking for a lawyer, particularly a criminal defense lawyer or a DUI attorney, make sure that that your lawyer cares about you personally. Let me tell you as one who has practiced both prosecution and criminal defense, to be truly a good attorney in the area of criminal defense, you need to care about the people you represent. There is no doubt that it is much more difficult to represent someone you care about.
As a criminal defense lawyer in Colorado Springs, I see all kinds of criminal charges. The most common types of cases involve disputes between family members and friends. One of the hardest parts of my chosen field is to see the effect that decisions have on good people. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, most of my clients are good people who make bad choices. Over the years, a common theme has arisen. Almost without exception, the legal problems that my clients get themselves into involve one of three things – anger, alcohol, or drugs.
A recent DUI case demonstrates the reason to have an experienced DUI attorney by your side during the Court process in Colorado. My client and his friend were driving his truck off-road in a field. A part of the truck broke rendering it impossible to move another inch. My client got out of his vehicle and surveyed the damaged. Clearly he was not going anywhere. He walked home to his friend’s house where the two of them drank for several hours. Finally, the friends brother came home and offered to give both of them a ride back to the scene to find out if they could tow his truck home.
One of the aspects of being a criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs is dealing with a large number of criminal cases, with various sets of facts and circumstances. Each criminal charge, whether DUI, DWAI, assault, harassment, domestic violence, or theft is unique. The facts of a criminal case and the history of the individuals involved will help determine the negotiations and outcome of the case.
Call us (719) 578-3322
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James Newby Law
102 S. Tejon Street, Suite 1100
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Hours: M-F 8:30am - 5:00pm