“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.
There’s a lot at stake if you’ve been charged with a Colorado Springs DUI. Even for a first time DUI conviction, the consequences could include substantial time behind bars.
Your freedom is not the only thing you can lose if you’re convicted for DUI, however. You can lose your hard-earned reputation. You can lose your job and lose out on future employment opportunities. You can lose your ability to obtain loans, financial assistance, education, and housing.
You can, of course, also lose your driver’s license for an extended period of time.
But the right to drive is just one of many rights we can take for granted, and is one of the many legal rights and privileges that can be taken away from you once you have a criminal record that includes a Colorado DUI. These rights include your right to carry a firearm.
Colorado law allows individuals to apply for and obtain a permit for the concealed carry of firearms. Even though the right to concealed carry in our state is very broad, your application will likely be denied and your permit could be revoked upon more than one DUI conviction.
Call us (719) 578-3322
Or click to email us for a free consultation with Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorney James Newby.
James Newby Law
102 S. Tejon Street, Suite 1100
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Hours: M-F 8:30am - 5:00pm