FAQ – Criminal Defense

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Do I need an attorney?

This is a common question if you are charged with or being investigated for a crime. Legally speaking, everyone accused of a crime has the right to represent themselves. However, hiring a criminal defense attorney is one of the first and smartest things you can do for yourself. The criminal process is complex. We specialize in how to effectively navigate that process. It is beneficial to hire a lawyer even if you are just being investigated for a crime. Pre-arrest, we understand how the police’s investigation process is being done, can navigate through dealing with any authorities, and can present a defense to stop any charges from being filed. After arrest, we are able to analyze a case, present mitigation, and fight. We fight in negotiating for either a dismissal or an excellent plea offer. If you are not able to resolve your case at the negotiation phase, we will take your case to trial. We pride ourselves on being effective trial lawyers. We never stray away from showing our client’s innocence at trial.

Should I or my loved one talk to the police?

If you are accused of or are being investigated for a crime, it is almost never beneficial to talk to the police without a lawyer present. While it may seem counterintuitive to get a lawyer before talking with the police, if you are innocent, if the police are investigating you or accusing you of a crime, there is some evidence against you. Getting a lawyer before talking to the police is one of the most important things you can do.

Police may tell you they just want to get your side of the story or that they have evidence against you and that they just want you to explain. These are traps. Law enforcement uses these questions to get someone to corroborate existing evidence or confess. Police officers are often trained in interrogation techniques and also are allowed to mislead people when investigating a crime. This may be your first time talking to the police, but remember, the officer or detective talking to you has interrogated suspects hundreds, if not thousands of times. 

In our criminal justice system, you have several important rights. The right to remain silent. The right to not incriminate yourself. The right to a lawyer. If a police officer starts to question you about a crime, we highly recommend you tell them politely, “ I would like to speak with a lawyer before answering your questions.” Then contact a lawyer.

What is a protection order?

The State of Colorado has two types of protection orders (often referred to as restraining orders). Civil Protection Orders and Criminal Protection Orders. Civil Protection Orders are obtained through a civil process, much like filing a small lawsuit. This can lead to an order by the court that someone cannot have contact with our come within a certain distance of someone else. Civil Protection Order hearings can result in either a temporary protection order, a permanent protection order from the judge, or no protection order. Both people filing for a civil restraining order, and people facing a potential order against them should get an attorney to best protect themselves. Both sides have rights. Violating a civil protection order is a class 2 misdemeanor in the state of Colorado and almost always results in an arrest.

A criminal protection order is different than a civil protection order. Courts issue criminal protection orders in criminal cases after a person has been arrested for a crime, like domestic violence. Depending on the charge, criminal protection orders have to be issued before a person is released from jail. Under Colorado Revised Statute 18-1-1001, a judge has discretion in what he or she can order. A criminal protection order can command you not to have contact, direct or indirect, with another person and vacate the home of that person if you have a shared residence; however, it is not mandatory that this happens. It is also at the court’s discretion to order you to not drink alcohol or other controlled substances, possess any weapons or firearms, or refrain from harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against, or tampering with any witness or victim in the case.

Navigating the protection order process can be complicated. Every court and prosecutor’s office treats protection orders differently. If you are involved in an Aspen protection order, a Glenwood Springs protection order, a Vail Protection Order, or a protection order anywhere else in Colorado, we have extensive experience with it. It is crucial that you retain a lawyer when dealing with protection orders to best defend your interest.

Can I get my discovery?

Discovery is all of the evidence against you, which normally includes police reports, call logs, criminal histories of witnesses, photographs, 911 calls, body camera footage, and all other evidence. In criminal cases, you have the right to all evidence the police and prosecutor have against you. With our firm, we value transparency. We provide copies of all evidence we get from the prosecutors to our clients through an online portal. Our clients get notified that new discovery is in as soon as we get it.

Can I seal my case when this is done?

No one wants to have a criminal offense on your record. It can affect your career, schooling, ability to get a mortgage, professional license, and even raise your insurance. Colorado recently updated its sealing laws, allowing for more convictions to be sealed now than in the past. Colorado Revised Statutes 24-72-701 through 708 govern what can be sealed in the State of Colorado.

Cases that can be sealed include:

  • All charges were dismissed (at the start of the case or after a deferred judgment) or the client was acquitted of all charges at trial.
  • There is just a record of arrest and no charges were filed in a court of law.
  • A case that was completely dismissed after a successfully completed deferred sentence.
  • Many convictions, including:
    • Petty offenses and petty drug offenses one year after the final disposition of the case.
    • Class 2 or class 3 misdemeanors, or any drug misdemeanor two years after the final disposition of the case.
    • Class 4, 5, or 6 felonies, level 3 or 4 drug felonies, or class 1 misdemeanors three years after the final disposition of the case.
    • There are several exceptions to these general guidelines, contact our attorneys for help determining whether you have a conviction that the courts can seal.
  • Most municipal court violations are now eligible for record sealing after three years has elapsed from the time of court supervision.

In order to seal a case, you need to file a petition to the court, get a court ruling, and then serve that ruling on all parties that may have the record. At Kalamaya | Goscha, we have experience sealing records in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Vail, and all over the state of Colorado. If you need records sealed, it is something we can take care of efficiently.