Arapahoe jury convicts sex offender | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

The Denver Post is reporting that Steven Matthew Cook, 42, was convicted last week on 28 counts of sexual exploitation, sex assault, indecent exposure and other charges involving minors.  The incidents took place in Arapahoe County between October 1, 1999 and March 13, 2004 with victims younger than 15. 

Cook was previously convicted and sentenced to 10 years to life in prison in 2006.  An appeals court, however, reversed the original conviction and ordered a new trial, ruling that certain testimony should not have been allowed.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 13, 2010.

Cook did not hire an attorney from 5280defense.com.

Example of burdens of proof in a criminal case | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

It’s a warm summer night and a homeowner has phoned 911 to report a burglary.  The homeowner says the burglar was wearing a mask, sweatshirt, and was carrying a bag.  The homeowner reports a missing DVD player his wife’s necklaces.

Minutes later a police officer observes a man running just two blocks from the homeowner’s address.  The man is wearing a dark sweatshirt and sweatpants, there is mud on his pants and shoes, and he has a bag over his shoulder. The officer now has reasonable suspicion to stop and identify this person.  However, there is not yet enough evidence (probable cause) to make an arrest.

The officer stops and questions the man and learns that he does not live in the area.  The officer observes that the man is visibly nervous and is sweating.  The officer looks inside the bag and sees electronics and jewelry.  The officer now has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and arrests the man.

A grand jury is later presented with the case.  If they believe that there is probable cause cause, then they will indict the case and send it to the district court.

In the district court, a jury is empaneled to hear the evidence.  To convict, the prosecutor must present enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

A brief overview of burdens of proof | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

Burden of proof is essentially the amount of proof needed to prove something.  The amount of proof changes depending on the type of case.  For example, to convict someone of a criminal offense and strip them of their freedom, you must have proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  This is the most proof required in any legal case—as it should be.

On the other hand, for a civil case where money is at issue, you need a “preponderance” of the evidence.  This is essentially enough evidence to tip the scales of justice only slightly.  Put another way, you will have a preponderance of the evidence if you have 51% of the evidence and the other side has 49%.

In between criminal and civil cases is “clear and convincing evidence”.  This is the amount of proof needed in child custody cases.  It’s less than the proof needed to take someone’s freedom away, but more than needed to win a money judgment against someone.

Burden of Proof | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorneys sometimes glaze over certain terms without making sure you fully understand them.  “Burden of proof” is one of those, and it will undoubtedly arise during your case.  This is one phrase that you must understand because can change depending on the type of case or even the proceeding.  The following is a brief overview of burdens of proof.

Criminal cases are more complicated

Criminal cases have three standards of proof: reasonable suspicion, probable cause and beyond a reasonable doubt.

Reasonable suspicion is the amount of evidence an officer needs to stop someone on the street and ask them questions.  For this, the officer must be able to articulate that a person has been, is, or is about to commit a crime.

Probable cause is the amount of evidence an officer needs to make an arrest.  This means that the officer must have probable cause, which is a reasonable belief that the person has committed a crime. Probable cause is not enough evidence to convict.  It is only the amount of evidence needed to make an arrest.  Probable cause is also the amount of evidence that a grand jury needs to indict a case.  This is why many cases are indicted, but fewer are able to be proven to a jury.

Beyond a reasonable doubt is the amount of evidence a prosecutor must present to a jury to obtain a conviction at trial.

Knowledge Center:

Example of burdens of proof in a criminal case.

Levels of proof chart: The following chart is helpful in explaining the levels of proof.

Parole | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

Parole is not probation

Parole is the supervised release of a prisoner before the completion of their prison sentence.  Parole should not be confused with probation.  A person placed on parole serves the remainder of a sentence outside of prison, whereas probation is given instead of a prison sentence. 

Nonetheless, many of the conditions of parole mimic those of traditional probation.  A parolee will be required to report to a parole officer, maintain steady employment, avoid drugs and alcohol, or any other conditions required by the state.

Violations of parole conditions may result in revocation of parole status.  This means that a parolee will be ordered back to prison to serve the remainder of the sentence behind bars.

There is no parole in the federal system

A prisoner must serve the entire length of any federal sentence imposed, minus any “good-time” received by the Bureau of Prisons.  After a sentence is completed, a prisoner will be placed on supervised release for a period of time. 

Supervised release is not probation or parole; however, the judge will impose specific conditions of supervised release that are similar to probation and parole.

Violations of supervised release are treated as new offenses.

Eagle County resident charged with cocaine distribution | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

The Denver Post is reporting that Charles Guadalupe was arrested on drug charges.  Guadalupe, 45, who lives on Davos Trail in Vail, has been charged with two counts of distribution of cocaine and two counts of possession of cocaine.  The arrest is the result of an investigation where undercover officers purchased $500 worth of cocaine from Guadalupe.  He did not hire an attorney from 5280defense.com.

What’s at stake? Penalties for Drunk Driving / DUI / DWAI / Vehicular Assault / Vehicular Homicide | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

Besides license suspension, a conviction for drunk driving carries heavy penalties, fines, multiple surcharges, and a laundry list of fees.

Penalties for Drunk Driving / DUI / DWAI / Vehicular Assault / Vehicular Homicide

Charge Incarceration Parole Fine
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) 5 days – 1 year, or probation None $600 – $1K
2nd DUI 90 days – 1 year, or probation None $1K – $1500
Driving While Abilities Impaired (DWAI) 2 – 180 days, or probation None $200 – $500
2nd DWAI 45 days – 1 year, or probation None $600 – $1K
Vehicular Assault (recklessly cause serious bodily injury to another) 1 – 3 years 2 years $1K – $100K
Vehicular Assault (intoxicated and cause serious bodily injury to another) 2 – 6 years 2 years $2K – $500K
Vehicular Homicide (recklessly cause serious death of another) 2 – 6 years 2 years $2K – $500K
Vehicular Homicide (intoxicated and cause death of another) 4 – 12 years 5 years $3K – $750K

What is the punishment for burglary? | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

Punishment ranges for burglary can be confusing, and are directly linked to the facts and circumstances surrounding the crime.

Type Class Incarceration Parole Fine
First Degree Burglary Class 3 Felony 4 – 12 years 5 years $3,000 – $750,000
Second Degree Burglary Class 4 Felony* 2 – 6 years 3 years $2,000 – $500,000
Third Degree Burglary Class 5 Felony** 1 – 3 years 2 years $1,000 – $100,000
Possession of Burglary Tools Class 5 Felony 1 – 3 years 2 years $1,000 – $100,000

* Class 3 felony if burglary is of a dwelling or residence or the objective of the theft is a controlled substance.

** Class 4 felony if objective of theft is a controlled substance.

What is the punishment for a firearms or weapons charge? | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

What is the punishment for a firearms or weapons charge?

Type Class Incarceration Parole Fine
Carrying a concealed weapon / unlawful possession of weapons Class 2 Misdemeanor* 3 – 12 months None $250 – $1,000
Defacing a firearm Class 1 Misdemeanor** 6 – 18 months None $500 – $5,000
Possession of illegal weapon Class 1 Misdemeanor 6 – 18 months None $500 – $5,000
Possession of dangerous weapon Class 5 Felony*** 1 – 3 years 2 years $1,000 – $100,000

* Class 6 felony if at a school, college or university, unless an exception applies.

** You may also face federal charges.

*** Class 4 felony for subsequent violations.

The law is very strict and there are enhanced punishments for repeat offenders.  Additionally, convicted felons charged with possession of weapons face extremely harsh sentences.  It is imperative that you contact our offices today so we may begin fighting for your freedom!

If I do not want to fight the charge, is jail the only option? | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

No, there are many options available.  Depending on your criminal background, employment history, and references, you may be eligible for a variety of sentencing options.