Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C. Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C.
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December 2009 Archives

Tougher DUI Penalties

Colorado has seen a dramatic rise in anger and venom towards those accused of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) over the course of 2009. The Denver Post and some cooperating District Attorneys offices throughout the state have been working hard to bring tougher DUI penalties to Colorado. The talk is starting to get tougher. Often times when someone is charged with DUI or DWAI and calls our office they have prior offenses. Their concern is usually the threat of jail time. A DUI or a DWAI with priors carries up to a year in jail and several counties throughout the state are moving towards a guarantee of significant jail time. However, people in tough positions can still find sympathetic judges who recognize that not all situations are the same. Judges will listen to the length of time between DUI's, family situation, employment issues and other important things that are called "mitigation." Having heard a defendant's mitigation, some Judge's will be more lenient when it is appropriate.

Sealing Your Record

As more and more people continue to search for new jobs in this strained economy the need to get that old criminal charge removed from your record becomes extremely important. We are frequently asked by our clients, "there is an old charge on my record from 10 years ago. Doesn't that fall off my record after such a long time?" Sadly the answer is "no." Unfortunately most people don't think to start asking about sealing/expunging their records until they have already been turned down for a job.Plan for your sealing your record. Sealing your record successfully will not be accomplished overnight. The largest hurdle to most record sealing is that Colorado law requires a record sealing request to be scheduled for a hearing. Every court is different and each court may have different timetables. Some courts may get a hearing scheduled for you right away while other courts may set a hearing much further out. Ultimately if you are thinking about sealing your record make sure that you plan it out so you are not feeling overwhelmed as your next job interview approaches. Give yourself the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your record has been completely sealed and apply for that next job in complete confidence. Contact one of our attorneys today, we are here to help.

Crimes of Violence

If you have been charged with a specialized offense called a "crime of violence" there is a very real risk you may go to prison. A crime of violence charge (not to be confused with a violent crime) is any one of the following offenses: murder, ANY crime against an at-risk adult or an at-risk juvenile, 1st or 2nd degree assault, kidnapping, a sexual offense (felony), aggravated robbery, 1st degree arson, 1st degree burglary, escape, or criminal extortion if during that offense the offender used, or possessed and threatened the use of, a deadly weapon, or caused serious bodily injury or death to anyone other than the offender. Therefore, some offenses, such as felony menacing which, by definition, involve a deadly weapon, aren't crimes of violence because they are not listed in the specific crimes that can be a crime of violence. Now, say an offender is charged with a crime of violence. If the defendant is found guilty (or pleads guilty) to a crime of violence, he or she can't get probation, even if the Judge wants to give probation. They must be sentenced to prison and must be sentenced to prison from at least the midpoint of the normal range of punishment to double the normal punishment range. For example, a class 4 felony normally carries a 2-6 year sentencing range. Charge a crime of violence and that person, if convicted of the crime of violence, must receive between 4-12 years in prison. It gets even more complicated. A lot of offenses that are crimes of violence are also extraordinary risk crimes. An extraordinary risk crime is a crime (aggravated robbery, child abuse, distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance, any crime of violence, stalking, etc.) that is just slightly worse than other felonies of the same level. An extraordinary risk designation tacks an extra couple of years on the range of sentence for a given level of felony (2 years extra for a class 4 felony, 4 years extra for a class 3 felony). The crime of assault in the second degree, a class 4 felony, is both an extraordinary risk crime and a crime of violence. Therefore, the range changes from 2-6 years to 2-8 years (based on the extraordinary risk designation) and then to a mandatory 5-16 years prison based on the crime of violence. It's important for your attorney to know these laws and to understand how all the statutes work together to change the sentencing ranges you may be facing.