Denver Criminal Defense FAQ
Answers from a Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer
How do I choose the best criminal attorney for me?
Mr. Trani believes that when facing criminal allegations or charges, it is important to find an attorney who specializes in criminal defense law. There are many, many fields of law and too many attorneys try to be experts in all of them. Unfortunately, there is too much to know and too little opportunity to gain the valuable experience needed to be an expert at any of these fields unless you focus on one area.
When a person has a serious medical issue, it is customary and widely accepted that that person should seek a doctor who specializes in the part of the body affected or the medical issue causing the problem. The same idea applies to the law. You would not seek a corporate attorney to represent you when charged with a crime. Besides finding an attorney who specializes in criminal defense, Mr. Trani also believes that it is better to find an attorney who has always represented the criminally accused. A former prosecutor, while maybe an expert in criminal law, has come from a place where they have prosecuted people like you on behalf of the state.
It is difficult for these attorneys to separate themselves from that line of thinking. Find an attorney who specializes in criminal defense from the defendant's point of view. Lastly, and probably most importantly, find an attorney who cares about you and your family. Find someone who you feel comfortable with. Whatever your legal issue is, you want an attorney to care about that problem and treat you with respect. You want that attorney to be available to you as the process moves forward so that you have your questions answered and so that you understand what is happening.
Should I speak with the police?
If you believe that you are a suspect in any crime, you should NEVER speak with the police without consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer first. You have a constitutional right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. You also have a constitutional right to have an attorney present with you during any questioning. We cannot express strongly enough how important that it is that you utilize your rights in these situations. For a full explanation of what to do and what not to do, visit our full page on the topic.
Does law enforcement have the right to search my property?
If officers suspect that you have contraband (such as drugs or weapons) or evidence of a crime on your property, they will likely attempt to conduct a search. This could be a search of your home, your business property, your vehicle or another type of property. It is important to remember the officers must have a warrant in order for the search to be legal. If the officers do not have such a warrant, you can refuse to let them search your property. Furthermore, officers who have warrants must comply with certain rules, such as only searching the area listed in the court-issued document. Officers do not need to have a warrant if you give them permission to conduct a search.
What is a deferred judgment?
A deferred judgment, or a deferred adjudication, occurs when a defendant pleads guilty, but the court holds off on issuing a judgment of guilt so that the defendant can meet a number of different requirements. Examples of these types of requirements include performing community service, paying restitution and completing certain programs. Once the defendant completes the requirements, the guilty plea is withdrawn and the charge is dismissed. The defendant will then be able to petition for an expungement.
What is the difference between a conviction and an adjudication?
Convictions are "guilty" findings for crimes committed by adults, and adjudications are "guilty" findings for crimes committed by minors (or juveniles). Once the minor is adjudicated, he or she is considered to be a juvenile delinquent and will be subject to sentencing. In many cases, the juvenile will be granted deferred adjudication.
What do I do if I'm being investigated for an alleged crime?
You should not answer any questions by law enforcement without having an attorney present (The same rule applies after an arrest occurs). While you might think that you are simply defending yourself or clarifying the situation, simple statements can later be twisted around and used against you in court. With the help of a skilled lawyer, you might be able to avoid being arrested or charged—such as when the attorney proves to law enforcement or prosecutors that there is not enough evidence to make a case against you.
Why should I hire a criminal defense lawyer?
A strong attorney will have in-depth knowledge of how the criminal justice system works, including laws that are relevant to your case, methods for possibly getting evidence barred from court, grounds for getting charges dropped or reduced, diversion programs that you might be eligible for and much more. The right lawyer can help you look for weaknesses in the prosecution's case that can greatly strengthen your defense strategy.