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Lakewood Criminal Defense Lawyer

Getting charged with a crime can lead to harsh penalties that strip you of your basic rights – including the right to vote, bear arms and other rights due to a criminal conviction. At James L. Finegan, P.C., our Lakewood criminal defense lawyers have been representing clients for over 40 years. We provide our clients with the strongest possible defenses against criminal charges.

Our aggressive criminal defense attorneys will do what it takes to refute a prosecutor’s allegations and resolve your case as favorably as possible. Contact us today for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day at (303) 980-5511 .

Lakewood Criminal Defense FAQs:

Why Is It Important to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Unless you have a background in law, you cannot bring what an attorney can to your criminal defense case. A lawyer has a deep understanding of the judicial system, relationships with county prosecutors, experience with cases similar to yours and the resources to fight for a positive result. Your criminal defense lawyer can protect your future by arguing for reduced charges or case dismissal. Hiring a criminal lawyer can also give you more peace of mind if you are facing jail time and answer your legal questions and concerns during this difficult time.

Why Choose James L. Finegan, P.C.?

Our experience at James L. Finegan, P.C. includes both felony and misdemeanor cases. We have been representing criminal defense clients throughout Colorado since 1980. Our Lakewood criminal defense attorneys defend clients in many different types of criminal cases, including:

Any type of criminal charge calls for a dedicated defense attorney. If you are facing a possible felony conviction, however, it is even more critical to protect your future by hiring a lawyer. Your lawyer can work relentlessly on your case to help you deal with criminal charges and seek the best possible outcome.

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What to Look for in Your Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Not all criminal defense attorneys in the Lakewood area are created equal. Selecting the right attorney for your case and unique needs takes an in-depth evaluation of your options and the skills each lawyer would bring to your defense. Look for the following features and traits when choosing your criminal defense lawyer:

  • Years of experience
  • Local expertise
  • Relationships with courts and judges
  • Positive client reviews and testimonials
  • Personalized legal services
  • Tailored defense plans
  • A clear fee structure
  • A passion and tenacity for the job

The lawyer you select should be uniquely qualified to handle your case. He or she should prioritize communication, never leaving you in the dark about your case. Lakewood residents facing criminal charges should stay informed about the status of the case and legal options at every phase. Our law firm provides a wide range of benefits to individuals facing criminal charges.

What Penalties Exist for Criminal Convictions in Lakewood, CO?

Based on the unique circumstances of a criminal case and conviction, different levels of penalties can exist. Penalties for criminal convictions can and may include any, or a combination of, the following.

  • Fines
  • Restitution to victim and/or victim’s family
  • Probation
  • Jail
  • Prison

Seeking an experienced Lakewood criminal defense attorney to assist with the legal process can help defendants beat or minimize the penalties associated with the criminal charges.

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Can I Represent Myself in a Colorado Criminal Defense Case?

Legally, an individual facing criminal defense charges can represent themselves. Representing one’s self may be advisable for a minor traffic offense involving a motor vehicle, but more serious criminal charges should hire legal representation. This is especially true if an individual does not have an extensive background in criminal law and the criminal justice legal system. Defending one’s self can have undesirable results for a defendant facing serious criminal charges.

Legal counsel is incredibly important throughout the legal process. Those that have studied and practiced law have the experience and expertise required to help defendants involved in a criminal case the resources and knowledge needed to navigate the difficult process.

While some defendants may consider representing themselves in a criminal case, those that do may face serious repercussions and unfavorable plea bargains.

When it comes to defending your future, consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer that can help minimize, reduce or potentially have some of the criminal charges thrown out.

What Defense Strategies Can Be Used in My Criminal Defense Case?

A criminal defense attorney in Lakewood can use years of practice-area experience and legal knowledge to come up with the strongest possible defense strategy on your behalf. After an in-depth overview of the facts of your case and a conversation with you about your goals, your attorney can craft a compelling defense for your case. The defense strategy available will depend on the circumstances, but may include:

  • Accidentally committed a crime/lack of intent – To be convicted of a crime, the prosecutor must prove intent. Even if there is evidence that you did what they are accusing you of doing, you may be able to avoid a conviction with proof that you accidentally committed the crime and did not intend to do so.
  • Self-defense or defense of others – Colorado permits citizens to commit certain actions – including assault and some weapons crimes – if they are done in self-defense or defense of others.
  • Insufficient evidence – The burden proof in a criminal case is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest burden of proof in the justice system. The insufficient evidence defense aims to show that the prosecution does not have enough proof against you to bring the charges – possibly leading to case dismissal.
  • Coercion or duress – If someone forced you to commit a crime through deceit, intimidation or threats, this could be available as a defense against criminal charges.
  • Entrapment – If a police officer played a role in your committing a crime by coercing or persuading you to violate the law when you normally would not have, entrapment is a usable defense in Colorado.
  • Insanity – In Colorado, the insanity defense is a plea that your lawyer may suggest entering if there is good cause to show that you did not know the nature and quality of the act that you were committing or didn’t know that what you were doing was wrong.
  • Involuntary intoxication – If you are accused of committing a crime while you were intoxicated without your consent or knowledge – such as if you were drugged by someone or tricked into consuming alcohol – this could be a usable defense.

With the right attorney, you can optimize your chances of a positive case outcome with a smart and strategic defense strategy. Remember to be honest with your lawyer about the details of your case so that he or she can choose the ideal defense for you. Lying about your situation or leaving things out can make for a weaker defense – and unwelcome surprises from the prosecution that hurt your case.

Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Get the Charges Dismissed?

Possibly. While no criminal defense attorney can guarantee that he or she will get your charges dismissed, hiring an experienced defense lawyer can maximize your odds of a positive case outcome. This can include case dismissal or a minimization of the charges against you and the penalties that you face. One or more defense strategies may be available to you to persuade the prosecutor in your case to drop the charges – or a jury to rule not guilty.

If you are a first-time offender, this can mean even better odds of achieving case dismissal. A judge in Colorado may be willing to grant you a deferred judgment, for example, which means that your case will be dismissed if you complete certain sentencing terms, such as paying a fine or attending counseling. If your case is successfully dismissed, this means that it won’t show up on your record at all.

If you are facing more serious charges and/or you have a criminal background, it is even more important to hire an attorney to try to get the charges dropped or lighten the consequences that you face. Even if the case against you appears airtight, an attorney can search for loopholes to exploit or nuances that can allow you to escape the most severe penalties. A high-quality defense attorney can make case dismissal much more likely, regardless of your circumstances.

If I Have a Criminal Record Can That Impact the Penalties Associated With My Case?

If you are facing charges associated with a criminal case, your record can, and may, result in more severe penalties compared to another individual facing the same charges without a criminal history.

When police officers or a District Attorney reviews an individual’s case regarding criminal charges, one of the first things law enforcement or a DA’s office will do is review the criminal history of the parties involved in the case. If the DA identifies prior criminal history involving violent crime, it may be less likely that they will be lenient.

If we use driving under the influence as an example of this, the secondary or tertiary offenses of a DUI result in more severe penalties than what is normally associated with the initial charge.

How Long Will a Criminal Case Stay on My Record in Colorado?

Criminal charges can follow individuals that have been charged or convicted for crimes for years. However, certain criminal cases can be sealed in Colorado to minimize the potential of the visibility of charges in a background check. 

An individual can petition the courts to seal the arrest and criminal records. Criminal charges that get dismissed can be sealed and hidden from public view. Some cases can be sealed a year after the final disposition, while others can take up to ten years. Certain criminal records cannot be sealed. 

A person can also petition the courts to dismiss his or her arrest or criminal record. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation charges a $20 processing fee and there is a $65 court fee for court orders to be sealed. 

What Criminal Cases Can Be Sealed in Colorado?

Several criminal cases qualify to be sealed even if there are convictions associated with the crime. Typical cases that can be sealed include

  • Minor in possession charges
  • Municipal offenses 
  • Petty offenses and misdemeanors 
  • Certain lower level felonies

Criminal cases can be sealed if there is no conviction. Individuals may also petition for petty offenses through class 3 felonies and level 2 drug felonies. Criminal cases can also be sealed if the defendant completes a diversion agreement or the defendant completes a deferred judgment and sentence, if the case was dismissed or if you were found not guilty of the charges against your person. 

Depending on the type of criminal charges, there are different rules and time limits that need to be adhered to. Drug offenses can be sealed one year after the final disposition while class 4,5, and 6 felonies  have a 3 year period from the time of the final disposition. 

What Criminal Cases Cannot Be Sealed in Colorado?

Certain criminal records cannot be sealed in Colorado. Some of the convictions that cannot be sealed in the state include:

  • Class 1 felonies 
  • Class 1 or 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses
  • Class A or B traffic infractions
  • Driving under the influence convictions 
  • Convictions for unlawful sexual behavior 

If a plea agreement was reached between the defendants and the prosecution, an individual that reached a plea agreement will have to wait ten years before requesting the court seal the criminal records. 

What to Do If You’ve Been Arrested in Lakewood?

Getting arrested for an alleged crime is a stressful experience. Do your best to remain calm and comply with the police officer’s orders. Resisting arrest can lead to additional charges and the possibility of injuries from police use of force. Listen as the officer reads your Miranda rights and use your right to remain silent.

To best protect yourself, politely decline to answer any police questions until you have a lawyer present. The only question you legally must answer, if asked, is to give your name. Without a lawyer, you may accidentally say something self-incriminating that can be used against you. Cooperate with the police while you are booked at the local police station. Then, when you are given the chance to make a phone call, call a defense attorney immediately.

Contact James L. Finegan, P.C.

How you fight against criminal charges in Lakewood can make a major difference to your future by changing the outcome of your case. A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney can help you avoid the worst possible consequences for an alleged crime. Contact Lakewood personal injury attorney James L. Finegan to request a free consultation . Call our Lakewood criminal defense attorneys at (303) 980-5511 or contact us online anytime, day or night.