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Practice Center - Criminal

Since 1992, the likelihood of an arrest leading to a conviction has generally risen. Although some defendants think that they can "beat the system" on their own, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is the best way to prevent becoming another statistic.

Chances are that you have never been accused of a crime before and have not gone through the criminal process.  Whether you have been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, you need to consult an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  A conviction for even a minor offense can lead to jail time, heavy fines, or both.  You may lose your freedom, your driver’s license, or develop a criminal record that could bar you from future employment.  You need a law firm that will fight for your rights and provide you with aggressive criminal defense.  You need the law firm of Lapin & Viorst, P.C. to represent you with these serious matters. Contact us today for a free consultation (on some matters, call for details).

Lapin & Viorst, P.C.
1775 Sherman Street, Suite 1445
Denver, Colorado 80203
Phone: (303) 320-4162 or (888) 320-4162
Fax: (303) 321-8106

 

Criminal Defense - An Overview

Criminal law is the body of law that relates to so-called "public wrongs." Criminal law does not concern itself with disputes between individuals, but relates to offenses against the public order. The federal government, along with cities and states, define and prosecute people who commit crimes that range from minor traffic violations, to serious, violent offenses, like rape or murder. People who are charged with a crime are called defendants, and they are represented by criminal defense attorneys. The governmental body that pursues the charges against the defendant is represented by a lawyer called a prosecutor. If you find yourself charged with a crime, you need the legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney, to protect your rights now, and in the future.

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Misdemeanor Criminal Defense

Crimes that are regarded as less serious are referred to as misdemeanors. A misdemeanor usually is punishable by a fine, or by incarceration in a local jail for a period of less than one year. Prosecutors typically do not convene a grand jury to investigate or issue indictments for misdemeanor charges, although the same conduct may give rise to both felony and misdemeanor charges. Misdemeanors are usually charged by a written complaint, or "information." In some states, poor defendants are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney when charged only with a misdemeanor. The charges may be considered minor, but being accused of a misdemeanor--not to mention being convicted of one--can cause a major disruption in the life of an accused. As in any criminal case, it is essential that a defendant in a misdemeanor prosecution have zealous representation backing him or her up. A person accused of a misdemeanor should seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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Felony Defense

The most serious types of crimes are referred to as felonies. The usual definition is that a felony is any crime that may be punished by more than a year's imprisonment, or death. A crime that has a maximum sentence of a monetary fine, or a short period of confinement in the local jail is not a felony. A statute may not specifically label an offense as a felony, but the punishment defines the offense as a felony. State criminal codes may call a crime an "aggravated" or "gross" misdemeanor, but the offense calls for a sentence of more than one year in the state penal system. Those offenses will be treated as felonies. When crimes charged are more serious, the need for an experienced criminal defense attorney to help a defendant through the process becomes even greater.

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What to Do if You Are Falsely Accused of a Crime

Believe it or not, many people who are convicted of a crime and end up in prison were falsely accused. Although the American criminal justice system works in most cases, not all juries get things right, and the consequences can be tragic. An innocent party pays the price for something he or she did not do, while the guilty party roams free. The best way to avoid such an unjust result and ensure the proper outcome when faced with criminal accusations is to immediately seek counsel from the best criminal defense attorneys available. Skilled and knowledgeable defense lawyers know their way around the criminal justice system and can navigate through the complex procedures to ensure the fairest possible conclusion.

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Finding a Job After a Criminal Conviction

Employers have in recent years become increasingly concerned about knowing whether an applicant has a criminal record. Part of this concern stems from large jury verdicts that have been rendered against employers for negligently hiring a person with a criminal record who ultimately harms others, and the employer is held responsible. As a result, some companies conduct pre-employment background checks for criminal records and choose not to hire former convicts. Yet without the opportunity for future employment, how can those with a criminal record be afforded a chance to make a fresh start and become contributing members of society? These and other questions are addressed below and can be more fully explained by someone knowledgeable in criminal defense law.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Criminal Defense

Q: Do I need a lawyer even if I am innocent?

A: Every criminal defendant needs an attorney. Innocent people do end up in jail, and the best way to prevent such a miscarriage of justice is to hire a criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer will work throughout the criminal justice process to ensure that your rights are protected and that the truth prevails.

Q: If I intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?

A: Even if you know you are guilty, there are still options. For example, you may be able to make a deal with the prosecutor to plead guilty to a lesser charge (a plea bargain) in exchange for a lighter sentence.

While you could try to negotiate for yourself, it can be very difficult to do so without a thorough knowledge of the law and experience in the practical realities. Criminal defense attorneys are likelier than you are to know what constitutes a good deal, and they also know how to protect your constitutional rights.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Copyright © 2006 Lapin & Viorst, P.C. All rights reserved. You may reproduce materials available at this site for your own personal use and for non-commercial distribution. All copies must include this copyright statement.