Practice Areas

Anderson Carnahan – Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorneys

Practice Areas

Have you been arrested or charged for a crime that you believe you did not commit? The criminal defense attorneys at Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law have more than 50 years of combined legal experience and are more than able to represent clients in various areas of criminal law. Our lawyers are former District Attorneys for Teller County, and have insight as to how the prosecution may think and operate. We have the ability to represent even the toughest criminal defense cases, and our firm encourages everyone who has been accused of a crime to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our team may question witnesses, negotiate with prosecutors, and uncover any evidence that may have been missed.

We offer legal assistance and representation for the following areas of law:


If you have been arrested for a drug, violent, sex, or white collar crime, you may wish to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you in court. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you as your case progresses, and may possibly lessen or eliminate the charges that were brought against you.

Domestic Violence

In Colorado, domestic violence means any type of act or threat of violence upon someone with whom the accused has had an intimate relationship. It may also include a crime committed by means of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge against a partner. An officer called to the scene of a domestic violence case must arrest the accused, even if they did not commit any violent or malicious acts.


Colorado has an implied consent law, which means if a person is suspected of driving while intoxicated and refuses to take a chemical test, they will be subject to a fine and license suspension. If a driver receives their first DUI offense, they will have their license revoked for one year, while drivers who have one or more offenses may face more serious license revocations and jail time.


The legalization of marijuana has changed the perception of Colorado drug laws and unfortunately has resulted in countless arrests for those who don’t understand, or are not aware of, the law in Colorado. For example, strong penalties are still in place for those who are accused of growing or selling more than their allotment, as well as penalties for transporting marijuana across state lines.


Even though there are traffic-related felonies, a majority of serious traffic violations are misdemeanors. Fines and penalty points are applied to almost all types of traffic violations, and a person may also face driver’s license suspension, community service, classes, counseling, and/or jail time. An experienced defense attorney may be able to represent you in court, and minimize or eliminate traffic misdemeanor charges.


There are different classes of felony charges, ranging from Class One (which is the most serious) to Class Six, (which is the least serious type of felony). Jail time may last anywhere from a few months to the rest of a person’s life—depending on the felony charge. When a person has a felony conviction, it is extremely difficult to maintain a normal lifestyle, which may include getting a job and/or applying for loans.


The law in Colorado, surrounding assault, can be quite confusing. Intent, whether a weapon was involved and severity of an attack can all play an extremely important role in determining guilt or innocence relating to an assault charge. Contacting a skilled Colorado criminal defense attorney immediately after your arrest can mean the difference between an acquittal and spending years in prison.


There is a web of laws that gun owners must navigate through, from state magazine regulations to federal parts count compliance, we can help keep you on the right side of the law. We can guide you in complying with regulations on types of guns, building your own firearms, magazine size restrictions, concealed carry limitations, purchasing or transferring NFA regulated weapons, and representation for FFL holders.


Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor according to Colorado State Law. Depending on what type of crime the minor has committed, a prosecutor may attempt to try the minor as an adult. It is imperative to hire an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney to ensure that your minor receives a fair trial.


Military Law, defined by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), can be very unforgiving. Law enforcement in the military differs, in many respects, from law in the civilian world. If you have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, it is extremely important that you contact an attorney who has experience with the military and the UCMJ. Understanding the UCMJ, potential penalties and military legal procedure will greatly improve your chances of a favorable decision.

Contact Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law 

If you are searching for an experienced team of lawyers in the Colorado Springs area, please contact Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law. We give our clients 100% of our attention, and our lawyers work as a team to ensure that our clients receive the best possible outcomes for their cases. Facing criminal charges and/or jail time may be extremely frightening for clients, which is why we are dedicated to fight for our clients’ rights. Our firm offers flexible appointment hours, as well as flexible payment options.

To learn more about our firm, or to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, please contact our firm, or fill out a complimentary case evaluation.

Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Lawyers

Facing criminal charges in Colorado can truly be a terrifying prospect. To be clear, even the most minor of criminal charges in the state can lead to significant fines, potential incarceration or probation, and a lasting criminal record. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, the most serious of crimes may lead to years or even a lifetime spent in prison.

Ultimately, regardless of the offense, anyone who has been charged with a crime in Colorado is encouraged to educate themselves on the nature of the charges, the severity of the penalties, and what can be done to mount an aggressive defense. One of the best ways to do so is by reaching out to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

At Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law in Colorado Springs, our skilled legal team has a combined 50 years of experience practicing criminal defense in the state. We advocate quickly and aggressively on behalf of our clients, and ensure their rights are protected throughout each step of their case. If you have been charged with a crime in Colorado Springs or the surrounding law, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are prepared to help you immediately.

Types of Cases We Handle in Colorado

Of course, the field of criminal law is vast, and there are many charges that residents of Colorado may face. At Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, we have spent our careers defending the rights of clients who have faced the following charges, among many more. If you are facing any of the charges on the following list, or others that do not appear below, don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can help you today:

Under CRS 42-4-1201, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol in the state of Colorado. Furthermore, while a driver is deemed to be intoxicated, and may be charged with a DUI, an arresting officer may still file charges of a DWAI (driving while ability impaired) at a lower BAC if they believe the driver was unable to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. However, the police officer certainly doesn’t have the final say when it comes to a determination of guilt in a DUI/DWAI case. Instead, a driver may be able to successfully argue that the police officer incorrectly performed a Breathalyzer test, didn’t follow the proper procedures when drawing blood, had no probable cause to file charges, or even had no legitimate reasonable suspicion to stop the car in the first place. If you are facing DUI/DWAI charges in Colorado Springs, we can mount a strong defense to your case based on our detailed knowledge of state law.

Domestic violence charges can have catastrophic consequences. To be sure, a Colorado resident charged with domestic violence may face a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. In addition, those convicted of domestic violence are required to attend treatment counseling, and are prohibited from ever owning a firearm, or being able to hunt for the rest of their lives as well.

Domestic violence cases are especially problematic for military personnel. A domestic violence conviction, or even a deferred sentence to a domestic violence charge makes a service member ineligible to possess a firearm. The military will have no choice but to discharge you if you take a plea deal on a domestic violence case.

Sadly, an individual may falsely accuse their spouse or intimate partner of domestic violence based on their own motivations, or the District Attorney may still choose to prosecute even after the victim has dropped the charges. In fact, Colorado law does not give the District Attorney’s office the option of dropping charges unless there are very high standards met, and simply having a “victim” that does not want to prosecute is not enough. In this case, we are here to help. Our legal team can examine your case and determine the best way to move forward.

Felonies are the most serious type of criminal charge in Colorado. For example, a sex offense. Specifically, felonies range in severity from one to six, with one being the most serious; penalties for felonies may range from 12 months in prison, to a lifetime term without the possibility of parole. In the most extreme cases, the death penalty may be requested.
If you are facing felony charges in Colorado, it is imperative that you reach out to a member of our legal team immediately for help. We are committed to using our skill and knowledge to defend your rights in your felony case. Don’t hesitate to act quickly; your future and your freedom depend on it.
While misdemeanors may be less serious than felonies, this does not mean that the penalties upon conviction are not severe. Misdemeanors, which include many types of traffic offenses, as well as some types of theft and drug crimes, among others, can lead to long periods in jail and a massive fine. Like felonies, misdemeanors range in severity from Class 1 to Class 3, with Class 3 being the least serious; maximum penalties for Class 1 misdemeanors can include 24 months in jail and a fine of $5,000.
No matter the misdemeanor charge you are facing, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney at our team as soon as you are able. We are prepared to utilize our knowledge of state law to advocate aggressively on your behalf.
Our office also handles expungement for those who wish to clear their record, and get a fresh start on life.

We Provide Aggressive Representation to All of Our Clients

At Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, we understand the severity of all criminal charges in Colorado, which is why we commit to doing everything within the law to protect the rights of our clients. Throughout our combined 50 years of experience, we have developed a detailed comprehension of Colorado law, which we use with each client we represent. Our team consists of a former JAG lawyer and prosecutor and another former prosecutor, a unique combination that helps us approach each criminal case with a unique and tailored strategy that builds off of our knowledge. Regardless of the charges you are facing, we are prepared to help.

Colorado Springs Felony Attorneys

The state of Colorado divides crimes into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. This helps us make sense of the many different types of crimes, and to punish crimes appropriately. Misdemeanors refer to the less severe, but still potentially serious, crimes, such as minor theft. Felonies, on the other hand, are crimes that are harshly punished, result in prison time, and can have long-lasting implications on a person’s life.

Being charged with a felony offense in Colorado Springs is a very serious matter, and may truly change the course of a person’s life. If you are facing felony charges, the last thing that you want to do is attempt to represent yourself during the criminal process. Understanding the charges against you, the penalties for that charge, your rights, and how to best defend yourself can be confusing. To improve your odds and to exercise your Constitutional rights, you need a skilled lawyer on your side. The attorneys at the office of Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law have more than 50 years of experience defending clients charged with felony offenses, and are ready to start working on your case today.

Different Classes of Felonies in Colorado

Like all states, the state of Colorado divides felonies into different classes. There are Class 1 through 6 felonies, and level 1 through 4 drug felonies that are recognized in the state. Each class is penalized in a different manner (with the lower number classes having more severe penalties).

Class 1 felonies are the most serious crimes in Colorado. In fact, Class 1 felonies are punishable by life in prison, or even the death penalty in the most severe of cases. Examples of Class 1 felonies include first degree murder, first degree kidnapping, child abuse, and treason.

Class 2 felonies are nearly as severe as Class 1 felonies, although these crimes are not punishable by capital punishment. These crimes are punishable by up to 24 years in prison, and include such acts as second degree murder, sexual assault when the victim suffers bodily injury, human trafficking, first degree burglary of controlled substances, aggravated robbery of controlled substances, and more.

Examples of Class 3 felonies include, but are not limited to, vehicular homicide, assault, enticement of a child, certain acts of sexual assault, arson, and aggravated robbery. Class 3 felonies are penalized by up to 12 years in prison, as well as a hefty fine of up to $750,000.

A person may be convicted of a Class 4 felony if they commit an act of death by negligence, manslaughter, vehicular assault, internet luring of a child, sexual assault or unlawful sexual contact, stalking, theft, and more. Class 4 felonies are penalized by a fine of up to $500,000, and a prison term of up to six years.

Punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000, class 5 felonies are some of the less severe felony offense types. Those who commit acts of illegal voting, election fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, making false statements on certain applications, negligent homicide, menacing with a deadly weapon, and certain kidnapping and assault acts, among other things, may be charged with, and convicted of, a Class 5 felony.
No matter the misdemeanor charge you are facing, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney at our team as soon as you are able. We are prepared to utilize our knowledge of state law to advocate aggressively on your behalf.
Our office also handles expungement for those who wish to clear their record, and get a fresh start on life.
Finally, Class 6 felonies are the least severe of the felony charges, and include crimes like providing false information regarding residency, promoting a pyramid scheme, unlawfully transporting explosives, committing certain acts of assault and sexual behavior, and a number of professional offenses as well. Because these are still felony charges, these crimes are punishable by up to 18 months in prison, as well as a large fine.
No matter the misdemeanor charge you are facing, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney at our team as soon as you are able. We are prepared to utilize our knowledge of state law to advocate aggressively on your behalf.
Our office also handles expungement for those who wish to clear their record, and get a fresh start on life.
Understanding the different classifications for drug crimes in Colorado can be confusing, but it should be noted that possession of most controlled substances is a felony offense. There are four levels of drug felonies in the state (and two levels of drug misdemeanors). If you have been charged with a drug felony within the state, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.
No matter the misdemeanor charge you are facing, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney at our team as soon as you are able. We are prepared to utilize our knowledge of state law to advocate aggressively on your behalf.
Our office also handles expungement for those who wish to clear their record, and get a fresh start on life.

Defending You Against Felony Charges

It should be clear based on the information provided above that being charged with a felony crime is no light-hearted manner, and that in all cases, a conviction can result in prison time and a large fine. In addition to potential years spent in prison – a fate that no one wants – and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and court fines, it is important to remember that the ramifications do not end there. Indeed, those who are charged with a felony and are incarcerated as such are ineligible to vote during the period of incarceration and while on parole, may be required to attend mandatory rehabilitation or education classes, may be ordered to perform community service or pay restitution, and will certainly feel the effects of their conviction for years to come. Indeed, convicted felons are required to report their felony charges when applying for most employment positions or attempting to secure housing, when trying to volunteer for an organization or pursue education, and more. Your felony conviction may prevent you from doing things as basic as getting a job to as emotional as getting custody of your child.

A felony conviction is not something you want on your permanent record. Even when the evidence is stacked against you, a jury declaring you “guilty” is not inevitable. Indeed, there are ways to mitigate the worst outcome, including filing motions to have certain evidence withheld, defending you against charges, or working with the prosecution to have charges against you reduced. In some cases, charges against you may even be dropped depending upon the circumstances of your case.

Class 2 Felony Lawyers in Colorado Springs

Have you been charged with a crime in Colorado that is classified as a Class 2 Felony? While this isn’t the most serious felony offense in the state, it’s close, and a conviction can hit you with life-altering penalties.

At Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, our criminal defense lawyers are former district attorneys, so have an intimate understanding of the local criminal courts. We realize that being charged with a crime can be frightening and frustrating, and we work to do everything in our power to bring your case to a successful and fair resolution.

Whether you’ve been arrested for a drug crime, weapons violation, sex crime, violent crime, or some other serious issue, we can help. Contact our Colorado Springs office today to schedule your free consultation to get started on your defense immediately.

Crimes Classified as Class 2 Felonies in Colorado

Colorado categorizes felony crimes, the most serious offenses in the state, into six classes – from a Class 6 felony, the least serious, to a Class 1 felony, the most serious. If you are charged with a Class 2 felony, it’s important to understand that you are on dangerous ground.

Some of the crimes classified as a Class 2 felony include:

  • Second-degree murder (not including “heat of passion” killings)
  • Sexual assault if deadly weapons are used, if the victim suffers serious bodily injury, and/or if another person physically aided the defendant
  • Trafficking of illegal aliens
  • First-degree kidnapping if the victim was freed and unharmed
  • Theft of property valued at $1 million or more
  • Aggravated robbery of controlled substances

Sentences for Class 2 Felony Convictions

If you are charged with a Class 2 felony in Colorado, the penalties can be severe. The law gives you the right to a jury trial, but you can also elect to have a modified jury trial or bench trial if the court consents. Further, if you are not a U.S. citizen, conviction of a Class 2 felony in Colorado is considered a deportable offense.

The “presumptive range” penalties for a Class 2 felony in Colorado include:

  • 8 to 24 years in prison
  • Fines of $5,000 to $1 million
  • 5 years of parole

Colorado has drug felony classes as well. If you are convicted of a Class 2 felony that qualifies as a drug crime, the “presumptive range” penalties include:

  • 4 to 8 years in prison
  • Fines of $3,000 to $750,000
  • 2 years of parole

Colorado has a minimum parole period of 3 years for Class 2 felonies. Also, if you have already been convicted of a felony twice (in Colorado or any other state), you will not be eligible to pay a fine instead of incarceration. The law requires a penalty of the minimum prison sentence as well as the possibility of fines.

Factors That Can Impact Your Sentence

Penalties in Colorado can get even more severe in the presence of certain factors. For example, an extraordinary risk crime is one that alleges child abuse, aggravated robbery, or certain types of violence or drug-related behavior. These felony crimes have an expanded penalty range.

In addition, certain aggravating factors can elevate the seriousness of a charge or the penalties involved. Examples include the use of a deadly weapon, parole violations, prior convictions, and the allegation of certain sex crimes.

Prosecutors might also have a certain degree of discretion when deciding which penalties they will pursue against you, depending on your track record and the circumstances of your case. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney that will ensure that all charges are applied fairly, and that will work to minimize your exposure to any elevated penalties.

The Consequences of Becoming a Convicted Felon

The idea of having a felony conviction on your record might sound awful. It’s certainly something you want to avoid for more reasons than just the negative stigma attached to a label. If you are convicted felon, you’ll face a long list of restrictions that will stay with you for the rest of your life. For example, you won’t be able to:

  • Purchase or carry a firearm or weapon
  • Hold an office of honor or trust
  • Serve on a jury
  • Travel to certain countries
  • Vote (while you are incarcerated)
  • Apply for a license to be an educator or peace officer
  • Apply for SNAP federal assistance (unless you meet certain other requirements)

If you are convicted of a sexual offense, the state will likely require that you register as a sex offender, and this will be for the rest of your life.

Beyond that disturbing list, convicted felons also find that they have a more difficult time obtaining employment, finding a place to live, and getting approved for certain student loans. In short, if you can find some way to avoid a conviction, you should take this path.

Your Defense and Alternative Sentencing Options

Being charged with a felony isn’t something to take lightly, and we take our job as your defense counsel seriously. We immediately begin our work by investigating the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Perhaps the police overstepped their bounds or somehow violated your constitutional rights.

Whenever possible, we will file motions to have evidence withheld and mount the appropriate defense against your charges. We will also work the prosecution to have your charges dropped or reduced as well as explore alternative sentencing options to preserve your freedom.

Arrested in Colorado Springs? Contact Us Today!

When you’ve been charged with a crime, it might seem like your world has been turned upside down. Fortunately, an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. The good news is that hiring a seasoned felony defense attorney could mean the difference between a harsh prison sentence and your freedom.

When you work with Anderson & Carnahan, you get the benefit of attorneys that have more than 50 years of combined criminal defense experience. We defend clients against some of the most severe state and federal charges with the goal of protecting your rights and liberty. Our legal team will work closely with you to examine all available evidence and mount an effective defense that will minimize the penalties you face.

Time is not on your side. If you need an experienced Colorado Springs felony defense lawyer, reach out to us today. Call (719) 454-8059 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

Sex Offense Attorney

You probably don’t need to be told that sex crimes are taken incredibly seriously in Colorado Springs and the U.S. as a whole. Not only can a single sex crime allegation threaten you with harsh penalties, but it can also cause irreparable damage to your reputation.

The consequences of a sex crime conviction are far-reaching, and this is something that can impact you for the rest of your life. This is certainly not something to be taken lightly, and you need a skilled criminal defense attorney in your corner advocating aggressively for your rights and interests.

At Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, you can trust that our experienced sex crimes defense attorneys will do everything in their power to achieve a favorable outcome in your case. Our legal team will aggressively protect your rights and freedom inside and outside the courtroom.

If you’ve been arrested for a sex crime in the Colorado Springs area or believe you are under investigation, contact our office immediately to schedule an initial consultation.

Sex crimes in Colorado that we provide defense services for include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual assault
  • Child sexual assault
  • Indecent exposure
  • Prostitution
  • Public indecency
  • Internet luring
  • Child pornography
  • Sexting

Sex Crime Laws in Colorado

The Colorado Revised Statutes divides sexual offenses into two categories: sexual contact and sexual assault.

Sexual contact refers to unwanted and unwelcome touching that is sexual in nature, or sexual battery. It includes fondling of genitals or groping. Sexual assault refers to intrusion or penetration. This includes forced copulation, rape, anal rape, and penetration with a foreign object.

The law also gives special attention when a sexual assault is perpetrated on a child. There will be harsher penalties when the victim of the assault is under the age of fifteen, and the perpetrator is at least four years older.

Colorado’s Age of Consent

The age of consent in Colorado is 17. If the victim of a sexual offense is 17 or older, there are several main issues that will be determined in the case. First, was there a sexual act between the two parties? If an act took place, did the person willingly and knowingly consent to it?

Some of the examples of “not” providing consent include:

  • The victim objected to the act
  • The victim was asleep or unconscious
  • The victim didn’t understand the act
  • The was drugged
  • The victim was under the authority of the assailant, such as in a jail or hospital


Penalties for a Sexual Assault Conviction

Unlawful sexual contact is generally treated as a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Colorado, but it is also considered an “extraordinary risk crime.” This means that there is a substantial risk to society because of the crime, and the state elevates the penalties because of this assumption. The penalties for sexual contact that is treated as a misdemeanor can include:

  • Fines from $500-$5,000, and/or
  • Jail time of 6 months to 2 years.

However, these crimes can be elevated to felonies if the victim is compelled to submit to the contact by intimidation, threat, or force. In this case, the penalties increase to up to 8 years in prison and fines up to $500,000. If the assailant used or threatened to use a deadly weapon, the penalty increases to 5 years to life in prison.

Unlawful sexual assault is even more serious. This is always treated as a felony in Colorado. Penalties for rape or other acts of intrusion or penetration can include:

  • Fines up to $750,000, and/or
  • 4-12 years in prison

These penalties will be elevated if any of these aggravating factors were present:

  • The victim sustained serious bodily injury,
  • The victim was pregnant,
  • There was use or the threatened use of a deadly weapon,
  • The assailant was helped by another perpetrator,
  • The victim was under the age of 14,
  • The victim was 15 or 16 years old and at least 10 years younger than the assailant,
  • The assailant was on bond, probation, parole, or serving time for another felony, or
  • The defendant has a history of violent crime.

These factors can increase penalties to a fine of up to $1 million and up to 24 years in prison.

Sexual assault on a child is treated as a Class 4 felony in Colorado. At a minimum, penalties can include:

  • Fines up to $500,000, and/or
  • 2-6 years in prison.

If the assailant uses force, threatens bodily harm or death, or exhibits a pattern of abuse, this can be elevated to Class 3 felony that carries penalties of up to 12 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.

In addition to fines and prison time, a conviction for a sex offense in Colorado can lead to other consequences such as:

  • Polygraph testing,
  • Mandatory treatment,
  • Drug testing,
  • Loss of parental rights, and
  • Community supervision.

Colorado’s Sex Offender Registry

Adults that are convicted of a felony sex crime must have their names and other identifying information included in the Colorado Bureau of Investigations felony sex offender registry. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or as a juvenile, your name will not be included in this registry.

Local law enforcement agencies will also be notified when a person who is required to register fails to do so. If you don’t register as required, this could be treated as a Class 6 felony with additional penalties.


Defending Colorado Sex Crimes Charges

The best way to defend any sex offense charge is to have a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. If this is a case alleging sexual contact or assault, common defenses might include:

  • There was no sexual contact,
  • Any sexual contact was consensual, or
  • You reasonably weren’t aware that the alleged victim couldn’t or didn’t consent.

Contact an Experienced Colorado Springs Sex Offenses Attorney Now

When you’re accused of something as serious as a sex crime, you need to begin working with a qualified defense lawyer as soon as possible. Not only is your freedom at stake but also your livelihood, reputation, and future.

It is inadvisable to speak with the police, submit to a polygraph exam, or provide your own representation without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can review your case and outline your options. Contact our office now at (719) 473-9099 or reach out to us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

Colorado Spring Misdemeanor Law Firm

When a person commits a crime, the penalties for that crime are dependent upon the classification of the crime. That means it was either a misdemeanor or a felony. While felony crimes are much more serious, do not be misled; a misdemeanor can still result in a large fine, a period of incarceration, a permanent mark on one’s criminal record, and a loss of future opportunities. Which is why if you are facing misdemeanor charges in Colorado Springs, hiring a criminal defense attorney is a no-brainer. When you contact the law offices of Anderson & Carnahan Attorneys at Law, our skilled legal team with more than 50 years of experience will work hard on your behalf. Contact us today to start building your defense and protecting yourself against the most severe of consequences.

Misdemeanors vs. Felonies – What’s the Difference?

As explained above, crimes are divided into two categories: misdemeanor and felony offenses. The biggest difference between the two classifications of crimes is that misdemeanors are punishable by shorter periods of incarceration, and that incarceration periods are served in local or county jails, not in prisons. Felony offenses, on the other hand, are punished by prison terms of one year or longer.

Misdemeanor crimes are divided into four distinct categories: traffic misdemeanors, Class 1 misdemeanors, Class 2 misdemeanors, and Class 3 misdemeanors. All can have potentially disastrous ramifications for a convicted party.

Traffic Misdemeanors

Traffic misdemeanor crimes are further divided into two categories: Class 1 and Class 2 traffic misdemeanors. The first, Class 1 traffic misdemeanors, are more serious offenses, and are penalized by a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail, a fine of $300, or both. There is also a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail for these offenses. Class 2 traffic misdemeanors are penalized more lightly, with a minimum penalty of 10 days in jail or a fine of $300, or both. These offenses include things such as driving without a valid driver’s license, or failing to comply with a police officer’s request.

Class 3 Misdemeanors

Class 3 misdemeanors are penalized by a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a $750 fine, or both, and a minimum sentence of a $50 fine. Crimes classified as Class 3 misdemeanors include, but are not limited to, harassment, theft, or obtaining food stamps falsely.

Class 2 Misdemeanors

Class 2 misdemeanors are more serious than are Class 3 offenses and are penalized by a maximum penalty of twelve months in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both. Examples of Class 2 misdemeanor offenses include harassment of a juror, false imprisonment, second degree arson, menacing, violation of a civil protection order, theft when the amount of property involved is valued at more than $100 but less than $500, and serial offenses for underage drinking.

Class 1 Misdemeanors

Finally, Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious of misdemeanor offenses, penalized by up to eighteen months in jail, a $5000 fine, or both. Theft of trade secrets, criminal tampering, forging an academic record, third degree assault, unlawful possession of personal identifying information, and more are all examples of Class 1 misdemeanors.

A Misdemeanor is Still a Serious Charge

While a misdemeanor may not result in a fine of more than $5,000 (in the most severe of cases) and will never result in prison time, misdemeanor charges are still serious. To be sure, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense, you may:

  • Face up to 24 months in a county jail;
  • Be fined up to $5,000;
  • Incur legal and court fees;
  • Be required to perform community service, attend education or rehabilitation classes, and be ordered to pay restitution; and
  • Suffer a permanent mark on your criminal record, which can prevent you from acquiring employment, education, housing, and other opportunities.

In fact, you may face more profound consequences if your charge is for a subsequent offense. A court is less likely to let you off with a slap on the wrist if you are a repeat offender, even if you have only committed a traffic offense.

How We Will Defend You Against a Misdemeanor Charge in Colorado

Being charged with any crime, misdemeanor or otherwise, can be an unsettling experience that leaves you with questions about the outcome of your future. But you do not have to face the criminal process on your own. When you call an experienced attorney, you can benefit from an advocate on your side who knows the law, and who is passionate about defending you against misdemeanor charges. Your lawyer will explore all potential defenses for the charges you are facing, including defenses such as innocence, self-defense or entrapment. Your attorney will also investigate how evidence against you was gathered (and whether it was obtained in a legal manner), the validity of all evidence against you, and what your options are for negotiating a plea bargain. In nearly all cases, working with an attorney improves the outcome of a defendant’s case, even when they are facing misdemeanor, rather than felony, charges.

Don’t Hesitate to Contact Us Today for Professional Legal Help

Our criminal defense attorneys understand how upsetting facing misdemeanor charges can be. As skilled legal professionals with decades of experience and a track record of success behind us, we urge you to call our legal team if you have been charged with a misdemeanor crime in Colorado Springs. We are zealous advocates for our clients’ rights and know how to provide you with the sound legal representation you need and deserve. Please call us at (719) 473-9099 to speak with us about your case. You can also contact us by email by sending us a brief description of your case using the form on our website. We can begin working on your case immediately.

We offer flexible hours and appointment times, and offer payment plans to help you afford our services. Please contact us today to start the process of protecting yourself against the worst of outcomes.

Underage Drinking Attorney in Colorado Springs

Individuals under the age of 21 in Colorado are prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol. The state has MIP laws (minor in possession) which make underage drinking illegal. If a police officer suspects that you have consumed alcohol as an underage person, or you have alcoholic drinks within your immediate control, they can ask you to undergo a breathalyzer test to determine if you have consumed alcohol.

Penalties for Underage Drinking or Possession of Alcohol

If you are convicted in Colorado of this violation, you may face penalties as follows:

  • First Conviction: Driver’s license suspension for three months and a fine of up to $250.
  • Second Conviction: Driver’s license suspension for six months and a fine of up to $500.
  • Third and Subsequent Convictions: This is a Class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado. Penalties include jail time of up to one year, driver’s license suspension for one year, and a fine of up to $1,000.

Additional penalties may include community service for up to 24 hours, completion of an alcohol evaluation or assessment, and/or attending an alcohol treatment or education program at your own cost.

Providing or Selling Alcoholic Drinks to Minors

In Colorado, it is illegal to provide, serve, sell, or permit the sale of alcoholic drinks to underage persons (anyone who is below 21 years). If convicted of this offense, you will be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor. The judge may impose penalties including a jail sentence of at least three months and up to 12 months and a fine between $250 and $1,000.

Social hosts in Colorado who knowingly serve alcoholic beverages to an underage person may face civil liability if the minor kills or injures another person or causes property damage because of intoxication.

Potential Defenses to Underage Drinking Charges

In Colorado, the prosecution may be able to obtain a conviction against a person for underage drinking even without the results of a breath test. As long as the prosecution can prove that you are below the age of 21, and you consumed or possessed alcohol, or showed signs of impairment or intoxication (such as slurred speech or smell of alcohol), they can secure a conviction.

However, when you have an experienced underage drinking defense attorney in Colorado on your side, they can put up effective defenses to protect your rights. Your attorney may argue that you possessed or consumed an alcoholic beverage while you were present on private property and with the consent of your parents as well as the owner of the property.

If breathalyzer test results have been used against you for a charge of underage drinking, your attorney may sometimes be able to argue that the traces of alcohol in your bloodstream occurred from a substance that you had no intention to ingest. Another potential defense could be the protection available to you by the First Amendment, which allows you to consume alcohol for a specific religious purpose.

Exceptions to the Law against Underage Drinking

The same sections of the Colorado laws that make underage drinking illegal also provide for certain exceptions to the rule. As an individual below 21 years of age, you are permitted to consume alcohol in Colorado under the following circumstances:

Drinking on Private Property

As a minor, if you drink on private property (which is not a commercial place of business) in the presence of one or both parents or a guardian, and with their consent as well as the consent of the property owner, you will not be charged with the offense of underage drinking.

Drinking for Medical Purposes 

If your prescription medication from a doctor includes alcoholic content, it is permitted in Colorado for minors. This exception also includes baked products or confectionaries, if these contain alcohol (as long as the products are in compliance with local regulations).

Drinking for Academic Purposes

If you are taking a course in hotel industry at a college, you may taste alcohol as part of the course under an instructor’s supervision. However, the law requires you to spit out the alcohol once you have tasted it.

Drinking for a Religious Purpose 

If you are drinking for a religious purpose, such as at your Catholic church mass, your right is protected under the first amendment.

Good Samaritan Exception

If one minor calls 911 to report another minor who requires emergency medical assistance due to alcohol consumption, the Good Samaritan defense may apply. The intent behind this law is to encourage youngsters to seek medical assistance in these circumstances instead of risking an underage person’s health because of the fear of legal consequences.  

Underage Drinking and Driving (UDD)

In Colorado, drinking and driving is an offense for underage persons. Even if the underage driver is feeling sober, they will be charged if they are found operating a vehicle with a BAC level between .02 and .05. If you are convicted of underage drinking and driving, the Colorado DMV will revoke your driver’s license.

Colorado follows the law of implied consent. Under this law, a police officer can request you to undergo a breathalyzer test if they suspect you are drinking and driving. You may be convicted of UDD if you are below the age of 21 and your blood alcohol level is found in the range of .02 and .08 percent.

Penalties may include driver’s license revocation from a minimum period of three months to a maximum period of 12 months along with a fine. If it is your third or subsequent violation, you may also face imprisonment. In case of a first violation where your BAC level is found less than .05 percent as a minor driver, you may request the court for a one-month revocation of your license, followed by a suspension for two months.

Legal Help from an Experienced Underage Drinking Defense Lawyer

Being charged with an underage drinking or possession of alcohol offense may not only have immediate legal consequences but could also hurt your long-term prospects for education and employment. The compassionate and competent criminal defense lawyers at Anderson & Carnahan law offices will help create a robust legal defense strategy to protect your rights. Call us today at (719) 473-9099 to schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated attorneys in Colorado.

Expungement Attorneys in Colorado Springs

Under Colorado law, it is typically not possible to expunge or “seal” a conviction from your criminal record, irrespective of whether you have completed probation. However, there are certain exceptions for petty offenses, municipal violations, crimes involving drugs, and a few other specific violations.

Your records can likely be sealed if you were arrested but released without any charges or were arrested and charged with a crime but not convicted. Pursuant to sealing, it will be as though the charge or arrest never took place. In general, you do not have to reveal this information if you are questioned about it.

Colorado Criminal Record Expungement if You were Not Convicted

In the following circumstances, you may petition to have your criminal record sealed:

  • You were arrested but not charged with a crime, and the statute of limitations is over
  • You were arrested but not charged with a crime and are not being investigated for the crime any further
  • The case against you was dropped
  • You completed a Diversion program
  • You were not found guilty of the charges levied against you

Cases of Mistaken Identity

Upon being arrested due to mistaken identity but not charged with a crime, you are entitled to have your criminal record expunged. The arresting law enforcement agency must file an expungement petition with the district court within 90 days of your arrest. In this petition, the agency must state that you were arrested due to mistaken identity and that no charges were brought against you. After that, the court must expunge your record within 90 days of the filing.

Conviction Record Expungement for Violations Involving Controlled Substances (on or after July 1st, 2008, and before July 1st, 2011) 

If you received a conviction on an offense involving a controlled substance and have fulfilled the requirements of your sentence, you may file a petition to have your records sealed contingent on the following:

At least ten years have elapsed since the end of all criminal proceedings against you or your release from supervision involving a criminal conviction, whichever occurs later
You have not been charged or convicted of an offense during those ten years

Conviction Record Expungement for Offenses Involving Controlled Substances (on or after July 1st, 2011)

If you were convicted of a crime involving a controlled substance and have fulfilled all conditions of your sentence, you might be eligible to file a petition to have your records sealed if the crime is:

  • A petty drug offense and at least a year has elapsed since the end of all criminal proceedings against you or your release from supervision involving a criminal conviction, whichever occurs later
  • A Class 2 or 3 misdemeanor or a Level 2 drug misdemeanor, and it has been three years since all criminal proceedings have ended against you or your release from supervision on a criminal conviction, whichever occurs later
  • A Class 1 misdemeanor or a Level 1 drug misdemeanor, and it has been five years since the end of all criminal proceedings against you or your release from supervision involving a criminal conviction, whichever occurs later
  • A Level 4 drug felony or Class 5 or 6 felony drug possession violation, and it has been seven years since the end of all criminal proceedings against you or your release from supervision involving a criminal conviction, whichever occurs later
  • Another drug-related offense, and ten years have elapsed since the end of all criminal proceedings against you or your release from supervision on a criminal conviction, whichever occurs later

Conviction Record Expungement for Municipal Violations or Petty Offenses

It is possible to file a petition to have your petty offense or municipal violation conviction record sealed if it has been at least three years since the criminal proceedings against you ended or you were released from supervision regarding a criminal conviction, whichever is later.

In case you want a domestic violence record to be sealed, you must not have been charged with or convicted of a misdemeanor, misdemeanor traffic offense, or felony during the three-year waiting duration in order to be eligible.

Besides the above, all other municipal conviction or petty offenses records can be sealed even if you have been convicted of another offense during the waiting period, contingent on the following:

  • The interceding conviction was not for a felony offense
  • The intervening crime did not involve child abuse, domestic violence, or sexual abuse or assault
  • There was no felony, misdemeanor, or misdemeanor traffic offense conviction in your name ten years prior to the final disposition of the interceding case or your release from supervision in the interceding case, whichever occurs later

DNA Evidence or Other Biological Substance Record Expungement in Colorado

Under some circumstances, you are entitled to get evidence that a law enforcement agency collected as a biological sample expunged. You can consider filing a petition for expungement in the following cases:

  • Dismissal of charges against you
  • You were acquitted of the crime
  • A conviction for an offense other than a felony for the charges

Skilled Attorneys for Record Seals in Colorado

If you want an erasure of your criminal record, it is vital to work with an experienced attorney. The judicial process for expungement petitioning is confusing, and you can only petition for a record sealing once annually. Thus, it is crucial to do it right the first time by engaging a knowledgeable attorney.

At the law offices of Anderson & Carnahan, determined and focused criminal record expungement lawyers offer valuable guidance on how to get your criminal record expunged. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call today at (719) 473-9099.

Colorado Springs Domestic Violence Lawyers

Domestic violence constitutes one of the most serious criminal charges in Colorado, and one that can lead to catastrophic repercussions upon conviction. In light of this well-known fact, domestic violence charges should always be handled by a skilled attorney who has years of experience protecting the rights of defendants in our area.

If you are facing charges for domestic violence in Colorado Springs or the surrounding areas, we ask that you reach out to us immediately for professional help with your case. At Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, we have been serving the community for a combined 50 years, and we are willing to utilize our experience and knowledge of the law towards mounting an aggressive defense on your behalf.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Colorado?

To begin, in Colorado domestic violence is not a distinct crime; this means that the police or District Attorney may choose to add a charge of domestic violence onto other violent crimes. Specifically, a domestic violence charge may be added to any of the following, among others:

  • Kidnapping;
  • Stalking;
  • Second Degree Assault;
  • Third Degree Assault;
  • Criminal Mischief;
  • Violation of a Protection Order;
  • Menacing; or
  • Harassment

Ultimately, under Colorado law, domestic violence constitutes any act of violence upon another person with whom the attacker has had or currently has an intimate relationship. On its face, the definition may seem simple; however, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. For one, the violence does not necessarily need to be against another individual; instead, domestic violence charges may arise if an individual commits a violent crime against a third party, or even against property, including property owned by the defendant if they are married, if this action is done as a method of control, punishment, or coercion. In addition, physical violence isn’t always a required element for these charges to be filed. The statute also provides that even a threatened attack against an intimate partner can be considered an act of domestic violence.

It is also important to understand the notion of intimate relationship under the law, as this can have a direct impact on the course of a criminal case. Colorado law states that an intimate relationship is a relationship between spouses, former spouses, or individuals who have a child in common, regardless of whether they have ever been married or lived together. However, the law stipulates that this does not include relationships between friends, acquaintances, or roommates, and that sexual involvement is not always a necessary factor when determining if an intimate relationship exists or existed between two parties.

Of course, simply understanding the charges does not amount to a defense in your case. However, education yourself about these concepts can help you understand the best way to move forward.

Consequences for those Convicted of Domestic Violence

Colorado law treats charges of domestic violence with extreme gravity. And, as such, the penalties for anyone convicted of this charge are often extreme.

Of course, because domestic violence is an added charge, the defendant will face penalties associated with the original charge (such as simple or aggravated assault). That being said, anyone convicted of domestic violence in Colorado will also be required to undergo a domestic violence treatment program and have a protection order filed against them, which prevents them from having any contact with the accuser. If you are convicted, or take a plea deal for an act of domestic violence, you will have the protection order not allowing you to drink alcohol, possess a weapon, or even get into a heated argument with the “victim” for the entire duration of your probation or deferred sentence. Additionally, if the accused has been convicted of three or more domestic violence-related crimes in the past, they will be labeled a “habitual domestic violence offender” and will face a class 5 felony.

If you enjoy hunting, shooting for sport, or just own a gun for self defense, then your life will be forever changed with a domestic violence conviction. Federal law does not allow anyone convicted of, or on a deferred sentence to an act of domestic violence to possess a firearm again, ever. There is no process to appeal and have your second amendment rights reinstated if you are convicted of an act of domestic violence, you can’t get your rights back after you lose them.

These certainly are not penalties to take lightly. Don’t leave your future and your freedom up to chance; contact us immediately to help protect your rights in your criminal case.

Protection Orders in Domestic Violence Cases

In Colorado, every time someone is arrested on a charge of domestic violence, the court will issue a criminal protection order. This order says that for the duration of the case you cannot harass the “victim” in the case, and can include provisions that you cannot use alcohol or marijuana, and that you can’t possess a firearm. When the protection order is handed down, it will also say that you can’t return to your home, and you cannot have any contact with your partner or else you will be arrested and charged with a new Class 1 misdemeanor- violation of a protection order.

Judges are now making the “no contact” and “vacate home” provisions automatically permanent for the duration of your case- meaning you are kicked out of your house and can’t talk to your spouse until your case is closed. The process for changing this is complicated- motions need to be filed, witnesses subpoenaed, and a hearing held. You need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible to ensure that you are not kicked out of your home and banned by law from seeing your partner for months to come.

Defending Charges of Domestic Violence in Colorado Springs

Domestic violence charges often arise after police officers are called to respond to a domestic disturbance and choose to arrest one party to the dispute based on probable cause. However, an arrest does not in any way mean that a conviction will result.

To be clear, during a domestic dispute, an officer may believe they have probable cause to arrest a suspect on charges of domestic violence based on the appearance of the situation. The prosecution must prove that a violent act or a threat of a violent act occurred; if they cannot, then a conviction on the charges will not result.

In addition, some domestic violence charges may be filed against an individual who was simply defending themselves against a violent spouse. Here, the accused may be able to demonstrate that they were engaged in self-defense when they were placed under arrest.

Finally, some spouses or partners may falsely claim domestic violence for several reasons; for example, they may do so in order to obtain full custody of any shared children. In this case, the defendant will need to work quickly and aggressively to shed light on these false allegations and protect their rights.

Truthfully, regardless of the situation you face, it is always in your best interest to hire an attorney. The team at Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law has assisted numerous clients convicted of domestic violence in Colorado Springs, and will fight on your behalf today.

How an Attorney Can Help You with Your Case

Domestic violence charges in Colorado are extremely grave, and can lead to serious penalties with lifelong repercussions. Indeed, a conviction on charges of domestic violence will lead to a lasting criminal record, and may deny the defendant’s right to see their children or other family members. In some cases, it may even be a felony, depending on the circumstances.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, we ask you to contact us at Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law today. We are prepared to begin creating a defense to your charges to protect your future. Don’t hesitate to call us at (719) 473-9099 at once.

Colorado Springs DUI/DWAI Attorneys

Seeing blue and red lights flash in your rear-view mirror can quickly turn a fun night into a nightmare. No one wants to be pulled over while drinking and driving, but many Colorado Springs drivers find themselves in this exact position, wondering what to do next.

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving in Colorado Springs, Teller County, Fremont County, or the surrounding areas, it is imperative that you reach out to a talented attorney immediately for legal help. Failing to secure professional representation in your case could jeopardize your future and your future. Don’t face the charges without a skilled advocate; contact the legal team at Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law and let us begin mounting an aggressive defense on your behalf.

What is DUI/DWAI?

To prepare a solid defense it is imperative that you first understand the charges that you are facing. Under Colorado law, drivers who have been arrested for driving drunk will generally face one of two charges: driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI). While these two charges stem from similar situations, the associated penalties are not the same.

A DUI charge may be brought against a driver who is determined to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. In Colorado, drivers with a BAC at this level or above have committed DUI per se; this means that no additional evidence of impairment is necessary to demonstrate that the driver was intoxicated by the wheel. A DUI does not require a blood or breath test though, an officer can just offer their opinion that you were “substantially impaired” while driving, and the District Attorney can prosecute just based off their observations.

A DWAI charge, in contrast, may be filed against a driver who has a BAC of between .05 and .08 percent, and who is showing signs of impairment. This may include, for example, slurred speech, swerving between the lines, and an array of others that may hint at intoxication. The District Attorney does not have to prove that you were drunk for a DWAI, just that your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle was “impaired to the slightest degree” by drugs or alcohol; and it can be done just by an officer testifying they think you were impaired.

What Are the Penalties for these Criminal Charges?

Colorado law treats both DUI and DWAI charges aggressively, and those convicted of either charge will likely face severe penalties. To begin, both DUI and DWAI are treated as misdemeanors in the state; repeat offenders who have had three previous convictions will be faced with a felony, instead. While this may not seem grave to some, the maximum penalty for a class 4 felony involves six years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000; this certainly highlights the importance of contacting an attorney to fight these charges

Furthermore, the DMV can take your driver’s license even if you are not yet (or ever) convicted of a DUI. In some circumstances, you only have days to request a hearing with the DMV, and obtain a temporarily license before your ability to drive is taken away without a hearing, or a way to correct it. Even if you do request a hearing on losing your license, this is a tricky hearing to navigate, and you will have a police officer convincing the hearing officer for the DMV that you should lose your license. You need an attorney at this hearing to challenge the officer, and make sure that your driver’s license isn’t just taken by default. Drivers convicted of a DWAI in Colorado will have eight points added to their license, while those convicted of a DUI in will also need to forfeit their license entirely. To be clear, a first-time DUI leads to a nine-month license suspension, and this period only increases with further convictions.

Finally, those who have been convicted of DUI in Colorado will be required to complete alcohol classes as a condition of a plea bargain or a deferred sentence. These classes vary in length depending on the type ordered by the court, and may be a requirement for license reinstatement.

Ultimately, the penalties associated with either a DWAI or DUI are extremely serious, and can have far-reaching repercussions for those convicted. For example, those convicted of a DUI will have their license revoked, leaving them unable to drive to and from work, the grocery store, or other locations or events. Additionally, anyone convicted of a DUI will have a lasting criminal record, which may impair their ability to find work or housing. It is for these reasons, among others, that we encourage you to reach out to us today at Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law; our legal team is prepared to immediately begin working on your behalf.

How Can I Fight the Charges?

There are many ways to fight both DUI and DWAI charges in Colorado Springs. However, before you attempt to do so, it is imperative that you have a dedicated attorney on your side who can help you decide the best approach.

In some cases, a driver charged with DUI or DWAI may be able to successfully argue that the stop was illegal. To be clear, police officers in Colorado must have reasonable suspicion to stop a driver on the roadway; this may involve swerving or other erratic behaviors. If the driver can show that no legitimate reason existed for the stop, then the charges will be dropped.

In addition, a driver charged with DUI or DWAI in Colorado Springs may also attempt to argue that the Breathalyzer test was performed incorrectly by the police officer or that it led to false results. The State of Colorado has standardized the Intoxilyzer I-9000 as the standard breathalyzer for all law enforcement agencies to use. However, the State has secret deals with the manufacturer of the machine, and hides from the public how it actually works. The machines across the state have produced false positives due to software errors; and the state lab that certifies the machines has been embroiled in controversy for forging the names of inspectors working on the machines. If you took a Breathalyzer test in Colorado, you need an experienced attorney that is familiar with the ongoing litigation to prove that these machines are biased and unreliable fighting for you.

If you took a blood test, those too have a history of false positives. The District Attorney has to prove that the blood that was taken from you was actually the blood that was tested; and that the tests were performed properly. The State of Colorado has had to shut down two labs (Colorado Department of Health and Environment, and the Colorado Springs Metro Crime Lab) for misconduct relating to blood tests with DUIs- you need to ensure that your test was done properly!

How Will a DUI Arrest Affect My Employment?

Potential employers may view an applicant with a DUI charge on their record in a negative light. Convictions of this kind can often be seen as indicative of a bigger problem, like alcoholism.

An employee with an alcohol addiction can be costly for an organization through high job injury rates, missed days of work, and unsatisfactory performance at work. An employer would have little reason to take a chance on a potentially problematic employee if there are other candidates from which to hire.

A DUI conviction can prevent an applicant from being hired, depending on which career an applicant is trying to enter. It is unlikely that jobs involving driving, particularly a cab or a truck, would hire an applicant with a DUI on their record.

School teachers are typically fired for having a DUI. It is rather unlikely that a school district would hire someone who already has a DUI conviction. Additionally, law enforcement officers may not be allowed to have a DUI in their background. A majority of medical professions do not employ individuals with previous DUI convictions.

Possibility of Termination or Not Being Considered for a Position due to a DUI 

A DUI can cause serious employment problems as it appears on your criminal record, which is public. Most employers perform criminal background checks as a part of the hiring process and will obtain information on your DUI conviction, particularly if it was during the past ten years.

In Colorado, some employers will not even undertake a background check due to a DUI conviction. Many employment applications ask a candidate to provide details of any convictions in their background. If you have a DUI conviction and you put those three letters on your job application, it might be the end of the road for you.

A DUI conviction makes it possible for employers to legally fire you or refuse to consider your candidacy. This does not mean that every employer in Colorado will consider a DUI as a disqualifier, but many will.

Contact Our Skilled Legal Team Today for Professional Representation

There is no reason that you should face the legal system without a dedicated advocate by your side throughout each step of your case. A criminal case involves many complex factors, and should be handled by a legal professional with years of experience and a thorough knowledge of the laws within. At Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, we have more than 50 years of combined experience in the field of criminal defense that we are eager to put to work for you to mount an aggressive defense to your charges.

If you were arrested for DUI or DWAI in Colorado Springs, don’t wait any longer to protect your future. Call us today at (719) 473-9099, and let us begin working on your behalf today.

Drug Laws in Colorado

Some people have a perception of Colorado that it has now become a state where anything goes with regards to what substances are available for public consumption. Because it was one of the first two states where voters approved legal marijuana, residents and guests are now free to buy, sell, grow and consume all sorts of forms of cannabis. But the reality is quite different.

Colorado’s marijuana market is tightly regulated by the Department of Revenue, and state and local authorities make sure that all licensed growers and retailers must follow highly specific sets of complex rules, everything from how much can be sold to the public at any time to how plants are harvested and labeled for sale.

Quantities and transportation methods are also tightly controlled, and even adults over age 21 are restricted to 12 home-grow plants.

Strong penalties still exist for people accused of growing and selling beyond their allocated quantities, creating their own products like hash oil, or buying, selling or transporting beyond the borders of the state. Even the amount that can be sold each day is also clearly defined and stores that sell above this can be fined or shut down. Citizens are also restricted to possessing no more than one ounce at a time.

Plus, other drugs like cocaine and heroin are still illegal, and people convicted of possession of any of these controlled substances can face significant fines and lengthy jail time.

Industry watchers of both the new legal cannabis market and the black markets of the past say that the amount of paperwork is impressive for people want to compete in the legal arena, and the financial yield is often less from doing it the legal route vs. black market.

Still, many entrepreneurs are eager to be part of the legitimate, legal marketplace, and are willing to play by the rules. However, even the state-licensed businesses are concerned about a push to increase the amount of federal attention to the industry, that could perhaps shut down or at least damage the relatively new industry.

Many of Colorado’s state and national leaders have pushed back on this federal push, saying the industry is so valuable to un-do and following the will of the voters and a marketplace created with state officials. However, they have also warned the industry to stay on the straight and narrow, since more eyes than ever are on the state regulations.

If you have questions about state, local and drug laws, or are facing drug-related charges, the law firm of Anderson & Carnahan can help. We’ve been providing legal advice and legal representation for more than three decades.

We’ve watching how different criminal laws about drugs and narcotics have evolved, from decades ago when people would face different consequences than they do now.

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving in Colorado Springs, Teller County, Fremont County, or the surrounding areas, it is imperative that you reach out to a talented attorney immediately for legal help. Failing to secure professional representation in your case could jeopardize your future and your future. Don’t face the charges without a skilled advocate; contact the legal team at Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law and let us begin mounting an aggressive defense on your behalf.

Help in staying legal

Legal assistance can be appreciated at all levels of the drug industry, legal or illegal. Because of a “War on Drugs” mentality that still lingers among some in law enforcement, there are processes in place that still can penalize people in big ways.

Along with threatening jail time and fines, authorities sometimes may try to leverage other cooperation by threatening to seize property or assets, or try to connect individuals to larger organized crime or greater alleged criminal conspiracies.

In some cases, people arrested for possession or trafficking charges may be less about being part of criminal organizations and more about wanting to help their community with what they believe is a helpful natural product.

Part of a successful defense is also questioning the methods of surveillance and arrest. As much as authorities are traditionally eager to “get all drugs off the street and all dealers behind bars,” there are specific legal protocols that must be followed to do it right, and there’s plenty of examples at district and appellate court level where procedural mistakes were made, including improper warrants, improper search and seizure and improper surveillance methods.

Options for Wobblers

If someone is charged with a felony, which has been a common traditional starting place for drug possession, manufacturing or trafficking charges, an effective drug attorney in Colorado Springs might also be able to discuss options for different charges.

Though they may not be federally binding, some municipalities in the state are beginning to talk more about “Wobblers,” a term for a method to move some drug-related felonies into the misdemeanor range under certain circumstances.

The theory is that certain habitual offenders would initially be arrested on felony charges, which could eventually be modified to a misdemeanor if they satisfy certain legal conditions like completing a period of probation or avoiding further similar arrests.

This would free up the court system from prosecuting so many drug-related crimes, and allow law enforcement to focus on some of the more organized criminal activity, violent crime or continuing to crack down on illegal drugs.

Legal assistance

Contact us for any questions about any sort of drugs or drug laws in Colorado. Or for a free consultation to discuss a drug-related case, please call today at (713) 473-9099 and let us start working for you today!

Assault Lawyers in Colorado

The concept of assault seems like it should be nice and simple: someone hurts you or at least gives you the impression that they’re going to hurt you. Or you may end up attacking someone first as a defensive strategy, if you strongly believe they’re going to hurt you. But within Colorado’s general definition of assault, there are quite a lot of gray areas in terms of context and circumstances.

How hard was someone hit when they were attacked? What was the intent of the assault? What kind of damage was caused? Was a weapon used? Was a police officer assaulted? Was it a domestic disturbance or a family fight? Was it a stranger hitting a stranger? Was someone in a car? Were other crimes also committed, such as the assailant stealing someone’s wallet or choking someone?

All these questions can cause confusion for arresting officers and prosecutors but can be excellent opportunities for a legal defense.

That’s because Colorado law has a variety of degrees of assault or other factors that can lead to everything from a long sentence and a hefty fine to dropped charges.

The law firm of Anderson & Carnahan has been providing legal representation to residents of the Colorado Springs area for three decades. We’re familiar with laws concerning assault and other violent crimes in this area. We can advise you if you’re facing assault charges about the process that’s ahead of them or some appropriate options.

Legal standards

The state’s general definition of assault is the intentional or reckless infliction of harm. But some of these terms can be subjective, so a scale has been created:

  • Third degree assault. A suspect may not have had specific intent to harm someone, but was accused of doing so through reckless or negligent behavior; or they caused simple “bodily injury,” which in Colorado means they merely caused someone pain with no real injuries. They also could have caused harm negligently with a deadly weapon, even if no physical contact was made. This type is considered a misdemeanor and could potentially have a sentence of up to six months, and $500 to $5,000 in fines.
  • Second degree assault. A suspect is accused of showing intent to cause injury which resulted in serious bodily injury. This is a felony and someone who is convicted could face up to 12 years in prison plus up to $500,000 in fines.
  • First degree assault. The general standard for this is intent to cause serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon. This is also a felony that can lead to 24 years in prison plus up to $750,000 in fines.

There are some specific circumstances related to the different degrees. For instance, someone can be charged with second-degree assault if they apply physical force to a public servant, which can include police officers, EMTs, judges or firefighters. They can also be charged if they physically block an EMT or safety worker from helping someone who is injured.

Someone can be charged with third-degree assault if they threaten to place or actually place bodily fluids like blood or saliva on police officers, health care providers or firefighters. A related second-degree charge could be added if someone is accused of making someone meet bodily fluids or hazardous materials “with the intent to infect, injure or harm.”

First-degree assault charges can be given if someone is already in custody; if someone is believed to be strangled in the process; if a police officer is injured in the pursuit of his or her duties; or if the crime is believed to have taken place during “the heat of passion,” defined as “without an interval between the provocation and the injury sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard.”

Along with exploring a client’s alleged level of intent and harm in an assault charge or charges, or if they were even present at the scene, a Colorado Springs assault attorney may also consider which possible defenses or exemptions to help his or her client’s case. These include:

  • Self-defense. Was the client fearing for his or her life and were required to fight or to fight back?
  • Lack of intent. The assault could have originally been accidental or even started as a joke that backfired ad went badly so someone was injured.
  • Was someone trying to get the other person to attack in order to get them arrested?
  • Was some made to use force?
  • Choice of evils. This standard describes how taking action and attacking someone to avoid a larger injury or other consequences.
  • Public duty. Law enforcement often can receive exemptions if someone is injured during routine duties.

Related to actual assault, Colorado can charge people with menacing, which is where a suspect tries to make someone frightened enough to believe that physical injury will occur soon, either by physical action or threat of physical action. This can also include the presence of a weapon or an item that someone believes is a weapon, such as a toy gun or a rubber knife. Though the person holding the weapon may know that they are fake or non-functional, the person they are being displayed to may believe they are real and be concerned. Standard menacing is a misdemeanor, with the possibility of up to six months in jail and $50-$750, but menacing with a deadly weapon can be upgraded to a felony.

Defending against Assault Charges in Colorado

Being charged with a felony or misdemeanor assault does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. An experienced Colorado assault defense attorney can mount a strong defense and try to have the charges against you reduced to a significant extent or dropped altogether.

Given below are the common defenses against assault charges in Colorado.

Denying the Allegations

If you are falsely accused of assaulting the victim in question, your attorney will argue that you did not commit the offense and try to get the charges against you dropped or dismissed. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney might use one of the following strategies.

  • They will try to establish – with the help of alibi – that you were not present at the crime scene when the offense was allegedly committed.
  • They will raise questions about the veracity of the allegations against you and the credibility of the victim and try to establish that the victim had motives to make false allegations against you. This type of defense is common in domestic violence cases where an abusive spouse makes false allegations against the other spouse just out of spite.

Self Defense

If you assaulted the victim in question in order to defend yourself or to defend someone else, your attorney may argue that you were merely protecting yourself – or a third party – and should not be held guilty of assault.

Heat of Passion

If you assaulted the victim in question as a result of a grave provocation, your attorney may argue that you committed the offense under extreme circumstances – circumstances that would have evoked a similar reaction from any reasonable person. While this type of defense will not result in an acquittal, it can be used to reduce a felony assault charge to a felony misdemeanor charge.

Other defenses that are commonly used against assault charges in Colorado include:

  • You did not intend to injure or harm the victim in question and the physical contact that led to the injury was purely accidental.
  • You did not use a deadly weapon.
  • You were threatened, coerced, or forced by a third party to commit the offense (acted under duress).
  • You acted out of necessity – to prevent a greater harm, which would have happened if not for your actions.
  • You did not know and/or had no way of knowing that the victim in question was an official on duty.

Contact An Experienced Colorado Springs Assault Attorney

Overall, while assault defense cases may seem to be cut-and-dry to some in law enforcement, they can be complex when a Colorado Springs attorney is trying to determine a client’s intent or recklessness, or lack of either of these when trying to put a case together.

If you’re facing assault charges or expect to be soon, the law firm of Anderson & Carnahan will be happy to learn more about your case and answer any questions. We also can provide a free consultation to learn more about the current situation and how we can help. Please contact our Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorneys today (719) 473-9099 or through our website contact form.

1st Degree Assault

Under Colorado law, first-degree assault is defined as intentionally and seriously injuring someone using physical force, usually involving the use of a deadly weapon. In Colorado, first-degree assault is seen as a Crime of Violence (COV) and carries a mandatory sentence. That means that assault in the first degree can carry a mandatory minimum jail term of 10 years and up to 32 years in a state penitentiary (DOC) with a guaranteed five years of parole.

Penalties associated with First Degree Assault

Assault in the first degree is typically considered a Class 3 felony, or felony assault, in the state. It carries an imprisonment term of between ten and 32 years in state prison and a minimum fine of $3,000.

Suppose there is evidence to the effect that the assault occurred in the heat of passion. In that case, the severity of the offense may be reduced to a Class 5 felony, which is associated with an imprisonment term of between one and three years in the Department of Corrections (DOC) as well as a minimum fine of $1,000.

However, there is a long list of consequences associated with all felonies. These consequences can affect your Second Amendment rights, voting rights, and/or make it more challenging to acquire employment.

What does First Degree Assault Include in Colorado?

  • The intention to cause, and then causing “serious bodily injury” to a person
  • The intention to disfigure another individual “seriously and permanently”
  • Amputating, destroying, or causing permanent disability to a body part or organ
  • Seriously hurting another person while consciously committing an act that “creates a grave risk of death under the circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life”
  • The use of a deadly weapon to threaten severe bodily harm on a law enforcement officer
  • Intentionally suffocating or strangling someone to cause serious bodily harm

The two primary elements that help determine whether an attack amounts to first-degree assault are as follows:

  • The gravity of the injuries
  • Whether a deadly weapon was used

What is meant by Serious Bodily Injury?

One of the key elements of assault in the first degree is serious bodily injury. In Colorado, the prosecution has to prove this facet of assault beyond a reasonable doubt. “Bodily injury” and “serious bodily injury” are distinct, and first-degree assaults usually involve serious injuries. Second-degree assault involves non-serious injuries.

A “serious bodily injury” refers to specific types of injuries and wounds. Such wounds have to involve a significant risk of death, severe permanent disfigurement, or extended loss or impairment of the function of any body part or organ. Stemming from this, it may include fractured or broken bones. Second or third-degree burns are also considered serious injuries.

Notably, the significant risk of loss of function or death does not have to occur immediately. It can occur at a later time as well.

Some examples of serious bodily injury include the following:

  • A gunshot wound to the leg that necessitates amputation
  • A tiny cut from a stab wound that causes serious internal bleeding, requiring the victim to have their spleen excised
  • A dart thrown into a person’s eye that makes them lose vision in that eye
  • Brain damage due to a choke hold

What is a Deadly Weapon?

Under the provisions of first-degree assault laws in Colorado, the use of a deadly is a consideration. Deadly weapons may include:

  • Knife
  • Firearm, immaterial of whether it is loaded or not
  • Bludgeon
  • Anything that can cause serious bodily injury or fatality when used in the way it was used

What are the Legal Defenses per Colorado Law?

The four common legal defenses to first-degree assault allegations in Colorado are as follows:

  • Lack of intent, or criminal negligence
  • Self-defense
  • The heat of passion
  • Lack of a serious bodily injury

Some of the above defenses for assault aim to reduce the severity of the charges from a first-degree to a lesser charge. Other defenses are employed with an aim to reduce the penalties of a conviction. Yet others aim for an acquittal.

Self-defense or Defense of Others

Under the law, self-defense and the defense of others are common defenses against assault in the first-degree charges. These defense arguments, if successful, can render the assault justifiable, leading to an acquittal.

Self-defense usually involves proving that:

  • You believed the other individual was about to use force against you
  • You used the amount of force you believed was required to protect yourself
  • Both of the above beliefs were objectively reasonable
  • The strategy involving the defense of others is only slightly distinct, which involves you defending another person rather than yourself

However, the use of either of these defense strategies can be complex.

Lack of Intent

The prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the intent to cause serious bodily injury. It will help to produce evidence that shows that you had no intention to hurt anyone. On top of this, evidence that proves that you made a mistake can be helpful as well.

It can also be helpful to provide evidence that you had no intention to seriously injure someone. The charges could be reduced if you prove that you did not want to hurt the plaintiff in a serious manner. Second-degree assault charges are associated with lower penalties.

Absence of Serious Bodily Injury

Assault in the first-degree charges requires a serious bodily injury, and the injuries are not as serious in many cases.

The penalties of a conviction can be reduced if you can show that the injury was not serious.

The Heat of Passion Defense

Under the law, defendants can claim that they only acted in an unanticipated heat of passion.

However, proof of all the following is necessary to show that you only acted in the heat of passion:

  • The alleged victim seriously provoked you
  • Such provocation would have excited an uncontrollable passion in any reasonable minded person
  • There was no adequate interval between the provocation and injury for you to gather your composure

The heat of passion defense strategy does not offer a complete defense, and only reduces charges from a Class 3 felony to a Class 5 felony.

Talk to a Competent Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

A first-degree assault charge will affect your life in a significant manner, make no mistake about it. If you are convicted, you will do time behind bars. For a crime of violence, there are no provisions for a suspended sentence. A conviction for first-degree assault will take you away from your loved ones and likely cause impediments in gaining employment, purchasing a house, or enjoying life like you once did.

These are critical reasons why you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. At the law offices of Anderson & Carnahan, we work with clients facing serious criminal charges. Our seasoned lawyers assess the facts of the case meticulously and help develop a defense strategy that will work best in your specific circumstances. We will fight hard to defend your freedom. To schedule a free initial consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney, call today at (719) 473-9099.

2nd Degree Assault

When a person causes bodily injury to another individual using a deadly weapon, it is considered second-degree assault. Under Colorado law, second-degree assault is a felony-associated with serious consequences. The intent is usually not taken into account in Colorado courts. More often than not, it will not matter to the prosecution if you never intended to cause serious bodily injury to the victim.

The primary difference between second-degree assault and third-degree misdemeanor assault is either the fact that a weapon was used in the felony offense or a serious bodily injury (SBI) occurred. Doctors are often willing to sign off on an SBI form that law enforcement presents them, and before you know it, a typical drunk brawl or fight outside the stadium just turned into a felony charge. You will now have to post a substantial bail amount to get out of jail.

Working with a skilled assault charges defense lawyer in Colorado can mean the difference between being convicted for assault and successfully defending yourself.

The Definition of Second-Degree Assault in Colorado

If you commit any of the following, you will be charged with second-degree assault:

  • “With intent to cause bodily injury to another person,” cause bodily harm to another individual using a deadly weapon
  • “With intent to prevent” someone you know to be a law enforcement officer or firefighter from performing their legal duty, and intentionally causing bodily injury in doing so
  • “Recklessly” cause bodily harm to another individual using a deadly weapon
  • Administer a substance which causes stupor, unconsciousness, or other mental or physical impairments without consent, and for purposes other than lawful medical treatment
  • Use physical force against a peace office or firefighter while legally confined or in custody (such as after being charged with or convicted of a criminal offense)
  • “With intent to infect, injure, harm, harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm” a detention center employee (if you are incarcerated) by causing them to come into contact with bodily fluids such as urine, saliva, blood, etc.

Meaning of a Deadly Weapon in Colorado

In Colorado, there are two distinct categories of deadly weapon:

Per se deadly weapons 

Per se deadly weapons include those designed to cause serious bodily injury or death or those that can easily cause injury or fatality. This category includes firearms, combat knives, daggers, swords, brass knuckles, and bludgeons. These weapons are meant to cause injury to other living beings.

Tools and objects capable of causing serious injury or death

In this category, the prosecution has the greatest scope to elevate charges of misdemeanor assault to felony assault. These “weapons” are not necessarily meant to cause injury. However, they can cause injury or death when used in a specific manner. This category includes furniture, metal pipes, wrenches, or vehicles. If used to inflict serious bodily harm, even a broom handle can be included in this category of deadly weapons.

Sentencing for Second Degree Assault in Colorado

In a second-degree assault conviction, sentencing can range from a class 3 felony (if the assault happened during the commission or attempt to commit another offense such as robbery, arson, sexual assault or sexual assault on a child, murder, escape, or kidnapping) up to a class 6 felony. Second-degree assault sentence may include the following:

  • Class 6 Felony: One year to 13 months incarceration in the Colorado Department of Corrections
  • Class 4 Felony: Two to six years of incarceration in the Colorado Department of Corrections
  • Class 3 Felony: Four to 12 years incarceration in the Colorado Department of Corrections

You will be charged with second-degree assault if you use a weapon against another individual or administer a substance to limit their capability to retaliate. A gun or knife can be a “deadly weapon,” but a broken bottle or your clenched fists can cause serious bodily injury as well. This charge is particularly serious if you injured a law enforcement officer or prison guard.

Second Degree Assault: Legal Defense

There are various legal defenses to counter assault charges. At times, self-defense is an effective defense if you were assaulted first.

In other cases, you may be defending others or your personal property. For example, this would be the case if another individual behaved aggressively with a spouse or friend while the two of you were at a club.

Sometimes it may be a brawl involving numerous persons where no one actually knows who hit whom. A competent defense lawyer could potentially show that you are not even the right individual to charge. Second-degree assault charges are usually levied in conjunction with some of the less serious misdemeanor assault charges, such as assault in the third degree. Law enforcement does this to make sure that the defendant is convicted of at least one charge at trial.

Thus, it is critical to work with a defense lawyer who has significant experience defending violent crimes in a court. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer can get more serious charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious charge. They could also negotiate a more lenient sentence for you.

Legal Help from Experienced Defense Attorneys in Colorado Assault Cases

If you face assault charges in Colorado, the skilled criminal defense attorneys at the law offices of Anderson & Carnahan can help. With your future at state, involving not just the next few years during which you may be incarcerated and/or required to pay a hefty fine, you need a strong legal counsel to protect your best interests.

Upon assaulting another person, your life could change in a matter of seconds. Second-degree assault carries mandatory sentencing in Colorado. You must not delay contacting our lawyers at Anderson & Carnahan as soon as you can after being charged.

Our attorneys will undertake the following in most cases:

  • Personally visit the scene of the crime to collect evidence
  • Personally talk to witnesses

If you are faced with charges of second-degree assault after a brawl or another incident, contact our criminal attorneys immediately, before talking to law enforcement. When you provide a statement to the police, you limit our ability to defend you at trial. We will develop a robust defense in the early stages of the case to get your charges dismissed, negotiate a non-prison plea agreement, or get you acquitted at trial. For a no-obligation case review, call today at (719) 473-9099.

3rd Degree Assault

Being charged with a crime, regardless of the details, can leave a person with a sinking feeling. Indeed, being arrested and facing criminal penalties often means the possibility of jail time and large fines, and even more severe consequences–such as a long-term prison sentence–in some cases. An arrest on one’s record can also be damaging to their personal reputation, and affect other elements of their life, such as their ability to maintain custody of their children.

Being charged with a violent crime can be even more nerve-wracking, as violent crimes are often prosecuted more harshly than are non-violent crimes. If you are facing charges for third-degree assault in Colorado, our skilled criminal defense lawyers at the law firm of Anderson & Carnahan Attorneys at Law are here to defend you and protect your best interests. Call our law firm today to learn how we can help.

What Is Assault?

Generally speaking, assault refers to the crime of attempting to cause bodily injury to, or actually causing bodily injury to, another person with intent. While the specific definition of assault varies on a state-by-state basis, in Colorado, state statute puts acts of assault into three different categories: first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and third-degree assault. Of these, first-degree assault is the most serious, and third-degree assault is the least serious. However, while the penalties for third-degree assault may be less severe than they are for first-degree assault, make no mistake – third-degree assault is still a crime, and a conviction will be reflected on one’s criminal record.

What Is Third-Degree Assault?

Assault in the third degree is defined in Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-3-204. According to the statute, a person commits an act of assault in the third degree if:

  • They knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person with criminal negligence or with the use of a deadly weapon; or


  • They cause someone else whom they know to be–or should reasonably know to be–a peace officer, firefighter, emergency responder, or medical provider to come into contact with a hazardous substance, including (but not limited to) vomit or blood, by any means.


It is typically the first definition above that is most applicable in a third-degree assault case. Important words in the statute to consider when understanding a charge of third-degree assault and building a defense include knowingly and recklessly, criminal negligence, and the use of a deadly weapon. 

Penalties for Third-Degree Assault in Colorado

As stated above, a third-degree assault conviction is penalized less harshly than is a first- or second-degree conviction for assault. Per the same section of the statute cited above, assault in the third degree is a Class 1 misdemeanor crime and is also an “extraordinary risk crime.” This means that the ordinary penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor crime is increased by six months, as the misdemeanor offense is considered to “present an extraordinary risk of harm to society” (Section 18-1.3-501(3)(a)). As such, the potential incarceration period for a conviction of third-degree assault is up to two years. In addition to up to two years in jail, the convicted person may also face a fine of up to $5,000. In some cases, both penalties can be levied.

Defending Yourself Against Charges

Facing criminal charges is scary, especially if the possibility of going to jail for up to two years exists. In order to best protect yourself and defend yourself against charges, it is strongly recommended that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At the office of Anderson & Carnahan Attorneys at Law, our lawyers will work hard to start building your defense immediately. Potential defenses to third-degree assault charges include:

  • Self-defense. One of the most common and effective defenses to assault charges is self-defense. In order for a claim of self-defense to be effective, you must be able to prove that you reasonably believed yourself or another person to be in danger of bodily injury, and that you used the degree of force that was reasonable to protect yourself.
  • Lack of intent. Remember, in order for the prosecution to secure a conviction against you, they must be able to prove that you intended to harm another person – that you acted knowingly and recklessly. You may be able to offer evidence that you acted without either – i.e. you made a mistake, or that you acted negligently, but not recklessly. By proving that the injuries suffered to the other party were accidental, you cannot be convicted.
  • That the assault didn’t happen. Finally, if you weren’t involved in any sort of physical altercation with the person who is accusing you of such, you may be able to present evidence showing that the assault didn’t happen and that you have been falsely accused. The supposed victim of the crime may have had an ulterior motive to make a false accusation against you – our attorneys can help you to gather evidence and prove your case.

Why You Need a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer on Your Side

 Regardless of the charges that a person is facing, hiring a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible is strongly advised. A criminal defense attorney can review the prosecution’s evidence against the defendant, assess and gather evidence, construct a viable defense, advise the defendant of their options and rights, and protect the defendant’s best interests and Constitutional rights both in and out of the courtroom. Working with an attorney usually results in a better case outcome for a person who is facing criminal charges. Even if convicted of the charges, the attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecution or present evidence to the court that results in a less severe criminal sentence.

Call Anderson & Carnahan Attorneys at Law Today 

 If you have been charged with third-degree assault in Colorado, don’t wait any longer to call a skilled Colorado criminal defense attorney and start the process of defending yourself. To learn more about our legal services and how our attorneys can serve you, please call our law office directly today at (719) 473-9099, send us a message, or visit our Colorado Springs office in person. We offer free consultations.

Gun Possession Law in Colorado

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

These 27 words in the Bill of Rights define one of the most essential liberties that we as Americans possess. Our Founding Fathers made sure to include this language prominently as one of the new country’s guiding principles to make sure that all citizens could adequately defend themselves. This even came before many other amendments such as due process in courts.

But then things became complicated! Over the last 200-plus years, various local, state and national rules have been created to better regulate when, how and why we can have access to guns, and what circumstances exist where they aren’t allowed.

Today, gun policy is anything but simple, and evokes strong, passionate feelings from many sides. While guns still serve their original purpose of keeping our loved ones and property safe, there are some who feel there should be greater restrictions on who can buy, sell or possess them, especially those who could possibly do great harm to themselves or others.

Certainly purists, from neighborhood sportsmen to members of the Supreme Court, feel that the Second Amendment is clear, and no more rules are needed, while others believe much more must be done with regards to safety, paperwork, access to certain gun-making materials and proper legal ownership.

Between these two ranges is where things can get confusing and people can get into legal trouble, sometimes without realizing it. That’s where the firm of Anderson & Carnahan can help. With more than 30 years of legal experience, the legal team can provide representation for any local, state or federal gun-related charges or violations.

The team of Colorado defense attorneys is familiar with complex rules governing gun use and possession, whether in a civilian capacity or as a properly licensed firearms dealer. We’re happy to answer questions or discuss what permits are needed or what steps must be taken to follow protocol and achieve compliance, whether you’re buying, selling or simply possessing.

Colorado has long maintained gun ownership to be a right, and it’s one that we’ll happy to defend.

Possession/traveling rules

According to The Colorado State Patrol, firearm owners can legally possess them in a home, business or vehicle, if it’s for lawful protection of people or property. But when transported from various locations, such as from a car to a home, business or other location, the firearm must be carried openly.

Cities, counties or municipalities aren’t allowed to enact additional rules to restrict travel with a weapon.

It’s also permissible to travel in or through national forests in Colorado with a gun or guns. However, there are restrictions on discharging one within 150 yards of a home, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, cave, across a road or body of water, or where people or property could be injured or damaged.  There may be additional federal restrictions in some forests, parks or districts especially relating to discharging near or entering some federally-owned buildings. This can include property in national parks like visitor centers where this restriction is clearly posted.

Concealed carrying

Gun owners interested in carrying their weapon concealed must apply a permit from the sheriff’s department in the county where they live. This process and requirements can vary but generally includes fingerprinting, a background check and a small application fee. Applicants also must be at least age 21.

The permit and photo ID must be carried whenever the firearm is carried in public. However, a permit isn’t required, if it’s in a private vehicle.

Concealed permits from other states are considered valid in Colorado as long it’s from a state that equally recognizes Colorado permit holders.

State law also allows qualified current or retired law enforcement officers to be exempt from state and local laws governing carrying concealed weapons.

If a permit application is denied, a Colorado firearm attorney can assist you in finding a reason or if there’s any kind of appeal process.

Firearms Sales Options

Other legal complications can take place with people interested in legally purchasing machine guns, short-barreled rifles or shotguns, or suppressors. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms requires paperwork to purchase or transfer these items within Colorado, even to family members.

One option for legal ownership is to create a NFA Trust, a legal structure. This puts the title for the firearm in the name of the trust, rather than an individual.  This allows more than one person to legally possess and use the trust’s property, provided they are at least age 18 and can legally possess that level of firearms.

This eliminates potentially messy legal situations where family members may share weapons on a hunt or at a shooting range.

A Colorado firearms attorney can help set up this kind of trust. They can also help with the proper paperwork for a Federal Firearms License. People with this license can face fines or other punishment for incorrect or incomplete data, but a lawyer can provide proper compliance instructions and advise you of potential perils.

Colorado has developed a reputation as a state that’s friendly to gun owners. Although courts have affirmed that state laws on gun ownership generally outweigh any municipal laws, there may still be some uncertainty or misguided attempts to deprive citizens of their rights.

The firm of Anderson & Carnahan is eager to educate the community and help gun owners charged with firearm-related crimes or violations. We’re happy to answer your questions or provide a free consultation. Please contact us today at (719) 473-9099!

Juvenile Crime Lawyers

Since we all were kids at one time, it’s easy to remember making dumb, unsafe, or un-wise decisions without thinking of the consequences. For better or worse, this is really a big part of our society’s maturing process, where we hopefully survive long enough to learn how to be much more responsible for our actions.

That’s why there’s often some degree of sympathy among many of us for young people who make mistakes — most of us have been there at certain moments in our past and don’t want to go back.

At the same time, we live in a nation of laws, and even kids need to be held accountable and be offered the opportunity to make amends, and hopefully show that they’ve learned a lesson. This way, they won’t repeat the same dangerous or misguided activities again.

There are certainly youth who commit serious crimes regularly who may merit serious punishments, such as members of gangs or people arrested for violent activity. In many of these cases, authorities and local communities want to make sure they’re off the streets and away from society for a long time, regardless of their age.

But there are other juveniles who may need more guidance vs. penalties, and the opportunity to think about their future rather than their past. It’s this area where the offices of Anderson & Carnahan can help. The Colorado Springs defense attorneys have more than 30 years of legal experience working with the state’s judicial system at the adult and juvenile levels.

Every case and every young person is different, but we enjoy the opportunity to work with families to provide competent legal representation for someone charged with a crime, no matter their age.

The juvenile justice system is designed to provide accountability, but there is also the potential for harsh penalties.

A crime committed based upon impulse or peer pressure has the potential to impact someone for years. Penalties may include incarceration for months or years plus significant fines for the suspect or their family.

Also, a visible criminal record as a juvenile or adult can potentially impact everything from job applications to college admission consideration.

There are some steps that can be taken to make it difficult for people to access juvenile records, but the best course of action for teens and their families is to work with a Colorado defense attorney prior to any verdicts being declared or sentences handed down.

Colorado Judicial Department contains quite an array of laws that apply to juveniles. Some have adult counterparts, such as vehicle offenses and violent crimes, and some are reserved for kids only like possessing alcohol, tobacco or marijuana. Violations the juvenile court system has jurisdiction over are called delinquent acts.

Treatment of suspects

Some of the difference between adult and juvenile court system include slightly different legal rights. A juvenile who is not under arrest can’t be searched or can refuse to have their belongings searched. But if they are arrested, they are subject to search, except for their vehicle that requires a warrant. However, if the vehicle is owned by a parent, he or she can consent to a search.

When someone is arrested, officers are required to read their Miranda rights. Once this is given, further questioning must be done in the presence of a parent, guardian or legal custodian.

Sealing/Expunging Your Records

Juvenile records can be protected, or sealed, from public view, and in certain cases expunged, which means there will be no public record.

There are certain circumstances for the expunging process, which can be complex. It requires significant effort on a Colorado juvenile attorney’s part, including making sure the prosecutor in that case won’t object, and a judge also needs to sign off on it.

Circumstances where a sealing or expunging might be approved can include certain prominent, personally embarrassing crimes such as prostitution, felony-level narcotic trafficking or stealing public transportation. People caught up in these types of worlds and cultures in their youth may be serious about wanting to put any charges behind them, not wanting to be reminded of all the details when they become adults, or for any future employers or media to access this information.

Contact An Experienced Colorado Juvenile Law Attorney

The legal team at Anderson & Carnahan can work with clients and their families to not just defend criminal suspects, but if necessary, propose acceptable alternatives to lengthy incarceration or significant fines, including juvenile diversion, which is a process where criminal charges or a sentence may be dropped or reduced after a certain period of good behavior.

Community service is also often seen as a useful option, where teen offenders can spend a certain number of hours helping local charities. This can help educate juveniles about some of the needs in their community. It also can teach that local non-profits always appreciate helping hands, especially when the alternative is sitting in a detention center not assisting anyone.

We handle all sorts of cases including underage drinking and driving. Part of our experience has even involved working as a prosecutor in the juvenile justice area, so we’re familiar with the process and what different ides generally look for in terms of appropriate sentencing or other possible legal outcomes.

Although there is a fear among juveniles unfamiliar with the system that prosecutors always want to throw the book at “the bad kids,” people are often surprised how open they are to exploring options to encourage rehabilitation and the opportunity for juveniles to turn their lives around. This can create more likelihood that they can go on to be productive members of society and less likelihood that they will transition into the adult judicial system.

The team at Anderson & Carnahan would be happy to provide a free case evaluation so we can learn more about the current situation and how we can help. Please contact us today through our website contact form or (719) 473-9099.

Under – Age Drinking & Driving Attorney
in Colorado Springs

In Colorado, it is illegal for a person below the age of 21 to consume or possess alcohol, with a few exceptions. If an individual under 21 years of age operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, they will face a class A traffic infraction for a first offense. For a second or subsequent offense, they will be charged with class 2 traffic misdemeanor. There is a zero-tolerance law in Colorado.

It is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 years to operate an automobile with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.02 to 0.05, irrespective of whether the person appears and feels sober. In simple terms: A single beer could lead to a drunk driving conviction.

UDD Offenders: Administrative Penalties

In general, the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will revoke the license of any motorist who is apprehended for underage drinking and driving (UDD) and fails on a breathalyzer test. According to the implied consent law in Colorado, a BAC level between .02 percent and .08 percent constitutes a failed test for a motorist under the age of 21.

Following are the license revocation durations for UDD offenses:

  • First offense: The license revocation is for three months following a first violation
  • Second offense: For a second offense, the revocation period is six months
  • Third or subsequent offense: The license revocation will be for a duration of one year following a third or subsequent offense

But if the BAC is not over .05 percent, the underage motorist can request a 30-day revocation period, followed by a two-month suspension. The driver can acquire a probationary license during the suspension period. A probationary license allows the holder to operate a vehicle for the purposes of education, health, employment, or alcohol or substance treatment or education.

Following are the license revocation durations for UDD offenses:

First offense: The license revocation is for three months following a first violation
Second offense: For a second offense, the revocation period is six months
Third or subsequent offense: The license revocation will be for a duration of one year following a third or subsequent offense

But if the BAC is not over .05 percent, the underage motorist can request a 30-day revocation period, followed by a two-month suspension. The driver can acquire a probationary license during the suspension period. A probationary license allows the holder to operate a vehicle for the purposes of education, health, employment, or alcohol or substance treatment or education.

UDD Violations: Criminal Penalties

The following penalties are associated with UDD violations:

  • In the case of a first violation, it is a class A traffic infraction for an individual below the age of 21 to operate an automobile with a BAC of at least .02 percent but not greater than .05 percent. If the person commits a second or subsequent UDD violation, it is considered a class 2 traffic misdemeanor.
  • Financial penalties: For an initial UDD conviction, the fine is $100, apart from court fees and surcharges. If there is a second or subsequent UDD conviction, the offender will face a fine between $150 and $300, along with court costs and surcharges.
  • Jail time: There is no incarceration for a first time UDD conviction. But for a second or subsequent conviction, it is possible to receive jail time of 10 to 90 days.
  • Public service: A UDD conviction can lead to up to 24 hours of public service, and any individual required to undertake public service must pay a fee of up to $120.
  • Revocation of license: If the DMV does not revoke the defendant’s license administratively (as discussed above), the court will often revoke the license for three months following a first UDD conviction. In the case of a second UDD conviction, the license will be revoked for six months. For a third or subsequent conviction, the license will be revoked for one year.

If an underage driver is convicted for a first offense, they can request a 30-day license revocation. In case this request is granted, a two-month license suspension will follow it. The driver can get a probationary license during the suspension period for education, health, employment, and alcohol and substance treatment or education. The court may require the defendant to sign up for a driving education or alcohol and drug education and treatment program before granting a probationary license.

Alcohol/drug assessment and treatment

It is often a requirement for UDD offenders to complete and pay for an alcohol assessment, an education program, and/or treatment program.

Severity of the Consequences depends on BAC Level

If your BAC content falls between .05 and .079 percent, the consequences you will be facing are the same as described above. Also, you could potentially face time behind bars. Further, there will be more serious consequences for your driver’s license.

Your driver’s license will be revoked for a period of three months, and you cannot request a probationary license after 30 days for a first-time violation. Therefore, a first-time violation with a 0.06 percent BAC will lead to a mandatory three-month revocation with no relief.

Finally, if your BAC is .08 percent or higher, your case will be treated as an adult DUI offense.

What are the Other Repercussions of Teenage Drinking?

Teenagers and their parents should understand the additional legal repercussions of a teenager’s DUI, UDD, or DWAI conviction.

A teen drinking and driving conviction could put limitations on their college admissions and opportunities for employment. Many sports teams and school clubs do not allow anyone with a drinking and driving conviction to participate.

In such circumstances, our seasoned DUI lawyers can apprise you of your rights and legal alternatives, as well as how the law is applicable.

Additionally, underage drinking can adversely impact a teen’s academic performance and overall wellbeing.

If Your Teen Has been Arrested for a DUI, UDD, or DWAI Violation

If a teen’s drunken driving has caused property damage, personal injuries, or worse, the legal repercussions can be especially severe. In case this occurs, parents will need to consult a skilled DUI attorney as soon as possible.

Your teen may be faced with some real problems in future educational and professional opportunities if they are convicted of underage drinking and driving. However, an arrest does not automatically imply that your teenager will be convicted of an offense.

Our accomplished DUI lawyers will ensure that your child’s drinking and driving case reaches the best possible conclusion.

An Arrest Does Not Mean an Automatic Conviction

If you have been recently arrested for a violation, understand that an arrest is not equivalent to a conviction. Unless you receive a conviction at trial or enter a plea bargain, you will not face any of these repercussions. There may be viable defense strategies for your specific case. An experienced DUI attorney at the law offices of Anderson & Carnahan can assess your case and assist you in achieving the best possible result. Call today at (719) 473-9099 to speak to a skilled DUI lawyer.

Juvenile Diversion Attorneys
in Colorado Springs

Teenagers and underage children are offered the Juvenile Diversion Program to help them move forward after charges are pressed, instead of going through the routine court process and judicial procedures. In order to avoid spending time in a juvenile detention center, a minor can get into a Juvenile Diversion Program. However, this can only happen if the minor pleads guilty to the offense. Prosecutors generally offer these programs as incentives for a quick plea deal to avoid prolonged juvenile court cases.

In Colorado, Juvenile Diversion Programs have long been a part of the youth justice system. These programs are based on the thought that forcing youth at a very young age into the greater penal system can create a vicious cycle of criminal activities and poor life choices. Juvenile Diversion Programs is based on the tenets of restorative justice and can help heal and rehabilitate offenders, rather than cause repetitive maladaptive behaviors.

Good People Make Wrong Choices

The four restorative justice Juvenile Diversion Pilot Programs in Colorado has helped many young people. The young offender and their parents recognize the cost of this crime both economically and socially and join forces to understand how the juvenile can make better decisions to make things right for their families and restore the damage to the victims. Consequently, juvenile offenders complete these programs with increased comprehension of their effect and enhanced empathy for those they impacted.

In Colorado Juvenile Diversion Programs, a core issue addressed is the psycho-social development and environmental factors that lead to anti-social and criminal behaviors. Regional districts and statutes determine program parameters. A majority of diversion programs are geared towards first-time offenders who have committed misdemeanor offenses.

Juvenile Treatment Programs

Across various cities in Colorado, Juvenile Diversion Programs offer different treatment programs. In cognitive-behavioral programming, therapy in group sessions is involved. These groups are divided based on sex, language, and age, and focus on problem-solving, conflict resolution, and life skills such as reasoning and critical thinking.

Further, community service is included in Juvenile Diversion Programs as well. This involves public service such as painting over graffiti, trash removal and assisting at homeless shelters and food banks. This program also includes counseling, Family Intervention therapy, and restitution to victims.

Eligibility for Acceptance into the Juvenile Diversion Program

For being accepted into a Juvenile Diversion Program, there are certain prerequisites. The offender must be between the ages of ten and 17 years when they committed the crime. Also, they must fully admit to their fault and take complete responsibility for their actions.

They cannot have any other court cases or pending judgments, and this must be their first time participating in a Juvenile Diversion Program. The juvenile offender and their parents should have voluntarily agreed to participate in the program. Besides, they must sign a contract agreeing to follow all the rules set forth by the Program.

Acceptance of Teenagers and Minors Supervised by the District Attorney

The acceptance of teens and minors into the Juvenile Diversion Program is overseen by the County District Attorney. In general, underage people who have committed Class 1, 2, or 3 Misdemeanors and Class 3, 4, 5, or 6 Felonies will usually be accepted or referred to this program. But more ominous offenses and cases such as sexual assault are not eligible for the Juvenile Diversion Program.

Diversion: Research Evidence

Initially, diversion attempted to protect youth from harsh penalties in juvenile courts and the adverse impact of holding cells. Today, many diversion programs still present this as the main reason for the development of a diversion program. Upon reviewing diversion literature spanning the past 35 years, one finds a minimum of five emergent themes recognized by communities detailing why they developed avenues to divert youth from formal juvenile judicial processing, including:

  1. Decreasing recidivism
  2. Offering services
  3. Avoiding the effects of labeling
  4. Reducing system costs
  5. Decreasing unnecessary social control

One of the most commonly mentioned goals is the reduction of recidivism by youth. This criterion is most widely used to determine the effectiveness of diversion programs.

Recidivism is repeat offenses by youth or repetitive delinquent behavior following the initial offense. Diversion programs attempt to reduce recidivism and delinquency by reducing formal processing and consequently increase public safety.

Providing services to youth is the second general theme, and it is related to the first. Various studies have shown that if non-justice personnel treat youth in the community, it can decrease further involvement with the juvenile court system and positively affect the youth.

Sample Colorado Juvenile Program 

In Denver, the District Attorney’s Juvenile Diversion Program assists eligible first-time offenders providing an alternative to formal court processing. These youths are called clients and participate in the program with their parent or guardian. Diversion programs aim to teach skills and offer opportunities to hone those skills. Based on their need, clients are assigned to programs. They must undertake community service as well as complete restitution. The programs include the following:

Cognitive-Behavioral Programming

Such programs present a group setting, enabling clients to learn life skills, conflict resolution, reasoning skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving. The groups are based on language, gender, and age.

Specialized Client Services

This involves Substance Abuse Screening and treatment, as well as Education Enhancement. In the Education Enhancement program, clients receive visits at school by staff members and get routine feedback regarding performance, behavior, and attendance. Also, they may participate in a tutoring program that offers help with homework and topic-specific assistance.

Community Service

Clients undertake community service via projects such as trash removal, graffiti removal, and assisting at homeless shelters, food banks, and community events.

Family Intervention

Clients may participate in family therapy. This includes family sessions, besides personal counseling sessions.

Restorative Justice Program

In many cases, victims or community members impacted by crime can meet one-on-one with the individual who committed the offense. Restorative justice involves trained personnel and/or community members who make sure that both the victim and offender get answers to their questions as they work towards restoration and closure.

Restitution Programs

A vital piece of the Juvenile Diversion Program is restitution. Certain clients participate in a program known as Acquiring Restitution Through Talent (A.R.T.T.), in which they work with a variety of art forms and crafts. Subsequently, they sell their creations to earn money to compensate victims.

Speak to a Compassionate and Accomplished Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney in Colorado

Has your child been accused of juvenile crime and you want to understand how to best navigate the juvenile court system? It is critical to act wisely and exercise your child’s right to remain silent in such situations.

You should contact a skilled juvenile criminal defense lawyer at the law offices of Anderson & Carnahan as soon as possible. Our qualified lawyers will help determine the most appropriate legal strategy for your case. We will work hard to ensure that your child’s future is protected at all costs. To set up a free initial consultation with a seasoned juvenile criminal defense attorney, call today at (719) 473-9099.

Military Law in Colorado

Just like in the civilian world, sometimes people in the military may find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, so they have to learn in a hurry about the legal process if they’re charged with a crime or a violation. And what they often discover can simply feel scary and overwhelming.

The military legal system can be especially frightening if you find your self in court martial, accused of violating ‘the Code,’ and, depending on the circumstances of your situation, you can potentially face everything from a fine to confinement if found guilty. Certain heinous crimes can even merit a death sentence or life in a military prison.

In many cases, the charges and penalties for UCMJ violations can be stricter than similar crimes in the civilian world, everything from possession of illegal substances to violent crime.

Being required to leave the military can be especially disappointing to someone who has served admirably and proudly for years or may be part of a family tradition of service. A dishonorable discharge not only ends a military career but often makes it difficult to secure other employment in the civilian world, especially in law enforcement or security fields.

That’s why it helps to have an experienced attorney on your side who will not only provide legal representation but is extremely knowledgeable about the uniqueness of the military justice system.

Stephen Anderson and the legal team at Anderson & Carnahan can provide this level of support. As a former JAG Officer for the U.S. Air Force and a past Chief Trial Counsel for Peterson Air Force Base, Stephen Anderson brings more than 20 years of experience representing clients in civilian and military courts.

As an experienced Colorado military attorney, he’s ready to help you and your family through any legal proceedings and make sure your rights are preserved at every step of the process.

History of the UCMJ

The UCMJ has been an effective judicial system going back even longer than the U.S. According to the U.S. Marine Corps, the first military codes of justice, the American Articles of War and the Articles for the Government of the Navy were created in 1774, two years prior to the Declaration of Independence.

As the country grew, so did its military, and part of this growth included creating adequate framework to keep order and provide discipline to those who violate the rules.

The UCMJ has been designed to punish those convicted of committing the same types of crimes that take place in the civilian world, such as murder, theft or driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. But officers or enlisted members can face penalties for conduct that affects the discipline and order of their unit or the entire service branch, everything from failure to obey orders to failing to report for duty. Due to the different responsibilities of leadership, officers can face different sorts of charges, often for conduct violations.

By the act of enlisting in the military, people acknowledge that they face a separate court system and separate legal proceedings than the civilian court system.

Enlisted personnel or officers don’t face petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors or felonies like in the civilian world, but those who are convicted of UCMJ violations can face three levels of court-martials:

  • Summary, which is generally reserved for minor misconduct, is presided over by a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, or JAG. Minor penalties, such as loss of privileges, can be levied if the accused is found guilty.
  • Special, which is designed for more intermediate violations. People who can take part include a military judge, trial counsel (like a civilian prosecutor), defense counsel, and a panel of at least three officers. People facing charges may also request enlisted personnel on the panel or for the judge to rule. Enlisted personnel found guilty can face no more a year of confinement, a reduction in pay for a year or a bad-conduct discharge. Officers can’t be dismissed or confined.
  • General, reserved for the most serious military crimes. Court personnel can include a judge, trial counsel, defense counsel and a panel of at least five officers. A judge can also rule. Maximum penalties can include death, confinement, dishonorable or bad-conduct discharges for enlisted personnel, or dismissal for officers. Pre-trial investigations may also be required.

In cases where someone is accused of military crimes and civilian crimes, local, federal or military prosecutors must confer and decide which jurisdiction can file charges first.

Your Rights Under Military Law

Even though military courts include structural and procedural differences from civilian courts, they also provide similar rights and protections that all Americans are entitled to, including:

  • the right to legal counsel
  • the right to hear all charges
  • the right to prepare and offer a defense
  • protections against self-incrimination
  • the right to appeal a decision

An attorney can be provided at no charge from the military to those who request one, regardless of ability to pay. But many legal experts recommend retaining the services of a civilian attorney who has experience with aspects of military law, including performing past JAG duties.

Get Help Today From An Experienced Military Law Attorney

Colorado military defense attorney Stephen Anderson can be useful for any type of charges or judicial proceedings, especially for service members stationed at Fort Carson, Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Along with being a former infantry sergeant and part of the Air Force JAG team, he also has extensive civilian legal defense experience. Our law firm also handles military separation status defense, so if you have a dispute with your discharge status, we can help.

If you’re facing or could face military charges and want to discuss legal options, the staff at Anderson & Carnahan can provide a free consultation. Please call our Colorado Springs office today at (855) 779-0846 or through our website contact form.

Court Martial Law in Colorado Springs

A court martial is a military court proceeding that you may have to face as member of the US military, if you are accused of a crime. Military commanders who uphold the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) will convene this reprimand hearing. An official order from your chain of command will notify you of the date of your court martial, depending on which branch of service you were in.

A military attorney will be provided to you to defend yourself against the accusations, but you also have the right to obtain legal representation from a civilian military defense lawyer. Considering the unique position and complexities involved in the court martial system, you will need a civilian criminal defense attorney in Colorado with demonstrated skill and experience in military law in order to put up a strong defense.

Types of Court Martial

General Court Martial 

The general court martial is usually reserved for the most serious types of crimes. It will have five or more commanding officers to review the accusations against you and determine the outcome. Although you will have more rights under this type of court martial, the penalties are typically more severe.

Special Court Martial

A military judge alone or a panel of at least four members and a military judge may preside over a special court martial. If you are accused, you could face penalties such as reduction of pay grade, forfeiture of pay, imprisonment of up to one year, and bad conduct charges.

Summary Court Martial 

This court martial is reserved for minor offenses that enlisted soldiers are alleged to have committed. It is regarded as the lowest level of court martial and allows for rapid legal resolutions. However, the rights of the accused are more limited than in the case of a general court martial.

Article 32 Hearings

Although this is a less formal type of court martial, Article 32 hearings still constitute a form of disciplinary action. The proceeding is usually led by a commanding officer.

NJP / Article 15

Article 15, also known as NJP (non-judicial proceeding), office hours, or captain’s mast, is type of punishment that involves disciplining, but without the requirement of a formal court martial proceeding.

No BCD Special Court Martial

A new form of special court martial was created in 2019, which is known as No BCD (bad conduct discharge) Special Court Martial. It handles offenses that carry a maximum prison sentence of two years and is designed to provide faster legal resolutions.

Violent Crimes or Sexual Misconduct in Military

Members of the US military are held to very high standards of conduct when it comes to criminal offenses. A member charged with a violent or sexual crime will have to appear before a court martial. Legal consequences of these offenses may include:

  • Imprisonment (in a regional confinement facility)
  • Complete forfeiture of military benefits (such as, pay, benefits, allowances, and a dishonorable discharge)
  • Reduced ability to make a career of choice as a civilian (because the felony charge will show up during an employer’s background check)

Whether you are facing charges of a violent crime or sexual assault in the military, you should obtain legal counsel from a seasoned civilian court martial defense lawyer in Colorado. A conviction for these offenses can have very serious consequences for your life and career.

When the stakes are high, it is prudent to choose a highly motivated and focused civilian criminal defense lawyer rather than depend on a free military attorney who may not be as well-equipped to successfully handle your case.

Drug Charges in the Military 

Any service member can be subjected to random drug tests and will face serious legal consequences if they are found in violation of the military drug policies. In Colorado, you can legally purchase marijuana as a service member, and it will not attract any state charges.

In addition, as long as you have not consumed or possessed marijuana on your post, you are not likely to face federal charges. (But if you do it on the base, it is a different matter because the base is considered federal property.) However, any service member is required to abide by the UCMJ, which means that unlike federal and state law, you could be charged with a legal offense for merely entering a store that sells marijuana.

This rule will apply not only when you are on duty, but also when you are on leave or are off duty. You are required to abide by the UCMJ regulations as long as you remain a member of the United States military.

Right to Appeal a Court Martial Conviction

 If the court martial convicts you, all is still not lost. You will have the right to file an appeal to a superior decision-making authority for a review. In principle, your appeal could proceed all the way up to the US Supreme Court.

You are entitled to hire the services of an attorney to represent you during all stages of appellate review. But the key is that you should have a skilled and knowledgeable court martial appeals attorney by your side to increase your chances of overturning a conviction.

Choose an Experienced Military Law Attorney in Colorado

 Members of the US military are not obligated to settle for a court-appointed lawyer for their defense. If you are accused of a crime as service member, you have a right to be represented by a civilian military law attorney.

But considering the potential legal consequences of a court martial, it is best to have a seasoned criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with the intricacies of the military justice system.

At Anderson & Carnahan in Colorado, our legal team led by Attorney Stephen Anderson has established a successful track record with military law cases, and we have the knowledge and resources to provide you with a strategic legal defense. Stephen Anderson is a former JAG Officer of the US Air Force and a past Chief Trial Counsel for Peterson Air Force Base.

With over two decades of experience representing clients in civilian and military courts, Stephen Anderson is positioned to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

To schedule a free consultation, call us at (719) 473-9099 or fill out this online form.