Few events in life are as frightening or overwhelming as being charged with a first-time offense. This is especially true since many people don’t think to research their options before the threat of an arrest is already overhead.
The number one thing you can do to prepare for an offense in the future is to research now. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the information first-time offenders in Colorado need to know.
First Time Offender: Misdemeanor
Many first-time misdemeanor offenders underestimate the damage a misdemeanor charge can cause. While jail time for a misdemeanor offense is limited to one year, spending any time in jail is far from ideal.
The fines and legal fees that accompany a misdemeanor charge can also be quite damaging. Not to mention that a misdemeanor charge can cause permanent damage to your record that can impact job opportunities down the road.
Prosecutors often like to downplay the severity of a misdemeanor charge since their bias is towards getting you to accept a plea bargain: admitting guilt and accepting the charge without a fight. Through a criminal defense attorney like the ones at COLaw Team, you may get a better deal or have a case to fight the charges altogether.
First Time Offender: Felony
Felony charges in Colorado include a minimum of one year of prison time and/or a significant fine. Colorado has six classes of criminal felony offenses (excluding drug-related crimes), ranging from Class 1 to Class 6, with Class 1 being the most severe. The state also has four levels of drug felonies, with Level 1 drug felonies being the most serious.
Even after release, felonies carry the same burdens as misdemeanors and more. For example, convicted felons lose their right to vote while in prison, own a firearm, and serve on a grand jury. Defendants should always seek professional legal counsel when facing felony charges.
What Are Your Options?
While it is easy to become overwhelmed after being charged with a first-time offense, several legal routes are available to you. Here are some of the options for first-time offenders:
- Adult Diversion: Provides an alternative to the traditional court process. Participants sign an agreement to take certain actions in exchange for the dismissal of charges. These include participating in drug or alcohol treatment and anger management.
- The First Offender Act: Those facing their first drug offense may be offered a year of probation without facing a conviction.
- An Experienced Colorado Defense Lawyer: We strongly recommend that all first-time offenders seek the aid of professional counsel for any kind of crime.
Need Legal Help?
The Colorado court system can be intimidating and complex. You don’t have to face it alone.
At CoLawTeam, we have dedicated ourselves to treating every client as our top priority. Our clients receive only the best care, and we use the latest in technology to make our legal services affordable.
Contact us on our website or call us at (970) 670-0738 to get in touch with a professional Colorado defense lawyer.