We have taken this opportunity to answer some frequent questions that people have about general legal information, DUI / DWAI and Domestic Violence and given those answers below. However, each case is unique and your case may have a different answer based on your facts. Also, if you do not see your question, please call our office and set up a free consultation. We would be happy to discuss your legal matters with you.
General Legal Information
Do I need a lawyer? What can a lawyer do for me?
Everyone charged with a crime or traffic offense should have a lawyer. Here are the five things a lawyer can do for you:
- Obtain paperwork and evidence from the DA's Office and review these to give you a fair and honest evaluation of your case.
- Go to court with you and handle matters for you so that there is no confusion as to what you need to do or where you need to go.
- Negotiate the case with the DA. The DAs are not intimidated by people without lawyers. However, a lawyer handling your matter sends a message to the DA that you are serious about challenging the charges and will not take a bad plea bargain.
- File motions and contest the evidence. Many cases are won by challenging the DA's evidence and getting it thrown out. A lawyer can file the proper motions and argue why the evidence is improper.
- Conduct a trial. Sometimes it is necessary to go to trial. When you do, it is important that you have a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer who can scrutinize the DA's case, establish a thorough defense and present the entire case to a jury or judge.
Do I have to pay to have a consultation?
No. At the McAdams Law Office, we offer you the opportunity to have a free consultation with attorney Bill McAdams. We suggest that the most effective consultation is in person so that the he can review your documents and you can meet the attorney personally. However, we also provide scheduled phone consultations for those people unable to easily make it to our office.
How much will it cost me to hire a lawyer?
Every case is different and as a result each case has its own cost. Cost is based on the severity and number of the charges.
How do lawyers charge their fees?
In most cases, we offer a multiple stage flat fee arrangement. We separate the case into two or three distinct stages and then charge a flat fee for each stage. This flat fee for each stage is not due unless and until we reach that stage. If we don't reach a stage, you don't pay for it. In more serious felonies, we do charge by the hour.
Do I have to pay it all up front or can you work with me?
As for payment options, we do offer some relief. We require a retainer (down payment) and then upon request will usually agree to a monthly payment to satisfy the remainder.
How do I know which lawyer is right for me?
Choosing a lawyer can be difficult. You should look for the following qualities:
- You should be comfortable with the attorney. The attorney should be someone you can speak to without feeling intimidated and whom you feel you can trust.
- Watch out for attorneys that promise too much. No attorney can guarantee a specific result, but can only strongly suggest what the results may be based on their experience.
- Make sure the lawyer has experience dealing with your type of case.
The lawyer should clearly spell out his/her responsibilities and what they can provide. Typically, a good attorney will follow that up with an extensive contract which specifies these items.
DUI / DWAI
Will there be jail if I am convicted?
Typically, there is jail associated with a DUI or DWAI if the blood/breath test was .200 or higher, there was an accident, there were injuries, or this was not your first conviction for one of these crimes. The amount of jail time and the type of jail are negotiable. We can assist you in negotiating a plea agreement that carries a minimal amount of jail while serving it in a capacity that works best for you.
Will I lose my driver's license?
In most circumstances there is a mandatory suspension of your driving privilege of at least nine months. We can assist you in fighting these suspensions and get a probationary driver's license if eligible.
Do I have to take a blood or breath test?
No. There is no legal requirement that you complete a blood or breath test when asked by the Officer and refusal to do so will likely weaken the DA's case against you. However, if you choose not to, then you will likely lose your driver's license for a minimum of one year without the possibility of a probationary driver's license (red license, work license). Generally, we recommend that you complete a blood test if you do take a test at all.
How do you fight a DUI / DWAI charge?
In fighting these charges, we employ a number of methods to demonstrate to the judge and jury that the primary witness is a police officer with little or no scientific training and he/she is making a scientific analysis of the situation. Specifically, we attack the stop of the car itself, the observations made by the officer, the roadside maneuvers and the chemical test, just to mention a few. This aggressive style tends to significantly weaken the officer's testimony and in turn weaken the DA's case.
What is Domestic Violence?
Most people think of Domestic Violence is a physical act and nothing else. This is incorrect. A crime is a Domestic Violence crime if (1) the act was between two people in an intimate relationship and (2) it was either an act of violence, threatened act of violence or was for the purpose of control coercion, punishment, intimidation or revenge. If it meets these requirements, it is an act of Domestic Violence despite the nature of the crime or the facts supporting the crime.
Will a conviction prevent me from using, owning or possessing a firearm or weapon?
Possibly. Federal law states that it is a federal offense to use, own or possess a firearm if you are convicted of a crime of violence. This includes most Domestic Violence crimes, but not all. We may be able to negotiate a plea agreement to a lesser charge which does not require this prohibition.
Why is there a Restraining Order against me and how can a lawyer help me with removing it?
Colorado law says that a restraining order is required in all Domestic Violence cases. However, the court can reduce the scope of the restraining order to merely prohibit illegal activity and allow contact between the parties. This is only granted if the parties know to ask for it and if the judge is convinced that the safety of all parties can be assured without further restrictions. We understand how to request and obtain these changes in restraining orders to allow you greater freedom.
Is Domestic Violence a separate charge and what kind of penalty does it carry?
Domestic Violence is not a charge, but instead a sentence enhancer. No additional jail time is assessed because it was an act of Domestic Violence. However, Colorado law provides that every person who pleads guilty to a crime of Domestic Violence must complete a minimum 36 week domestic violence course through a state certified treatment agency. Typically, these classes cost around $1,400.