Criminal Defense for Misdemeanor Crimes in Denver, CO and the Surrounding Areas
Everyone makes mistakes. Whether it be a bad judgment call, a slip of the mind, or a heat of the moment type of thing, at some point, we all do things we aren’t proud of (or are in the wrong place at the wrong time or even falsely accused). For some people, those unfortunate lapses of judgment aren’t something they can easily forget, especially if it leads to criminal charges. Even misdemeanor charges can haunt a person for the rest of their life.
Luckily, that doesn’t always have to be the case. With aggressive defense from criminal lawyers like Jeff Weeden of WeedenLaw, Colorado residents accused or charged with misdemeanor crimes stand the best chance of having those charges significantly reduced, dismissed, or even dropped. As a top Denver criminal defense attorney, Jeff Weeden has provided excellent and compassionate representation for both felony and misdemeanor cases across the state of Colorado.
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Colorado, contact our law firm today for a free consultation to see what Jeff Weeden and his team can do for you. You can reach us at 720-307-4330 or by filling out our online intake form here.
What is a Criminal Misdemeanor?
In the United States, criminal offenses are categorized by the type and severity of the crime. Every state sets its own standards for what classifies as a specific type of crime and what the punishment for that crime may be. More specifically, each state has guidelines for what is considered a misdemeanor crime versus what is considered a felony crime.
Misdemeanors in Colorado are not as serious as felonies, but they still warrant criminal charges and bring about various negative consequences. These offenses range from traffic violations to theft crimes to even certain assault crimes. As they are less severe than felony charges, the punishments are not as harsh. For example, those convicted of a misdemeanor criminal offense may only serve time in county jail rather than a state prison.
Types of Misdemeanors in Colorado
In the Colorado legal system, misdemeanors are categorized into two different degrees, or “classes.” Before March of 2022, there were actually three levels of misdemeanors, with Class 3 being the lowest level. Now, a Class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious of misdemeanor criminal offenses, while Class 2 misdemeanors are the least severe. Misdemeanor drug crimes in Colorado are categorized separately as either a DM1 or DM2 and typically encompass first-time simple possession offenses of four grams or less of Schedule I or II drugs.
Denver criminal defense attorney Jeff Weeden has handled criminal cases involving every type of misdemeanor you could imagine. Below, we’ll further explain each misdemeanor and the class it falls under as prescribed by Colorado criminal law.
Class 1 Misdemeanor Colorado
A few examples of Class 1 misdemeanors in Colorado include:
- Indecent Exposure
- Aggravated motor vehicle theft (valued at less than $2,000)
- Violation of a protection order
- Aiding escape
- Second-degree forgery
- Concealing the death of another person
- Animal cruelty
- Defacing a firearm
- Theft of property valued between $1,000-$2,000
- Criminal mischief causing damage valued between $1,000-$2,000
There are also certain misdemeanor crimes that are considered to be of “extraordinary risk,” which means they pose a high risk of danger to the public. This includes criminal charges such as child abuse, certain sex crimes, failure to register as a sex offender, and third-degree assault, to name a few.
Class 2 Misdemeanor Colorado
Examples of Class 2 misdemeanors in Colorado include:
- Resisting arrest
- Second-degree arson
- Criminal tampering
- Theft of property valued between $300-$1,000
- Criminal mischief causing damage valued between $300-$1,000
- False imprisonment
- Advertisement of drug paraphernalia
- Harboring a minor
What Happens if You Get a Misdemeanor?
If you receive a misdemeanor in Colorado, the criminal process and penalties will vary depending on the class of the charge as well as whether or not the offense was one of “extraordinary risk.” Unlike felony crimes, which are tried in District Court, misdemeanor charges in Colorado are tried in a county court.
Misdemeanor charges also still appear on defendants’ criminal records, and many of these charges and convictions cannot be sealed after the fact. For example, any sex crime or crime of violence, such as domestic violence or assault, may not be sealed. Class 1 and 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses, Class A and B traffic offenses, and Colorado DUI and DWAI offenses also cannot be sealed or expunged from a criminal record. As a Denver expungement lawyer, Jeff Weeden can give you a better understanding of which crimes are eligible for sealing/expungement and which are not.
For certain misdemeanors, defendants may be given probation rather than jail time. Your Colorado criminal defense lawyer will be able to help explain the potential ramifications of your criminal charge and what your best bet may be in terms of reaching the most favorable outcome.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Convictions in CO
Under Colorado law (SB21-271), a criminal conviction for a Class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado is punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. Meanwhile, a Class 2 misdemeanor may warrant a penalty of up to 120 days in jail, a $750 fine, or both.
Less severe criminal charges may include petty offenses or civil infractions. A conviction for a petty offense may bring a penalty of up to 10 days in jail, a fine of $300, or both, while a civil infraction is punishable merely by a $100 fine.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Misdemeanor?
A lot of people assume that they don’t need a criminal defense attorney for a misdemeanor charge, but that is often not the case. Though they are less severe in nature than felony charges, it is still in a defendant’s best interest to seek the help of legal counsel when facing criminal matters of any kind. The criminal justice process can be extremely difficult to navigate alone, which is why you need someone with enough experience to guide you through the complexities and nuances of the Colorado criminal law system every step of the way.
Having a Denver defense attorney like Jeff Weeden on your side offers a sense of comfort and security that only comes with knowing someone is fighting hard for you. As your attorney, Mr. Weeden and his team will work hard to build and strengthen your case. Some of what they may do includes:
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Selecting witnesses
- Conducting legal research on similar cases
- Holding meetings to discuss the case details
- Gathering evidence in your favor
- Making a motion to have your case dismissed before trial
Should you choose to plead guilty, your attorney will work to get you the best possible plea negotiation. They will also handle all other legal aspects of your case while preparing you and your case for the most favorable outcome. For a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney at our Denver or Lakewood law offices, call (720) 307-4330 today.
Can You Go to Prison for a Misdemeanor?
When you receive Colorado criminal charges, you may have a looming fear or even expectation that you will be sent to prison. However, for a criminal case involving a misdemeanor, prison is not an option. Unless your misdemeanor is served with a concurring felony sentence, the maximum penalty for a misdemeanor crime is 364 days in county jail (or up to two years of work release).
Do You Have to Go to Court for a Misdemeanor?
Unless your case is dismissed or a plea bargain is taken, your misdemeanor case will proceed to trial. However, while felony crimes are prosecuted in state and federal courts, misdemeanor crimes are often handled in municipal courts. Another major difference is that trials for misdemeanors in Colorado criminal courts take place before a jury of 6 rather than 12. A defendant may also choose a bench trial over a jury trial.
How To Get Out of a Misdemeanor in Colorado
There is no guarantee you will be able to avoid a conviction for a misdemeanor crime, but the only way to ensure you get the best outcome possible for your individual case is by obtaining the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. When you work with a Denver criminal defense attorney like Jeff Weeden of WeedenLaw, you ensure that every aspect of your Colorado criminal case will be investigated inside and out. If you were wrongly accused of a crime, he will explore every avenue possible to prove your innocence and avoid a conviction. If an acquittal is unlikely, he will also be able to advise you of whether or not a plea agreement may be in your best interest.
Once again, there are no guarantees when it comes to criminal law, but hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney gives you the best chance of having your charges reduced, dropped, or even dismissed altogether.
Call a Top Colorado Misdemeanor Defense Attorney at WeedenLaw Today for a Free Consultation
If you face criminal allegations, charges, and a potential conviction, even if it’s for a misdemeanor crime, it is important that you seek the help of high-quality criminal defense lawyers to protect your rights, guide you through the legal process, and minimize the harsh consequences that may be in your future. Fortunately, you don’t have to look any further than right here at WeedenLaw.
Jeff Weeden chooses to practice law only with matters concerning criminal defense and is 100% dedicated to defending his clients in municipal, state, and federal court. His success in the area is best demonstrated through his previous client’s reviews and testimonials as well as the recognition he receives in the legal field. Mr. Weeden has been awarded several distinguished peer and client-rated honors, including a rating in the Top 100 trial lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association.
If you or someone you love is facing misdemeanor charges in Colorado, don’t underestimate what may be at stake. You need help from a law firm that has your best interests at heart. One meeting with Jeff Weeden, and you’ll know you’ve found your guy. To schedule your free case review and establish an attorney-client relationship with an aggressive criminal defense lawyer from our law office, give us a call at 720-307-4330 or fill out our online intake form today.
We proudly serve clients in and around the Denver metro area, including residents of Larimer County, Jefferson County, Arapahoe County, Douglas County, and more.