There are generally two major elements to a criminal charge: A person commits a criminal offense when there is a physical act that is prohibited by law coupled with a defined state of mind.
A criminal charge can be defended by attacking either the physical act or the state of mind or both. A criminal offense can also be defended by alleging that the act and mental state was justified or excused under the law. This is known as an “affirmative defense”.
There are many different levels of criminal offenses, ranging from municipal violations to state violations to federal violations. The severity of the offense is also determined by statute and ranges from petty offenses to 3 classifications of misdemeanor offenses and 6 classifications of felony offenses.
As may be expected, the punishment for each increases with the seriousness of the offense. While petty offenses and misdemeanor offenses can result in a jail sentence to the county jail, a felony offense can result in a sentence of incarceration to the state prison (known as the Department of Corrections).
In all criminal offenses, you are entitled by the United States Constitution, as well as the Colorado Constitution, to a fair trial. Very broadly, this right includes:
- The right to an attorney
- The right to a jury trial (unless the offense does not include the possibility of a jail sentence)
- The right to be present at all substantive proceedings in your case
- The right to defend and present evidence in your case
- The right to confront the witnesses and evidence presented by the prosecution
- And most importantly, the right to be presumed innocent of the charges until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by relevant and admissible evidence
These are all important rights which are the heart and soul of our criminal justice system. These are the rights an experienced and knowledgeable law firm, such as The Sarbaugh Law Firm, can protect and use to your advantage.
At the Sarbaugh Law Firm, we take great pride in our ability to vigorously defend the accused against criminal charges at all levels. We believe that the best outcomes start with the ability to understand the legal aspects of your case and make informed decisions.
We are tenacious in exploring all potential defenses and obtaining the best plea bargain offer from the District Attorney. We also understand that behind all the legal and factual arguments there is a real person – you. That is how we earned the phrase “Compassionate Excellence in the Pursuit of Justice”.
Let us put that Compassionate Excellence to work for you.