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How Much Does it Cost to Hire a DUI Lawyer in Colorado?

  • How Much Does it Cost to Hire a DUI Lawyer in Colorado?

    The cost of hiring a DUI attorney in Colorado can vary greatly between attorneys, but the reality is, hiring the wrong DUI attorney, may actually ending up costing you far more in the long run, and may even be worse than hiring no one at all. For this reason, you should at least speak with a skilled DUI attorney, before deciding who to hire. But make no mistake, you should not base your choice of an attorney solely on price. Choosing a lawyer is a highly personal decision, and I recommend you sit down with a number of attorneys, until you find the one who you’re most comfortable with.

    Legal fees can be daunting, especially when you didn’t plan on getting a criminal charge, but in the long run, the cost of hiring a skilled lawyer pales in comparison to the cost associated with a bad outcome. A DUI is a serious charge, which can impact you significantly in the future. You may be denied employment, or housing, not to mention the actual costs associated with the case itself. Some DUI attorneys charge a low fee because the will encourage you to take a plea very quickly, while others simply don’t have the experience to deal with the case.

    Most attorneys will charge a flat fee for DUI representation, but it’s important you know what that flat fee entails. Is there an extra charge for the DMV hearing? What about motions hearings, or trial? In general, I charge a flat fee, which is based on the anticipated work involved in the case. For that reason, there’s not a standard cost, and the fee varies from case to case, depending on a number of factors. Fee are individually tailored based on the case. While my firm isn’t cheapest in town, my fees are in line with the reputation I’ve earned and results I regularly obtain. Because I charge a flat fee, you know precisely what the costs associated with representation will entail. There’s no surprises or hidden fees. The bottom line is that you should never base your choice of an attorney on their price. Keep in mind that there’s a reason some attorneys charge more than others, and choosing the wrong attorney to represent you may end up becoming a very expensive mistake. I always offer a free consultation, where the costs associated with representation are clearly outlined, allowing you to make the most informed decision possible.

    Steve Rodemer is a criminal defense attorney and DUI defense lawyer in Colorado Springs at The Law Office of Steven Rodemer, LLC. Steve is a former prosecutor and has been named as one of the “Top 40 Attorneys Under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers for the past four years, a “Top 100” DUI Attorney by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense for the past three years, and named as a “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers in 2014 and 2015. Steve has been selected by the Denver Post as one of the Top Attorneys in Colorado in 2014 and 2015 and holds the rating of “10/10 Superb” from Avvo.com.

  • Will Your DUI Case Get Dismissed if the Cop Didn’t Read You Your Miranda Rights?

    One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is whether or not the police officer needs to read your rights to you, after they contact you for a DUI. Unfortunately, there’s not really an easy answer. The idea of “reading your rights”, or giving the Miranda warning, comes from a 1966 United States Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona. I won’t bore you with the details of the case, but the ruling is important. The Court held that “the defendant must be warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires” Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 479 (1966). In short, the police do not have to advise you of your rights unless you are in custody and being interrogated.

    So what is custodial interrogation? Again, no easy answer. The Colorado Supreme Court has held that “to determine whether a suspect was in custody, we ask whether a reasonable person in the suspect’s position would have felt deprived of his freedom of action to the degree associated with a formal arrest”. People v. Taylor, 41 P.3d 681, 691 (Colo.2002). But even this isn’t a clear answer. Anytime the law uses a “reasonable person” standard, things get messy. The following nine factors are considered to determine whether or not someone’s in custody for the purposes of Miranda:

    • the time, place and purpose of the encounter;
    • the persons present during the interrogation;
    • the words spoken by the officer to the defendant;
    • the officer’s tone of voice and general demeanor;
    • the length and mood of the interrogation;
    • whether any limitation of movement or other form of restraint was placed on the defendant during the interrogation;
    • the officer’s response to any questions asked by the defendant;
    • whether directions were given to the defendant during the interrogation;
    • the defendant’s verbal or nonverbal response to such directions.

    People v. Hankins, 201 P.3d 1218,1218-1219 (Colo.2009)

    So assuming the first prong of Miranda is met, that you are in custody, the next question turns to whether or not the government is interrogating you after you have been taken into custody. If you’re in custody, but the officer isn’t asking you any incriminating questions, the police officer does not have to advise you of your Miranda rights. They aren’t attempting to obtain incriminating information through your waiver of your 5th Amendment Right against self incrimination. Conversely, if you are not in “custody”, but the officer is interrogating you, they don’t have to advise you of Miranda because, logically, you can break off the contact at any time, simply by leaving.

    Now to the heart of the matter. If you were in custody and being interrogated and the officer failed to properly advise you of your Miranda rights, it still doesn’t mean that the case will be dismissed. Rather, there’s a concept in criminal law called the “fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine”, which says all evidence obtained through illegal government conduct, is suppressed from being entered at trial, as it is fruit of the poisonous tree. In practice, this means that the illegally obtained statements will not be admissible at trial to prove your guilt. Now, if the only evidence the government has to prove your guilt are those statements, then the case very well may be dismissed. Usually, however, in a DUI case, the driver’s statements are icing on the cake, so to speak. More often than not, there are physical observations (odor of alcohol, bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech to name the most common), subjective tests (ie. the field sobriety tests), a chemical test, and potentially other indicia of impairment, like bad driving for instance. It is very uncommon for a DUI case to be dismissed solely because due to a Miranda violation. However, that doesn’t mean that if there was a Miranda violation, you shouldn’t pursue it. Anything you can do to weaken the government’s case, should be done. Often times, in DUI defense particularly, the weaker and more difficult to prove the case becomes for the prosecutor, the better the offer or outcome is for you. Because of the complexity of DUI defense, it’s best to speak to an attorney who devotes a large majority of their practice to defending drivers accused of DUI. You have to much at stake to try and go at it alone.

    Steve Rodemer is a criminal defense attorney and DUI defense lawyer in Colorado Springs at The Law Office of Steven Rodemer, LLC. Steve is a former prosecutor and has been named as one of the “Top 40 Attorneys Under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers for the past four years, a “Top 100” DUI Attorney by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense for the past three years, and named as a “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers in 2014 and 2015. Steve has been selected by the Denver Post as one of the Top Attorneys in Colorado in 2014 and 2015 and holds the rating of “10/10 Superb” from Avvo.com. More information can be found at www.coloradospringscriminaldefense.net.

  • An Out-of-State Visitors Guide to Marijuana in Colorado

    On December 10, 2012, Coloradans passed Amendment 64, effectively legalizing the possession and sale of marijuana in the State of Colorado, making Colorado one of two places in the world where an adult, over the age of 21 can legally possess and consume marijuana recreationally. Amendment 64 gave the State until January 1, 2014 to create the framework and regulations necessary to allow for the retail sale of marijuana. Well January 1st came and went rather uneventfully, but stepping back and looking at the significance of that day, it truly is historic. Since then, I have received countless phone calls from people planning on visiting not just Colorado Springs, but really the State of Colorado, seeking advice on what they’re allowed to do while here, in terms of purchasing and consuming marijuana. It is my goal to address many of the most common questions I’ve been asked.

    Can I Buy Marijuana While I Visit Colorado?

    In short yes. Any adult, over the age of 21 can possess and consume marijuana in the State of Colorado. The law makes no distinction about in state residents versus tourists, in terms of the possession, purchase or consumption of marijuana in Colorado.

    How Much Marijuana Can I Have?

     This is where the law does make a distinction between residents and visitors. An adult with a valid Colorado ID can purchase up to one ounce of marijuana, while an individual with an out of state ID can purchase up to one quarter ounce at a time.

    How Do I Purchase Marijuana?

     Think of it much like purchasing alcohol. All you have to do is present a valid government issued ID, showing you are over the age of 21, and you are free to make your purchase up to the legal amount.

    Where Can I Buy Marijuana?

     Initially the State licensed 136 stores, statewide, allowed to sell marijuana. Keep in mind that cities, towns and counties are allowed to ban the sale of marijuana, and many have, like Colorado Springs for instance. Probably the best guide I’ve seen on legal pot shops was put together by the Denver Post.

    Are There Restricted Store Hours for Pot Shops?

     Yes, Colorado law states that stores cannot open before 8:00am and cannot be open past midnight. Keep in mind though that each jurisdiction is allowed to make more restrictive hours and many have. Denver, for instance, won’t allow stores to remain open past 7:00pm.

    How Can I Transport Weed I Legally Bought?

    The best advice I can give on this issue is to place it in a closed trunk. This way, if you are stopped by law enforcement, there’s no question that you weren’t consuming it.

    Can I Get a DUI For Smoking Weed in Colorado?

    YES. In fact, Colorado has made it easier to prosecute you for driving stoned. Colorado has adopted an “express consent” law. This means that by virtue of operating a motor vehicle on Colorado roads, you consent to a chemical test of your blood or breath if an officer has probable cause to believe you are impaired. If the Officer believes you are high, they will require a chemical test of your blood. This allows them to determine how many nano-grams of active THC metabolites are in your blood at the time of driving. If you have more than 5 nano-grams of active THC metabolites, you are presumed to be substantially impaired, meaning that a DA could tell the jury that, regardless of any other indicators of impairment, or how well you did on the roadside tests, its OK for them to presume you were driving stoned. In short, don’t drive high.

    Isn’t Weed Still Illegal Under Federal Law? Will the Feds Prosecute Me?

    Yes and no. Marijuana remains illegal under Federal Law. That being said, the federal government has said that they will not prosecute the possession or sale of marijuana, so long as state law is being complied with, and those laws are “robust”. Colorado has tried to make the regulations regarding possession and sales of marijuana robust and well regulated, so as to prevent federal interference.

    Can I Use My Credit or Debit Card to Legally Purchase Weed?

    Someday. As it stands right now, pot shops are cash only businesses, due to federal banking regulations regarding money laundering and banks doing business with individuals dealing in areas illegal under federal law. This requirement will likely be changing soon though.

    Where Can I Smoke Weed in Colorado?

     This is probably the biggest challenge for out of state residents traveling to Colorado to smoke marijuana. Public consumption remains illegal, therefore, its really best to consume it in the privacy of your own home (although this too is an issue because landlords have the right to say no). You cannot consume it in National Parks, at Ski Areas, outdoors, and even a hotel has the right to say no, just like they can prevent you from smoking cigarettes in your room. I’ve been asked if you can smoke in your parked car. NO, please don’t ever smoke pot in a car, regardless of if it is parked and off, this is a recipe for disaster.

    Anything Else I Should Know Before Coming to Colorado to Purchase and Smoke Marijuana?

     First, the rules are constantly changing; I’ve tried to be as up to date as possible, but its best to check with an attorney before coming. Next, keep in mind that Colorado’s legalization is essentially an experiment and many other states and the federal government are watching it closely.  Don’t do anything that could jeopardize its success. Don’t commit crimes, don’t provide marijuana to underage people, don’t try to take it home with you. Remember, if you ever want pot to be legalized in your state, it likely has to succeed in Colorado, don’t do anything that would potentially add to the negative statistics.

    -Steven Rodemer, Esq.

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