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4th of July Fireworks Safety

  • 4th of July Fireworks Safety

    Fireworks Safety

    We Americans love fireworks! It is estimated that more than one billion dollars are spent on fireworks every year, in America. And what better way to show off your patriotism than those red, white and blue explosions filling the night sky. But as spectacular as a dazzling fireworks display can be, they can also be a huge liability for people due to the high probability of injury.

    Over 12,900 people were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in 2017. Injuries can range anywhere from minor burns to more substantial medical concerns such as blindness or loss of an extremity. And in extreme cases, fireworks malfunctions can even lead to death.

    When a fireworks injury occurs, there will often be a follow-up insurance claim or even a lawsuit. These lawsuits are most frequently for negligence, someone failing to implement a reasonable level of care to make sure all safety precautions were appropriately taken. For more information on possible negligence charges when dealing with fireworks injuries, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Colorado Springs lawyer near you, they will be able to give you the clarification you are looking for.

    Fireworks Injury – How to Avoid Being Sued

    The easy answer to this one is don’t use fireworks. It’s the best way to make sure you stay safe and keep a mishap from occurring. However, if you do decide to use fireworks it is important to understand Colorado’s laws regarding the purchase and use of these explosive devices. For a more comprehensive explanation of what fireworks are legal in the state of Colorado click here.

    If you plan to use fireworks at your own personal residence make sure your homeowners or renters insurance has a high enough liability limit, or get an umbrella policy, to cover yourself should an incident occur. This will protect you from financial liability in the long run.

    If you are a company that puts on pyrotechnic displays, it is immensely important to make sure your insurance liability premiums are up to date. Other factors that would be investigated, should there be an injury would include:

    • Selection of venue: if it left spectators too close to the fireworks displays
    • Inadequate barrier usage or crowd control management
    • Failure to account for wind conditions and other potential hazards
    • Improper maintenance of fireworks launching equipment 

    The financial liability to cover medical costs for a fireworks injury can run as high as six figures in some cases, so make sure you have followed every safety protocol, to legally protect yourself and your company.

    Using Fireworks Safely 

    No one wants an injury to occur. To keep the probability of a fireworks accident from occurring always adhere to the following safety tips.

    1. Always follow the directions on the fireworks package, and never modify or experiment with homemade fireworks.
    2. Never let children use fireworks without adult supervision. Even seemingly harmless fireworks such as sparklers still burn at high temperatures and can cause severe burns if used improperly.
    3. Only set off fireworks outdoors, away from houses and fire hazards such as tall grass, dry leaves, and other fireworks.
    4. Do not try to reignite used or malfunctioning fireworks.
    5. Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergency purposes, and soak any used or misfired fireworks before discarding to prevent fires or accidental ignitions.

    If You’re Dealing With a Fireworks Mishap

    If the unavoidable has occurred, and an accident and injury have taken place it is wise to immediately consult with a defense attorney skilled at dealing with fireworks injury cases. Multiple factors will need to be considered to determine fault and responsible party.

    If you or your company is facing negligence charges in or around Colorado Springs, call the Law Office of Steven T. Rodemer for quality legal representation you can count on. Steven has years of experience defending against all kinds of criminal accusations. A former prosecutor, he enjoys a stellar reputation in the Colorado Springs area and has earned the respect of judges, other lawyers, and former clients. Reach out to us today, the initial consultation is free.

  • Will Your Domestic Violence Case Be Dismissed if the Victim Doesn’t Come To Court?

    No face, no case….not so fast. I’m routinely asked if someone facing domestic violence charges needs a defense attorney if the victim doesn’t want to, or isn’t going to come to court and testify. The answer is still yes, for a variety of reasons, which I’ll explain below.

    Colorado is a “No Drop Prosecution State”

    First and foremost, under Colorado law, if a prosecutor believes they can prove a prima facie case, they are not allowed to dismiss or plea a domestic violence charge to a non-domestic violence charge. Simply because the victim no longer wishes to go forward does not mean the case can’t be proven, and therefore, it’s unlikely that the DA will dismiss the case simply because the victim no longer wishes to prosecute.

    Moreover, there are ways to compel the victims attendance in court, ie. a subpoena. If the DA has the victim validly served and they do not appear in court, the DA can ask for a bench warrant for their arrest. While this is a drastic remedy and relatively uncommon, if they wist to pursue this route, they can and do.

    The DA May Not Need the Victim to Prove the Case

    Simply put, the DA may not need the victim to prove the case. If you admitted to anything, if a third party witnessed any of the acts, if the victim immediately sought medical treatment and made statements to the doctor, if the victim called 911 and was sobbing as she told the operator what happened, if….well you get the point. There are literally to many scenarios to list where evidence of the crime may successfully be admitted in Court without the victim’s cooperation, and could result in a conviction. This fact, coupled with Colorado’s ‘no drop’ law, means that even if the case becomes more difficult to prove, the DA still must move forward. Hence the reasons why you need to talk to a criminal defense lawyer who regularly handles domestic violence cases.

    Don’t I have a Right to Confrontation?

    Yes. The United States Constitution Guarantees you the accused, the right to confront and cross-examine any witnesses who are compelled to testify against them. The problem with allowing a victim’s statements to be told be an officer who recorded them, without the victim testifying is that the statements are hearsay. So they shouldn’t come in right? Wrong. As with all rules, there are exceptions. In this instance, the United States Supreme Court case Crawford v. Washington is what creates the exception. Crawford lays out a three prong test that the Court must consider when determining if statement’s the victim made are admissible at trial, when the victim themselves doesn’t testify. I won’t bore you with the analysis applied in Crawford, but be aware that the victim’s statements or observations, maybe admissible at trial, even if they aren’t testifying.

    The bottom line is, you shouldn’t assume that the simply because the victim of a domestic violence charge doesn’t wish to cooperate means that the case is going to be dismissed, you should always consult with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney before you make what could be a costly error.

    What Our Clients Say

    “I can not even begin to explain the gratitude that I have for Steven, Lauren, and Andrew. I came into this situation confused and worried that I was going to be convicted. I left acquitted of all charges. Steven and Lauren destroyed that court room in what seemed to me a very challenging case. I don’t care what charges you stand accused of but if you have these guys on your team you need not worry.”

    Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Will Cockerham
    June 2019
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  • The Cost of Hiring a Cheap Defense Attorney in Colorado Springs

    Being charged with any criminal defense, whether DUI, domestic violence, or any other offense, is never planned and likely isn’t something you’ve been stashing money away for. Naturally, it’s tempting to search for “cheap criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs”, or “cheapest DUI lawyer near me”, in hopes of finding someone who is willing to handle your case for a small amount. But the truth is, simply hiring a cheap DUI or criminal defense attorney can be a fatal mistake and has the potential to make an already bad situation go from bad to worse.

    The Pitfalls of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney Based on Price

    The reality is, cost shouldn’t be a factor in whomever you ultimately decide to hire. I often tell prospective clients, and I firmly believe, when looking for an attorney to handle your criminal or DUI charge, you should meet with as many defense attorneys as it takes until you to find one who you feel comfortable with. Whether you meet with one and click, or meet with a hundred before you find the one that clicks, feeling comfortable and respected, as well as having confidence in the criminal defense attorney’s ability is imperative. And the cost has nothing to do with that analysis.

    The pitfalls of looking for “cheap criminal or DUI defense attorneys” are many. First off, if you ignore the above advice, you will likely end up having someone whom you don’t trust, don’t feel respected by, and generally don’t click with as your counsel. What’s worse is that for most attorneys, the price they are quoting you has a direct correlation to the amount of time they are anticipating putting into the case. Clearly there are exceptions to this rule, for instance, on a number of occasions, I’ve quoted a price significantly below the amount of work I know I’ll put into the case for a variety of reasons. Maybe the case has a particularly novel legal issue that interests me, or maybe I believe the system hasn’t been working right for that client, but for the most part, the cost of an attorney directly reflects the time they will put into your case.

    Next, if a Colorado criminal defense attorney is cheap, there’s often a reason why. Do they need the business that badly that they’re willing to charge such a small amount to get your case? Are they young and have no experience or don’t have a clue how much time they should be spending on the case? Do they have the resources to properly defend you? The answer to many or all of these questions is usually the reason you shouldn’t limit yourself to searching for the cheapest DUI lawyer in Colorado Springs, or the cheapest criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs.

    What You Should Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

    The bottom line is that the cost of an attorney’s representation ideally shouldn’t be a factor in who you end up hiring. You should look at the types of cases they handle, have they handled cases like yours? What were the outcomes? Do they know the judges and DA’s involved in your case? (keep in mind that knowing the judge or DA is only important because its helpful to know how a prosecutor handles a case, or how a judge is likely to rule on various issues, don’t let any attorney tell you that knowing either the judge or DA will help change the outcome, it simply doesn’t work that way. No judge and no DA treat any defense attorney differently because they are friends. If an attorney tells you they’re friends with the judge and can get a better deal, turn and run) Have they taken cases like yours to trial? What resources do they have, investigators, experts, etc? What do you get for the cost you’re being quoted, does that amount include trial, and when does their representation end? When was their most recent trial and what was the outcome? Attorneys should be able to answer these questions and not dodge them. You also shouldn’t expect to hear answers you want to hear, but you should expect to hear the truth. For instance, if an attorney is asked when the last time they went to trial was, if the response is “2 years ago”, that isn’t a bad thing, but the important thing is that they’re being honest with you.

    Hiring the Most Expensive Attorney Doesn’t Guarantee Results

    Much like hiring the cheapest DUI or criminal defense lawyer isn’t what you should be looking for, hiring the most expensive attorney does guarantee your case will end favorably. No attorney, whether cheap or expensive can change the facts. We’re not magicians who can simply wave a wand to change the government’s evidence. The important thing is trust and experience. Whomever you hire needs to have a great deal of experience so they’re giving you informed advice, and just as importantly, you need to trust them enough to know the advice they’re giving you is in your best interest. Bottom line. So as you begin the process of looking for a DUI or criminal defense attorney, don’t simply go on Google and search for “cheapest DUI lawyer near me” or “cheap criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs.” You’re making an important decision and it pays to do the research. Look at the reviews attorneys have, they results they get, and meet with as many as it takes for you to feel like you click. The results of your case will be better, and your overall experience will be far more positive.

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

    The cost of hiring a DUI attorney in Colorado Springs can vary greatly, but the reality is that hiring the wrong 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 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 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.

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  • 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.

    What is Custodial Interrogation?

    Again, there’s 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)

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

    Updated November 20, 2019.

    The State of Colorado updated their marijuana laws, legalizing the possession and sale of marijuana on December 10, 2012, by passing Amendment 64. This made Colorado one of two places in the world where an adult, over the age of 21 can legally buy, possess and consume marijuana recreationally. Since that time, I have received countless phone calls from people wondering how much pot can they buy in Colorado, if anyone can buy weed in Colorado, and other marijuana-related questions while planning a visit to not just Colorado Springs, but the State of Colorado. It is my goal to address many of the common questions I’ve been asked.

    How Much Do You Know About Marijuana?

    The laws regarding the use of marijuana both medicinally and recreationally are constantly changing across our country and across the world. Test your knowledge to see how much you know about marijuana.

    Can Anyone Buy Weed or Marijuana In Colorado?

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

    How Much Pot or Marijuana Can You Buy In Colorado?

    While Colorado law has made a distinction between residents and visitors in the past, currently, a non-resident may purchase the same amount of marijuana as a resident. An adult with a valid 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. Keep in mind that all marijuana is not flower, and the 1-ounce restriction applies to flower marijuana only. Colorado considers 1oz of flower to be the equivalent of 8 grams of concentrate (shatter, wax, etc.), or 800 milligrams of edibles.

    How Do I Purchase Marijuana in Colorado?

    Think of purchasing weed or marijuana 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 of marijuana up to the legal amount.

    Where Can I Buy Marijuana in Colorado?

    Initially, the State licensed 136 stores, statewide, the allowance 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 and reputable places to purchase weed was put together by the Denver Post.

    Are There Restricted Store Hours for Purchasing Weed From Pot Shops?

     Yes, Colorado marijuana 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. Make sure to check the hours for the specific store you plan to buy marijuana from.

    How Can I Transport Weed I Legally Bought?

    The best advice I can give on the issue of transporting weed 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 on marijuana. Colorado has adopted an “express consent” law for marijuana, which set’s a per se limit on how much THC can be in your blood, much like a BAC of .08 is the per se limit for alcohol. 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 from drugs or alcohol. If the Officer believes you are high, they will require a chemical test of your blood. This allows them to determine how many nanograms of active THC metabolites are in your blood at the time of driving. If you have more than 5 nanograms 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, it’s 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?

    Hopefully 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 Pot in Colorado?

     This is probably the biggest challenge for out of state residents traveling to Colorado to smoke marijuana. Public consumption remains illegal, therefore, it’s 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.

    What Our Clients Have to Say

    “Choosing the right lawyer can be intimidating. We were in a situation where we needed an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. I looked at dozens of websites and profiles, interviewed 4 lawyers in person, and Steve Rodemer was our top choice. We had a complex case and needed a skilled criminal defense attorney who was: versed in recent statute changes, aggressive, had excellent trial litigation skills, experienced with the unique complexities of the juvenile system, all without putting us into tremendous debt. In our initial consultation, he picked up the phone and talked directly to the ADA, giving us immediate answers and results. The process took nearly 10 months but Steve was there every step of the way. He did an exceptional job translating all the legal jargon, coaching us thru our appearances and ensuring we were satisfied with results. There is no one else I want on my side if I need to fight a battle again – he will be my first call. I strongly recommend Steve Rodemer to anyone who needs a lawyer.”

    Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Ariane
    January 18, 2019
    Read more reviews on AVVO!

  • How Many Points Do I Have On My License?

    Most states (but not all states) have what we call a “point system” used to track traffic offenses and ultimately drivers who accumulate too many points in a certain period of time can lose their license. One question I’m often asked by individuals looking for an attorney to handle a traffic matter is, “How many points do I have on my license?” The short answer is I don’t know, but there are ways of finding out. Because I’m an attorney licensed in Colorado, this article will deal mainly with the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles; however, most states will be similar to Colorado. It’s best you check with an attorney who deals with traffic issues in your state for more information.

    First, what is a “point,” for the DMV’s purposes? A point is an assigned number given to certain offenses. The more severe the offense, the more “points” that will be assigned to that offense. The accumulation of too many points in a certain period of time will normally result in the driver’s license being revoked for some time. Sound fairly vague? Well, it’s meant to be, there are a lot of grey areas in the whole “points” issue. In Colorado, a driver between the ages of 16 and 18 can accumulate 6 points in any 12 consecutive months, or 7 points for the period of the license, so really a driver can only accumulate 7 points between the ages of 16 and 18. Once a driver reaches age 18 but before they turn 21, they can accumulate 9 points in 12 consecutive months, 12 points in a 24 month period of time, or 14 points for the duration of the license. Finally, when a driver reaches age 21, they can accumulate 12 points in 12 months or 18 points in a 24 month period of time.

    Now, I mentioned that different offenses are assigned different points based on the severity of the offense. For instance in Colorado, a DUI is a 12 point offense, meaning that if you went to court and pled guilty to DUI, 12 points would automatically be entered against your license and you would get a “point suspension.” Offenses like speeding are assigned points based on the speed over the posted speed limit you are cited for. So for instance if you are cited for traveling 1-4 miles over the speed limit, you would not receive any points, 5-9 over is a 3 point offense, 10-19 miles per hour over is a 4 point offense and so on. Once a driver receives a “point suspension” its important that they contact an attorney who deals with these types of cases because there are things that can be done to preserve your privilege to drive. For instance, we can request a “points hearing,” where we appear in front of a DMV hearings officer and they consider certain aggravating and mitigating evidence to determine the length of the suspension, as well as whether or not they will grant a restricted license during the suspension.

    How Many Points Can I Have on My License?

    Finally, as to the question “how many points do I have on my license”, the only way to determine that is either keep track of the convictions you have received and their corresponding points, or request a certified copy of your driving record from your states DMV. If you live in Colorado, the easiest way to do this is to send a letter requesting a copy of your drivers license to Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Control Section at PO Box 173350-3350, Denver CO 80217, along with a check or money order for $9.00 if you are requesting a non-certified copy or $10.00 if you are requesting a certified copy. Unfortunately, this is the only way a driver can truly find out how many points they have on their license.

    Do You Have More Questions?

    If you have questions about your particular situation, call The Law Offices of Steven Rodemer today for advice! Our office happily takes calls 24/7 to help when you need them most. Don’t hesitate to call (719) 635-7886 today!

    Steve can be reached at 90 South Cascade Avenue, Suite 1420, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, (719) 635-7886. www.coloradospringscriminaldefense.net

    Steven Rodemer, Esq.

    What Our Clients Have to Say

    “Choosing the right lawyer can be intimidating. We were in a situation where we needed an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. I looked at dozens of websites and profiles, interviewed 4 lawyers in person, and Steve Rodemer was our top choice. We had a complex case and needed a skilled criminal defense attorney who was: versed in recent statute changes, aggressive, had excellent trial litigation skills, experienced with the unique complexities of the juvenile system, all without putting us into tremendous debt. In our initial consultation, he picked up the phone and talked directly to the ADA, giving us immediate answers and results. The process took nearly 10 months but Steve was there every step of the way. He did an exceptional job translating all the legal jargon, coaching us thru our appearances and ensuring we were satisfied with results. There is no one else I want on my side if I need to fight a battle again – he will be my first call. I strongly recommend Steve Rodemer to anyone who needs a lawyer.”

    Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Ariane
    January 18, 2019
    Read more reviews on AVVO!

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