Grand Junction Felony Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you’ve been charged with a felony in the State of Colorado, you need legal help right away. The penalties for a felony conviction can stick with you for the rest of your life, send you to prison for a long time, hurt your ability to find work, and strip your rights away.
At Peters & Nolan, LLC, we’ve dedicated our careers to Western Slope residents, whether they have been charged with minor traffic offenses or major felonies. We believe everyone deserves to have their Constitutional rights upheld, and we know firsthand that our legal system doesn’t always treat the accused fairly. We will build a case based on your unique situation while treating you with courtesy and respect.
Every minute counts when you’re dealing with the criminal justice system in Mesa County. Contact our Grand Junction criminal lawyers today at (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free consultation.
Felonies are the most serious crimes you can be charged with in Colorado, and they carry the stiffest penalties. They are divided into six classes, with varying degrees of severity.
The most lenient class, Class 6 felonies, includes criminal impersonation, theft of property valued between $2,000 and $5,000, unlawfully transporting explosives, and more. Sentencing can range from one year to 18 months in jail, and up to $100,000 in fines, with a mandatory year of parole. If the crime creates “extraordinary risk of harm” to another person, the maximum sentence increases to two years in prison.
Next up are Class 5 felonies, like third-degree burglary, criminally negligent homicide, criminal trespass, defrauding a savings and loan institution, and theft of property valued up to $20,000. The penalties range from one to three years in prison, with fines up to $100,000 and at least two years of parole. An extraordinary risk classification bumps the maximum penalty to four years.
A Class 4 felony might be manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, violating a custody order by taking a child out of the country, or second-degree assault. The maximum penalties for a Class 4 felony are six years in prison, plus $500,000 in fines and a mandatory three years of parole. If you are classified as an extraordinary risk felon, the maximum prison sentence increases to eight years.
You might be charged with a Class 3 felony for crimes such as aggravated robbery, first-degree assault, second-degree kidnapping, human trafficking, or second-degree murder. The penalties for these crimes max out at 12 years in prison, a $750,000 fine, and a mandatory parole period of three years. Extraordinary risk could add four years on top of the maximum prison term.
Class 2 felonies include first-degree kidnapping, sexual assault, trafficking of illegal aliens, and child abuse that results in the death of the child. The maximum prison sentence is 24 years in prison, with a $1,000,000 fine and three years of parole.
The most serious criminal charges in Colorado are Class 1 felonies. These are reserved for the most serious crimes, including first-degree murder and treason. The penalties include life in prison or the death penalty.
You may have heard of the two categories for crime in Colorado: felonies and misdemeanors. While the difference between these two may seem arbitrary to you, the type you’re charged with says a lot about the penalties you face. Most crimes are either misdemeanors or felonies, although some are classified as “wobblers,” which means that, depending on the circumstances of the crime, they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you have committed what would be considered a more minor crime. Common misdemeanor crimes include petty theft, trespassing, and vandalism. The time behind bars for a single misdemeanor will not exceed one year, and you will be sent to a low-security jail for that duration of time. For some misdemeanor crimes, you may not even face jail time, and may instead be issued minor fines, community service, or probation.
On the other hand, felonies are considered far more serious. A felony conviction will almost always result in serious penalties, including a sentence of over a year in prison. State prisons, unlike county jails, are high-security, and are built to hold prisoners for an extended period. After a felony conviction, you will rarely avoid prison. On top of the time behind bars, you will most likely have to pay a hefty fine, as well as lose some rights you currently enjoy as an American citizen.
What can make a felony conviction particularly difficult to live with is the fact that even after being released from prison, you will continue to be punished. In Colorado, like the rest of the country, convicted felons lose out on certain rights. Losing these rights isn’t just inconvenient; it can have a serious impact on your ability to live your day-to-day life. You may not be able to find a home or job after your release, or seek help from the government, local or federal. Rights you could lose after your conviction include:
- The right to vote while in prison
- The right to own a firearm
- The right to travel internationally
- The right to government employment
- The right to certain government aid programs
Your criminal record will also be free for anyone to access, including landlords who may deny your application for housing as a result. When seeking employment, you will be required to declare your felony conviction, which can limit your ability to find work. This may leave you homeless and without a source of income, yet you won’t be able to get assistance from certain government programs.
Perhaps worst of all, those convicted of felonies often lose custody of their children. This is for many reasons. First, you will likely be behind bars for a long time, at least a year. Children need an adult to support and raise them and cannot wait for you to be released. So, sole custody may be given to your spouse, your child’s other parent, or another adult relative.
Second, the court will consider what is best for your child above everything else. Even if you know that you are a good parent, you may still be considered a dangerous influence on your child. This is especially true if the crime you were convicted of was violent. The court may decide not to risk giving you any custody rights and take your child away. This would be heartbreaking for any parent. That is why fighting a possible criminal conviction is so important.
If the local police suspect you’ve committed a felony, you need to get professional help, even before you’re arrested. A capable lawyer will do everything in his power to get your charges reduced or dropped before your case goes to trial. The minute you engage the trial lawyers at Peters & Nolan, LLC, we’ll get to work building a strong defense on your behalf. We’ll investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and look for mistakes or violations on the part of the investigating officers or the prosecution.
We know the stakes, and we care deeply about the welfare of our clients. We pledge to work with you to procure the best possible outcome. Our track record of success shows we can take on the most serious cases. Call a Grand Junction felony defense attorney today at (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
- Charges: Felony theft
∗ Result: Not guilty at trial
- Charges: Felony theft and trespass of an auto
∗ Result: Not guilty at trial
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∗ Not all criminal cases are the same. These results are from actual cases handled by the attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC. This is not a representation, guarantee or promise as to the results or outcome of your particular matter.
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Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.