Public Nuisance in Denver

Public Nuisance and Abatement Lawyer in Denver - Take Your Car for Prostitution?

Denver's public nuisance law, located at Denver Revised Municipal Code D.R.M.C. 37-1, is a good example of taking a well-intentioned law and permitting its excessive abuse. We have seen the city take the cars of men who are accused of prostitution, and keep them. Public nuisance law is designed to stop uses of property, both real and personal, which are harmful to the public. For example, a yard or lot which is not maintained well due to weeds, junk or chemicals. Denver government and the State of Colorado, have set up laws to take the property of anyone who uses it for a violation of the law. This is an unnecessarily harsh approach to enrich government.

Definition of Public Nuisance in Denver - Attorney's Law for Use in Courts

Here is a portion of the Denver Public Nuisance ordinance, which is too long to fully list.

Class one (1) Public Nuisance: Any parcel of real property, personal property, or motor vehicle on or in which any of the following illegal activity occurs, or which is used to commit, conduct, promote, facilitate, or aid the commission of or flight from any of the following activities (the same illegal activity definition as in the Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.), or the section of the Denver Revised Municipal Code (D.R.M.C.):

1. Prostitution, 18-7-201, C.R.S.; soliciting for prostitution, 18-7-202, C.R.S.; pandering, 18-7-203, C.R.S.; keeping a place of prostitution, 18-7-204, C.R.S.; or pimping, 18-7-206, C.R.S.;

2. Professional gambling, 18-10-102(8), C.R.S.; maintaining a gambling premises, 18-10-102(5), C.R.S.; or keeping of a gambling device or record, 18-10-102(3) and 18-10-102(7), C.R.S.;

3. Unlawful manufacture, cultivation, growth, production, processing, sale, distribution, storage, use, transportation, or possession of any controlled substance, sections 18-18-102, 18-18-402, 18-18-403, 18-18-404, 18-18-405, 18-18-406, C.R.S.; any imitation controlled substance, sections 18-18-420(3) and 18-18-421, 18-18-422, C.R.S.; or any counterfeit controlled substance, Section 18-18-423, C.R.S. except for simple possession of less than eight (8) ounces of marijuana;

4. Felony or misdemeanor theft by receiving, 18-4-410, C.R.S.;

5. Unlawful manufacture, sale, advertisement, or distribution of drug paraphernalia, sections 18-18-426, 18-18-427, 18-18-429, 18-18-430, C.R.S.;

6. Prostitution of a child, 18-7-401, C.R.S.; soliciting for child prostitution, 18-7-402, C.R.S.; pandering of a child, 18-7-403, C.R.S.; keeping a place of child prostitution, 18-7-404, C.R.S.; pimping of a child, 18-7-405, C.R.S.; or inducement of child prostitution, 18-7-405.5, C.R.S.;

7. Sexual exploitation of children, 18-6-403, C.R.S.;

8. Two (2) or more offenses of disturbing the peace, Denver Revised Municipal Code, section 38-89 within any one-hundred-eighty-day period;

9. Unlawful discharge, possession, carrying, flourishing, concealment, storage, use, or sale of firearms, knives and/or assault weapons, dangerous weapons, or defaced firearms, Denver Revised Municipal Code sections 38-117, 38-119, 38-121, 38-122, and 38-130, and C.R.S. Sections 18-12-102, 18-12-103, 18-12-105, 18-12-106, 18-12-108, 18-12-108.5, or any offense relating to incendiary devices, section 38-126, Denver Revised Municipal Code and C.R.S. section 18-12-109;

10. Any gang-related criminal activity;

11. Any drive-by crime, section 16-13-301, C.R.S.;

12. Three (3) or more offenses within any one-year period of selling, serving, giving away, disposing of, exchanging, delivering, or permitting the sale, serving, giving or procuring of any malt, vinous, or spirituous liquor, or fermented malt beverage, to or for any person under lawful age or to a visibly intoxicated person, as prohibited by C.R.S. section 12-47-901(1)(a) et seq., as amended. Each incident, to be counted as an offense within the meaning of this section, must occur on separate dates and rely on discrete facts; or

13. The sale at retail of any malt, vinous, or spirituous liquors, or fermented malt beverages in sealed containers, or the manufacture, sale, or possession for sale of any malt, vinous, or spirituous liquors, without holding a valid license in full force and effect to do so under title 12, article 47, C.R.S., as prohibited by C.R.S. 12-47-901(1)(f) and (g);

14. The unlawful transportation or storage of any property that is the subject of a felony theft, misdemeanor theft, or theft by receiving under title 18, C.R.S.;

15. The storage or concealment of weapons or tools used in the commission of crimes of violence, C.R.S. section 16-11-309, drive-by offenses, C.R.S. section 16-13-301, or any offense in paragraph 9. above;

16. Vehicular eluding, C.R.S. section 18-9-116.5, or eluding or attempting to elude a police officer, C.R.S. section 42-4-1413;

17. Speed contests, C.R.S. section 42-4-1105;

18. Habitual traffic offenders, C.R.S. sections 42-2-202, 42-2-206;

19. Sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults, C.R.S. sections 18-2-101, 18-3-402, 18-3-404, 18-3-405, 18-3-405.3, 18-3-405.5; or

20. Indecent exposure, C.R.S. section 18-7-302.

21. Keeping, maintaining, controlling, renting, or making available property for unlawful distribution or manufacture of controlled substances, and marijuana [large section with details excluded here]

21.1. Keeping, maintaining, controlling, renting or making available property for the unlawful operation of a medical marijuana dispensary without a license, article XI, chapter 24, D.R.M.C.; or

22. Criminal mischief where the aggregate damage exceeds one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), C.R.S. section 18-4-501; or

23. Impersonation of a police officer, C.R.S. section 18-8-112, D.R.M.C. article II, chapter 38, section 38-33; or

24. Illegal dumping, D.R.M.C. chapter 48, section 48-44; unlawful disposal of trash in certain containers, D.R.M.C. chapter 48, section 48-44.5.

Public Nuisance Law Abuse - for Profit or Protection of Citizens in Denver, Colorado?

While the idea is to protect the health and welfare of citizens, taking any property involved in a crime or unhealthy behavior is government greed. Confiscation of real and personal property is simply not needed to protect the public. For example, is it necessary to take the car of someone because they were involved in Eluding? Why not stop and ticket the person? Courts can suspend a license or prevent someone from driving. Should you take the house of someone because they sold drugs out of it? Why not arrest the person and put them in jail? That would stop the behavior and protect the public's interest.

Confiscation of Property by Denver in Public Nuisance Cases - Nuisance Abatement for Profit

Denver may state that profit or punishment is not the goal of their Public Nuisance law, but that is hardly the truth in practice. Here is what they try and sell to the public under their Nuisance Abatement law:

Sec. 37-70. Policy

"(a) The most effective tools for abatement of public nuisances are the civil remedial actions provided in this article, including temporary restraining order, seizure, injunction, closure, receivership, and destruction. The purpose of this article is not to punish, but to remedy public nuisances. The actions provided in this article are designed to remedy public nuisances by removing real property, motor vehicles, and personal property from criminal use and as a base of criminal operations, to ensure that criminal activity and the use of property for criminal purposes is unprofitable, to require that the profits of criminal activity be disgorged, to make property owners vigilant in preventing public nuisance offenses on, in, or by the use of their property, and making property owners responsible for the public nuisance use of their property by tenants, guests and occupants, and to deter public nuisances."

In further terms of this broadly worded law, people's property is taken and sold for the profit of the City and County of Denver. It is not about abatement, or stopping the unhealthy or unlawful behavior - it is about getting money. We think this law is overkill and property confiscation should be limited to repeat offenders who have been given a warning and continue in the conduct. It should not be used as measure of first resort, like it often is.

Public Nuisance Law on Denver Prostitution, Solicitation, Gambling, and Disturbing the Peace

This short list includes some of the crimes for which you can lose your business, home or car. We think these crimes do not deserve such a drastic remedy as property confiscation. Confiscation is a huge overkill and should only be used when someone is a repeat offender following a very clear warning. Why not rely first on traditional criminal remedies like jail or fines? Because that would not enrich government.

Lawyer for Public Nuisance When Charged with Maintaining a Public Nuisance in Denver

Sometimes, our attorneys are aware of alternatives to losing your house or car. Call our Public Nuisance defense lawyers when you are charged with a Public Nuisance and we will come to your defense. It is worth the visit to our office to save your home or car. Together, we can protect your future.

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