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Criminal Sentencing in Colorado Courts

Criminal Sentencing in Colorado courts is a thing of art. Today, I watched a public defender take a fellow with a new probation revocation for felony theft, after a terrible criminal history, and get him a sentence of only ten days of jail and probation. That was a thing of art.

Courts and judges have a ton of tools at their disposal for criminal sentencing on a felony or misdemeanor in Jefferson, Douglas, Arapahoe, Adams and Denver County. Included within these are probation, jail, jail plus probation, prison (Department of Corretions), house arrest, a SCRAM unit, monitored sobriety, community service (aka useful public service), alcohol treatment, sex offender treatment, drug treatment, therapy, mental health counseling, letters of apology, and driving classes. One or a combination of these tools, are present in most cases.

Colorado law lets the judge order a sentence for most anything as long as it is "reasonably related" to the defendant's rehabilitation. That is a broad way of saying, "if it will make it less likely the defendant will reoffend, then the court can order it."

We typically think of jail or prison as the worst possible sentence. I don't want to go to jail or prison because it would limit contact with family and make it impossible to pay my bills. Financial ruin is almost a certainty. The public defender I mentioned above knew that his client was likely to get a jail or prison sentence, and yet he avoided it where most judges would have given a stiff sentence. He appealed to the judge's broader perspective about our community. He appealed to the judge's interest in children and family. The public defender spoke of how his client provided for his little sister's support and his little eighteen month old child's support. He also focused on the young man having just obtained a full-time position with a national soft drink company. This was effective lawyering.

Experienced Colorado Criminal Lawyers can search a client's background, criminal history, work status, family status, unhealthy lifestyle, and the facts of the case, for a creative approach with a judge. These attorneys have sat through hundreds of sentencing hearings of their own, and those of other attorneys. We watch and learn, while waiting for our cases to be called up. I recently watched five different sentencings before my client was called to the podium. After twenty years of watching, I've learned what judges like to hear and what they are repulsed by. I've learned how to teach my clients what to say and what not to say. This is an important component to any lawyer - client relationship. In fact, it is one of the most important.

If a case is not dismissed, criminal sentencing is where most cases end up. We work with District Attorneys, probation officers, treatment providers, family members, and even victims, to make sure you receive the best sentence possible. So, if you have a criminal case on the horizon, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719, together, we can protect your future.

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