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Criminal Defense in Denver: Can A Police Officer Search Your Phone During A DUI Stop?


July 19, 2017

You’ve probably heard “you have the right to remain silent” on your favorite crime or cop TV show, but do you know your other rights? If a police officer pulls you over because he believes that you are under the influence of alcohol, he may want to search your phone to look for more evidence. Do you have the right to say no? According to John Buckley, an attorney who practices criminal defense in Denver, you can absolutely say no to this request.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that police officers cannot search someone’s private property without that person’s consent or a search warrant. In 2014, the Supreme Court heard a case regarding whether warrantless cell phone searches were prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. The court ruled those police officers are not allowed to search through someone’s cell phone without a warrant or the person’s consent. Learn more about the Fourth Amendment here.

Why would a police officer want to search your phone during a DUI stop? Police officers are interested in finding evidence that you were recently drinking. They may look through your photos to see if there are any recent photos of you chugging a beer or taking shots. He could also look at your texts to see if you engaged in conversations with friends or family about how intoxicated you are. All of this evidence can be used to prove that you were driving while under the influence of alcohol.

But, there are some exceptions where police officers can legally search your phone even if you do not give their consent and they do not have a warrant to conduct the search. If the police officer believes that there are exigent circumstances, he may conduct a search of your phone without waiting to obtain a warrant. For example, if the police officer believes that there is evidence on your phone that may be destroyed if it is not captured right away, he may use this as a reason to search your phone without a warrant.

It’s also important to note that if you are arrested, a police officer can seize your phone and hold onto it until he has obtained a warrant. There is no guarantee that the police officer will be able to obtain the warrant, though.

It’s imperative to understand these rights so you know how to protect yourself in the event that you are pulled over by a police officer. If a police officer asks if he can search your phone, politely and firmly say that you do not consent to the search. Even if you don’t think there is anything incriminating on your phone, it’s best to say no to this request.

If you are arrested and charged with DUI, seek legal representation from the Law Office of John Buckley right away. Our attorneys work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley to schedule a legal consultation regarding your case.
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Criminal Defense in Denver: Challenging Blood Tests After A DUI


July 12, 2017

Under most circumstances, drivers in Colorado must be given the option of taking a breath or blood test if a police officer suspects that they are driving while intoxicated. Blood tests are typically considered to be more reliable than breath tests, but that doesn’t mean the results of these tests cannot be disproven. An attorney who practices criminal defense in Denver may be able to challenge the results of a blood test using one of these strategies:

Error During the Collection Process

Law enforcement must follow certain steps when collecting a sample of blood from a suspect in order to ensure the results of the test are accurate. If the person who draws the blood makes an error, it’s possible that there will be a false positive result. The person who takes the sample from you has been trained, but don’t mistake him for a doctor. These individuals may have limited experience, especially in the field of forensic blood collection, so it’s very possible that they could make an error that could affect the results.

Error During the Storage of the Sample

After the blood is collected, it must be put into storage right away to preserve the quality of the sample. In addition, the blood must be kept in certain conditions while in storage. The blood is stored until someone is able to analyze the sample to determine if the driver was intoxicated. Even if it is only stored for a short period of time, an error made in the way that it is stored can greatly affect the results.

Why does storage matter so much? Blood samples usually contain yeast, sugar, and bacteria, among many other substances. If the sample is not properly stored, fermentation may begin, which increases the level of alcohol within the sample. This means the person who analyzes the blood sample may conclude that the driver was intoxicated because he detects a higher amount of alcohol than what was actually in the driver’s blood prior to fermentation. Read more about claims and responses to common challenges and defenses in driving while impaired cases.

Testing Issues

The tests that are performed on the blood sample cannot determine when the alcohol being measured first entered the driver’s bloodstream. This means if fermentation does occur after the sample is collected, the test will not notify law enforcement officers that although the alcohol level is high, it is not the driver’s fault.

Certification/Qualification Issues

It’s possible that the person who drew your blood was not qualified to do so. In rare cases, an attorney may determine that the laboratory that tested your blood was not certified to perform this sort of analysis. In either event, an attorney can argue that your blood test results are not reliable because of this lack of certification or qualification.

If you have been charged with DUI, contact the Law Office of John Buckley right away. We work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation regarding your case.
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Arson Criminal Charges Explained by Denver's Top Criminal Lawyer


July 5, 2017

According to Denver criminal lawyer John L. Buckley, arson is one of the most serious property crimes that you can be charged with in the state of Colorado. If you have been accused of committing this crime, it’s important that you understand the charges against you. Here’s what you need to know about arson:
 

What is Arson?

You will be charged with arson if you intentionally or recklessly set fire or use explosives to destroy your own property or the property of another person without that person’s consent.
 
You can be charged with arson in the first, second, third, or fourth degree in the state of Colorado. The charges that you face will depend on the type of property involved in the crime, the value of the damage, and whether you set the fire recklessly or did it intentionally. First degree arson is the most serious arson crime, while fourth degree arson is the least serious.
 

Felony vs. Misdemeanor

Arson can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on a number of factors, including whether the property was occupied or not, your intent, whether you endangered anyone by committing this crime, and the amount of damage caused by the fire.
 

Defenses to Arson

There are a number of defense strategies that can be used to fight arson charges. Your attorney may be able to prove that the fire should not be considered arson because it was accidental. An attorney may also use witnesses or other evidence to prove that you are a victim of mistaken identification.
 
In some cases, your attorney will try to poke holes in the prosecution’s theory as to why you committed arson. For instance, let’s say you are charged with third degree arson because law enforcement believes you committed arson with the intent to defraud your insurance company. A criminal defense attorney may be able to disprove the theory that you had the intent to defraud. As a result, your charges may be dropped or reduced. Learn more about the defense of a criminal arson case.
 
Some defense strategies focus solely on getting the charges reduced instead of completely dropped. For example, second degree arson is a felony if the property damage is valued at over $100. If you have been charged with second degree arson and there is a lot of evidence that proves you did start the fire, your attorney may focus on proving that the value of the damage is less than $100. If he can prove this, your charge will be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, which means you will face less serious penalties.
 
If you have been accused of arson, contact the Law Office of John Buckley right away. Our team will immediately begin to investigate your case and devise an appropriate defense strategy that will help us reach the best possible outcome. We work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation regarding your case
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Criminal Defense Lawyer in Denver Explains Things You Should Know About Domestic Violence


June 21, 2017

In Colorado, domestic violence occurs when an individual commits an act of violence or threatens to commit an act of violence against someone that he has or has had an intimate relationship with. Other crimes that are committed as a way to coerce, punish, intimidate, or control an intimate partner can also be considered domestic violence. For example, destroying your spouse’s property as a way to intimidate him or her is domestic violence. If you are accused of domestic violence, you will face serious penalties that will affect you for the rest of your life. Here’s what a criminal defense lawyer in Denver thinks you should know:

There are mandatory arrest laws in Colorado.

If police officers believe you have committed domestic violence, they must arrest you because of the state’s mandatory arrest laws. This is true even if the victim of the crime tells the police officers that he or she does not want to press charges against you. Likewise, victims cannot ask law enforcement officers to drop the case against you after you have been arrested and charged.

A mandatory protective order will be issued.

As soon as you are arrested for domestic violence, a mandatory protective order will automatically be issued against you. This order will prevent you from getting into contact with the victim of the crime. Due to this mandatory order, you may be required to:
  • Stay away from the victim’s home (even if it is your house, too)
  • Refrain from consuming alcohol
  • Possess no weapons
  • Avoid communication—either direct or indirect—with the victim even if the victim attempts to contact you
If you violate any of the terms of the protective order, you will be charged with a misdemeanor crime and will face additional penalties.

A domestic violence conviction will affect your ability to own a firearm.

There are federal and state laws in place that prevent those who have been convicted of domestic violence from owning firearms. Even if you legally purchased the gun prior to being accused of domestic violence, you no longer have the right to own the weapon if you have been convicted of this crime. Learn more about domestic violence and firearms in Colorado.

You may be labeled as a habitual domestic violence offender.

If you have three convictions on your record that involved domestic violence, the next time you are convicted of domestic violence, you will be labeled as a habitual domestic violence offender. This means you will face much more serious consequences for your fourth conviction, including increased fines and longer prison sentences, because you have been labeled as a habitual offender.
 
The consequences of a domestic violence charge are serious and can greatly affect your life for years following the conviction. If you have been accused of domestic violence, contact the Law Office of John Buckley right away. We work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation regarding your case.
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Denver Criminal Defense Attorney Explains the Difference Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary


June 14, 2017

People often use the terms theft, robbery, and burglary interchangeably, but this isn’t correct according to Denver criminal defense attorney John Buckley. These are actually three separate crimes in the state of Colorado, so it’s important that you understand the difference in the event that you ever face charges for committing one of these crimes.

Definition of Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

You commit theft if you knowingly steal another person’s property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the stolen items. Robbery is very similar to theft with one exception: the use of force. If you steal another person’s property using force, intimidation, or threats, then you have committed robbery.
 
Many people think that burglary is the act of breaking into someone’s house and stealing things, but that’s not necessarily true. A person commits burglary when he unlawfully enters a property with the intent of committing a crime—any crime, not just theft. For example, someone who breaks into a school with the intent of vandalizing the classrooms has committed burglary. Therefore, theft does not have to be involved in order for someone to be charged with the crime of burglary.

Penalties for Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

Theft, robbery, and burglary are separate criminal charges in the state of Colorado and therefore each have unique penalties. The penalties for theft vary depending on the value of the property that you stole. If the value of the property is less than $50, you may face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500. However, these penalties get much more serious as the value of the property increases. For example, when the stolen property is valued between $5,000 and $20,000, you may face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Learn more about Colorado petty theft and other theft laws.
 
If you have been convicted of committing robbery, you may face up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. These penalties are increased if you used a deadly weapon while committing robbery. In this case, you could face up to 32 years behind bars.
 
The penalties that you face for burglary charges will depend on whether you are charged with first, second, or third degree burglary. The most serious of these charges is first degree burglary, which carries a maximum penalty of 24 years in prison and up to $1,000,000 in fines.
 
Luckily, someone who has been charged with one of these crimes will not necessarily be convicted. It’s up to you to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you fight these charges and avoid these serious penalties.
 
If you have been arrested and charged with theft, robbery, or burglary, contact the Law Office of John Buckley. We work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation regarding your case.
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