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Denver Criminal Lawyer Explains Bail For DUI Charges

October 10, 2018

When you think about setting bail, the first thing that comes to mind is likely facing a tough criminal charge. After all, unless you’re facing charges for something extreme like robbery or assault, a bail amount probably won’t be set, right? The truth is, it all depends on the severity of your DUI, the way you responded during the arrest, and whether or not anyone else was injured while you were under the influence. Though an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney will be able to help you present your case, it’s up to you to understand and navigate the bail process. 

Bail Can be Set for DUI Charges

Though bail is far more common for criminal charges like robbery or assault, they can be set for DUI cases. However, in order for a judge to set bail, the charges against you must be severe enough that you’re not released pending trial. Remember, posting bail is meant to help you get out of jail until the court can hear your case. If you’re not being held prior to your trial, there’s no need for the judge to set bail in the first place.

What Circumstances Would Result in Bail Being Set?

For first-time offenders where the arrest went smoothly and no one was injured, bail not even need to be set. Often, the court system accepts what’s called a personal recognizance bond which allows you to promise the justice system that you’ll appear in court on time. These are accepted in lieu of money.

However, for individuals with an extensive criminal record, repeat DUI offenders, or drivers that injured or killed another person while behind the wheel, bail will likely be set anywhere between $500 and $50,000. The more criminal activity you have on your record, the higher the amount will be. Similarly, if driving under the influence resulted in injury to another party or extensive property damage, the court will likely set a high bail amount if the judge decides to set bail at all.

Bail is Not a Legal Right

It’s entirely up to the court to decide if the charges against you warrant setting bail in the first place. If the judge determines that you’re a flight risk or that the DUI was so severe that you represent a danger to the community, they’re free to hold you in jail until your appointed court date. Keep in mind that you are legally entitled to an attorney and the court cannot bar them from meeting with you to discuss the charges you’re facing. If you’re refused bail, your defense attorney will be able to visit with you in jail to go over the case and help you prepare your statement. 

Whether you post bail or wait for your court date in jail, it’s important to have a good attorney to represent your case. Contact The Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. and schedule a free consultation with our legal team. We’ll give you the undivided attention you deserve, whether it’s your first offense or your fifth. Call (303) 501-1800 to schedule an appointment.

Understanding Pre-Employment Criminal Background Checks with an Experienced Denver Criminal Lawyer

October 3, 2018

Being convicted of a crime has far-reaching effects on your life, well beyond spending time behind bars. Not only does it inconvenience your family, but it also makes finding a job after your conviction far more difficult. Many employers conduct background checks prior to hiring employees, and even if your Denver criminal defense attorney reduced the severity of the charges against you, you could still face a certain amount of discrimination during the job hunt. Before you apply for your first job after a conviction, it’s important that you understand your rights. Here’s what you need to know about pre-employment criminal background checks.

Employers Are Allowed to Ask About Your Record

On most applications, you’ll see a question asking if you’ve been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Though not necessarily a guarantee that you’ll get passed over for the job, it can influence an employer’s decision to hire you. However, it’s in your best interest to be honest about your record. If the employer asks for a criminal background check, your record will come up anyway.  

If the case has been sealed, you’re free to respond to their questions as though the conviction never happened. Sealed cases will not show up on your record and the employer does not need to know what happened, unless you want to explain it to them. 

You Have to Give Them Permission 

Before any employer can run any kind of background check, they must notify you of the check in writing. They cannot perform the background check until you sign and date the request. Doing so would be a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Though you’re free not to give permission for the check, doing so could disqualify you from consideration for the position. 

The Employer Cannot Legally Discriminate Based on a Record

Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee because they have a criminal record. However, though the law may say one thing, employers often do another. Unfortunately, a record could cause an employer to immediately think of you as irresponsible, untrustworthy, or other such association. Even if they do not believe they’re actively discriminating against you, the charges could lead them to favor another applicant. If you believe you’re being discriminated against, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and file a complaint. 

When in Doubt, be Honest 

Though a criminal background check cannot be run without your consent, it’s still best to be honest with your prospective employer. If, after the background check, they ask about your record in an interview, state the facts. Explain what happened, what you were charged with, and answer their questions as honestly as possible. Just make sure to stand up for yourself—you’ve changed even if your record hasn’t and you deserve another chance to better yourself. 

If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t take the risk of letting the Public Defender represent your case. Schedule a consultation with The Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. Our team understands that mistakes happen and we’ll make sure your case is represented fairly.

Underage DUIs Explained by a Denver Criminal Lawyer

September 12, 2018

When we think about drunk driving and DUI charges, it’s far easier to imagine an adult behind the wheel. It’s far easier to make the mistake of getting behind the wheel impaired when it’s legal for you to purchase alcohol. Unfortunately, it’s not just adults that find themselves in need of an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney. In fact, many younger drivers get charged with an underage DUI each year. As a parent, you’ll do anything to protect your child, even from the legal system, but if you’re not sure what to expect, helping your child can be a real challenge. Here’s what you need to know about underage DUI convictions.

Alcohol Levels are Different For Teens

As an adult, you can legally be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent. Since it’s legal for you to drink alcohol, the law does not penalize you for getting behind the wheel if you’ve had a beer or two at the bar after work. However, for teens, the limit is significantly lower. For all individuals under age 21, the limit is .02 percent. If an officer smells alcohol on their breath, it may be enough take them into custody even if they were not driving erratically. Remember, it’s illegal for individuals under age 21 to consume alcohol in any amount.

Penalties and Punishments

Teens make mistakes and though law enforcement is strict about preventing underage drinking, they understand that your teen needs to learn from the experience. For most first-time offenses, teen drivers can expect a fine, suspension of their license for at least three months, and mandatory community service. For additional charges, teens might be expected to lose their license for a full calendar year, additional community service hours, and possibly even a jail sentence or probation. Ultimately, the sentence your teen is given will vary based on the circumstances surrounding the arrest. If they were caught driving and no one was injured, the sentence will be lighter than if they were responsible for property damage or injuries.

What a DUI Means for Their Future

DUI charges can have far-reaching effects on more than just a teen’s driving record. It can influence college scholarship awards, admission, and even impact their ability to get a job, just as it would if they were an adult. There can be social stigma attached to the experience as well, making it more difficult for them to integrate into their existing social scene at school. Even underage DUI charges are a serious matter and it’s important to explain what could happen to your teen if they’re found driving under the influence.

If your teen has been charged with an underage DUI, it’s important to get help from an experienced attorney immediately. The legal system can be difficult to navigate on your own and a dedicated lawyer will be able to ensure that your teen’s case is represented fairly throughout the entire process. Contact the Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. today and schedule a free consultation.

Denver DUI Attorney Discusses Prescription and OTC Drugs That Can Cause Impairment

August 8, 2018

When most people think about driving while impaired, their mind immediately goes to alcohol—or in our state of Colorado where it is legal, marijuana. But the truth is, impairment comes in other forms, including that which is a result of using prescription and nonprescription medications. To offer some clarification on what types of drugs can cause impairment, Denver DUI attorney John L. Buckley weighs in on what will and won’t cause impairment.
Symptoms of Impairment
There are plenty of medications that will not cause any type of impairment. But some do, particularly those used to treat pain or relieve cold or allergy symptoms. Some medications can have similar effects to drinking alcohol. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, in 2016, more than 20 million people of driving age drove while under the influence of alcohol and nearly 12 million drove while under the influence of other drugs.

These are some of the potential side effects of driving while under the effects of medications:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Chest Pain
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Nausea
Having these side effects while driving can put you at risk for getting pulled over for a DUI. Even if you are using a doctored-ordered prescription medication, this is no excuse for driving while impaired.
If you get pulled over while impaired, read our recent blog post to find out what you should do if you have been arrested for DUI.
The Impairing Effects of Prescription and Nonprescription Medication
It will probably come as a surprise to many people that some medications you pick up at your local drugstore can be just as dangerous as alcohol when it comes to operating a motor vehicle. Avoid getting yourself into trouble with a DUI by doing some research ahead of time.

Here are some common drugs—both prescription and over-the-counter—that can cause serious impairment:

  • Antidepressants: Some antidepressants have sedation qualities that can cause impairment that looks similar to being drunk.
  • Valium: Even a small amount of this popular tranquilizer can cause impairment that is similar to having a blood alcohol concentration that is above the legal limit.
  • Antihistamines: Many of these popular drugs, taken for colds and allergies, cause coordination to become clumsy and reaction times to slow down.
  • Decongestants: Stuffy nose relief can have side effects, including drowsiness and dizziness.
  • Sleeping Pills: You might take these at night, but there can be residual amounts in your body in the morning, causing you to be an impaired driver.
  • Hydrocodone: This common pain reliever has effects similar to opiates, causing impairment similar to using morphine and codeine.
If you have been arrested for driving while impaired, be sure to hire an experienced attorney. At the Law Office of John L. Buckley, we will fight on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome. Regardless of the charges you are facing, we can help you prepare the best defense. Everyone deserves fair and reliable representation from an expert such as those at the Law Office of John L. Buckley, PC. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.  

Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Weighs in On the Rules of Boating

August 1, 2018

Colorado may be a land-locked state, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of boating opportunities along the Front Range. With areas such as Chatfield Reservoir and Cherry Creek Reservoir, Coloradans can boat several months out of the year. But with boating and fun often comes the consumption of alcohol, and Denver criminal defense lawyer John L. Buckley would like to remind residents that boating under the influence is dangerous—and it’s against the law.
You can read the specifics on boating under the influence and the laws that surround boating at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

Use Proper Etiquette When on the Water

Colorado’s boating community includes wakeboarders, water skiers, anglers, personal watercraft users, and many other motorized boating participants. Other popular water sports include kayaking and paddle boarding. With all that activity, the water can get a bit crowded sometimes. Many people are new to some of these sports, so they might not always be aware of the rules that should be followed to keep everyone safe.
One of the most important things to remember is to keep a proper distance between yourself and any other watercraft. There should always be a 150-foot distance between boats and anyone fishing on shore. This also pertains to nonmotorized vehicles such as kayaks and paddleboards.
If you are in a fishing boat, keep in mind that anchoring in a spot where there are a number of paddleboarders might not be the best idea. You should know the designated travel routes for skiers and wakeboarders so you do not anchor in their path. It just makes sense to be courteous of others.
Keep in mind that the minimum age to operate a motorized boat in Colorado is 16, although there is an exception to this: 14-year-olds may operate a boat if they have completed a boating safety certificate class. The speed limit in the water is no more than 40 miles per hour.

Don’t Consume Alcohol When Operating a Vehicle on the Water

If you are ticketed for boating under the influence, you will lose the right to operate the vessel for three months. If you are caught a second time, then you’ll be forced to suffer a ban for a full year.
It’s important to note that the word “vessel” does not just refer to motorized boats. Jet skiers, canoers, and so forth are also subject to operating under the influence fines. Keep in mind too that even if you are idling on the water without actually moving—even if the engine is off—this is still considered “operating” under the law.

If you have been cited for a boating violation such as boating under the influence, be sure to hire an experienced attorney. At the Law Office of John L. Buckley, we will fight on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome. We understand this can happen, and we do not believe that a single mistake should ruin anyone’s future. Regardless of the charges you are facing, we can help you prepare the best defense. Everyone deserves fair and reliable representation from an expert such as those at the Law Office of John L. Buckley, PC. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.