Posted On: March 30, 2009

Process Service - A Thankless Job!

By Mark C. Cohrs
Senior Investigator
The Gasper Law Group

One of the most seemingly simple, yet underestimated tasks that a law office faces is that of process service. From the recipient of the dreaded Summons and Complaint that transforms the law abiding citizen into a “Defendant”, to the unsuspecting soon to be “ex”, the experienced process server needs to expect the unexpected.

Although a recipient will occasionally respond with a relenting “Thank You”, the server will more likely hear a less endearing phrase as he or she retreats to their car, hopefully before the vicious dogs accidentally escape out of the subject’s house. On the other hand, the server can experience simultaneous confusion and relief when the 6’4", 300 pound biker named Tiny holds out one hand to for the divorce papers, and shakes the server’s hand with a John Wayne grip and says, “Come in for a beer and celebrate with me.”

The successful process server not only needs to become an expert in surveillance techniques, but is also expected to identify and convince an uncooperative subject to open the door and accept service. Incidentally, the word “accept” is subjective in itself, and is often interpreted to mean that the documents were literally thrown at the subject’s feet, followed by the phrase “You got em now.” And let’s not forget that the private server doesn’t possess any type of badge or uniform. In fact, the closest thing to a uniform that a savvy server will wear is a Domino’s ball cap, and their only available weaponry may consist of an empty pizza box, or perhaps a bouquet of flowers for those really desperate assignments.

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Posted On: March 20, 2009

Divorce and Crime - A Package Deal

By THE GASPER LAW GROUP
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Oftentimes, family clients will come in with not just a divorce proceeding, but with a restraining order and domestic violence charge. It seems one case goes hand in hand with the other. Other times, the divorcing parties are getting along so well that there is no need for the “packaged deal.” But when one partner gets out of hand, all of the issues boil over and the results are three cases rather than one. In order to better illustrate these issues, we will use the example of Brian and Jane.

This boil over usually starts when one partner becomes physically violent, or just refuses to accept the relationship is over. That partner, Brian as we will call him, is then arrested for domestic violence against the other, Jane as we will call her. When Brian, now called a defendant, appears for his arraignment, usually one business day after the occurrence, the Magistrate will issue a “No Contact Order.” This criminal “No Contact Order” prohibits contact between Brian and Jane for a period of 72 hours. The Court will also issue a criminal restraining order, which prohibits Brian from harassing, molesting or intimidating Jane throughout the course of the criminal proceeding. This continues even after a plea has been entered and throughout the period of deferred sentence or probation.

However, Jane may still feel uneasy about having only a criminal restraining order. That is when Jane obtains a civil protective order. This is the type of restraining order most people are familiar. Jane requests a restraining order through the court, and is generally granted a Temporary Protection Order. The Court then sets the matter for a hearing to determine whether the Order will become Permanent.

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Posted On: March 17, 2009

Unforgiven - The Truth About Record Sealing In Colorado

By Caryn J. Adams
Managing Associate Attorney
The Gasper Law Group

Brace yourself. I’m going to give you the bad news right upfront: You cannot seal the records of a criminal conviction in Colorado. Can’t do it. Period. Colorado’s rules on sealing are limited to cases where charges were never filed in the first place, where all counts have been dismissed, or where the defendant has been acquitted.

“But my case was over years and years ago,” you say. “I successfully completed probation. I did everything the judge and the District Attorney asked of me. Surely there must be some way I can wipe my record clean?” Sorry, old criminal records never die… and they sure as heck don’t fade away.

On the other hand, there just might be some good news for you if you were granted a deferred sentence. A deferred sentence is a deal where you agree to plead guilty and the District Attorney agrees to put off your sentencing for a period of time, up to two years in misdemeanor cases or four years in felony cases. Then, if you complete certain terms and conditions (substance abuse treatment or domestic violence counseling, for example) and stay out of trouble in the interim, at the end of your period of deferment all charges against you are dismissed. In such cases, the District Attorney may sometimes ask you to waive (or give up) your right to have your case sealed, but if not, congratulations, you’re eligible for sealing.

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