Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

By Staff Attorney

The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

Young woman in a hemp field checking plants and flowers, agriculture and nature concept
On November 6, 2012, Colorado passed Amendment 64, which radically changed the state’s legal stance towards marijuana, reforming Colorado’s laws to allow for recreational use of the drug. At the time, critics warned of potential negative consequences of the legislation. On January 1, 2014, establishments throughout the state began to sell marijuana to the general public. Twenty-eight months into this new paradigm, let’s assess the impact the legalization has had on various aspects of public life. Were the critics right or not?

By Staff Attorney
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

The following strange and fascinating cases bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “getting away with murder.”

  1. The Matrix Defense

In July of 2002, Tonda Lynn Ansley of Hamilton, Ohio shot and killed her landlady, claiming that she was part of a scheme to “brainwash and murder” Ansley. Shortly after the incident, Ansley told police, “They commit a lot of crimes in The Matrix.” Her attorney supported an insanity defense by arguing, “Our world is just an illusion generated by our machine overlords.” A jury of her peers found Ansley not guilty by reason of mental defect.

Sleepwalking Man - 04-19-16

  1. Homicidal Sleepwalking

On May 23, 1987, Kenneth Parks got out of bed, got in his car, and drove 14 miles to his in-laws’ house, where he fatally stabbed his mother-in-law. After the incident, he got back in his car and drove to the police station to turn himself in, telling officers, “I think I may have killed some people.” Although everyone was skeptical about the sleepwalking defense, results of an EEG confirmed that Parks had abnormal brain activity indicative of extreme parasomnia. These findings combined with a lack of motive led to Parks’ acquittal in 1992. Continue reading →

By Staff Attorney
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

Teen Drinking

Life After DUI License Suspension: 7 Keys to Making Life Work, Even If You Have No Car

You received a DUI, and the DMV suspended your license. However, your life hasn’t stopped, and you need to figure out how to make your schedule work, even without a car. While you are admittedly in a tight situation, it’s not impossible to navigate the obstacles ahead. Even so, you can survive without a car with some planning and foresight. The following seven tips can help you do so successfully.

Keys to Survival without a Vehicle

  1. Plan ahead – You will not be able to wait until you are down to a banana and a half a carton of milk with no other food in the house before you schedule a trip to the grocery store. Instead, strategize more carefully to stock up on food and sundries and get to work and other appointments as needed.
  2. Walk – For short distances and time permitting, walking saves you money. It’s also a great way to get in shape and make good on your New Year’s resolution to (finally) use that FitBit you got last year. However, if you have far to go, or if you’re facing inclement weather, this option might prove impractical or dangerous.
  3. Bike – Like walking, bicycling is cost-effective and healthy. You can travel even further and commute much more quickly. However, you can be hindered by poor weather or road conditions. You will also need the proper provisions, like a tuned-up bike and state of the art helmet to avoid crashing and head injuries.
  4. Public transportation – Leave the driving to someone else and read, catch up on email, relax or even nap while on the bus or train.
  5. Ask for rides from a family member or friend – Don’t be shy about asking for help when you need it! Especially if you have obligations that you cannot eliminate – such as business trips and child care obligations – you need to lean on your support system. To avoid inconveniencing those offering the help, plan and combine your trips to maximize the efficiency of your excursions.
  6. Use Uber or similar types of taxi services – These services provide the convenience of door-to-door transportation at a reduced rate.
  7. Get creative, and combine methods – Walk or bicycle to public transportation and then hop on the bus, putting your bicycle on the back. Or run to work (for the exercise), and then take an Uber home (to avoid being out alone in the dark).

Continue reading →

Colorado Flag on Cannabis background

By The Gasper Law Group
Staff Attorney

If police recently arrested you for marijuana DUI, or your daughter called from a jail cell after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed and scared. At the same time, you might also be curious about how Colorado’s recent legalization of cannabis has affected DUI rates and police enforcement attitudes.

The discussion below explores an overview of the changes.

Fewer Pot Arrests

Ever since Colorado’s landmark legislation allowed adults to possess, cultivate and privately use marijuana, unsurprisingly, there have been fewer cannabis-related arrests. Colorado state data show a dramatic decline in possession charges from 30,000 in 2010 to below 2,500 in 2014. In addition, an analysis of National Incident Based Reporting System data found a 41 percent reduction in all drug arrests during the past two years.

Police Shift Stance on Cannabis 

A Police One poll reveals evolving attitudes among law enforcement officials as well. In 2009, 64 percent of police opposed legislation legalizing pot. A recent poll shows that stance softening somewhat; today only 56 percent of law enforcement in the state think the law was a bad idea. Police do remain divided on the issue, but more and more officers now view cannabis in a nuanced light. Continue reading →

By Caryn J. Adams
Partner and Attorney
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

I often tell those who come to see me that a good criminal defense attorney plays two principal roles. On the one hand, a defense attorney does in court everything that you would expect a defense attorney to do: negotiate with the district attorney, argue your case to the jury, present you in the best light possible to the judge, file applicable legal motions (to suppress evidence, to preserve evidence, to reconsider a judicial ruling, etc). This is usually how people think of attorneys, and it’s often how attorneys think of themselves. When attorneys get together, the conversation often turns to the last trial won or last motion successfully argued in court. However, the courtroom is only half the job.

A good defense attorney plays a different role in the privacy of the conference room or the office when talking with her client. Outside of the court room, a good defense attorney is responsible for providing all of the information to a client required for a client to make a good decision about his own family and life. Criminal defense attorneys know that each person comes to the table with different priorities. A younger person accused with a crime might be more worried about keeping his record as clean as possible, so as not to lose out on any employment or educational opportunities down the road. A retiree accused with a crime might be more focused on mitigating the punishment, worried about how his health will affect his ability to perform community service or how his lack of employment might limit the jail alternatives available to him. Some folks need the ability to move or work out of state as soon as possible. Others are worried about being asked to leave their military careers, college campuses, or places of employment. In any case, it’s the attorney’s job to listen to and understand those needs and talk about the criminal case in the context of how the client’s goals can be met (or not). Continue reading →

By Caryn J. Adams
Partner and Managing Attorney
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

Several times in the past few months, I’ve talked with people, both clients and other acquaintances, with some odd misconceptions of what it’s like to serve a short jail sentence. And here, I’m talking about nothing more severe than a month or two in the county jail. Prison, of course, is a complete different creature. Some of the questions about jail were born of fear. Some were born of idle curiosity.

Now, a little disclaimer: For all that I’ve been inside the local jails in El Paso, Teller, Douglas, and Pueblo Counties many, many times, I’ve never actually served a jail sentence. Sure, I’ve been visiting when an emergency within the jail has kept me locked up an hour or two more than I expected, but I never had any doubt that the deputies would release me, eventually. I’ve never spent a night in a jail bunk, rather than my own bed.

In writing this blog, I called the jail and asked if someone could direct me to a FAQ sheet. Apparently, there wasn’t one of the kind I was seeking. However, Sgt. Gregory White, a Public Information Officer with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office was kind enough to answer some basic questions about the Criminal Justice Center, our local jail. His answers to the following questions I can confirm through my own second-hand experience: Continue reading →

By Caryn J. Adams
Partner and Managing Attorney
The Gasper Law Group

Drug Cases: Different Rules for Sealing

To every rule, there is an exception. To the rule that no conviction may be sealed, the exception is criminal conviction records for some offenses involving controlled substances. Pursuant to C.R.S. 24-72-308.5, as of July 1, 2008, a person may petition the court to seal the conviction records for drug offenses at the petty, misdemeanor, or class 5 or 6 felony level. There are, as you might expect, several conditions to be met:

1) The petition has to be filed no sooner than ten years after the final disposition or end of probation, whichever is later; and
2) The petitioner cannot have been charged or convicted for any criminal offense in the intervening ten years; and
3) For convictions entered before July 1, 2008, the district attorney must consent to the sealing of the records. Continue reading →

“You are under arrest for assault … you have the right to remain silent … “
So what exactly are they saying you did? I mean, all you really did was defend your honor in the bar when someone else said something to your girl, right?

Well, assault in Colorado comes in different degrees, but always represents some form of threats of physical harm, attempts to cause physical harm, and offenses actually causing bodily harm. If you use a “deadly weapon” during the assault, you’ll be facing felony-level charges, even if that deadly weapon is a bottle, or a piece of wood, or your own hands.
The penalties can be quite harsh.

Third Degree Assault is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, and it is also considered an “Extraordinary Risk Crime”; a defendant can face incarceration of up to two (2) years. If the victim of the misdemeanor assault is pregnant at the time of the assault, and if you know she’s pregnant, then you’re facing a mandatory six (6) month jail sentence. Continue reading →

“You are under arrest for Domestic Violence … you have the right to remain silent … “
By The Gasper Law Group, PLLC, Criminal Division Staff

Domestic violence” in Colorado is defined as “an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship”. ‘Domestic violence’ also includes any other crime against a person, or against property, including an animal … when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.”
It’s true … you may not even have struck your spouse or girlfriend. All you did was put a hole in your own wall while busting up your hand in the process. Domestic Violence! Oh, and these crimes carry with them some pretty severe punishments. If you are convicted, your conviction may be posted on public databases for the rest of your life. No problem, you can just have your record sealed, right? Ah, not so fast. Currently, Colorado law prohibits the sealing of any domestic violence convictions. That means EVER. Continue reading →