The Firm in the News
Attorney Nancy Salomone wrote the following brief discussions of specific criminal defense issues for publication in the Boulder Daily Camera:
Question: If a person with no prior criminal history is arrested and charged with a DUI, what could be the consequences to his Colorado drivers’ license?
Answer: The Department of Motor Vehicles imposes separate and additional penalties on intoxicated drivers than those imposed by the courts. Colorado law requires every driver to submit to a chemical test of his breath or blood when it is requested by a police officer. Refusal to submit to testing will result in a loss of driving privilege for at least one year. Providing a breath or blood sample with alcohol content above the legal limit also results in suspension of driving privileges. DMV actions can be disputed at an administrative hearing when a prompt request for hearing is made by the driver. Additional penalties are sometimes imposed based on the outcome of the DUI case in the criminal courts, but even an eventual exoneration of the criminal charges will not reverse or prevent the consequences imposed by the DMV.
Question: On television programs, the police always inform a suspect of his right to remain silent the moment they make an arrest. Does the law actually require the police to do this in real life?
Answer: It is a common misconception that a police officer must read a person his rights at the moment of arrest. Although every citizen always has a right against self-incrimination, the law only requires a formal advisement if two specific circumstances are present: First, advisement is required only if the officer plans to question the suspect about the offense. If no questioning is intended, no advisement is necessary. Second, advisement is required only if the suspect being questioned is actually under arrest, which generally means handcuffed or otherwise physically detained. When an officer visits a person’s home, approaches him on the street, or detains him in a traffic stop, it is not a full-blown arrest and rights are usually not read. Even when there is no advisement, however, the right to remain silent always exists. A citizen who wants to avoid police questioning should consider asking the officer whether he is free to leave. Even if not free to leave, the citizen may respectfully decline to answer questions without a lawyer present.
Question: Many years ago, I made a mistake and was charged with a crime. Can the record of my arrest come back to haunt me years later?
Answer: If you were arrested or charged with a crime as an adult, chances are good that a record of the incident would be revealed by the kind of routine background check that is a part of many applications for jobs, housing, college, and business or professional licensing. If the arrest or charge ultimately did not result in a criminal conviction, however, Colorado law allows you to protect yourself by having these records sealed. Sealing your record does not make it disappear, but it does remove the record from public access so that it will no longer appear on a background check. It also allows you to deny the existence of the record if asked on an application or in an interview. Record sealing requires the completion of a petition in the county where the original charge was filed. It is a good idea to consult with an attorney before filing, because notice of the petition needs to be given to numerous agencies in order to make it effective.
For assistance with your criminal matter, Contact Laszlo & Associates, LLC. Our Colorado lawyers are dedicated to getting you results and protecting your rights.