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Colorado Sex Crimes Defense requires a complete understanding of some of the most complex and punishing laws in the country – the Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act. Probably for the first time in your life – you are faced with and being prosecuted by the full power of the state or federal government whose single goal is to reach a conviction and to take away your freedom.
You need to know you are not alone – specialized and experienced legal assistance is available here in Colorado. Here is the important part – please don’t wait – even a hint that you are under investigation for a Colorado sex crime in Jefferson, Denver, Douglas, Arapahoe or any of the Front Range counties – do not take another step without advice from a competent Colorado sex crimes criminal defense lawyer.
While it may seem costly to retain professional counsel – mounting an early defense may make the difference in stopping or at least lessening the impact of the case in your life.
The specific rights that are accorded under the Constitution, must not only be protected – they must be asserted – or they may be deemed waived. The most important of the rights that protect you are often the least understood.
The first of these rights is the right that protects you against having to speak to the investigators from the police or other law enforcement agency representatives without the advice of a lawyer. This right is your 5th Amendment right to remain silent. The decision to waive this right must never be made until you speak with your attorney.
You should never try to defend yourself believing that you will get a fair shake and will gain favorable treatment through friendliness or cooperation with investigators.
If you find that you are the target of an investigation, and/or you have been arrested – the case against you has been building for some time. If you sit back and naively believe the investigation will “clear you” because you are innocent, you are engaging in very dangerous behavior. Again – you must act immediately to protect your rights to minimize the chance of being arrested or at least attempt to negotiate the types of the charges to be filed, the conditions of the arrest or the bond set in your case.
Your defense must start now That is, the structure of your defense must begin immediately. A competent Colorado criminal defense lawyer – very early in the process – is the single best method to protect your rights. The earlier and the more aggressively you begin to defend yourself – gathering the kind of evidence necessary to assert a defense in your case – the greater your chance of avoiding a disastrous result.
A well prepared and committed Colorado criminal defense lawyer may prevent charges from being filed – or – at worst – resolve the case without the necessity of a trial. On the other hand – if a trial is inevitable -as is often the case with these charges – your defense will have matured significantly with a head start during the investigative stage of the matter and well before charges are filed.
Selecting the right attorney who will have the responsibility for your case is the first of many critical threshold decisions. It is a decision you must not make lightly. After you select the law firm to defend you – you will then be in a position to intelligently evaluate your defense lawyer because you will know who will have the responsibility for your defense, the experience and professional background of your lawyer, how your case will be prepared, the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence and what your trial strategy will be in the defense of your case.
When allegations are first made – and once law enforcement becomes involved, the police are actually permitted under the law to use trickery, deceit and outright misrepresentations at every stage – especially when they set up the “interview” for your “opportunity” to tell “your side of the story”… This is a clear attempt to obtain a confession.
One common tactic used by sex crime detectives is to have the alleged victim – complainant or one of her family members make a “sting or pretext call” to you. This tactic is legally permissible – and is a workaround of Colorado wiretapping laws which require at least one party consent to the telephone call.
The caller – usually the alleged victim – attempts to obtain a confession in the form of an apology so that this can be “put in the past.” The call is recorded by the police. What you may believe is a harmless statement of conscience is later used with devastating impact at trial.
Friends, relatives or other individuals who play a role in the matter become potential witnesses.
Never speak to ANYONE without first obtaining the advice of an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney. The less said – the less chance there is of making a critical mistake. Always – but politely – decline any question in the absence of the advice of an experienced attorney.
Again – as it bears repeating – as serious consequences may be suffered by innocent people who are lured into saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. Do not speak to or trust anyone other than your retained criminal defense attorney. If you or someone you know is being accused – even by whispers of a Colorado sex crime — or if you even suspect that you may have been the subject of a sting or pretext – operation — please call us immediately.
At this stage of a Colorado Sex Crimes investigation – the police are trying to build a case against you. They are in no hurry and have the time and resources to build a case against you piecemeal.
If a great deal of time elapses – do not be lulled into a false sense of security that you will not be prosecuted.
Do not wait until you are charged with a crime. You must understand that until you have been arrested anything that you say and do can be used against you without your knowledge.
I am asked this often – “Why do I not have the right to know whether I am the subject of a criminal investigation? How can this be?” The truth is this – criminal investigations are done in private – there is no requirement that the police disclose any aspect of the investigation to the target – or to anyone involved in the case.
An experienced lawyer may have the contacts at the police department to learn things the client will not uncover. This lawyer can help level the playing field at this critical stage of your case. An experienced defense team – which may include a retained crack private investigator can conduct a parallel investigation to get a step ahead of the prosecution and to help guide the outcome of their investigation in your favor.
Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg – as an experienced former career prosecutor for Arapahoe and Douglas Counties – has extensive experience in defending against child sex abuse and other sex crimes charges. He is a seasoned veteran of the courtroom and has the experience and the ability to go to trial to present an aggressive, cogent defense, when ever and wherever the case demands.
The shock of an arrest is an emotionally devastating experience. The humiliation of being taken into custody – sometimes in front of family – your children – friends and neighbors which is then followed by the fear and confusion over what will happen next,… is life changing.
It is now when you are expected to make some of the most important decisions in your life. The temptation to “spill your guts” to the detective on your case is almost overwhelming. Many make the mistake of “trying to prove their innocence” to the police officer with the kind manner.
The belief is that if they are cooperative with law enforcement and ease the difficulty of the investigation, this will all “go away.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. It is critical not to speak to anyone under any circumstances – especially now that you are in custody – until you have qualified legal representation. The DA’s single goal is conviction – he or she is not interested in protecting your rights or in enforcing fairness. You would be very surprised by the tactics that they can legally use to build a case against you. I know – I used them as a career prosecutor.
If you post your bond – remember to not let yourself be persuaded to speak to anyone – anyone – about your case — not even your friends, relatives or your family — without your attorney present. This is the most common mistakes made by defendants. If you end up going through the entire pre-investigation process without representation you will have made a very major mistake.
The arrest in these cases usually occurs at the end of the investigation – when law enforcement believe they have enough evidence to convict you. A significant head start at this stage means that you must act quickly and aggressively at building your defense case. Mounting a strong defense at this still early stage in your case, may mean the DA is more likely to drop the charges or otherwise seek a pre-trial resolution such as a favorable plea bargain. The stronger the defense, the more difficult it is for the DA to win an easy conviction.
First – of course – The right to experienced and competent legal representation – to a good lawyer.
Second – You have the right to a fair and speedy trial by a jury of your peers.
Third – You have the right to be provided with a written statement of all charges against you.
Fourth – you have the right to receive and analyze all of the evidence gathered by law enforcement in support of these charges and the right to NOT disclose ANY of your investigation to the State of Colorado. (making discovery).
Fifth – You have the right to remain silent as well as to testify or not testify on your own behalf.
Sixth – You have the right to cross-examine witnesses and to use the court’s subpoena power to compel witnesses to testify.
Law enforcement is not focused on even your most basic rights. They routinely violate those rights with no penalty whatsoever. As noted above – trickery, deceipt and outright lies are permitted throughout the entire investigative process. At this stage – even after an arrest – they will continue to try to obtain evidence against you – such as recording your conversations when friends and family visit you at the jail if you have not posted your bond.
There is no substitute for an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights at this and at every stage in the investigation – charging, and prosecution of the case.
In the area of sex crimes prosecution – the number of innocent people falsely accused and falsely convicted of such crimes as child sex abuse and other sex crimes is disproportionate to almost every other crime that can be charged and the harsh punishments placed upon those convicted – equally disproportionate.
Ineffective assistance of counsel is a main reason for false convictions. Experience in the field of Colorado sex crimes defense means years of hard work in the trenches of the courtroom. Tackling these cases requires an approach which includes defense strategies that are different from those used other areas of Colorado criminal law. These include specific skills and investigative resources.
What follows is a small example of some of the strategies and considerations involved in defending Colorado sex crimes charges.
Sexual assault allegations are almost always based on the word of the accuser. Therefore the intent – the reasons – the motivations and personal background of the alleged victim is crucially important. Most important in the investigation are the details of the relationship of the accused to the accuser is the most highly relevant information to sex crimes defense.
A thorough investigation involves the possible use of – not only psychological experts – but the use of a private investigator – retained to reveal the facts that can are helpful to the defense.
The accuser often is lying about what was a consensual sexual relationship. There are times when false charges of sexual assault or rape are used to cover up consensual sex to protect the victims – reputation from damage or, in some cases, to hide casual sexual encounters from friends and family.
Of growing importance in this field are unscrupulous lawyers who motivate their clients to “trump up” their suspicions as a parent and make false accusations of molestation or other inappropriate sexual behavior against his or her spouse in order to gain an advantage in a family law matter. This type of false charge is a common tactic in bitterly fought divorce and – or child custody cases.
Allegations of improper touching are also a common way an alleged “victim” to extort money from a defendant. Employees with grudges or other motivations make these allegations with the intent to “settle” the case for thousands of dollars – knowing that even the allegation can destroy a marriage – a business – or a reputation that has taken years to achieve. Extortion may alos arise out of actual extramarital affairs.
When physical evidence – such as photographs, computer files or other records are obtained in the investigation by the police – if very strict constitutionally grounded search and seizure laws are not followed – the illegally obtained evidence may not be used against you in court.
If you have been placed into custody and interrogated – and if your Miranda rights have not been read to you and waived – there are circumstances in which incriminating statements may be suppressed. A motion to suppress evidence is a powerful weapon in the hands of an experienced Colorado sex crimes defense attorney.
A tainted or influenced witnesses and victims occurs – for example – when children or even adults – who are emotionally charged from the start of the investigation – are subjected to biased and suggestive methods of questioning – also known as “leading interviews.”
It is not unusual for parents, teachers, police and even therapists to ask leading questions such as “daddy touched you there, didn’t he?” The adult asking the question may not be consciously aware of the impact of the suggestive nature of the question. Young children especially are very eager to please the adults and siblings in their lives. The answer “yes” is the start of false memories about events that may have been innocent in nature pr may not have actually occurred!
These interviews are now being conducted more and more often by forensically trained experts at locations such as Sungate in Arapahoe and Douglas County Colorado.
In recent years – there has been a massive increase in Federal funding for both federal and state authorities to trap unwary internet users. Law enforcement has found that it is easy to lure people into committing and participating in an internet sex crime. They also use complex methods to locate the sharing of pornography by very young (immature and yes – stupid) kids on the “net.” These are the kind of cases that are not only politically popular to file – they are difficult to defend in court because of the quantum and nature of the evidence seized.
Stings usually involve a moment of bad judgment on the part of the accused. These cases may sometimes be defended through the use of the defense of illegal entrapment.
If you are accused of an internet based Colorado sexual crime – or even if you just think you have been targeted by an undercover officer or a private citizen, contact an experienced defense attorney.
Police agencies throughout the United States – especially here in Colorado in such counties as Douglas, Jefferson, Gilpin, El Paso and many others are well funded in their efforts to lure and catch people via the Internet.
Law enforcement officers trained by the ICAC –The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force – visit Internet chat rooms, dating sites and pornographic sites posing as minors in order to lure adults into having sexually explicit conversations.
Sting operations mainly occur on websites such as MySpace, Facebook, AOL, Match.com and – most often – the chat rooms of Yahoo. An undercover cop attempts to contact and then lure adults into conversations gradually introducing incriminating facts into the recorded written chats such as being underage.
In a sting operation – the police officer is allowed to lie not only about his identity and can even send phony- fraudulent photographs in an attempt to keep the conversation ongoing.
On public Internet web sites you must never assume that an individual’s privacy is protected. As noted – never assume – as we do as small children – that the police must tell the truth.
In Colorado ALL persons charged with a crime enter the system innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. . In addition, the Constitution mandates that the prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The accused does not have to prove anything and can invoke his right to remain silent.
What makes a sex crime accusation unique is that these bedrock Constitutional concepts are often turned upside down when it comes to defending such offenses. Experienced sex crimes attorneys see the prejudice and bias that characterize the unfortunate individuals who are so charged. There exists a perception in the courts – well hidden – that the accused must prove his innocence.
Colorado sex crimes cases often involve incompetent social workers, police officers who use heavy handed methods of investigation, over-zealous prosecutors who are committed to the”cause” and have lost their objectivity and elected prosecution-oriented judges who believe they are “protecting the children” blindly carrying out their judicial mandate.
Empaneling an “impartial, unbiased” jury of 12 who will follow the law as they are instructed at the conclusion of a trial is very difficult in these case. The principles of our criminal justice system – the foundation of the American criminal justice system – as a practical matter do not apply to child sex crimes charges.
Juries begin with hidden beliefs that work to defeat justice. Examples of these are:
“Children never lie,”
“Why is he sitting there – something must have happened,”
“he looks guilty – he even looks like a molester”
Successful Colorado sex crimes defense requires years of experience….extensive experience in defending against child sex abuse and other sex crimes charges is essential.
Please call our law firm if you have questions about ..
H. Michael Steinberg has been a Colorado criminal law specialist attorney for 30 years (as of 2012). For the first 13 years of his career, he was an Arapahoe – Douglas County District Attorney Senior prosecutor. In 1999 he formed his own law firm for the defense of Colorado criminal cases.
In addition to handling tens of thousands of cases in the criminal trial courts of Colorado, he has written hundreds of articles regarding the practice of Colorado criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN and Various National and Local Newspapers and Radio Stations. Please call him at your convenience at 720-220-2277.
If you have questions about Colorado Sex Crimes Defense in the Denver metropolitan area and throughout Colorado, attorney H. Michael Steinberg will be pleased to answer those questions and will also provide quality legal representation to those charged in Colorado with adult and juvenile criminal matters as regards …Colorado Sex Crimes Defense.