Misdemeanor Attorney in Colorado Springs

misdemeanor banner

The only good news about being charged with a misdemeanor is that it is not a felony. Unfortunately, the good news stops there. Misdemeanor convictions can have negative, often long-term consequences for people, their families, and their future opportunities. If you are facing a criminal charge, you should speak to an experienced Colorado Springs misdemeanor attorney as soon as possible.

The seasoned criminal defense attorneys at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC take pride in providing aggressive representation and responsive service to people charged with misdemeanor crimes. Our trusted attorneys develop tailored legal strategies aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for our clients, whether that be getting charges reduced, a case dismissed, or minimizing penalties if a conviction is unavoidable.

Contact us today for a free consultation on your misdemeanor case. Our Colorado Springs criminal defense law firm serves clients throughout El Paso County, Teller County, Pueblo County, Park County, Fremont County, and the nearby areas.

What Is a Misdemeanor?

In Colorado, charges are generally broken down into three broad categories:

Misdemeanor charges can range from assault 3 (a Class 1 misdemeanor) to telephone harassment (a Class 3 misdemeanor) to driving under the influence (an unclassified misdemeanor). While misdemeanors are not typically serious crimes like felonies, they can and do have real effects on people’s lives.

Classes of Misdemeanors in Colorado

Misdemeanor crimes are divided into classes in Colorado, depending on the severity of the crime. A defendant may face different penalties depending on the class of the misdemeanor they’re charged with. In addition, drug and traffic misdemeanors are treated differently from other misdemeanors and incur specific penalties.

Class 1 Misdemeanors

A Class 1 misdemeanor is ranked just below a felony, making it the most serious of misdemeanor crimes. These crimes may carry a 6- to 18-month jail sentence and fines that range from $500 to $5,000.

Even more serious than this, within this category is an “extraordinary risk” misdemeanor. This is a crime that presents a high risk of harm to others. This category carries a maximum jail sentence of up to 24 months. If the charge is third-degree assault against an on-duty police officer, emergency services provider, firefighter, or mental health provider, the maximum sentence may be up to 48 months in jail. Probation is sometimes possible.

The crimes associated with a Class 1 misdemeanor, and the penalties associated with them, may include:

  • Criminal mischief, which is when an offender knowingly damages someone’s real or personal property that is valued at between $500 and under $1,000
  • Theft of property valued between $750 and less than $2,000
  • Indecent exposure
  • Obstruction of telephone service
  • Patronizing a prostitute

Some examples of extraordinary risk misdemeanors include:

 Class 2 Misdemeanors

A Class 2 misdemeanor is the second-most serious misdemeanor charge. Convictions in this category may result in 3 to 12 months of jail time and/or $250 to $1,000 in fines.

A few of the most common Class 2 misdemeanors in Colorado include:

Class 3 Misdemeanors

As the third-most serious misdemeanors in Colorado, Class 3 misdemeanors carry jail time up to 6 months and/or fines between $50 and $750. However, the maximum jail time can be up to 12 months if the conviction is for reckless endangerment and the victim was a mental health professional or an on-duty Department of Human Services employee.

Examples of Class 3 misdemeanors include:

  • Child abuse when a person acts with criminal negligence but where no death or injury results.
  • Mandatory reports of abuse and exploitation of at-risk elders. This is the charge when anyone who is mandated to but willfully fails to report abuse or exploitation of an at-risk elder after witnessing such abuse or exploitation or having reasonable cause to believe it was occurring. Additionally, this includes anyone who knowingly makes a false report of abuse or exploitation.
  • Issuance of a bad check unless the offense violates the provisions of section 18-5-205 relating to fraud by check.

Unclassified Misdemeanors

The concept of unclassified misdemeanors may be misleading. Don’t assume that because a crime in this category is “unclassified,” it is not serious. This simply means that the charge is not classified for the purpose of a sentence. Unclassified misdemeanors can carry a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and/or fines up to $1,000.

Sometimes the crimes in this category go unclassified because they are too unusual or because they involve a new charge that has not yet been addressed in state law.

Examples of unclassified misdemeanors include:

  • Some traffic citations, such as unpaid parking tickets and driving with an expired license
  • Minor gambling offenses
  • Intentionally polluting air quality
  • Participating in a prison riot

Drug Misdemeanors

In Colorado, drug misdemeanors are divided into two categories – Level 1 and Level 2. The Level 1 category is the most serious.

Examples of Level 1 drug misdemeanors include:

  • Possession of marijuana, which involves the unlawful possession of 6 ounces or more of marijuana, or more than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate
  • Unlawful drug possession
  • Attempt to commit a Level 4 drug felony

The penalties for a Level 1 drug misdemeanor include 6 to 18 months in jail and/or $500 to $5,000 in fines, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Two years after the cases closes, convicted offenders can pursue a criminal record seal.

Examples of Level 2 drug misdemeanors include:

  • Unlawful use of a controlled substance
  • Abuse of toxic vapors
  • Drug possession of more than 2 ounces of marijuana, up to 6 ounces

If convicted of a Level 2 drug misdemeanor, the offender may have to pay a fine of up to $500, spend up to 120 days in jail, or receive probation for up to 120 days in jail.

The penalties for both Level 1 and Level 2 drug misdemeanors do increase with subsequent convictions.

Traffic Misdemeanors

Traffic misdemeanors are also divided into two categories – Class 1 and Class 2. Class 1 is the more serious category.

Examples of Class 1 traffic misdemeanors include:

  • Careless driving, when someone sustains a bodily injury
  • Knowingly engaging in a speed contest
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 25 mph in a construction, maintenance, or repair zone

These offenses are punishable by 10 days to 12 months in jail and/or $300 to $1,000 in fines. They will also cause points to be added to your DMV record.

Examples of Class 2 traffic misdemeanors include:

  • Careless driving without bodily injury
  • Reckless driving
  • Knowingly conducting a speed contest

A Class 2 traffic misdemeanor carries the penalty of 10 to 30 days in jail and/or $150 to $300 in fines, plus points.

Common Crimes That Are Considered Misdemeanors

At Patterson Weaver Law, LLC, our Colorado Springs misdemeanor lawyers represent people who are facing all types of criminal defense cases. Some of the common criminal cases we work on involve:

  • Third-degree assault
  • Theft or property crimes
  • Marijuana possession
  • Drug possession
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Hit and run accidents
  • Criminal mischief
  • Disorderly conduct

What Kind of Legal Repercussions Are Possible If Convicted of a Misdemeanor?

Generally speaking, a misdemeanor conviction can result in a sentence to probation (supervised or unsupervised) or up to 24 months in jail, depending on the severity of the charge. Even defendants who avoid jail and instead are sentenced to probation may have many difficult requirements attached to their sentence.

These can include requirements such as:

  • Up to 60 days jail time as a condition of probation
  • Substantial fines
  • No alcohol (enforced by random tests)
  • No illicit drugs (enforced by random tests)
  • No additional violations of law
  • Domestic violence evaluation and corresponding recommendations (classes)
  • Mental health evaluation and corresponding recommendations (therapy, medication, etc.)
  • Substance abuse evaluation and corresponding recommendations
  • Child abuse evaluation and corresponding recommendations (parenting classes and therapy)
  • Useful public service (commonly called community service)
  • Parenting classes
  • Driving classes
  • Attendance at a victim’s impact panel
  • Letters of apology
  • Payment of restitution

These are just a sampling of the requirements that may be ordered by the court as conditions of probation. In some cases, particularly for repeat offenders, the court may not permit probation and instead will sentence defendants to lengthy jail terms.

What Are the Real-Life Consequences of a Conviction?

A misdemeanor conviction may have permanent real-life consequences. Even someone with an otherwise clean record may find that a misdemeanor conviction greatly limits their future opportunities. If the charge carries a domestic violence aggravator, a conviction may permanently preclude someone from possessing a firearm.

Moreover, while we at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC are not military lawyers and cannot advise anyone on military law or legal consequences, it is well known in Colorado Springs that a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction nearly always ends a career in the military. Additionally, any type of misdemeanor conviction may cause doctors, nurses, daycare providers, and teachers to have significant licensure issues. Even a typical citizen without such concerns may find it difficult to find a job, an apartment, or admission at an educational institution.

Are Traffic Offenses Misdemeanors?

In Colorado, more serious traffic tickets such as reckless driving or more severe speeding tickets are classified as misdemeanor traffic offenses. These types of traffic tickets are more serious than simple traffic infractions. While someone might think a misdemeanor traffic offense is just a ticket, the reality is that these offenses can carry substantial fines or even months of jail time. Our experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyers can help you ensure that a traffic ticket does not carry unreasonable penalties.

Can a Misdemeanor Conviction Be Sealed?

Generally, misdemeanor conviction records can be sealed two years after a case ends. However, there is no waiting period to seal records for criminal charges that have been dismissed. These can be sealed immediately.

There are certain misdemeanor convictions in Colorado that can never be sealed, however. These include cases involving domestic violence, DUIs, sexual offenses, and certain misdemeanor traffic violations.

Talk to a Colorado Springs Misdemeanor Lawyer Now

No matter whether you are facing allegations of domestic violence, assault, DUI, drunk with a gun, or another charge, a misdemeanor is a serious matter with potentially life-changing consequences. It is important to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible regarding your case.

An experienced Colorado Springs misdemeanor defense attorney from Patterson Weaver Law, LLC can analyze the facts of your case for officer mistakes and potential motion issues, factual strengths and weaknesses, and mitigating factors for negotiation with the district attorney. In many situations where a client does not have a previous record, but the DA has a strong case, it may be possible to negotiate a deferred sentence or better.

While every case and circumstances are different, your chances for getting a good outcome greatly increase with the legal advice, guidance, and efforts of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact our law office today for a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer and learn how we might be able to help. Our criminal law firm serves clients through Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas.