Criminal Protection or Civil Restraining?

The differences between a criminal protection order and a civil restraining order are subtle—but important to your legal rights. While both of these orders require that you stay away from the protected party and that person’s home (even if it’s your own) and may require separation from your children if they reside with the other party, there are some key differences:

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Colorado Marijuana Law 101

Colorado voters recently approved an unprecedented ballot initiative to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. The tricky part of implementing these state laws, however, is that many of them conflict with federal marijuana laws. While it remains to be seen how this will all play out, here’s what you should know about current marijuana regulations in Colorado:

What’s legal in Colorado?

Adults 21 and older can now possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use, which used to be a misdemeanor. You can also “gift” (non-commercial transaction) up to an ounce and grow up to three maturing marijuana plants at a time. It’s also expected that marijuana DUI standards will be set at 5 nanograms of THC, the marijuana psychoactive ingredient. Drivers with this level of THC in their blood would be considered too stoned (or high) to drive and could be ticketed just like a drunk driver. For those under 21, using, possessing and selling marijuana is still illegal.

How is that different from federal marijuana law?

Under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA), cultivating and distributing (both selling and “gifting”) are still felonies. Marijuana possession for personal use is considered a misdemeanor. However to use marijuana, one must possess the substance and “paraphernalia,” which according to federal law, is also illegal. Cultivating 100 or more marijuana plants carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

How is marijuana taxed in Colorado?

The state has put a 15-percent excise tax on unprocessed product and a 10 percent tax on the sale of marijuana. The precise “effective” tax rate may range from 15 to 25 percent. It varies based on unprocessed marijuana relative to the total retail price and unique local sales taxes.

Who oversees state marijuana regulation?

The newly created Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Department of Revenue will regulate the commercial market.

When do state laws take effect?

Regulations are due to go in effect July 1, 2013. Retail sales of marijuana start early 2014.

Sometimes Smaller is Better

When you’re facing a criminal charge, the last place you need to be is lost in the shuffle at a large law firm. Sometimes folks are misled that more names on the sign mean more resources, but what’s often missing is the personal touch that really matters in a criminal case.

If you can’t pick up the phone and talk to your attorney, or at least leave him or her a personal voicemail or email, the process of getting you through your legal challenge and on with your life is just getting prolonged.

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How to Help Your Attorney Prepare Your Defense

If you are fighting a criminal case, you are going through a roller coaster of emotions. You are nervous, angry, and may even be frightened about what the future might hold. Depending on the seriousness of the case, you could face jail time or be ordered to pay hefty fines if you go to trial and are found guilty.

Because your freedom is important to you, you hire a criminal defense attorney to come up with a strategy that can help you beat your charges in court. But even though you retain a practicing lawyer to prepare your defense does not mean that you should not be involved in the process.

If you are actively involved in the preparation and investigation process, you can improve your chances of having a positive outcome in court. Here are some tips on how you can help your attorney prepare your defense when you are a criminal defendant. Continue reading “How to Help Your Attorney Prepare Your Defense”