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Criminal Law and Procedure: Frequently Asked Questions

At The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq., we understand that navigating the criminal justice system can be challenging. To provide clarity on important legal concepts and processes, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding criminal procedure. If you require further assistance or legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact us at 303-355-5148.

What Is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

Crimes are primarily categorized into two types: felonies and misdemeanors. The classification hinges on the severity of the potential penalties. Crimes punishable by imprisonment of over a year are typically felonies, while those with maximum sentences of a year or less are labeled misdemeanors.

Some offenses, termed "wobblers," give prosecutors discretion to charge them as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances. Infractions, like some traffic violations, are not crimes per se but can still result in fines. Notably, there are exceptions—some misdemeanors may only entail fines, such as minor marijuana possession in specific jurisdictions.

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What Does "Presumption of Innocence" Mean?

The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq. upholds the principle that every person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This powerful presumption obliges the prosecution to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It also means that the defendant is not required to present a defense. If doubt remains, the individual is entitled to acquittal.

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How Does the Criminal Statute Determine Guilt?

To prove guilt, the prosecution must demonstrate that all elements of the crime—as defined by statute—are present. This includes both the actions committed and the required intent. For example, in a burglary charge, the prosecutor must prove the accused unlawfully entered a structure with the intent to commit a theft or felony inside. It is crucial to dissect the crime into its requisite elements when considering your specific case.

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What Standard Is Necessary To Prove Guilt in Criminal Trials?

The burden of proof in criminal trials is "beyond a reasonable doubt," representing one of the highest standards in the legal system. To ensure justice, any uncertainties regarding evidence interpretations must favor the defendant. The prosecution's job is rigorous, often leading defendants to argue that this high threshold has not been met, and therefore, reasonable doubt exists.

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Is a Jury Trial Guaranteed if Accused of a Crime?

The U.S. Constitution grants the right to a trial by jury for most criminal offenses; however, this right does not usually apply to petty offenses with sentences under six months. Jury sizes and requirements for verdicts can vary by state, with some jurisdictions allowing non-unanimous decisions. Should a jury fail to reach an agreement, this could lead to a mistrial, and the prosecutor must decide whether to proceed with a new trial.

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Why Might a Defendant Choose Not To Testify?

The 5th Amendment protects a defendant's right to remain silent, and jurors cannot hold silence against them. There are several strategic reasons for this choice, including avoiding prior convictions or harmful information from being introduced, as well as concerns over witness credibility and local jury perceptions.

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What if a Defendant Is Found "Incompetent To Stand Trial"?

Legal incompetency refers to an inability to comprehend court proceedings or assist in one's defense due to mental illness. A competency evaluation may be requested by any party or the judge if unusual behavior suggests incompetence. A hearing will determine the individual's mental capacity to face trial. If deemed incompetent, the defendant will receive appropriate care until they are capable of participating in their defense, at which point the trial may proceed.

For personalized legal support and answers to your criminal law-related questions, contact The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq. at 303-355-5148. We are dedicated to championing your rights and guiding you through the complexities of the criminal justice system.

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Client Reviews
"An excellent lawyer choice for my son who was charged with driving while his license was revoked. DMV had mistakenly sent (3) letters of revocation to the incorrect address, so I hired Monty to prove that my son never knew his license was revoked. Monty kept me informed at all times as to what was happening and what he doing to prove my son's innocence in this matter. We were to appear in court on 29 March 2012 and Monte informed us on 27 March 2012, that the case had been dismissed!!! Monte charged a fair, flat rate for what he did in this matter and should the need arise to hire a lawyer or to recommend a lawyer, I would not hesitate to give Monte's name.” Linda
"I consulted three other attorneys on my traffic offense in Colorado and none of them thought I could beat it. Then I consulted with Monte Robbins. He not only relieved my warrant without my presence in Colorado, but he got my habitual driving offense reduced to an infraction. I was up against the wall on this case but thanks to Monte miracles are possible. I have hired my share of attorneys and Monte Robbins has produced the best results for me yet. After being without my driving privileges for ten years I paid a small fine and am legal with a clean record. I Highly recommend this attorney." Steve
"I hired Monte J. Robbins to represent me. He gave 110% to my case never rushed me off the phone, quick to gather all information regarding my case. Monte is very knowledgeable and helped me out a lot. He kept me informed every step of the way through my case. I was always able to get a hold of him for any questions i had. The outcome of my case was way better then i had expected. Monte did a excellent job on my case and I would highly recommend him to anyone. Monte won my case and I am confident that he can do the same for anyone else." Jeremy