Encounters with law enforcement officers can be intimidating and stressful, especially if you are unsure of your rights. Understanding your constitutional protections is crucial when it comes to police searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is pivotal in safeguarding your rights during such encounters.
Most people know what trespassing is, but not everyone knows there are two categories–criminal and civil trespass. It is essential for anyone facing charges to distinguish between the two.
If you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial to understand and exercise your rights during legal proceedings. Individuals accused of crimes have certain protections under the U.S. Constitution. These include the right to remain silent as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.
The “Red Flag” Law
In 2019, Colorado created a “red flag” law. This law allowed a family member or a law enforcement officer to petition a judge to order the temporary seizure of firearms from people found to be a significant risk to themselves or others. This past session, the Governor signed Senate Bill 170 into law. This law expands who can petition the court for firearm removal to include, in addition to family and law enforcement, health care providers, district attorneys, and teachers.
Being charged with conspiracy to commit a crime can result in significant penalties, including fines and prison time. Even if a person’s role in the crime is small, they can suffer serious consequences.
“Self-defense” is what is termed an “affirmative defense.” This means that you are admitting that you committed the alleged act, but it was justified because it was in self-defense. As an example, walking down the street with a friend, you are approached by a third person who asks you for money. You walk away, telling them to leave you alone. The third person chases after you and appears to have a weapon.
Trespassing is an umbrella term that covers a range of actions – from walking on a riverbank through private land when fishing, to entering a home with the intent to commit a violent crime. Colorado has three degrees of criminal trespassing charges.
Both the federal Constitution and the Colorado Constitution protect citizens against law enforcement unlawfully searching and seizing property. While substantially similar, the Colorado Constitution is slightly more specific than the federal Constitution. The Constitution of the State of Colorado specifically provides:
The people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place or seize any person or things shall issue without describing the place to be searched, or the person or thing to be seized, as near as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation reduced to writing. Colo. Const. Art. II, Section 7.
More citizens in the United States own firearms than in any other country in the world. Most gun owners in our country own firearms for either sport or self-defense. When faced with a perceived threat of harm, people will sometimes display a firearm or flash it at the person presenting the threat. However, flashing a firearm in the wrong circumstance can result in criminal charges. It’s important to understand the laws outlining when you can and cannot display or flash a firearm. This post will explore two criminal statutes about this; C.R.S. 18-3-206 (Menacing) and C.R.S. 18-9-106 (Disorderly Conduct).
In 2021, TSA officers recovered 156 firearms at DIA checkpoints, a new record. Denver ranked seventh in the nation for recovered firearms according to the TSA. When the new statistics were released, TSA spokesman David Pekoske stated that he believed, “What we see in our checkpoints really reflects what we’re seeing in society, and in society, there are more people carrying firearms nowadays.”
This doesn’t mean there are more people intentionally trying to bring a firearm on a plane, but it does give authorities concern. Any gun on a plane in the hands of the wrong person can be dangerous for everyone on board.