Making Constitutional Challenges to the Meaning of a Criminal Charge in Denver Colorado

Print Friendly

When you have been charged with a crime, you may wonder what the words in the charge mean. For instance, if you have been charged with assault you may find yourself wondering what it means to “intend” to commit a crime and how this is proven. There is a strong governmental interest in making sure that you understand these words and you have a constitutional right to have these words clearly defined. If you have questions about certain words in the crime that you have been charged with, you should consider consulting a criminal defense attorney who can help clarify the meaning of the charges.  In my experiences as a criminal defense attorney in Denver Colorado, I commonly see these issues arising in cases, especially those involving domestic violence and assault.

In People v Dore (1999), for instance, it was stated that “—the terms “seize,” “confine,” “imprison,” and “detain” could be readily understood by people of common intelligence.” This was an attempt to shed some light on the words often used in Statutes to explain the elements of the crime. Courts deem it vital for the language used in such documents to be understood by the lay man, however this isn’t always achieved.

This view was again reiterated in People v Hines (1977), with emphasis on the importance on clear wording; “An essential element of due process is that a statute defining a crime state its requirements with reasonable clarity”.

The standard argument for this reasonable clarity is essential to a fair trial because it ensure that assault victims understand the law to a degree where they can adjust their actions and conduct accordingly.

These question about clarity of wording are Constitutional in nature. If you think that the wording in your statute is unclear, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss the meaning of the statute and to find out if a Constitutional challenges to the meaning of a statute can be made in your particular case.

As with any charge, it is best that you consult with a Denver CO criminal defense lawyer to understand where you would stand in the proceedings and how the facts of your case relate to the law. Only a lawyer can guide you as to how to prepare yourself for the case and also be able to clarify any questions you may have about unclear wording in the criminal Statute.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Series Navigation<< Determining whether you had the Intent to Commit Assault in DenverLack of Intent and Transferred Intent in Denver Colorado Assault Cases >>

Written by

Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca