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.