- The Evans FirmDUI, DV, Drug, Criminal Defense Law Firm in Centennial, CO, 2009 - presenthttp://www.theevansfirm.com/About-Us/Attorney-Michael-D-Evans.aspx
- Benson & Case, LLPAttorney, 2009 - 2011http://www.evanscase.com/
- Colorado State Public DefenderAttorney, 2007 - 2009http://pdweb.coloradodefenders.us/
- Evans Investigation & Legal Research, LLCInvestigator, 2005 - 2007Personal injury investigation and process serving.
- Taft, Stettinius, & HollisterClerk, 2001 - 2004http://www.taftlaw.com/
Attorney Michael D. Evans practices primarily in the areas of criminal defense law, including DUI, domestic violence, drugs, and other criminal cases in Centennial and the areas bordering Arapahoe County in Colorado.Mr. Evans has been featured and published nationally. he has conducted over 69 jury trials in 9 years, and consistently earned a 10/10 Superb AVVO rating, the Client's Choice Award, and an A+ rating with the BBB. He is also ranked in the Top 10 in Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Legal Counsel, the Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers Association, and a member of the Colorado Bar Association, American Bar Association, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, and the Colorado and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, just to name a few.
Mr. Evans has practiced in the county courts, juvenile courts, drug courts, district courts, Courts of Appeal, and Supreme Court in both civil and criminal cases. He has represented literally thousands of satisfied clients in the courtroom. He was trained by some of the best lawyers in the state and has attended the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, NITA. He is an avid and tenacious litigator both in and out of the court and brings the same level of compassion and respect to every case he handles because he knows that the families he represents are going through an already difficult situation. The Evans Firm has developed a video library and law blog offering answers to hundreds of commonly asked legal questions. You can also see our reviews and follow us on social media sites like Facebook, Google+, Google Local, LinkedIn, Legal Information Institute, Yelp, and others.
- University of DenverLaw - J.D., 2005 - 2007http://www.law.du.edu
- Xavier UniversityBusiness - M.B.A., 2001 - 2004http://www.xavier.edu/williams/
- Xavier UniversityEnglish - B.A., 1997 - 2001http://www.xavier.edu/
- Regis Jesuit High SchoolH.S., 1993 - 1997https://www.regisjesuit.com/
- St. TheresePrimary, 1985 - 1993http://www.stthereseschool.com/sts/
A notorious and dangerous felon, Kenneth Mackey, was out on a $100k bond when he shot and killed Martel Thomas in his home after Thanksgiving in 2013. Thomas was a Vietnam Vet and left behind children. Why was Mackey's bond $100k? Because he was awaiting trial on another attempted murder case where he used a gun on his ex-girlfriend. Before being released to Denver Pretrial Services, Mackey had racked up at least 4 prior felonies. What is unimaginable is that while under 'intensive supervision' with Denver Pretrial Release, which included a GPS ankle monitor, he racked up another 4 violent felony charges, ending with the death of Mr. Thomas. This wasn't just negligent supervision - it was gross dereliction of duties at its worst. Denver and its employees are using the over-reaching governmental immunity statute to avoid liability, and so far, the US District Court of Colorado has predictably let them. (1:15-cv-00906). But an appeal to the 10th Circuit filed today (16-1042) may help to change that. Thomas is represented by The Evans Firm, who has been fighting this case for 2 years (much of that time trying to force Denver to turn over records). Evans has found cases in Washington where governmental immunity has been pierced in pretrial release cases, including the notorious Maurice Clemmons case. Clemmons was on bond and pretrial release when he shot and killed 4 police officers in a restaurant - the most officers ever by one person. Apparently when the facts become horrific enough, the public demands justice. Colorado needs to fall in line. The Thomas case will be the first known case to assert pretrial liability here.
by Anne Garner, for The Evans Firm
Forty or so years ago, the Reagan and Nixon regimes decided to seriously crack down on drug offences in the United States. In 1971, Nixon declared that drug abuse was “public enemy number one in the United States”, and announced a sustained government campaign against drug use. The ‘War On Drugs’ introduced harsh punitive measures for those involved with illegal narcotics, with the aim of not only punishing drug users, but deterring potential drug users. However, forty years on, little (if any) impact appears to have been made in the American drug scene. The impact upon the legal system, however, has been enormous. Furthermore, the ‘War on drugs’ has attracted criticism from a number of angles, ranging from accusations of racism and sexism to impracticality and inefficiency. In the wake of all this, many are calling for a new drugs policy - one which is potentially less harsh. Is it true that the US drug laws are relaxing? If so, what could this mean for those facing drugs charges?
The War On Drugs
The USA has 5% of the world’s population. However, we have 25% of the world’s prisoners. We incarcerate more individuals than any other nation in the world - and that’s largely due to our drug laws. Our prisons are creaking beneath the strain of their immense population, and the public purse is struggling to maintain the situation. The rest of the world is, needless to say, both bemused and horrified by our excessive incarceration record - and even more confused by the tendency of US judges to (on the recommendation of drug laws) imprison anyone with even a minor connection to drug offences. Mandatory sentencing, and mandatory minimums have seen people go behind bars for very minor misdemeanors. Nor is there any evidence at all that such measures serve either to deter future drug users, or to prevent incarcerated drug users from re-offending on release. With the evidence against the War On Drugs piling up, many states appear to be moving away from the old legislation, and looking at newer alternatives.
Beginning Of The End Of The War?
Everyone knows by now that several states have taken the step of legalizing medicinal and even recreational marijuana. But this is only part of the apparent relaxation of drug laws taking place all over the United States. Slowly but surely, the drug laws are peeling back - even in the more conservative areas of the nation. The 2008 economic collapse saw many states forced to slash prison budgets - resulting in the withdrawal (or relaxation) of mandatory sentencing for minor drug offences in many cases, in order to save money on imprisonments. This coincided with a groundswell of public opinion against the War On Drugs. Surveys have consistently shown a growing desire for the government to concentrate more on harm reduction and treatment initiatives than on prosecution (particularly in the light of the expensive failure which the War On Drugs has become). Whether or not such measures will have a greater effect than the punitive initiatives has yet to be determined, but one thing is sure: more and more states are introducing lower penalties and differing measures for dealing with drug offenders.
What Does This Mean In Practical Terms?
This does not, of course, mean that it is now legally acceptable to involve yourself with illegal drugs. Serious drug offences still carry (and will undoubtedly continue to carry) heavy penalties. Dealing and trafficking drugs remain extremely problematic in the eyes of the law, and will require considerable legal effort to overcome should such charges be brought against you. The law takes a similarly dim view of violent offences. However, nonviolent drugs offences which do not cause significant harm to others are likely to be treated with increasing clemency by the US law courts. Rather than being sent to jail, nonviolent drug offenders may be sent to rehabilitation and re-education programs. Other alternatives are currently being worked out by various states, but the overall message is that the courts are increasingly reluctant to apply harsh penalties for relatively minor drugs offences. Quite how this will play out in practical terms remains to be seen, but it's certainly a changeable time for American drug laws, which gives a lot of scope for positive case outcomes.
December 21, 2015
By Atty. Michael D. Evans, The Evans Firm, Centennial, CO
The topic of this article is to provide practical, useful advice if you are stopped by the police during the holiday season for DUI.
First and foremost, we don’t encourage criminal behavior such as drinking and driving. However, most of us will go to a holiday party, or even simple dinner, and enjoy a beverage or two. It doesn’t make us bad people. We just need to be reasonable. Doing things like not trying ‘new’ types of alcohol, setting a limit and sticking to it, and waiting 1 to 1.5 hours after our last drink before we leave (like eating before swimming) can help us to avoid negative situations.
Unfortunately, of all the thousands of people who will drink before driving this during the holidays, some of us inevitably will be unlucky enough to be stopped by police on our drive home for suspicion of driving under the influence, or DUI.
Here are the easy to remember steps to follow that will prevent you from making things worse:
1) THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. One of the first questions the police officer will ask will be related to you drinking alcoholic beverages. It may even come be before you are asked for your license and insurance. The question will be some version of: “Have you been drinking tonight?” or “How many drinks have you had tonight?” or “Have you had anything to drink?” DO NOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION!
• In any DUI case, (and we have done thousands), the people that answer this question just supplied the worst fact in the case – a confession. In other words, no matter how hard your attorney fights your case, or disputes the breath or blood results, there will always be this statement in evidence which the jury will hear. Colorado law does not consider a traffic stop an arrest in most cases. Instead, it’s considered something less called an ‘investigatory detention’. Because it’s not technically an ‘arrest’, then you are not required to be read your Miranda rights by police – which are specifically designed to inform you that you are about to screw yourself, and you should shut your mouth and ask for an attorney. Because police don’t have to give you your Miranda rights, they don’t – and won’t. They hope you answer this question, which will be deemed a voluntary confession.
• Not answering the police officer’s question is not dishonest behavior. It is simply a matter of invoking your constitutional rights and protecting yourself. You need to be your own advocate. You are afforded both the Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment rights and freedoms – something our military has fought very hard to protect throughout the history of our country. Use them, don’t lose them. In fact, one could argue that not using them is the real disservice.
i. The Fifth Amendment includes your right not to be convicted of any crime based upon any statement you make.
ii. The Sixth Amendment includes your right to an attorney in any stage of a criminal proceeding. A DUI is a criminal proceeding.
• Not answering the police officer’s question WILL very likely irritate or anger the police officer. As figures of authority, they do not like being challenged. Be prepared for this. They may try to bully an answer out of you, or make you feel like you or stupid or did something wrong. This may include threatening arrest. Don’t worry, stay calm. You have rights under the law, even if at the moment you feel pressured or scared. You will likely be arrested anyway, so breaking your silence isn’t going to save you. It just makes things worse.
2) INVOKE YOUR RIGHTS. When asked the question about drinking alcohol, use this simple response – and say it as many times as you have to: “Officer, respectfully I invoke my Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights”.
• Saying it like this takes some of the fire out of the police officer. They may leave you alone and move on.
• It also prohibits (legally speaking) the officer from continuing to question you, or using any statement thereafter against you in court. Of course, many police officer’s won’t care and will continue to question you – but the fact that you say this specific phrase is like magical pixie dust in a courtroom.
• It also prohibits the prosecutor from trying to use your silence as an admission of guilt. There are a few cases where courts have allowed a defendant’s silence to be admitted at trial to infer guilt. While this is a rare exception, saying this phrase is certainly not silence.
3) STAY CALM AND CONVICTED. The police officer may try to confuse or correct you by saying “Sir, you are not entitled to a lawyer at this point” or “Madam, you are not afforded that right at this time”. This should be a big red flag for you, and further reinforce your commitment to repeat the mantra. Again, the police officer may become irritated or angry and threaten arrest. Stay the course. You are in the right. Talking is not going to get you out of an arrest. 90% of people stopped for DUI are arrested, whether they make statements or not. Just accept that fact and don’t make things worse for you.
4) REFUSE VOLUNTARY ROADSIDE TESTS. This battery of tests and maneuvers are designed to make you fail and look drunk to the jury. Seriously! They greatly lack in scientific value. Here is what I tell my clients - if you were to do these tests the way the police want you to in your own living room, you could not successfully pass the roadside tests.
• Starting early is deemed a failure.
• Not listening to directions spoken to you at a fast pace under extreme stress is deemed a failure.
• Asking questions to clarify what you just heard is deemed a failure.
• Raising your arm more than six inches from your waist while standing on one leg to catch your balance is deemed a failure.
• Missing a heel touch is a failure.
• Taking too many or too little steps before turning is a failure.
• And forget saying the alphabet backwards.
Many times on closing argument I encourage jurors to try and do these roadside tests on their own in the deliberation room, with the lights off. Then I tell them to imagine doing them outside, in the cold, on the side of a highway with cars going by. They get the point.
5) CHOOSE BREATH. Once you refuse to do voluntary roadside maneuvers, the police are required to give you the option of blood or breath for alcohol intoxication (blood for drug intoxication). Blood tests are hard to beat in the courtroom. The science is usually solid, and so is the manner of collection and preservation. Breath tests, on the other hand, are riddled with holes. Many things can cause a breath test to give inaccurate results. Improper calibration, improper operation, mouth alcohol, and others.
• Note: If you think your blood alcohol content (BAC) is going to be very high and you know should not have been drinking, then you need to consider whether to take a blood or breath test at all. You cannot be forced to provide one – but it comes at a very hefty price of losing your license for one year. So in other words, while refusing a chemical test may help limit damaging evidence in your criminal case, it may hurt your privilege to drive. Choose wisely. DUI criminal convictions can carry up to 12 months in jail and 12 points on your license.
About The Author: Attorney Michael D. Evans practices in Colorado and handles criminal defense, HOA law, wrongful death, landlord tenant, and criminal record sealing cases. The Evans Firm is based in Centennial, Colorado. Mr. Evans have been featured and published nationally including TIME Magazine, The New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, MSN, NPR, ABA, The Denver Post, CPR, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and many others. Mr. Evans has conducted over 58 jury trials in 8 years, many appeals, and has consistently earned a 9.8 Superb AVVO rating and 2015 Client's Choice Award, and an A+ rating with the BBB. He is also a member of the Colorado Bar Association, American Bar Association, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, and the Colorado and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, just to name a few. For Michael Evans, being a lawyer is not just a career—it’s his heart-felt passion. He has represented literally thousands of satisfied clients in the courtroom. He was trained by some of the best lawyers in the state at the Denver Public Defender Office and has attended the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, NITA. He is an avid and tenacious litigator both in and out of the court.
December 15, 2015
By Atty. Michael D. Evans, The Evans Firm
The topic of this article is how a homeowner can push back against a corrupt homeowner’s association (HOA) or its board of directors.
Many lawyers in Colorado only represent HOA’s, because frankly that’s where the money is. Many of those same lawyers belong to a lobbying group called CAI or Community Association Institute. These lawyers and law firms can be very biased and myopic – only seeing issues through the lens of the HOA, which is not necessarily the best point of view. Frequently HOA’s run afoul of Colorado laws, and commit illegal (and sometimes unspeakable) acts against home and condo owners. And because their lawyers only see one side of things (probably because of their paycheck) – they effectively enable their HOA clients to continue to commit these errors.
Attorney Michael D. Evans and The Evans Firm is unique in Colorado because we represent both owners and HOA’s (and their board of directors). We believe this allows us to be fair and balanced in our approach, analysis, advice, and problem solving. We believe very strongly in giving accurate, correct advice – even if our clients don’t like it. Moreover, we believe that the person who is right is not the person who has the most money. Mr. Evans has spent his career fighting for the little guy. Too frequently owners get steam rolled by the all-powerful HOA and their attorneys. However, Mr. Evans absolutely loves the opportunity to represent a righteous owner so he can push back against an HOA who is being a ‘bully’ and not acting within the bounds of the law. In Colorado, we have become the go-to law firm to stop rogue HOA’s.
How is this done? Well, first we start where every lawyer should – investigating the case. However, our firm is not simply looking for the obvious breaches the HOA’s governing documents, rules, and regulations. Any lawyer can put together a breach of contract lawsuit. And in an HOA, the legal theory of breach of contract doesn’t fly that far because the board of directors are all (or should be) volunteers. Many breaches of contract can be chalked up to oversight, mistake, misinformation, or simple ignorance. Additionally, a breach of contract by the HOA is frequently not an excuse for an owner failing to pay dues. Moreover, a breach of contract may be nominal in value, having little to no discernable damages.
Instead, at The Evans Firm we look for specific facts where the HOA has seriously erred or taken liberties with governing their community and owners. Not just little, technical details – but big, intentional errors. Examples might be:
• showing favoritism towards one owner, or dislike towards another;
• blocking legitimate architectural improvements without any legal basis;
• prohibiting pets;
• fining and sanctioning owners without any basis or due process;
• unreasonably litigating against an owner;
• singling out one owner for minor violations but allowing more serious violations to occur;
• requiring strict compliance of one owner, but being flexible with others;
• requiring unreasonable performance or actions by one owner;
• failing to repair or replace common areas despite clear liability and responsibility to do so.
Board members may be volunteers, but that doesn’t stop the monsters of ‘ego’ and ‘narcissism’ from infiltrating their decision making. We frequently see these ‘volunteers’ become rogue dictators or undisciplined toddlers, and quite bluntly, they need to be spanked. We are happy to do it and have the tools and experience to make it hurt.
We have developed a litigation technique, based in Colorado law, that allows owners to turn the tables on the powerful HOA and a corrupt board of directors. Every board member must statutorily act in good faith – but most of the examples described above are not. Every board member is legally bound in a fiduciary capacity to the HOA and the community – but many of the examples described above are self-serving and irresponsible. Every board member must statutorily use good judgment in making business decisions – but most of the examples above fail that test.
Unfortunately, acting negligently in Colorado is not enough. If it’s only ‘negligence’ that is found, then the board members technically are immunized or protected by the law. They can’t be held personally liable for their actions – which is really what you want. If you want to teach someone a lesson, and flip the balance of power in an HOA case, you must be able to hold the board members individually liable. This is where the bully gets spanked.
Thus, the lawyer (us) and the owner must find evidence – whether direct or circumstantial – that the board of directors has acted recklessly, willfully, and wantonly. These are all legally defined, specific terms. If an HOA has seriously run aground of its authority, then the evidence usually isn’t that hard to find or procure, and the owner will usually be persuasive proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt (which is technically the legal standard even though it is a civil case). If the owner can accomplish this, then this ‘volunteer’ board member just made their bank account, car, home, stocks, bonds, and other assets up for grabs in the litigation because they are now personally liable. Not only that, but a smart ‘volunteer’ board member will resign and cease the conduct immediately since they aren’t being compensated to perpetuate the illegal acts or harms against the owner.
Unfortunately, we find that many board members are so entrenched in the feeling of power that comes with being an HOA board member they can’t seem to let go and realize this logical fact – to their detriment. When the owner establishes reckless, willful, or wanton conduct, then the owner may also seek punitive damages against the board member. Punitive damages can be up to three (3) times the initial damages awarded to the owner and are designed to punish. With that kind of penalty, it would be malpractice for any HOA lawyer to advise their client to do anything but back out.
Hopefully this was a helpful article illustrating what we do for righteous home and condo owners in Colorado. The Evans Firm turns the power tables in an HOA case and pushes back. Give us a call. And if your and HOA or board member, give us a call too – because frankly there is no advice like that from an attorney who has seen the other side of things. We are an honest, candid, and experienced law firm in the area of HOA law in Colorado.
About The Author: Attorney Michael D. Evans practices in Colorado and handles criminal defense, HOA law, wrongful death, landlord tenant, and criminal record sealing cases. The Evans Firm is based in Centennial, Colorado. Mr. Evans have been featured and published nationally including TIME Magazine, The New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, MSN, NPR, The Denver Post, CPR, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and many others. Mr. Evans has conducted over 58 jury trials in 8 years, many appeals, and has consistently earned a 9.5 Superb AVVO rating and 2015 Client's Choice Award, and an A+ rating with the BBB. He is also a member of the Colorado Bar Association, American Bar Association, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, and the Colorado and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, just to name a few. For Michael Evans, being a lawyer is not just a career—it’s his heart-felt passion. He has represented literally thousands of satisfied clients in the courtroom. He was trained by some of the best lawyers in the state at the Denver Public Defender Office and has attended the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, NITA. He is an avid and tenacious litigator both in and out of the court.
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