Get a Denver Criminal Lawyer Who Knows the Stakes of COCCA Charges
Maybe you and some buddies got together and decided to make a little extra money on the side. You knew it was kind of in the gray area of the law, but it never seemed like that big of a deal. No one was getting hurt, and you were finally able to stop living from paycheck to paycheck. Everything was great.
Until you got hit with COCCA charges
Your first reaction was confusion. “COCCA charges? What are those?” You did not really understand the stakes until you spoke to an attorney friend, and they laid it out for you: organized crime charges. Felony charges. Penalties that often include incredibly high fines and lengthy prison sentences.
In other words, not good. Not good at all.
How did this happen? You and your friends are not the mafia or anything. So, what exactly counts as organized crime in Colorado?
As a Denver defense attorney who has helped countless people get COCCA charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed over the course of her career, Kimberly Diego hears this question a lot – because most people do not understand how many wildly different acts are covered by the definition of organized crime in our state, and how a very small participant in a criminal organization can be charged with so many serious crimes as a result.
Effectively Fight COCCA Charges with a Knowledgeable Colorado Defense Attorney
What are Colorado’s COCCA laws? What do they cover?
COCCA is Colorado’s version of the federal RICO laws, originally created to target and prosecute members of organized crime – like the mafia. COCCA applies to a whole variety of crimes, committed in the context of an “enterprise”, which is like a conspiracy. This can involve a handful of people, or a large number of people. Each member of the enterprise does not need to know each other or even identify themselves as a group or organization.
When a series of crimes are committed by this enterprise (one crime would not be enough to make this a pattern of racketeering activity), COCCA charges can be added to essentially enhance the penalties faced by the participants – or, in other words, to raise the stakes by increasing the potential sentence every involved individual faces.
Virtually any crime or combination of crimes can serve as the basis for a COCCA charge.
COCCA is outlined under CRS 18-17-104. The legalese in the statute references “securities” and “unlawful debt” a lot, but essentially, it covers racketeering (a pattern of illegal activity).
Common COCCA crimes include distributing drugs, fencing stolen goods, gambling activities, and loan sharking. However, those are just the tip of the iceberg. Everything from gambling activities to murder can potentially be considered racketeering, so it is quite possible for someone to run afoul of COCCA laws without even realizing it.
Just to give you an idea of what we are talking about here, all of the following acts can potentially fall under racketeering:
Because there is such a large umbrella, you need someone on your side who is not only well-versed in how COCCA works, but also with the specific type of illegal act you are being accused of engaging in.
Consequences of a COCCA Conviction in Colorado
We touched on this briefly above, but it is worth going into more detail here.
COCCA charges are a class 2 felony. That means they come with the possibility of 8-24 years of prison time as well as fines up to $25,000.
It does not stop there though. You will have to forfeit to the state any assets that were obtained through your illegal activities. Instead of the above-mentioned fine, you could be forced to pay either three times the value of whatever money you made or loss you caused (whichever is greater), as well as court costs and the money it cost the state to investigate and prosecute you.
You should also be aware of the fact that class 2 felonies come with a mandatory parole period of five years. If you were previously convicted of a felony, there is no way to avoid jail time if you are convicted this time.
It gets worse. COCCA charges can also open you up to the possibility of RICO charges, the federal law that deals with organized crime.
RICO charges come with the possibility of a 20-year federal prison sentence – for each count. So, if you have a handful of separate counts against you, it can quickly add up. Moreover, if the specific racketeering activity that you are accused of committing carries the possibility of life in prison at the federal level, your RICO penalties can be increased to match this.
The severity of the associated consequences is why the most important thing you can do if you suddenly find yourself facing charges is to reach out to a knowledgeable lawyer. There are a number of potential defense strategies that can be used depending on the specifics of your situation, but you need someone on your side who understands all of the nuances of the law.
Kimberly Diego is that someone. She has a track record of helping people to attain the best possible outcome in their cases, and she can help you, too.
Reach Out to Denver Defense Attorney Kimberly Diego Today for the Best Chance at Beating Your Charges
There are all kinds of strategies that a skilled Colorado criminal lawyer may be able to use to build a strong argument for your COCCA case. Perhaps you had no intent to commit a crime. Or there was police misconduct. Maybe you were falsely accused and have evidence to this effect. It may be possible to argue that any racketeering activities that occurred were unrelated, that it was not continuous, or that there was simply no criminal enterprise at all.
All of these are potentially strong defenses depending on the circumstances, but the strongest defense is to start working with an experienced attorney like Ms. Diego as soon as possible. The earlier in the case you get her involved, the far more likely you are to enjoy a positive outcome.
Why? Because she can keep you from saying or doing anything that might harm your case. She can make sure evidence is collected before it becomes inadmissible. In situations where clients learn they are being investigated before being charged, she may even be able to put a stop to the investigation before charges are ever filed. Additionally, the more time she has to craft your defense, the stronger it will be.
I had no experience with the justice system when I got my charge and would have been COMPLETELY lost in court without Kimberly there to get me through the process! I was certain I would at least get probation and fines, but Kim actually got my case dropped in the end! I couldn't believe it! I had other lawyers tell me I was in for much more but Kim went above and beyond to get the job done with the utmost integrity and professionalism! I would highly recommend her to anyone needing an attorney. Thanks again, Kim!
Oct 7, 2015
by Annie on
hen I started looking for a criminal lawyer to help with my husband's criminal case, I went through many initial consultations with other lawyers which resulted in me getting turned away because they felt our situation was hopeless. When I contacted Kimberly via email to ask if she thought she could help, I had barely just sent out the email when I saw a response from her. She told me she was confident she could help us, and she just made me feel so positive about everything. Kimberly has always been quick to respond, and she is great at mixing her professionalism with her compassion for the law and helping people get through their issues. I never doubted that she would help my husband get his open warrant lifted while he could not appear in person. We currently live in Brazil and we needed his warrant lifted in order for us to be able continue the immigration process, and despite all of the odds against us, she still did it! I highly recommend her services if you are looking for someone who is personal and professional, good at what they do, and not afraid to take on difficult cases. My husband's case is not yet finished completely yet, but we know Kimberly will get us through it!
Oct 7, 2015
by G. on
I retained Kimberly Diego to represent me in a criminal case in 2010. I found her to be a very competent criminal defense attorney. She was able to assist me in getting my case dismissed. She knows the ins and outs of the Colorado courts and is able to offer sound advice based on that knowledge. Her fees were both reasonable and fair. I would highly recommend Ms. Diego.
Oct 7, 2015
by Stephanie on
My husband & I are very happy in having chosen Kimberly Diego as our attorney. She negotiated and got the best outcome for my husband's case. I recommend anyone needing legal help contact Kim as she not only is professional but also takes a personal interest in her client's and their final outcome. Again Kim thank you for your excellent representation!
Oct 7, 2015
by Robert on
We contacted Kimberly Diego for a DUI that involved some very difficult circumstances with law enforcement officers. Upon dealing with this very serious situation, I knew that it was going to be complicated and difficult to get through. I was facing my 3rd DUI conviction, yet the law enforcement officers in this case acted unethically. Kimberly was diligent in hiring two key investigators to gather information that would benefit my case, and in the end all the work aided in the DUI charge being dropped. Although my wife and I never want to go through a situation like this again, we would recommend Kimberly for a defense attorney. Her focus, will to not quit, and focus to the detail that was necessary for my case, were all key in her work with me. Kimberly is very busy yet we learned quickly that she was doing the work necessary to be ready for our court date. We highly recommend Kimberly!
Oct 7, 2015
by Dean on
I was truly fortunate to have Kimberly Diego as my Lawyer. She seems to practice law because she believes in the judicial process. Her negotiation skills and knowledge put me at my best advantage with respect to defending myself. It was evident in court that she was a trustworthy expert, and enabled me to enter a fair and reasonable plea. Her representation gave me confidence, and helped put my life back on track, a sort of reform that jail time or longer probation could never have accomplished. Moreover, Ms Diego is a realist, but still took on challenge. She went above and beyond what any other lawyers I spoke with could not even fathom. She did what was necessary to represent me in all aspects of my defense needs. Finally Ms Diego was efficient and worked quickly keeping the amount of billable hours to a number I could afford. I highly recommend Ms Diego as a defense lawyer.
Oct 7, 2015
by Brent on
Hello Kim, I wanted to thank you for representing me with my recent incident in the Boulder area. You wasted no time in contacting the court to address my case. We we received feedback from the court about my case, you were not satisfied with their statement for my outcome. You took the case back to them, and you presented reasons for them, to offer me a better deal. I believe I received the best outcome I could possibly receive, for my situation. If I have another opportunity to use you again, I would certainly not hesitate, in calling you for my representation. Thank you again, for your help.
Oct 7, 2015
by Sekou on
Kimberly is a true professional. Shes professional, but not cold and strictly business. Kim took time to listen and ask questions and never being in a position in which i needed a lawyer, she actually made me feel as though i was a friend of hers that was in trouble and in need of her help. Kim was there for me and with her help and true professionalism the "other side" resorted to dropping all charges. Im am grateful that i made that call to Kimberly Diego and i would highly recommend her to represent you in court. Again thank you Kimberly, although i would NEVER want to go through it again, im glad to have met you, im happy to have had you represent me and consider you a friend
Oct 7, 2015
by Travis on
I contacted Kim concerning a case, which involved Indecent Exposure charges. Throughout the entire episode, she remained professional and courteous. I found her fees to be reasonable and fair. I was prepared to plea to the lesser charge, in exchange for a dismissal of the Indecent Exposure charge. After she explained she got both charges dismissed, I raised both my hands in triumph.
Oct 7, 2015
by Wayne on
Thank you so much for handling our daughters shoplifting case. The results were better than we expected. The professionalism and courtesy you showed in handling our case, and the updates and keeping us informed were always well timed and more than adequate. If I ever have the need (or anyone I know has the need) for a shoplifting attorney, I will definitely choose you or recommend you. GREAT JOB!!!"
For a Free Consultation
Ready to take the first step towards protecting your future? Contact Kimberly Diego to schedule a free 45-minute consultation, where you can explore the unique circumstances of your case and determine your options. You can call Ms. Diego via phone at 720-257-5346, or simply fill out a free case review form to have a representative from the Law Office of Kimberly Diego contact you promptly.
Ms. Diego works with clients in the Denver metro area and beyond, including Boulder, Brighten, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Lakewood, Englewood, Aurora, White Ridge, Arvada, Westminster, Thornton, Northglenn, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs. She has experience defending clients in all counties, including Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, and Lakewood.
In the 1980s, many states – including Colorado – created legislation that began to enhance sentencing for certain drug crimes based on where the crimes were committed. It is the birth of this type of legislation that gave us Drug-Free Zones.
The idea behind Drug-Free Zones is to discourage the commission of crimes in places where children are more likely to be present, such as schools. However, Colorado doesn’t simply
Sometimes things happen quickly before you can think. Instinct kicks in. The problem is: An action you may not have intended to take could land you in serious trouble in Colorado – and end in charges that include domestic violence as an aggravating factor.
The truth is that normal people end up with domestic violence charges all the time. It’s not simply one type of person or certain couples that