What We Do at Ryan Peterson Law
Debt Relief Services and Bankruptcy
Making the decision regarding how to handle debt is an important one. The vast majority of clients I meet with are good, hardworking people who simply had a bad break like a job loss or pay reduction, and many times a medical illness or injury has put them in a position where they are a little behind. I encourage clients to look at all of their options and choose the one that fits them best. When I meet with clients I do not want to jump to the conclusion that bankruptcy is the only option to take care of debt. So, during the initial meeting, we will always look at the big picture and look at non-bankruptcy options like consolidation and debt settlement, as well as bankruptcy options so that you can make an informed decision on what will work best for you.
Civil Litigation is a broad term but essentially means representation of clients in a lawsuit. I assist clients who need to file lawsuits in Colorado, and also assist clients who have been sued and need assistance with their defense. I have handled a very wide range of state and federal civil litigation, including bankruptcy litigation in “adversary proceedings”, which are lawsuits filed within a bankruptcy case. Communication is key, and I always maintain a steady stream of communication directly with my clients throughout their case.
Criminal and DUI Defense
Being charged with a DUI, DWAI, or a criminal offense can understandably cause much anxiety. I have represented clients from minor traffic violations and DUIs to serious felony charges. Based on my experience, I am a believer that the criminal and traffic system can work fairly, but having an attorney who can represent you in front of the court is necessary in order to ensure that your rights are protected and that you understand your options at all times. I handle each case personally and communicate with my clients at each step so that they understand and can make the best decisions possible for their future.
Need to Know More?
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
- Civil Litigation
- Criminal Defense and DUI Defense
- Debt Settlement
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Denver, Colorado can be a very effective way to handle debt. The purpose of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is to allow those who are honest, but have had a financial setback to get a fresh start by getting rid of (“discharging”) most of their unsecured debt.
The Chapter 7 process begins by meeting with a Denver Bankruptcy lawyer. During the initial consult, we will discuss the big picture for you financially, and determine the best course of action. We will discuss both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options. If you choose to do a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Denver, Colorado, I will then work with you to establish a plan of action including when to file, and what things to do to prepare for filing so that your case goes as smoothly as possible. There are many actions that people take in normal life that can cause issues in a bankruptcy. I will advise you to help make sure you are aware of the “dos” and “don’ts” to protect your assets, and to help you avoid getting entangled in difficult legal situations once your case is filed. Like any other area of the law, the bankruptcy code is complex and it is important to select an attorney who has substantial experience with it to make sure you can get rid of your debt, and protect your assets in the process.
Once we have planned when to file and have gone over the dos and don’ts, I will draft your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition. I will then meet with you personally to review and sign the petition. Most bankruptcy case filings range from about 50-90 pages, so it is important to get them drafted correctly to avoid your case being rejected. I will then file your petition and all of the necessary supporting documents with the Colorado Bankruptcy Court. On the date that you file your case, all collection efforts, including creditor phone calls, creditor letters, and even pending lawsuits, must immediately stop (with some very rare exceptions) because an “automatic stay” goes into effect immediately upon the filing of the case. The case will then proceed and any creditors may only communicate with you through your Denver Bankruptcy attorney.
You will attend a hearing called a “341 Meeting of Creditors”. I will be representing you at that hearing and will make sure that you know what to bring with you, what questions to expect and will make sure that you are otherwise prepared. A Bankruptcy “Trustee” will ask you questions and after the hearing, I will work with the Trustee to make sure that your case gets completed successfully. Approximately 61-75 days after that hearing, if the legal requirements have been met, you will receive an “Order of Discharge”, which is a federal court order telling your creditors that they can no longer attempt to collect debt from you (with some exceptions like student loans, some taxes and some other rare debts). At that point those debts are behind you and you can have a fresh start and begin building for the future.
A Chapter 7 discharge is a very powerful tool and a great way to address debt that you cannot afford to pay. The Chapter 7 process is designed to allow you to get the benefit of relief from your unsecured debts, and even from things like a vehicle payment that is too high. In exchange for this benefit, the Court assigns a Bankruptcy Trustee to work for your creditors to try to get some funds back to them by liquidating your assets. However, because of “exemption” laws, the vast majority of your assets, and in many cases all of your assets, will be protected and will not have to be turned over to the Trustee. This is one of my primary jobs as your lawyer; to protect your assets by planning to the extent possible and by making sure we are properly listing every asset and every exemption available under the law.
If you believe that Chapter 7 might be a good option for you please feel free to call me at (303) 945-5822 and we can discuss your options in more detail.
A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Denver, Colorado can be a very effective way to handle debt. The purpose of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is to allow those who are honest, but have had a financial setback to get a fresh start by paying a portion of their debt and getting rid of (“discharging”) the remainder of their unsecured debt.
Chapter 13 has some distinct advantages over Chapter 7. First and foremost, there is no “liquidation” in Chapter 13, so generally speaking you will not be turning over assets which is a possibility in Chapter 7 (note, however, that most assets are protected, even in Chapter 7). In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy you retain your assets and propose a payment plan to the Court. If your plan is confirmed, you will then make a monthly payment for a period of usually 36-60 months. The advantage of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy over debt consolidation programs is that it is a court-approved and court-enforceable repayment plan. This means your Chapter 13 plan is binding on your creditors, as opposed to debt consolidation programs which are not enforceable against your creditors unless they all voluntarily agree to your consolidation. Another benefit of Chapter 13 is that while Chapter 7 has an income requirement in order to qualify, in Chapter 13 even individuals with above-average incomes can file a Chapter 13 in order to get their debts repaid on a more affordable basis.
Chapter 13 can also be a good way to handle tax debt. If you owe debt to the IRS or a state tax entity, you can pay the tax debt through a Chapter 13 plan. This means you can stop tax collection activities such as IRS garnishments and Colorado tax garnishments and instead force the IRS or state tax entities to accept payments through your Chapter 13 plan. You may be able to discharge some taxes in your Chapter 13 plan, and then will have 36-60 months to pay the rest of the non-discharged taxes. At the end of the plan you will have paid off your taxes, along with getting a discharge of the majority of your other unsecured debts.
The Chapter 13 process begins with a meeting with a Denver Bankruptcy lawyer. During the initial consult, we will discuss the big picture for you financially, and determine the best course of action. We will discuss both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options. If you choose to do a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Denver, Colorado, the next step is to establish a plan of action including when to file, and what things to do to prepare for filing so that your case goes as smoothly as possible. There are many actions that people take in normal life that can cause issues in a bankruptcy. I will advise you to help make sure you are aware of the “dos” and “don’ts” to protect your assets as much as possible and avoid getting entangled in difficult legal situations once your case is filed. Like any other area of the law, the bankruptcy code is complex. Chapter 13 is more complex than Chapter 7, and therefore, if you are considering Chapter 13, it is important to select a Denver Bankruptcy attorney who has substantial experience with Chapter 13 to make sure you can get rid of your debt, and protect your assets in the process.
Once we have planned when to file and gone over the “do’s” and “don’ts”, I will draft your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition and your Chapter 13 Plan. I will then meet with you personally to review and sign the Petition and the Chapter 13 Plan. Most bankruptcy case filings range from about 50-90 pages, and then the plan itself is about 9 pages, so it is important to get them drafted correctly to avoid your case being rejected. I will then file your case with the Colorado Bankruptcy Court and ensure everything that needs to be filed is filed correctly and on time. On the date that you file your case, all collection efforts, including creditor phone calls, creditor letters, and even pending lawsuits, must immediately stop (with some very rare exceptions) because an “automatic stay” goes into effect immediately upon filing your case. The case will then proceed and any creditors may only communicate with you through your Denver Bankruptcy attorney.
You will attend a hearing called a “341 Meeting of Creditors”. I will be representing you at that hearing and will make sure that you know what to bring with you, what questions to expect and will make sure that you are otherwise prepared. A Bankruptcy “Trustee” will ask you questions and then after the hearing, I will work with the Trustee and file all additional documents necessary to get your plan confirmed. Once the court has confirmed your plan, you will continue making your monthly payments until your plan is complete. Once you have made your final payment, I will file additional documents to meet the legal requirements, and then you will receive an “Order of Discharge”, which is a federal court order telling your creditors that they can no longer attempt to collect debt from you (with some exceptions like student loans, some taxes and some other rare debts). At that point those debts are behind you and you will move on and begin building for the future.
Due to the complexity of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy it is highly recommended that you speak with a Denver, Colorado Bankruptcy Lawyer. If you believe that Chapter 13 might be right for you, please call me at 303-945-5822 and we can discuss your case in more detail.
Navigating the legal system can be time consuming and difficult. I have represented clients in a large variety of state and federal court litigation, including bankruptcy adversary proceedings. I believe the most important part of representing a client is maintaining direct communication at each phase of a case so that my clients understand their options at all times.
If you have received a “Summons” and a “Complaint” to appear in a Colorado court, this means you will have a limited time to defend yourself by filing an answer or other document. If you do not answer within the allowed time, the court will likely enter a “Default Judgment” against you and in favor of the plaintiff who filed the lawsuit against you. A Default Judgment will then allow that plaintiff to take collection efforts against you including garnishing your wages, levying (“freezing”) your bank accounts, and exercising other remedies. It is highly recommended that you speak to a licensed Colorado attorney as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss any important deadlines. I can assist you with a plan to address your individual case.
Similarly, if you have a legal matter that may require initiating a lawsuit, there are important rules that apply which can be difficult to navigate. Speaking with a licensed Colorado attorney will ensure that you will receive advice and representation to ensure the best outcome possible.
I have represented clients in numerous bankruptcy adversary proceedings. An adversary proceeding is essentially a lawsuit that is filed within a bankruptcy case. The reasons an adversary proceeding might be filed vary, but one example is where a person who filed a bankruptcy wants to discharge their student loan debt. Another example is where a creditor seeks an order from the bankruptcy judge permitting the creditor to continue collecting a debt after a bankruptcy. There are 19 specific exceptions to a bankruptcy discharge and this is typically where the majority of bankruptcy adversary litigation occurs. Whether you need to initiate an adversary proceeding to discharge student loan debt, need to file an adversary proceeding against someone who has filed bankruptcy, or whether you need assistance because you have been named as a defendant in a bankruptcy adversary proceeding, I can represent you to accomplish your objective. Because of the complexity of the bankruptcy code and rules, it is wise to speak with a Denver Bankruptcy attorney who is familiar with the special bankruptcy court rules of procedure.
If you need assistance with a litigation matter, please call me at (303) 945-5822 to discuss how we can work to accomplish your goals.
Nothing can be as unnerving as being charged with a crime or a DUI. The best possible first step you can take after being charged with a crime or DUI is to speak with a Colorado Criminal or DUI Defense lawyer. I have represented numerous clients in everything from traffic cases and municipal ordinance violations all the way up to serious felony cases, and I will bring that experience to your case.
I am a firm believer that the criminal justice system can work fairly. The key is making sure that the right steps are taken to maximize the constitutional protections that a person charged with a crime or DUI is entitled to. Sometimes this means exercising your right to a trial. My experience has been that our jury system, while not perfect, is the best justice system in the world and a trial may be your best option to get justice in your case. I have trial experience and will be prepared to go to trial in your case in order to get the best result possible.
DUI Tips: If charged with a DUI you will have to act quickly to preserve your best opportunity to save your license. If your B.A.C. (Blood Alcohol Concentration) exceeded .08, you will receive an “Express Consent Affidavit” form. This document informs you that you will have 8 days to request a DMV hearing, or your license will be revoked. I sincerely recommend that as soon as you receive this document, you call a Colorado DUI Defense lawyer to discuss how to fill out this form. Each case is different but this is the very first and very time-sensitive step to preserving your rights and keeping your driver’s license.
Record Sealing: If you were charged with or convicted of a criminal offense in the past and want to have that information removed from your criminal record, I can assist you with sealing Colorado criminal records. A 2014 change to Colorado law has opened the door for individuals to seal more criminal records than ever before. Contact me to discuss any records you may want sealed.
When choosing a Denver Criminal Defense or DUI Defense attorney, you will want an attorney who will give personal attention to your case. I pledge personal attention to each and every client. Please call me at (303) 945-5822 today to discuss any questions you have about your case.
Determining how to handle debt can be difficult. Often clients have already spoken with debt collectors and have found that they are, at best, not listening, and at worst, unreasonable, rude, or abusive. If you have debt from credit cards, medical bills, lines of credit, payday loans, or other unsecured debt, bankruptcy may be an option to get rid of those debts, but it is NOT the only option. I assess each case individually and in many cases clients cannot or do not want to file bankruptcy. In these cases, and many others, debt settlement is the better option.
Why retain The Law Office of Ryan Peterson, LLC for debt settlement? Because you will work directly with me, Ryan Peterson. I am an attorney licensed to practice law in Colorado. The majority of debt settlement companies and debt consolidation programs are private companies, some of which work “under” a licensed attorney. Sometimes that “attorney” is out of state, not licensed in Colorado, or simply doesn’t exist at all. Therefore, they simply cannot advise you on the law and the full consequences of any settlement they might be able to arrange. I do not believe that debt consolidation and debt settlement companies are bad, in fact I think they are mostly well-intentioned. However, the representatives at those companies are not attorneys and therefore cannot give you legal advice. This becomes a major problem if, as is often the case, one or more of your creditors files a lawsuit to collect the debt. Once this happens, the debt settlement company must acknowledge that you are “on your own” because they are not licensed attorneys and are not able to give you advice on how to handle a debt lawsuit under Colorado law. I advise my clients at each step in the process and have the ability to be flexible and to continue representing my clients to work toward settlement even if a lawsuit is filed.
My goal is the same as my clients, to get the lowest settlement we can possibly negotiate. Though most creditors will tell you that you must pay the debt in full, the truth is that nearly all creditors will accept some amount less than the full amount that is owed. It is simply a matter of how much and my job is to get my client the best possible deal.
Perhaps as important as negotiating a settlement amount is protecting you to ensure that the creditor is bound to honor the settlement by ensuring that the settlement is properly documented. I work to ensure that the correct documentation is done to protect my clients moving forward so they reap the benefits of their negotiated settlement and can rest assured that they are protected and the debt is behind them.
Each case is different, so feel free to call me at (303) 945-5822 to discuss your case in more detail.