DUI / DWAI / DUID and Traffic
DUI (Driving Under the Influence) /DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) / DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) and Other Traffic Violations
What would you do if you could not drive?
There are few rights more important to most people that their driving privilege. Driving makes all other things possible, especially in our mountain community. The ability to drive affects your ability to get a job, to go to the doctor, to go out to eat and your ability to enjoy the great outdoors. COLORADO LAWS ARE NOW TOUGHER THAN EVER. UNLESS YOU ACT PROMPTLY YOU WILL AUTOMATICALLY LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO DRIVE FOR AT LEAST NINE MONTHS.
What do I need to know if I get stopped?
The first question we are generally asked in social situations before anyone has been charged with a DUI is: Should I refuse the test?
A chemical test is required by law. The roadside tests are not. They are voluntary. In general, you are better off refusing roadside tests.
If you are stopped for a first offense you are generally better off taking a breath test or blood test. Generally a breath test is the choice because that machine has more inaccuracies. If you have been drinking recently a blood test may be better. Second and subsequent offender penalties are about the same as refusing.
Of course we support Designated Driver, Keys Please, TIPS and other prevention programs. It is best to simply not drive if you’ve had more than a couple of drinks.
But what if you are in “that situation”?
What you need to know?
The first important thing you should know is that if you are charged with a Driving Under the Influence or related charge in Colorado that it is BOTH a CRIMINAL offense with penalties of JAIL time, community service, alcohol classes, fines and costs, and a CIVIL offense with the possible revocation of your Driver’s License.
We find this is often poorly explained by law enforcement or poorly understood by those charged. While your first Court Date may be typically six weeks away from the date charged on the Criminal case, YOU MUST go to the Department of Motor Vehicles WITHIN SEVEN (7) DAYS of arrest and request a Civil Driver’s License Hearing, or you will automatically lose your license for a minimum of 9 months.
Express Consent Law
In Colorado, those with a Driver’s License operate a motor vehicle under Colorado’s Express Consent Law. This means as a condition of having your license that you are required to take a chemical test when requested by law enforcement. It does NOT require you to do Roadside Field maneuvers. However, whenever a chemical test is requested by law enforcement, you must choose between Breath and Blood tests for alcohol or submit a urine sample for drug testing. IF YOU FAIL TO TAKE A TEST you will likely lose your license for a minimum of one year.
How We Handle Your Case
We begin with a thorough interview. We obtain a copy of the complete police report. We determine what it would take to prepare your case for trial. We consider whether to have blood or urine samples retested. We look for legal motions to file with the Court to limit or throw out improper evidence. After we obtain all of the above information, we review your options and alternatives. Then at Pretrial hearings we file motions with the Court to restrict or throw out improper evidence or explore possible plea bargains with the District Attorney and set the case for trial if we cannot get a satisfactory resolution.
Driver’s License Hearing
If you make a request at the Department of Motor Vehicles within seven days you get a hearing about whether you were driving in Colorado with a blood alcohol in excess of 0.08. When requesting a hearing generally it is better to request the officer be present, because if he fails to appear you may win by default. When you request a hearing you get a temporary license up to the hearing date for up to 60 days.
We represent you in Driver’s License hearings. This is our first opportunity to raise legal issues as to how your case may have not been handled properly by law enforcement. We explore whether 1) did the police have reason to contact you, 2) was there a reason to require a chemical test, 3) did they have probable cause to arrest you, 4) did they perform the test correctly in accordance with Department of Public Health standards and 5) were there mitigating physical or medical characteristics you had that might effect the test results. If law enforcement has not followed the rules we are entitled to have the civil license case thrown out.
Probationary Interlock Ignition System
A relatively new feature of Colorado law is that you may be eligible for a probationary license on a first offense. When the State Legislature raised the penalty for a first offense to a 9 month automatic suspension they also broadened the probationary license. These probationary licenses require that you first serve a 30 day suspension with no license followed by 8 months of having an interlock device installed on your vehicle. This device requires that you blow into it without it detecting alcohol or drug before the ignition will work. You must pay to rent the device. If we do not succeed at getting your license we assist you in applying for a probationary license.
Most DUI arrests result in the person being held in jail until the officer determines you are sober and released (usually the next morning). Most DUI arrests will result in you being given a Summons with a Court date approximately six weeks in the future. This Court date is not a trial date, but is rather a First Appearance for the purpose of Arraignment to advise you of the charges, penalties and your legal rights. We recommend you contact an attorney as soon as possible before this date. If you need more time to hire an attorney, you will need to go to Court on that date and request more time from the Judge.
We attend all Court hearings with you. We attend pre-trials and motion hearings. We negotiate with the District Attorney’s office. We file motions with the Court where appropriate. We will take your case to trial. When we enter into a plea bargain deal or you are convicted of something we represent you at sentence.
First offense DUI’s have a range of sentence from
Probation to 5 days to One year in jail
A fine of $600 up to $1000 plus Court Costs
48 to 96 Hours of Useful Public Service
12 Points Against your Driver’s License
Aggravating Factors can increase the penalty:
Blood Alcohol above 0.20 - Ten Day Jail Minimum
Second Offense - Seven Days Jail Minimum
Plea Bargains often involve the lesser offense of DWAI, first offense penalties
Probation to up to 2 days to 6 months in Jail
A fine of $200 to $600 fine plus Court Costs
24 to 48 Hours Useful Public Service
8 Points Against Your Driving Record
There are many different funds that are required to be paid for court costs such as the Victims Compensation Fund, the Victims Assistance Fund the Law Enforcement Agency Fund, the Brain Injury Fund as well as other and those costs are substantial.
Second and Subsequent Offenses
The penalties escalate rapidly making the need to hire an attorney critical.
DUI Second Offense has a range of sentence from
90 days to 1 year although 80 days may be suspended means 10 days mandatory. A Fine of $1,000 to $1500 plus Court Costs
Impaired Second Offense has a range of sentence from
45 days minimum to one year days in jail although 40 days may be suspended means 5 days mandatory
A fine $600 to $1,000 plus Court Costs
Driving Under Revocation
This could mean a mandatory 30 days in jail unless you can be assisted to be eligible for a reinstated license or another charge.
Why You Should Hire An Attorney?
The DUI charge put so much at risk. The dual criminal and civil systems make it complicated. We can help you get through and minimize the damage to you life.