Tough & Effective Defense for a DUI in Denver
Colorado state officials are tough on intoxicated drivers. From losing your license to serving a prison sentence, the penalties for a conviction are severe. One conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) could have a profound impact on your life.
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Facing charges for DUI or DUID? Call us now or request your free consultation online today!
What Are Colorado DUI Laws?
Under Colorado DUI laws, you can face serious penalties for driving under the influence depending on the circumstances of your case and if you have had prior DUI convictions. The effects of a DUI or DUID conviction are not to be underestimated. Protect your future and avoid making mistakes that could impact your future by talking with our DUI attorney in Denver as soon as possible.
Possible penalties for a first offense DUI include:
- A $600 to $1,000 fine
- 5 days to 1 year in jail
- 9-month license revocation
Possible penalties for a second offense DUI include:
- A $600 to $1,500 fine
- 10 days to 1 year in jail
- 1-year license revocation (when second DUI conviction is within 5 years)
Possible penalties for a third offense DUI include:
- A $600 to $1,500 fine
- 60 days to 1 year in jail
- Indefinite license revocation
Notably, certain DUI regulations in Colorado carry automatic penalties for refusing to comply.
Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Colorado?
If you have a Colorado driver’s license, you are required to comply with specific laws as a condition of having a license. One of these laws directly relates to DUI. Specifically, Colorado drivers are treated as having given express consent to take a breath or blood test if police arrest them for driving under the influence. Colorado’s express consent law has steep penalties for refusing a chemical test, including:
- A one-year automatic suspension of your driver’s license,
- Classification as a “persistent drunk driver” (PDD),
- Mandatory alcohol and drug education and treatment programs,
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for at least one year following the restoration of driving privileges, and
- The State can use your refusal as evidence of guilt should your case go to trial.
Colorado’s express consent law applies to the chemical test administered after you are arrested and processed. It does not apply to any preliminary roadside test the officer may ask you to take, including a roadside breath test.
If you did refuse the breathalyzer, you might be wondering if your cause is hopeless. And the short answer is no. An experienced Denver DUI attorney on our team knows how to fight for a dismissal of your charges or minimal penalties. Our job is to help you get this case behind you with as little negative impact on your life as possible.
And if you were arrested for DUI and you did submit to the test, but the results were not in your favor, don’t throw in the towel. Contact a DUID lawyer immediately. Breathalyzer results are always challengeable in court. Meet with a DUI lawyer in Denver to discuss your DUI defense.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
Unfortunately, after being arrested, many people make serious mistakes that can negatively impact their case. The first mistake is not taking their charges seriously.
In addition, many individuals fail to request a hearing with the Division of Motor Vehicles within seven days of their DUI or DUID arrest in an attempt to keep their license. If you do not schedule this hearing, you will lose your license by default. In addition to representing you in a criminal proceeding, our DUI attorney can also help you fight to keep your license at this hearing.
Plea bargaining is a process by which you agree to plead guilty to a crime that is less serious than the crime the state initially charged you with. In exchange, the prosecutor agrees to ask the judge to accept the plea. Prosecutors agree to this because:
- When you plead guilty there is no trial, and that saves the prosecution a lot of time and effort; and
- The prosecutor doesn’t want to take the risk of losing at trial.
DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) or reckless driving are examples of lesser charges that you might plead guilty to. Sometimes it is best to just fight it out in court and go for a complete acquittal then to plea bargain for a lesser offense. In other circumstances, it is better to plea bargain. A Denver DUI attorney can help you decide.
How to Handle Your DUI Stop
Getting pulled over for a DUI can be a worrying situation, especially if you had a drink or two earlier in the evening. Your behavior during the stop can mean the difference between going home and going to jail for the night. Here are a few tips to handle your DUI stop:
- Always Be Polite – Respect will get you farther than aggression will. Obey any directions given by the officer, and maintain a polite tone when answering questions. Often, you will receive respect in return.
- Cooperate, But Do Not Incriminate Yourself – The officer will ask questions to look for further probable cause. If you were stopped, they should already have a reason to be suspicious that you are intoxicated. These questions are designed to let them evaluate your functioning and see if you will incriminate yourself. Be vague with your answers, and never tell them how much you had to drink, where you are coming from, or other information that could lead them to believe you are drunk. They will also be looking for physical signs of impairment, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and the inability to maintain conversation or eye contact. Comply with any requests, such as providing your license and registration. Resistance to reasonable requests can be interpreted as hostility.
- Understand Expressed Consent Laws – Colorado’s expressed consent law states that any driver lawfully arrested on suspicion of a DUI consents to a chemical test of their blood or breath for the purpose of determining their blood alcohol content (BAC) level. If you refuse consent, an officer cannot force you to take a test, but they can suspend your license. The period of suspension is 1 year for the first refusal, 2 years for the second, and 3 years for the third. If you have caused harm through an accident however, you can be forced to take the test.
- Use Your Miranda Rights – Though your rights are only read if you are taken into custody, you are still able to demonstrate your rights before arrest. You are not legally required to admit that you have been drinking to the police or provide other information that can be used against you in court. Do not be intimidated into speaking. Meet any requests for information with a statement that you will not answer further questions without your attorney present.
- Contact a DUI Attorney Immediately – If you are arrested, you will be granted one phone call. Be sure to have the number of an experienced DUI defense lawyer on hand. This call can mean the difference between engaging the services of an attorney of your choice or having to work with an assigned public defender.
The Costs of a DUI in Denver, CO
Getting charged with a DUI in Denver, Colorado can have significant financial and personal consequences. From court costs and fines to increased insurance premiums and potential job loss, the impact can be far-reaching. However, by understanding the complexities of DUI cases and seeking the help of a specialized lawyer, you may have a chance to minimize the penalties or even avoid a conviction altogether.
- The Financial Consequences: A DUI conviction comes with various financial obligations. You’ll face court fees, lawyers’ fees, and potentially DWI education class costs if ordered by the court. Reinstatement fees for a suspended license are also common. Additionally, you’ll be required to contribute to funds benefiting victims and law enforcement. Furthermore, a DUI conviction can result in higher insurance premiums as you may be considered a high-risk driver.
- Impacts on Education and Employment: Beyond the financial burden, a DUI can interfere with your future prospects. Some colleges may hesitate to accept students with a DWI conviction on their record, limiting educational opportunities. Similarly, certain occupations view a DWI conviction as grounds for termination, jeopardizing job security and career advancement.
- Personal Consequences: The repercussions of a DWI extend beyond finances and professional life. A DUI conviction can tarnish your reputation, causing others to question your judgment and trustworthiness. Society’s widespread disdain for drunk driving may lead to a loss of faith in your abilities. It is crucial to address the charges promptly by consulting a Denver criminal defense attorney who specializes in DUI cases.
- The Defense Strategy: Building a solid defense strategy is crucial when facing a DUI charge. An experienced DUI lawyer will examine the constitutionality of the traffic stop or police contact, aiming to have evidence dismissed if the police lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause. If the evidence is admissible, the attorney will focus on challenging its reliability and credibility, raising reasonable doubt during trial. Issues such as improper field sobriety tests, testing errors by breath machines, procedural failures by the police, and mishandled evidence can be strong grounds for DUI defense arguments.
Understanding the costs involved and seeking the assistance of a specialized DUI lawyer can help mitigate the impact of the points above. By building a strong defense strategy and challenging the evidence against you, you may be able to obtain a favorable outcome. Don’t delay in seeking legal representation to protect your rights and work towards minimizing or dismissing the charges.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Colorado charge DUI as a felony?
Yes. Although Colorado normally charges DUI or DWAI as a misdemeanor, a fourth offense DUI or DWAI is a class 4 felony. Unlike many other states, Colorado does not apply a “lookback period” to determine how many offenses you have committed. The court will even count a 50-year-old conviction against you.
Colorado can also charge you with a felony, even for a first-offense DUI or DWAI, if you cause an accident that kills someone else or causes them serious bodily injury. Penalties for a felony DUI can include years in state prison as well as other punishments. The more serious your charge, the more critical it is that you use the help of an experienced Denver DUI lawyer who is committed to protecting your rights.
Are DUI checkpoints illegal?
A DUI checkpoint is a place where every driver must stop while an officer determines whether they are intoxicated. This might happen on New Year’s Eve, for example.
DUI checkpoints are illegal in many states because they allow the police to check sobriety without any particular cause for suspicion. Generally speaking, DUI checkpoints are legal in Colorado. However, DUI checkpoints are illegal under certain circumstancesーif they are conducted in a manner that constitute racial profiling, for example.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the legality of DUI checkpoints can vary by jurisdiction and may be subject to legal challenges. Some states have specific guidelines and protocols that law enforcement must follow when conducting DUI checkpoints to ensure they comply with constitutional requirements.
What are some common DUI defenses?
Many potential defenses might apply, depending on the circumstances. Following are a few examples of DUI defenses:
- Improper stop by law enforcement – Without reasonable suspicion, police officers cannot pull you over. Law enforcement must notice a suspect do something wrong. So if you were obeying all traffic laws, not swerving, and did not have a mechanical malfunction with your vehicle, it may be possible to assert that police did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. Any evidence obtained thereafter is inadmissible.
- Police failed to read your Miranda Rights – Anyone who has seen police in television shows or movies knows the beginning of their Miranda Rights. Police officers are required to inform you of your rights as soon as you are placed under arrest. If they don’t—or only tell you part of the warning—then any incriminating statements may be suppressed.
- Medical conditions – If you have an existing medical condition that makes it appear as though you are intoxicated, then your attorney may you this particular defense. Diabetes symptoms can make a person appear erratic. Acid reflux can result in a higher reading on a breathalyzer test. Motor injuries would cause an individual to perform poorly on a field sobriety test.
- Mouth alcohol – Certain medical conditions and dental fixtures can result in a higher BAC reading on a breathalyzer test. Things that can contribute to residual mouth alcohol include acid reflux, dental bridges or crowns, and even dentures.
- Failure to follow proper protocol for field sobriety tests and chemical tests – If an arrest was based on an improperly administered field sobriety test, then the case can be dismissed. If a breathalyzer device was not adequately calibrated and maintained, then your attorney can have the results dismissed in court.
- Improper storage of blood alcohol samples – Law enforcement officers are required to store your blood samples properly to ensure they are not exposed to fermentation, contamination, or mislabeling. If questions arise as to the integrity of the sample, that piece of evidence could be thrown out.
Many more defenses are possible, depending on the facts of your case. A DUI attorney is essential if you want to identify the most relevant and useful defense for your case.
Get Dedicated DUI Defense from Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C.
At our Denver law firm, we focus on the best interests of our clients first and foremost. We strive to be accessible to our clients so you know what is going on with your case from beginning to end. We provide our clients with our personal cell phone numbers so you can always talk to us when you need to.
Our experienced legal team also handles other types of criminal charges cases, including:
- Drug Charges
- Domestic Violence
- Felony Crimes
- Juvenile Crimes
- Sex Crimes
- Theft Crimes
- Violent Crimes
- White Collar Crimes
Arrested for DUI? Call Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. today to schedule your free consultation with a caring legal professional who is prepared to offer the aggressive advocacy you need.