DUIs in Colorado: What to Expect if you Get Charged
Getting charged with a DUI can be a daunting experience, even for experienced drivers. Not only is Colorado famous for being the only State in America to turn down the Olympics (way back in the year 1976), as of 2016, it goes down in history (once again) as being the state with the most stringent DUI penalties and laws.
You obviously do not want to be charged with a DUI, especially in Colorado. Actually, you want to steer clear of any traffic related offense while in this Centennial State. However, should you find yourself being charged with a DUI in Colorado, either for alcohol or marijuana, here is what you need to know about it.
Someone has the upper hand, and it’s not you.
The prosecution already has an upper hand, in that they have a team of qualified attorneys, police officers, and state employees. The attorneys are well versed with the new Colorado DUI laws that have just been recently passed and will try their best (as they always do) to convict an (already) arrested driver of driving under the influence.
Here is what most people are not aware of. The State of Colorado can not only arrest you for a DUI, but they can also arrest you for a DWAI. DWAI stands for Driving While Ability Impaired. Basically, this refers to a situation where the driver is charged after having being found to have an alcohol concentration of between .05% and .08%, in their blood. The difference between a DUI and a DWAI is this. For you to be charged with a DUI, your blood alcohol content (often referred to as BAC) is usually found to be higher than .08%. For you to be charged with a DWAI, your BAC is usually found to be higher than .05%, but less than .08%.
The charges and penalties.
Let us say that you have already been charged with a DUI or a DWAI in Colorado. You will be set to face criminal charges. To add on to that, you will also face sanctions against your driver’s license, from the DMV which is a big challenge.
Now, it is important to note that your driver’s license revocation and your criminal case are separate entities. After seven days are over, the Colorado DMV will no longer be in a position to grant you an administrative hearing. This means you will not be able to retain your driving privileges. So, your grace period to charm your way into getting your driver’s license back is seven days (from the date of your arrest).
If you are a first time offender:
You will get up to one year (if charged with a DUI), or up to 180 days (if charged with a DWAI).
You will be fined up to $1,000 (if charged with DUI) or up to $500 (if charged with DWAI).
Your license will be suspended for 9 months (if charged with DUI). You get to retain your license if you are charged with DWAI.
You might get from twenty-four to forty-eight hours of community service. (The maximum is ninety six hours).
Lastly, if you refuse a BAC test to be conducted, you will have your license revoked for a year. After two months, you may be eligible for reinstatement. Following your reinstatement, you will be required to get an IID for two years. However, if you decide not to follow the test refusal way, an IDD will typically not be required.
IID stands for Ignition Interlock Device. It is just like a breathalyzer, only that it is attached inside your vehicle, mostly on your dashboard. Before you get out of the parking lot, you are required to breathe into it. If your BAC reads anything higher than the digits programmed into the IDD, your engine automatically will not start.
Of course, the charges get harsher if you are a second-time or third-time offender. You can get slapped with a $1,500 fine and also be required to get an IID if you end up being charged more than twice with a DUI.
The plan of Action: get a DUI attorney.
After being charged and arrested, you immediately need to get yourself the best DUI lawyer. This is why: if your attorney reviews your arrest and all events that surrounded it, they can use their findings to help you beat your case and challenge the charges. It is better to seek help from a DUI attorney than to end up parting with a hefty fine and having to buy an IDD, which is not a cheap device.
Your attorney’s job is to fight for you, but this is not his only job description. He can advise you. Both of you can sit down and discuss your options, depending on your charges. You do not want to find yourself in an uninformed corner while in battling in court.
Because there are a variety of methods used to determine sobriety (e.g. breathalyzers, urine tests, roadside tests and blood tests), there are just as many loopholes that can be used to beat the charges read against you. Having an attorney can help, when it comes to challenging the accuracy of these tests. You never know, you might find yourself getting out of that entire mess after your attorney has thoroughly investigated the circumstances under which you were charged and arrested.
DUI cases are complex. Everybody knows that. That is why getting good representation is helpful. You might not be absolved of all the charges, but at the very least, you will end up getting either less jail time and/or reduced penalties.
If you do your homework correctly, you will find that in most cases, you will generally spend much more, without an attorney, than when you have hired one.
Now you know. Should you find yourself with a DUI in Colorado, you now know what steps to take. Regardless of your BAC, remember to always get yourself a good and competent DUI attorney. Good representation will make a huge impact in your case as opposed to not having an attorney.