Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Colorado DUI Laws to learn more.
If you are accused of violating the terms of your DUI probation in Colorado, you are entitled to a revocation hearing where the prosecution has the burden to prove that you did in fact violate your probation.
If you win the hearing, you stay on probation. If you lose the hearing, the judge may either
A probation violation is when you break one or more of the plea bargain rules the judge imposed on you as a condition of staying out of jail. Ten examples of DUI probation violations – called “technical violations” – include:
It is also a violation of the terms of your probation sentence to pick up a new criminal case while your DUI case is still open. This is called a “new law violation” because it literally involves a new criminal offense in addition to the preexisting DUI one.1
If the probation department believes you violated a condition of probation in your Colorado DUI case, it will file a probation revocation complaint with the court. You may be
The judge will ask you if you admit to or deny the alleged violation. In nearly all cases, you should deny violating probation and request a revocation hearing.
The judge can release you on bail until the hearing. If you remain in custody, the hearing must occur within 14 days of the complaint being filed.
But if the case involves a “new law violation”, the judge will likely postpone (“trail”) the revocation hearing until the new criminal case is resolved. This is because if the new crime case eventually gets dismissed, there can be no probation violation.2
The odds of winning a probation revocation hearing in Colorado DUI cases are much higher if you are accused of a “new law violation” than if you are accused of a “technical violation.” This is because the district attorney has to prove “new law violations” beyond a reasonable doubt – which is the highest burden of proof in criminal law.
In contrast, prosecutors have to prove “technical violations” only by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, that it is more likely than not that you violated the conditions of your probation, which is a much lower bar than “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
You have a right to legal counsel during a revocation hearing. And probation violation attorneys are skilled at persuading judges that you committed no violation of probation, or – if you did – that you should be given a second chance.
Revocation hearings resemble trials in that your probation violation lawyer may admit evidence and cross-examine witnesses. But your DUI lawyer is trying to convince the judge – and not a jury – that you should remain on probation. There are no juries in revocation hearings.
If the judge determines that no violation occurred, you will remain on probation as if nothing happened. If the judge determines you violated probation but deserve a second chance, the judge will likely harshen the probationary terms (which may include such “punitive sanctions” as some jail time).
But if the judge revokes your probation, you will likely be remanded to jail to serve out the remainder of your sentence. In first-time DUI cases, the jail sentence is up to one year.3
Accused of a Colorado probation violation? For more information, contact our criminal defense lawyers for legal advice. Our Colorado law firm has offices in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Loveland.
Our Denver criminal defense attorneys defend against all types of felony and misdemeanor criminal charges, from DWAI to domestic violence, throughout the state of Colorado.
Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.
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