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.
The DUI attorneys of Colorado Legal Defense Group (CLDG) have a singular goal: To fight to keep our clients out of jail, to save their licenses, and to have the charges reduced or dismissed if possible.
CLDG maintains a "dream team" of six seasoned DUI/DWAI attorneys. Each client benefits from our decades of combined experience and reputations. And we know that no case is hopeless.
We look at every charge individually. We conduct a thorough review of the arresting officers' background and incident report. We check if law enforcement complied with standardized operating procedures. We examine the maintenance history of the breathalyzer. Where applicable, we visit the location of the arrest and conduct an independent analysis of the blood sample. We can even call on expert witnesses to analyze the data.
In several cases, we find evidence of errors either by the police or the chemical-testing equipment. And this can be enough to get your whole case thrown out so you keep your license and your record clean.
Our job is to understand your story. And we present it in the best light to the prosecutor, the DMV examiner, and, if necessary, the jury. Keep reading for more information about Colorado DUI laws. To learn more about specific DUI charges, visit our section on Colorado DUI offenses A to Z.
Possibly. There are many potential ways to fight DUI/DWAI charges. Just five common defense strategies include:
If prosecutors see their evidence is insufficient, they may drop the charge. Or they may reduce it to a lesser offense such as reckless driving (42-4-1401 C.R.S.).
There is also the option of going to trial. As long as the defense attorney can raise a reasonable doubt, the court should acquit the defendant. But in practice, most DUI/DWAI cases resolve through negotiations alone.
First-time DUIs carry a 9-month license suspension. But defendants may contest the suspension at a DMV hearing.
DMV hearings are administrative trials separate from the criminal matter. They are valuable opportunities to cross-examine the arresting officer. And depending on the case, the judge may find in the driver’s favor.
Even if the license does get suspended, DUI-1st defendants can usually resume driving after 1 month. They would just need to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed. This is a breathalyzer that keeps the car from starting if it detects alcohol. Then if the driver uses the IID correctly for 4 months, the license will be fully reinstated.
Note that DWAIs carry no license suspension. Refusing to take a breath or blood test carries a 1-year suspension for a first violation. And drivers under 21 arrested for underage drinking and driving (UDD) face a 3-month suspension for a first violation.
Courts rarely impose jail for first-time misdemeanor DUIs unless the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.20% or higher. And it may be possible to get drunk/drugged driving charges lessened or dropped completely.
Otherwise, the sentence depends on whether the charge is for:
|First-time DUI or DUI per se||Misdemeanor:|
Defendants with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.15% are labeled as a persistent drunk driver (PDD) and sentenced as repeat-DUI offenders.
|Second-time DUI or DUI per se||Misdemeanor:|
|Third-time DUI or DUI per se||Misdemeanor:|
|Fourth or subsequent DUI or DUI per se||Class 4 Felony:|
|Fourth or subsequent DWAI||Class 4 Felony:|
|First-time UDD||Class A traffic infraction:|
|Second or subsequent UDD||Class 2 traffic misdemeanor:|
It varies but on average three-to-six months.
The first step in the DUI court process is the arraignment. This is a short hearing where the defendant is formally charged. But if the defendant has an attorney, he/she can have the arraignment vacated and proceed to a pretrial conference.
The pretrial conference is where the defense attorney negotiates with the prosecutor. The defense attorney will point out all the deficiencies and problems in the case. And hopefully the D.A. will respond by offering a dismissal or favorable plea deal.
If negotiations stall, the court can then set the matter for trial. Sometimes, the very act of trial preparation makes prosecutors realize their case is too weak to sustain a conviction. And they may ultimately give in and drop or reduce the charges.
DUI/DWAI convictions may never be sealed under Colorado law. But under certain conditions, convictions for UDD or juvenile DWAI may be expunged.
Note that DUI/DWAI charges that get dismissed can usually be sealed right away. The only exception is if the case was dismissed because of a deferred judgment.
There are three ways that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs becomes a felony:
In addition to the fines and prison time discussed above, felony DUI convictions result in a loss of gun rights.
No. DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” It typically applies to drivers with a BAC of .08% or higher. Even if they are driving safely, having an illegal BAC level is automatically (“per se”) illegal.
Meanwhile, DWAI stands for “driving while ability impaired.” This typically applies to drivers with a BAC of at least .05% but less than .08%.
Predictably, DWAI carries lesser penalties than DUI. And unlike DUI, DWAI does not require a mandatory license suspension.
p>DUI generally is not deportable. Therefore, non-citizens convicted of it usually will not be removed from the U.S. once they finish their sentence.
However, immigration law is always changing. Therefore, aliens facing criminal charges are encouraged to consult with an attorney right away. The attorney can help determine whether the case threatens the person’s resident status.
We understand the stress that goes with a Colorado drugged or drunk driving arrest and its potential consequences. But your case can be challenged in both criminal court and the DMV.
At CLDG, we will devote our best efforts to obtaining the best possible result in your Colorado DUI case. Whether that means negotiating a plea agreement or fighting your case in front of a jury, we will do what is best for you.
Getting arrested for DUI/DWAI can make you feel very alone. But you are not. According to the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, there were 27,244 DUI charges just in 2016.
To learn more about Colorado DUI, DWAI, and underage drinking and driving laws, we invite you to browse the articles on our site. Or schedule your free telephone or in-person consultation with an experienced DUI lawyer. Simply fill out the form on this page. Or call us at our Denver home office:
Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211