Out of state drivers arrested for a DUI in Colorado generally face the same penalties as Colorado drivers. A DUI or drugged driving conviction may result in losing your license, potential jail time, fines and fees, and completing court-ordered alcohol education to get your license back.
Dealing with a DUI may require a significant time commitment, including having to take days off from work or school to attend court hearings. Fortunately for many out-of-state drivers, you may not have to return to Colorado after DUI if you have an experienced Colorado DUI attorney on your side.
In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. Will I Have to Return to Colorado For My DUI Court Date?
- 2. Do I Need to Hire a Colorado DUI Attorney?
- 3. Will My Driver’s License Be Suspended?
1. Will I Have to Return to Colorado For My DUI Court Date?
If you were arrested in Colorado for a DUI, DWAI, underage DUI, or another drunk driving offense, you may be facing misdemeanor criminal charges.1 Leaving Colorado by crossing state lines will not get rid of the problem. Even if you never plan to return to Colorado you still have to deal with the DUI charges. Failure to appear for your court date can result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.
The first thing you should consider after an out-of-state DUI is talking to a Colorado DUI attorney with experience successfully defending residents from other states. They will be able to explain the process and let you know if you can avoid having to return to Colorado for your court date. Fortunately, in most cases, hiring an attorney to represent you in your Colorado DUI case may mean you do not have to physically appear in person for your DUI court date.
In Colorado, most first, second, or third DUI charges are treated as misdemeanors. Felony DUIs usually involve a DUI accident resulting in serious injury or death, or a 4th DUI. Your DUI attorney can make court appearances on your behalf and even represent you in a Colorado DMV hearing so you will not automatically lose your driving privileges. In most cases, your attorney can investigate your case, collect evidence, file motions, and negotiate on your behalf without requiring you to appear in person.
If your case is not dismissed and you do not agree to a plea bargain, your case may proceed to trial. If you decide to have your case go to trial you will likely have to appear in person. However, even a simple DUI case may take months or longer to proceed from arrest to trial and, during that time, your attorney can fight to have your case dismissed or negotiate the best plea agreement for you.
2. Do I Need to Hire a Colorado DUI Attorney?
If you choose not to hire an attorney, you may be able to represent yourself in your DUI case; however, you will most likely have to appear in person for all your court dates. If you want an attorney to represent you, they will need to be admitted to practice in the state of Colorado. If you want a public defender, you will generally have to appear in person for your initial court date. Additionally, you will have to meet the financial requirements necessary to qualify for a public defender.
Alternatively, an experienced Colorado DUI attorney may be able to handle your case beginning with the initial court appearance or arraignment. You do not have to wait until the arraignment to ask for an attorney and can hire a Colorado DUI attorney immediately after you have been arrested. The other benefit of contacting a Colorado DUI attorney is that they can also defend you through the administrative process with the DMV. You need to request a DMV administrative hearing if you want to keep your driver’s license after a DUI arrest.
3. Will My Driver’s License Be Suspended?
Perhaps the most confusing aspect of an out-of-state DUI is dealing with your license suspension. A DUI conviction in Colorado will likely impact your ability to drive in your home state. States, including Colorado, share DUI convictions with other states. After a Colorado DUI conviction, your conviction will be reported on the interstate compact, which the vast majority of states share. This generally results in your home state driver’s license being suspended.
To have your driving privileges reinstated, you will have to comply with Colorado’s requirements to reinstate your license after a DUI, even if your state has different requirements for a DUI. Probationary requirements after a DUI generally include waiting a designated time period, usually 90 days, community service, paying all required costs and fees, and completing a drug and alcohol evaluation. You may be able to complete equivalent programs in your home state, and submit proof of compliance.
Once you have met all the requirements to have your Colorado driving privileges reinstated, the Colorado DMV will lift the restrictions on your license, and you may be able to have your driving privileges returned in your home state. If you have any other questions about how the DMV handles a drunk driving arrest and conviction, talk to an experienced Colorado DUI attorney.
Call us for help…
If you are an out-of-state driver and were arrested for drinking and driving in Colorado, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been charged with DUI and other criminal offenses. We are among the best Colorado criminal defense attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.
Arrested in Nevada? See our article on help for out-of-state drivers in Nevada DUI cases.
- C.R.S. 42-4-1301