A DUI (short for “Driving under the Influence”) is always a compromising situation. Not only does one have to deal with the legal ramifications, but they must also deal with the social stigma that comes with it. Chances are that your mug shot will come to public light and you’ll not only be dealing with the cops and the court system, but you’ll also need to find, and pay for, an experienced DUI lawyer to get you out of the jam.
This comprehensive guide will speak to the punishments and penalties of DUI offenses in the state of Colorado and will give you a few tips to take with you if you’re unfortunate enough to be stuck in that situation. Remember, this is not a “how-to” guide and in no way does this guide endorse drinking and driving, which is not only dangerous for the person behind the wheel but even more so for bystanders and can cost someone their life.
Colorado DUI Offences and Penalties
While a misdemeanor crime in Colorado, the punishments and ramifications are still costly. If your ability to safely operate a vehicle is substantially impaired due to being under the influence of alcohol, you are considered as having committed a DUI. Your blood alcohol level must be 0.8% or higher for you to be booked under a DUI charge. Anything below that would count as DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) and is subject to different penalties and punishments.
Under the laws of Colorado, those committing a DUI offense for the first time are liable to prison time which can range from anywhere between 5 days and 1 year. In addition, you would also be liable to a fine of $600 to $1000 and 96 hours of community service. Furthermore, your license would also be suspended for 9 months. For second-time offenders, the jail time stays the same but the fine can go up to $1500 with a 1-year suspension of your license, and 120 hours of community service. Additionally, you also need to have an ignition interlock installed in your car, at your own expense, for two years after your license is reinstated.
The punishment for the third offense is the same as the second offense except for the license suspension which goes to 2 years for third-time DUI offenders. Your fourth offense is where DUI stops being a misdemeanor and the ramifications are life-altering. If you’re convicted for a fourth DUI offense, then you could be liable for a fine of up to $500,000, 6 years in a Colorado state penitentiary, and 3-year mandatory parole.
All of the above is subject to your blood alcohol level being above 0.8% and below 0.15%. If you go higher than this range, even on your first DUI offense, you’ll be treated as a repeat offender and be subject to very strict punishments and penalties.
Refusing to take the test can cause more problems
By applying for, and successfully getting your Colorado driving license, you’re automatically consenting to a blood alcohol level test by the authorities. As such, you can’t refuse to take the test unless you want your license suspended for 1 year. What’s worse is that you don’t simply get your license back upon the expiry of the suspension period. You need to install an ignition interlock device in your car, at your own expense, if you want to get your license back and if you want to keep your license further, then you need to have the device installed for two years.
The above is only what happens when you refuse to take the test. If the police have reasonable cause, they can still charge you for DUI and submit your refusal to take the test as evidence. If you actually have had a drink and been driving, then chances are your refusal would be enough to cause a few problems for you in front of a court of law.
Hire a Lawyer
While the prospect of representing yourself may seem dramatic and Hollywood-esque, it’s seldom a smart idea and will likely cause more problems than there are, to begin with. As you can see from the above, DUIs are no laughing matter and you need an experienced Denver DUI lawyer to be able to deal with everything. In addition to the police, there’s also the district attorney to deal and negotiate with and the court itself which has numerous procedural formalities.
Therefore, it would be much better if you were to just hire a lawyer to deal with everything. If you live in Denver and are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a DUI situation, then you could contact a service like M. Trent Trani & Associates, P.C. at tranicriminaldefense.com/dui
It is important to find a reliable attorney or firm that could help you and represent you in the best way possible.
Don’t confess to everything just because of the blood alcohol concentration test
Just because your blood alcohol concentration tests came back to your detriment does not mean that all is lost. The BAC test is one of the foundation stones of the case but a lot more is needed for a conviction. There are ways to challenge these tests based on procedural mistakes and negligence in the handling of evidence. An experienced DUI lawyer would even go to the extent of calling into question the machines that were used in the testing and the credibility of the lab.
Have your blood tested at an independent lab
According to the law, two vials of blood are to be collected from the person being accused of a DUI. One of these vials will be used by the DA to carry out testing and to prove their case. The other vial is kept for the accused to have their blood tested independently from a lab of their choosing. It is vital that you exercise this option as even the smallest difference in test results can be enough for an experienced lawyer to have the charges reduced or have the entire case thrown out altogether.