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Facing DUI Charges In Colorado State

The following article will cover:

  • What you need to know about being charged with DUI in Colorado.
  • The importance of contacting the DMV within seven days of a DUI arrest.
  • How an attorney can help you negotiate your charges and lessen potential parole time.

Facing DUI Charges In Colorado State

How Is DUI Defined In Colorado?

In Colorado, the term DUI refers to "Driving Under the Influence" of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. However, it's important to distinguish between the two types of driving offenses in the state:

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

To be convicted of DUI, the state will have to prove the following factors:

  • That you had consumed drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both.
  • That you were so impaired by those substances (physically or mentally) that you couldn’t demonstrate clear judgment, physical control, or safe operation of a vehicle.

Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)

The charge of DWAI is slightly less severe than DUI. To be convicted of this offense, the state will have to prove the following factors:

  • That you had consumed drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both.
  • That you were impaired by those substances (physically or mentally) to the point that you had less control than the ordinary, unimpaired person to exercise clear judgment, physical control, or safe operation of a vehicle.

The difference between DUI and DWAI mainly lies in the degree of impairment caused by alcohol or drugs. But because DWAI laws emphasize that you can be charged for showing even the slightest amount of impairment, the offenses are particularly challenging to defend in court.

What’s more, even though DWAI is a lesser charge than DUI, they are both categorized as alcohol-related driving offenses, and both charges are treated seriously in Colorado. Not only do these offenses come with a consequence in terms of sentencing, but you are not able to expunge them from your criminal record at any point. Because of this, it is paramount to work with an attorney who can help you find the best outcome for your case.

Do I Have To Give A Breath Or A Blood Sample During A DUI Arrest In Colorado And What Happens If I Refuse?

Your right to refuse a breath or blood test depends on whether or not you have caused major harm or injury to another person. In severe circumstances, police officers can obtain a mandatory blood draw. Outside of those circumstances, you can refuse to give a chemical test (breath or blood) during any routine DUI stop.

What you must understand is that, if you do refuse a chemical test, the police will inform you that this will violate Colorado’s Implied Consent laws and result in the DMV revoking your license for one year. However, while it’s true that the DMV can revoke your license for refusing a chemical test, many drivers in these situations are able to get their license back before a year has passed – sometimes in only a matter of months.

In addition to this, your refusal to give a chemical test means that you are not giving investigating officers the potentially damning evidence that they need for the prosecutors to obtain a conviction in court. Depending on your situation, it may be more beneficial to manage the restrictions on your license than trying to fight the allegations of DUI in court.

Additionally, it’s critical to understand that when you are charged with DUI, you do not lose your license immediately – but you have a limited amount of time to request a hearing with the DMV. If you are pulled over and refuse a breath test, or submit to a breath test that shows you to be over the legal limit, you have to request a DMV hearing within the next seven days.

This DMV hearing is yet another opportunity for you to benefit from working with an experienced attorney. In some cases, a lawyer could help you prolong the time that you have a valid driver's license while the case is pending and give you the ability to retain your driver's license even in the situation of a refusal.

If You Plan On Pleading Guilty, Do You Need A DUI Attorney?

So many people go to court and plead guilty to DUI charges without a lawyer when it’s clear to every attorney in the room that they could have walked away with a much better outcome. It’s so important to negotiate a criminal charge even when the outcome seems clear. What’s more, a person without legal experience will find it difficult to understand whether or not it’s possible to challenge the evidence being brought against them.

There are countless arguments and defenses to be made in a DUI case – from working with drug recognition experts to challenging the accuracy of the breathalyzer machine – and these defenses are inaccessible without the help of an attorney.

If you are charged with DUI, the best thing you can do is get a case evaluation from an experienced DUI lawyer. This way you can be confident that you are not suffering the consequences of a charge that was based on improperly obtained evidence.

The best part is, your attorney can help you do more than defend against your criminal charges. By assessing the details of your case, your attorney will be able to help you get on the path of completing the requirements of probation early on in the process. This way, the amount of time you spend in contact with the criminal law system can be reduced overall. For more information on Facing DUI Charges In Colorado State, an initial consultation is your next best step.

The Zorrilla Law Firm - Denver, CO

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