A solid DUI defense is critical.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Colorado, you only have seven days to request an administrative review from the DMV. If you fail to meet the deadline and prevail at the hearing, your license will be automatically suspended.
After a DUI arrest, time is NOT on your side.
Colorado DUI Laws & Penalties
In Colorado, a DUI is usually a misdemeanor. The penalties for a DUI conviction all depend on how many drunk driving convictions you’ve had in the past and your Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) at the time of your arrest. If this is your first DUI conviction, you can expect:
- Up to one year in jail
- A fine up to $1,000
- License revocation for up to one year
- Community service for up to 96 hours
- Months of alcohol education classes, at your own expense
The costs of DUI go beyond court fees and potential jail time. Additionally, expect your auto insurance premiums to skyrocket, and you may face employment challenges too. It can be difficult (and embarrassing) to get to work without a driver’s license. Some jobs require you to maintain a safe driving record. Professional drivers, in particular, may lose their CDLs and be unable to work!
If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, we know it can be a terrifying experience. So much is at stake! You may have been manipulated at the time of arrest, and there are a bunch of possible technical errors the arresting officer may have made. But remember this: you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And that can be difficult for the District Attorney to prove. As a former prosecutor, I understand how both sides work.
A Colorado DUI Lawyer is Your Best Defense
The most effective DUI Defense strategy won’t be found on Google. It will be found in your attorney’s office. No article on the internet is going to take a close look at your unique situation and have a full understanding of your legal issues and possible DUI defenses. Lawyers need time to meet with you, gather facts, explain your defense options, and plan your case. You should talk to a lawyer.
Common Colorado DUI Defense Strategies
Here is a list of some common DUI defenses. These may or may not apply to your unique situation, but you should bring them up to your lawyer if they do:
- Breathalyzer Test Errors and Inaccuracies
- Ketosis, resulting from Diabetes, Atkins, “Paleo” or “Keto” Diets
- No Probable Cause for the Traffic Stop
- Rising Blood Alcohol
- Inaccurate DUI Blood Test
- Inaccurate Field Sobriety Test
- DUI with No Proof of Driving
- DUI Police Report Errors, Misconduct
- Mouth Alcohol
- Improper DUI Sobriety Checkpoint
- Innocent Reasons for DUI Symptoms
- Lack of Mental Impairment or bad driving
Let’s take a closer look at some of these Colorado DUI defense strategies. Again (we cannot say this enough), it’s essential to contact your attorney right away if you think some of these issues could be involved in your case.
1. Breathalyzer Test Errors & Inaccuracies
Breathalyzers don’t read Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) directly. Only a blood test can do that! The field breathalyzers Colorado police officers use measure breath alcohol then multiply that by a “partition ratio” to estimate your BAC.
In a nutshell, breathalyzers assume a ratio of alcohol in your exhaled breath to alcohol in your blood of 1:2100. This leads to potential inaccuracy. Actual ratios of tested individuals can range from 1:1300 to 1:3000 or more! Your BAC results can be affected by your weight, sex, body temperature, and even your red blood cell ratio (hematocrit levels).
Per Medical News Today, “Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body.” Trendy diets like “paleo” or “keto” diets aim to try and burn excess fat by forcing your body to rely on fat for energy rather than food sources and carbohydrates.
What does that mean for your DUI defense? When ketones are eliminated from your body via breath and urine, they are converted to alcohol! This mouth alcohol can cause inaccurate breathalyzer results. Be sure to tell your attorney if you’re dieting or if you suffer from other blood-sugar related issues like diabetes, low blood sugar, and so on.
3. Rising Blood Alcohol
Remember, every DUI situation is unique. If you felt sober when you got into your vehicle, this might be a good defense for your case. Your BAC can change drastically within a few moments, and it’s possible that you got behind the wheel with a legal BAC. Alcohol can take just a few moments or as long as 3 hours to absorb into your system.
Absorption can be affected by factors like:
- Your age
- Your sex
- How much you’ve eaten, when you’ve eaten
- Your metabolism
This style of defense will require an outside toxicology expert to explain how you began driving sober and would have arrived at your destination still sober. These DUI defenses work best if:
- There was a significant delay between being pulled over and when the officer administered a breathalyzer test.
- Your BAC level was close to the legal Colorado limit, like .09, for instance.
- You didn’t exhibit signs of intoxication such as traffic violations, or swerving. You also didn’t cause a collision.
- You were very near your destination when you were pulled over.
Other DUI Issues: Express Consent
Hopefully, you were reasonable with the arresting officer. Acting emotional can be considered a sign of DUI. Refusing a breathalyzer can lead to big problems with your DUI defense.
As we’ve already mentioned, Colorado determines if you were driving under the influence by your BAC. Per Colorado’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) “Colorado’s Express Consent Law requires any driver to consent to a chemical test if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person is driving under the influence or their ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired because of alcohol, drugs or both.”
- In other words, drivers must submit to a breathalyzer or blood test, any time they are suspected of impaired driving.
- It is only the Intoxilyzer test administered by the officer or the blood test taken at the officer’s request that satisfies the chemical testing requirement. A “PBT” or roadside breath test does not count!
So if you’re ever pulled over, be sure to comply with officer requests. Then contact us immediately!
Remember: you only have seven days to request an administrative review by the DMV, which can make the difference between having a driver’s license or not as your case unfolds.