“A DUI arrest can be a costly mistake,” says Alexis Austin, attorney at Right Law Group. “There are enormous costs that stem from a DUI conviction. All have a lasting impact. Don’t let one wrong decision impact your life, job or freedom. Call today for a free case evaluation. It doesn’t matter where you live in Colorado; driving under the influence is a serious crime. A DUI in Colorado is classified as a criminal offense and major traffic violation. If your DUI charges include property damage or injury to another person, you may face felony charges, as well. Your next actions will impact the outcome of your case. You need to educate yourself, so you can make a final decision on how you will defend yourself against your DUI charges. You have a seven (7) day window to request a hearing with the DMV to prevent the automatic suspension of your license in the next (30) days. You need to act now.
A driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) charge can cause uneasy feelings of fear and shame. There are also times when you can get a DUI and not even realize you did anything wrong. For example, some people do not realize that you can be charged with DUI for driving after taking prescribed medication or that you can get a DUI when you are just sitting in your car without driving. But a DUI does not have to be the end of your world. At Right Law Group, we understand that people sometimes make mistakes and we are here to help. Our experienced Colorado Springs DUI lawyers have defended numerous clients following drunk driving arrests. We can analyze your circumstances and prepare a proper defense. We know the Colorado laws as well as the judges and prosecutors and will strive to get your most favorable outcome.
While being pulled over for the first time can be frightening, it’s important to remember that a DUI, DUI per se or DWAI arrest is not a conviction. If it is your first offense, the law will work in your favor if you keep your emotions in check and make good decisions. Remember: It’s important to get an experienced DUI defense attorney who can take you through the steps successfully. Here are some things to be aware of and some initial steps you’ll need to take to get your situation moving in the right direction.
Key points to remember and implement immediately following a DUI, DUI per se or DWAI arrest in Colorado that will directly impact your trial outcome.
What you have to realize is that if the officer that stopped you has the evidence they need to arrest you, there is nothing you can do or say that will prevent your arrest. What you say can hurt you and damage your chances of DUI dismissal and a positive outcome in court.
Remember: your best option is to say nothing.
This is required by most states and is punishable under the law if refused. The chemical test is designed to show a variety of information, most notably your current blood alcohol level. From this level, the officers can deduce the level of alcohol in your blood at the time of arrest. If you have refused field sobriety tests, then you have little to fear from this and much to lose by refusing. Take the test.
Never use a general attorney for DUI court cases. DUI laws are complex and require an in-depth understanding of the legal system in a very specific regard. While other attorneys may be able to represent you in court, only a specialized DUI attorney can hope to gain you a favorable outcome in your dui defense.
Posting bail is often required after an arrest. While most individuals may be released without bail, some cases require the aid of a bondsman. These individuals will require a fee, up front. Once the fee is paid, they will post bail for you. While this can be expensive, it is less so than paying your entire bail to the court. A bail bondsman guarantees that you will be at your hearings. If you do not appear during all hearings, the bondsman will likely come looking for you.
After your time of arrest, you have a limited number of days (usually 10) including weekends and holidays, to make a formal request for a DMV hearing. This hearing will determine whether you are allowed to keep your driver’s license. If you or your attorney does not request a DMV hearing, your license will be automatically suspended.
The arraignment is the portion of your trial during which you enter your plea. Do not plead guilty. It is possible to fight DUI charges and win the case. However, you must ensure that you have experienced, expert DUI attorney on your side to do this. A plea of not guilty will give you a jury trial, during which it is possible to show that you were not driving drunk, or challenge the merits of the case in another manner.
DUI, or driving under the influence, occurs when a driver operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, or when the driver has a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Drivers under the age of 21 (UDD) are charged with impaired driving based on blood alcohol levels of 0.02 or higher, and CDL license holders can be charged based upon blood alcohol levels of 0.04 or higher.
Laws concerning DUI, DUI per se, and DWAI appear under Title 42, article 4, and part 13. The State of Colorado divides these offenses into two distinct categories: driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while ability impaired (DWAI). Colorado further separates DUI into two distinct categories: DUI and DUI per se.
In a DUI per se, the prosecution must prove the driver’s drug or alcohol blood levels were above .08 percent while driving or within two hours after driving. In a DUI per se, the driver may not appear to be under the influence. A DUI breathalyzer or DUI blood test will determine if blood levels violate legal limits. In a standard DUI, the prosecution proves that the ingested alcohol or drugs affected the driver’s mental or physical ability to drive.
Per Colorado’s driving DUI laws, it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any of the following BAC percentages:
DUI convictions stay on your driving record for 10 years.
NOTE: Colorado has harsh expungement rules regarding DUI, DUI per se and DWAI convictions. Drunk driving convictions appear permanently as criminal records. Prevent a DUI from becoming a criminal record with the help of an experienced attorney.
This section provides a concise explanation for the minimum and maximum penalties for Driving Under the Influence, DUI or DUI per se, convictions. Immediately following is a parallel explanation for DWAI.
The first DUI or DUI per se conviction in Colorado is a misdemeanor. The convicted motorist faces the following administrative and criminal penalties.
First time DUI and DUI per se offenders, a month after the completion of their license suspension, may apply for ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles if they took either a breath or blood test. Drivers must wait 2 months if they refuse testing. Prior convictions, including DUI and DWAI in any state or U.S. territory, are included at the time of sentencing. BAC test refusal: Colorado drivers are subject to expressed consent laws (42-4-1301 (6) (IV)(d) C.R.S.) and are required to take chemical tests for the purposes of determining BAC. Refusal to take a blood alcohol test at a traffic stop results in a Persistent Drunk Driver designation and is an independent cause for revoking a driver’s license and an automatic 2-year interlock device requirement.
Minimum and Maximum Penalties for a Second DUI or DUI per se Conviction
A second DUI or DUI per se conviction is a misdemeanor in Colorado. The convicted motorist faces the following penalties.
Prior convictions, including DUI and DWAI in any state or U.S. territory, are included at the time of DUI sentencing. The courts consider prior deferred sentences as prior charges as well. Offenders whose license is revoked because of a second DUI, DUI per se and DWAI, a month after the completion of their license suspension, may be able to apply for ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles.
The third DUI or DUI per se conviction in Colorado is a misdemeanor.
Qualifying offenses may include:
The 4th entirely separate DUI or DUI per se conviction either in Colorado or any other U.S. state or territory is a class 4 felony.
Penalties for DUI or DUI per se involving Deaths or injuries
DUI or DUI per se with injuries. Anytime an injury occurs in a DUI accident, the driver faces more severe penalties, including being charged as a felony. Such cases can result in 16 months to six years in prison. Fines for an injury DUI range from $2000 to $500,000, depending on the defendant’s history. DUI or DUI per se with fatalities. DUI offenders, who approximately cause the death of another person, (Colorado vehicular homicide 18-3-106 C.R.S.) are prosecuted under manslaughter or murder laws. Charges may include:
This section provides a concise explanation for the minimum and maximum penalties for the different levels of Driving While Ability Impaired or DWAI convictions.
The first DWAI conviction in Colorado is a misdemeanor. Ability impaired occurs when BAC is over 0.05 percent but less than 0.08 percent, and the mental and/or physical capacity to drive is impaired. Unlike a DUI or DUI per se conviction, where guilt is automatic, DWAI must be proved by the prosecutor. The convicted motorist faces the following administrative and criminal penalties.
Prior convictions, including DUI and DWAI in any state or U.S. territory, are included at the time of sentencing. BAC test refusal: Colorado drivers are subject to expressed consent laws (42-4-1301.1 C.R.S.) and are required to take chemical tests to determine BAC. Refusal to take a blood alcohol test at a traffic stop results in a Persistent Drunk Driver designation and is an independent cause for revoking a driver’s license.
Penalties and fines are the same as DUI and DUI per se, except drivers receive 8 points on their driving record for each subsequent conviction.
Colorado is a zero-tolerance state for drivers under the age of 21 with BAC levels of 0.02 percent but less than 0.05 percent.
Wet reckless (driving) is a term describing a specific type of plea deal sometimes offered to first time DUI, DUI per se or DWAI offenders in Colorado. Those offered a “wet reckless” plea bargain, plead guilty to the lesser charge of reckless driving.
Wet Reckless driving is a misdemeanor. Drivers convicted of wet reckless driving are charged with “a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.” That means the driver understood the risks and chose to drive anyway.
In the event that the driver is later convicted of a DUI, DUI per se or DWAI, the wet reckless conviction counts as a DUI or DWAI prior offense.
Consequences depend on the circumstances surrounding each instance.
A prosecutor may reduce DUI, DUI per se or DWAI charges to a wet reckless when:
You can win a Colorado DUI, DUI per se or DWAI case regardless of the allegations. There’s a winning defense strategy for your situation. Even if the prosecution alleges you drove with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.20 percent, under 0.08 percent is the legal limit, or claims your impaired ability to drive led to an accident, you can still win a court case. An experienced DUI defense attorney knows the defenses that could persuade a prosecutor to reduce the charges or even dismiss them. The best defense for your case depends on the circumstances surrounding your arrest and the nature of the charges. As top Colorado DUI defense lawyer Alexis Austin, attorney at Right Law Group explains, “People plead guilty to DUI mistakenly because they feel the evidence is stacked against them. Experience has shown me that very rarely is the evidence insurmountable. Law enforcement mishandles DUI investigations procedurally and evidentially, and some prosecutors leverage fear and unfamiliarity to intimidate defendants. The best move for a defendant, in almost every case, is to consult with an experienced Colorado DUI lawyer rather than trying to go it alone.” The following are 20 DUI defense summaries provided by our Colorado DUI defense lawyers that can help you beat your Colorado DUI charges: If you have additional questions or want to speak with one of the attorneys of our Colorado DUI defense team, we invite you to contact us at Right Law Group. Mouth Alcohol-Related DUI Charges
Colorado DUI breath tests are subject to a wide range of errors. These include (but are not limited to):
Law enforcement most commonly uses DUI breath testing to measure BAC, but it’s not always accurate. A DUI breath test isn’t a direct measure of the level of alcohol in your blood. It calculates the level of alcohol present in your breath and then estimates the likely level of alcohol in your blood.2 Breath testing errors are a top Colorado DUI defense. DUI breath testing is often unreliable, generating erroneously high BAC readings. Understanding how this happens can be the basis of a successful DUI defense strategy.
“Mouth alcohol” is misread by DUI breath testing instruments as the presence of alcohol in lung tissue alcohol (alveolar air). This reading can occur under several circumstances:
You can challenge the results of a breath test as part of your DUI defense strategy.
Medical conditions may be triggered by the stressful encounter with law enforcement and being required to take a DUI breath test. The mouth alcohol levels increase due to the medical condition and are misread by breath testing instrument.4 Your experienced DUI attorney will know how to leverage your medical condition to defend you in court. Medical conditions such as GER, acid reflux and heartburn can serve as a defense to DUI charges.
Ketosis is a chemical state where stored fat is used for energy, releasing alcohol in breath and urine. It turns to isopropyl and is picked up as high alcohol content on a DUI breath testing device. These machines do not distinguish between ethanol (alcohol in beverages) and isopropyl.5 Ketosis is commonly caused by:
People who ascribe to keto, carnivore or paleo diets or who have diabetes can fight DUI charges on this basis.
It takes 50 minutes to three hours for alcohol to absorb into the system.6 This phenomenon, called “rising blood alcohol,” may be leveraged as a defense regardless of how BAC levels are measured in either a DUI breath or blood test. If at the time of your arrest, your blood alcohol levels were still rising, the chemical test results will show a higher degree of BAC than when you operated your vehicle.
As with DUI breath tests, the potential for error exists. Inaccuracies may be due to several factors.
Your DUI defense attorney may make what is called a “blood split motion” to learn how your blood test was conducted and your sample was stored.7 Improper handling of your BAC results or blood sample will allow your attorney to have them excluded from evidence, which could lead to the dismissal of your DUI charges.
Title 17 of the Colorado Code of Regulations sets forth strict guidelines for DUI chemical test samples.8
If there are any violations of these specific regulations and any violations of Colorado’s Title 17, BAC test results may be compromised. Your DUI blood test may be excluded from evidence if Title 17 isn’t properly handled in the following cases.
A law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion or believe you are engaged in criminal activity9 before:
If “probable cause” is not supported by evidence gathered by the arresting officer, it will be suppressed.10 It will not be used against you in your DUI case and may result in reduced charges or dismissal.
Miranda rights are not required in a Colorado DUI arrest. They are required, however, in the following instances:
When the arresting officer asks questions that solicit incriminating responses after you’ve been arrested, or are in custody, Colorado DUI law calls this custodial interrogation.11 The arresting officer must read you your Miranda rights if you’re in custody and the officer conducts a custodial interrogation. When these conditions are met, the officer must advise you of your Miranda rights. Otherwise, any subsequent statements will be excluded from evidence upon a motion by your DUI defense attorney.
The arresting officer may claim things about your appearance at the time of the arrest. A flushed face, unsteady gait, watery eyes, slurred speech and even the smell of alcohol on the breath do not prove impairment or indicate BAC above legal limits. Every one of these descriptions can be caused by something innocent: sunburn, fatigue, allergies, illness and a drink within legal limits. An experienced attorney will know the way to address these types of allegations during a hearing.
DUI field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable. Colorado standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) are only 65-77 percent accurate indicators of alcohol and/or drug impairment, and data shows that accurate readings only happen if they are precisely administered and scored (which is rarely the case). Other factors contribute to the unreliability of SFSTs and make it difficult for sober people to pass sobriety these tests:
Your DUI defense attorney will ensure the prosecutor is not able to present SFST results as reliable evidence in your DUI case.
Erratic driving such as weaving and speed is often due to inattention or distraction and has nothing to do with DUI. Police may assume bad driving is DUI related. Not all bad or distracted driving results from DUI. It’s not unusual to drop something while driving and try to pick it up. Perhaps you were trying to change a CD, or your passengers distracted you. Eating or entering an address into your GPS is just as likely to cause a moment of poor driving. Any of these activities are something sober drivers do every day and are effective strategies for building a successful DUI defense.
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) readings can be affected by factors other than the actual amount of alcohol in your body. Examples of factors when DUI Test devices don’t tell the whole story are:
People tend to assume that DUI chemical test readings of BAC “over the legal limit” equate to DUI. This assumption is wrong, and your DUI defense attorney will let the prosecution know the reality for your situation.
Assuming DUI Chemical testing conditions are perfect, there is still an inherent +/- error rate of between 0.005 percent and 0.02 percent with all Colorado DUI chemical testing equipment. With that in mind, your DUI defense attorney may challenge the results of your BAC test when BAC levels are between 0.08 percent and 0.10 percent.
Colorado DUI sobriety checkpoints must comply with strict legal requirements. In Colorado, DUI sobriety checkpoints must comply with strict legal standards. This means:
Your Colorado DUI defense attorney can challenge your arrest and fight the DUI charges whenever these requirements aren’t satisfied.
A Colorado DUI chemical blood or breath testing device can produce erroneously high BAC readings due to Radio Frequency Interference (“RFI”). That’s because electromagnetic static produced by high wires or even buildup on people can interfere with DUI blood and breath device function and produce an erroneously high BAC. RFI or EMI (electromagnetic interference) may be caused by the following:
An RFI or EMI disturbances can devalue or even invalidate your DUI blood and breath testing results and are a strong DUI defense strategy (42-4-1301 (6) (IV)(II) C.R.S.), (42-4-1301 (6) (IV)(f) C.R.S.).
The State of Colorado distinguishes between two types of impairment: mental impairment and physical impairment. No sign of mental impairment at the time of your DUI arrest could be a defense to your DUI charges. Law enforcement officers most frequently cite physical impairment as evidence of DUI during Colorado DUI investigations. Physical impairment might include:
Medical and legal experts agree, however, that alcohol and/or drug-related impairment always displays itself in the form of mental impairment first. If an officer testifies against you citing behavior that does not display mental impairment, you may be able to challenge the allegations you were DUI under (42-4-1301 (1) (g) C.R.S.) Colorado’s DUI law.
When there’s a discrepancy between your BAC and your alleged impairment, there’s something wrong. When you reportedly exhibited no impairment, or slight impairment but had a high BAC, this is called a disconnect DUI case. If the evidence seems untrustworthy, you and your DUI defense attorney should challenge the results of your DUI blood or breath test as part of your DUI defense strategy. A “disconnect” between evident impairment and BAC results is a red flag that can point to a successful DUI defense strategy.
If the police or witnesses did not see you driving, they can’t prove you were guilty of driving under the influence. Some examples might be:
A “no driving” DUI defense should be considered when the police didn’t see you operating the vehicle.
Law enforcement must follow proper police procedures. If you have experienced or witnessed police misconduct and can support your claims with evidence, your DUI charges may be dismissed despite being guilty of DUI! Examples of irregular procedures may include:
Improperly obtained evidence or manipulations will be suppressed during court testimony. The prosecution may even reduce or even dismiss charges depending on the severity of the misconduct.
Founded by Managing Partner Alexis Austin in 2018, Right Law Group leverages a hands-on approach to helping people in difficult situations to achieve successful outcomes within the complex DUI law system. Alexis and her team provide the highest level of care and efficiency in the process of guiding people through the criminal justice process.
Alexis began her career as a prosecutor in the Arapahoe County DA’s office in 2012, gaining expertise in prosecution and law enforcement tactics, which she and her team now use to win cases for their clients. In 2014, she was promoted to the felony prosecution unit of Pueblo County and earned multiple certifications including one in trial tactics. She has served as an advisor and trainer to law enforcement in Pueblo County and El Paso County, giving legal advice on scenes involving fatalities and aggravated DUI cases. In 2016, she joined the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s office in Colorado. After learning the systems and strategies employed in El Paso County, Alexis then began practicing criminal defense in 2017.
If any of these aggravating circumstances existed at the time of arrest, Colorado Springs state law requires that an interlock ignition device be installed in any vehicle being operated by the offender — even if this is your first DUI!
If your job requires you to drive or you hold a commercial license, a DUI conviction can severely affect your source of income and your family. Your DUI record can also harm your job and future earning prospects. Ignoring the situation will not make it better. It will often make it worse. You only have a limited amount of time to request a DMV hearing to stop the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
If you are unsure of what steps to take, contact Right Law Group today for a free case evaluation. You may be able to keep your license. Call us now to get help. An experienced Colorado Springs DUI lawyer can help get you through this. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.
Call us for help If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI, DUI per se or DWAI and would like to explore DUI defense options, we invite you to contact us for a FREE Consultation at Right Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in the office or by phone. Our offices are located in Colorado Springs.Free Consultation
The penalty for a DUI in Colorado depends on a few different factors – primarily the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of the driver, and whether or not they have had any previous drunk driving convictions. For a first-time DUI, a driver can face jail time up to one year, the revocation of their license for 9 months, community service, and alcohol classes. These penalties could be much steeper with consecutive DUIs.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Colorado is when someone is operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08% or higher.
A DUI is generally considered a misdemeanor in Colorado. However, if the DUI causes severe injury or death of another person, or if it is the driver’s 4th or more DUI, it could be elevated to a felony.
For first a first DUI in Colorado, the minimum license revocation period is 9 months. This could be even longer based on the circumstances of a particular situation. It will also be longer than 9 months for any subsequent DUI convictions.
Once you have completed all the terms of your DUI conviction (such as alcohol classes, community service, and any interlock device requirements), you will need to provide proof and then the DMV will verify there are no outstanding requirements and they will reinstate your license.
Depending on the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of the driver, and how many (if any) previous DUI’s they have had, there is the possibility of jail time from 5 days all the way up to 2 years. There is no mandatory jail time for a first offense unless the BAC is above .200.
A DUI will stay on your criminal record (and thus show up in background checks) for 10 years after conviction.
In Colorado, a DUI will result in 12 points to your license.