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DUI Plea Bargain

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Don't Plead Guilty Without Speaking to a DUI Lawyer

Pleading guilty can have lasting consequences, so before you take a deal, talk to an attorney.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense in Colorado, resulting in the suspension of your driver’s license, stiff penalties, and even jail time upon conviction. If you have been charged with this offense, your attorney will first look at the facts surrounding your arrest to see if there were violations to your rights or the testing mechanism that was used was faulty. Some of the reasons DUI charges are dropped include:

  • No probable cause for a DUI stop
  • Inaccurate field sobriety test, inaccurate breathalyzer results, or faulty urinalysis or blood test administration
  • Innocent reasons for DUI symptoms
  • Involuntary intoxication

If there are no errors that result in the charge being dropped, your attorney will attempt to negotiate a DUI plea bargain on your behalf. In some cases, it is possible to get this charge reduced to a reckless driving charge, resulting in lesser penalties — particularly if it is your first offense. However, it will require some effort on your part. Here are 5 steps you can take to obtaining a DUI plea bargain.

Top-Rated Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer

DUI Plea Bargain: 5 Steps to Getting A DUI Reduced to Reckless Driving

1. Hire an Experienced DUI Attorney

Hiring a criminal defense attorney with experience in DUI cases should be done as soon as possible after you are charged. Before you make a statement to police, attend a court hearing, or post a single thing on social media about the trouble you’re in, talk to a lawyer who can protect your freedom, your rights, and your ability to have your charge reduced. DUI attorneys can not only provide guidance regarding your legal options but can also use their knowledge of the criminal court process to negotiate a plea bargain for you… But the sooner the attorney can begin working on our case, the better.

2. Take Alcohol Education Classes

Level 2 alcohol education classes are required by most people who have been convicted of a DUI. However, if you agree to take these classes before your case goes to trial, it will improve your chances of obtaining a DUI plea bargain. Level 2 alcohol education classes consist of both alcohol and drug education as well as treatment. The hours of required education and treatment vary, depending on the severity of the offense. Taking classes in advance is not an admission that you are guilty. It is simply a useful tool in the plea bargaining process.

3. Perform Useful Public Service

Useful public service is also a common component of DUI sentences. Completing useful public service (UPS) before you are convicted of DUI and court-ordered to do so is another way to show the court that you have taken responsibility for your actions and are accepting of the consequences. Colorado Springs clients are encouraged to perform UPS hours through Front Range Community Service, which is the organization that Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District (covering El Paso and Teller Counties) has contracted to arrange for these services. El Paso County estimates that Front Range Community Service receives around 6,075 referrals for UPS each year, with those completing their public service hours providing this service to non-profit agencies in the area.

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4. Complete the MADD VIP Course

Completing a MADD VIP course is yet another step that will aid your lawyer in being able to reduce your charge through a DUI plea bargain. These courses are available in person in Colorado Springs. MADD is the national drunk driving prevention organization otherwise known as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. VIP stands for Victim Impact Panel. The courses provide drunk and drugged drivers the opportunity to hear the stories of victims of drunk driving accidents, including family members of those who have been killed by drunk or drugged drivers. While not blaming or judging offenders, these victims share their stories of how drunk driving has impacted them in order to help offenders to understand the severity of the consequences that their choices have placed on other people. 

5. Complete Free Pre-Trial Urinalysis

Often, judges who are sentencing those convicted of DUI order court-monitored sobriety through the submission of urinalysis screenings. If an offender waits until he or she is sentenced, they will be forced to pay for the urinalysis on their own. The Colorado Fourth Judicial District reports that the cost of each screening is generally between $11 to $15 for a 7-panel screening and even more if the screening is being used to test for designer drugs such as bath salts. As these screenings will be required on a regular basis, the costs of the service can be quite high. However, Harbor House Clinic provides free pretrial sobriety services, including urinalysis, which means cost savings for you and is another way you can help your attorney to negotiate a plea bargain in your case.

Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or
    Summons
    01

    Arrest or
    Summons

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing
    02

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of
    Charges
    03

    Advisement of
    Charges

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)
    04

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing
    05

    Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment
    06

    Arraignment

    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing
    07

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness
    Conference
    08

    Pretrial Readiness
    Conference

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial
    09

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing
    Date
    10

    Sentencing
    Date

    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

What is the sentence for misdemeanors in Colorado?

  • Class 1

  • 6 to 18 months in county jail, and/or
  • $500 to $5,000 in fines
  • For extraordinary risk class 1 misdemeanors, the maximum jail sentence is 24 months.
  • For 3rd-degree assault (CRS 18-3-204), the maximum sentence can be 48 months if the victim was on duty as a:
    • Peace officer,
    • Emergency medical provider,
    • Firefighter, or
    • Mental health professional at the Department of Human Services.
  • Class 2

  • 3 to 12 months in county jail, and/or
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines
  • Class 3

  • Up to 6 months of county jail, and/or
  • $50 to $750 in fines2

What are Colorado felony penalties?

  • Class 1

  • Life imprisonment
  • No Colorado crime carries the death penalty.
  • Class 2

  • 8 – 24 years in Colorado State Prison, and/or
  • $5,000 – $1,000,000
  • 5 years of mandatory parole if the offense is a crime of violence. Otherwise, 3 years of mandatory parole.
  • Class 3

  • 4 – 12 years in prison, and/or
  • $3,000 – $750,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 3 felonies, the maximum sentence is 16 years in prison.
  • Class 4

  • 2 – 6 years in prison, and/or
  • $2,000 – $500,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 4 felonies, the maximum sentence is 8 years in prison.
  • Class 5

  • 1 – 3 years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 2 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 5 felonies, the maximum sentence is 4 years in prison.
  • Class 6

  • 1 – 18 months years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 1 year of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 6 felonies, the maximum sentence is 2 years in prison.

CALL NOW IF YOU HAVE BEEN ARRESTED

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Getting You To A Better Place Fast

At Right Law Group, we understand the stress you are under. Our Criminal Defense Law Firm is here to guide you down the right path to your legal challenge. Whether you are facing your first DUI, a drug charge, need a restraining order, or are facing another type of criminal charge, our firm is committed to your well-being and protecting your rights the right way.

Can you plea bargain in a DUI case?

A DUI plea bargain is almost always a possible option for a DUI case. In some scenarios, it is an excellent way to reduce DUI charges. An experienced DUI attorney will be able to review your case and determine whether a DUI plea bargain is a good option for you.

How can I reduce my DUI charges?

There are a few different ways of reducing DUI charges and the best option for you will depend on the specifics of your case. In some cases attending alcohol classes or taking part in a rehabilitation program may help lessen the penalties, while in other cases a DUI plea bargain will be the best option.

What is a plea deal for DUI?

A plea deal (or plea bargain) is where you plead guilty (generally to a lesser charge) in order to get a reduced sentence or reduced penalties.

Experienced DUI Plea Bargain Lawyer

Contact The Top Colorado Springs DUI Attorney About Your DUI Plea Bargain

If you have been charged with a DUI, our experienced DUI attorneys are happy to provide guidance and help you understand the legal process. For a FREE case evaluation, contact us right away.