Complete DUI Defense
Drunk Driving Carries Serious Penalties
DUI (driving under the influence) carries fines anywhere from $300 to $1,500, but a recent study by the Colorado Department of Transportation puts the overall cost of a conviction in excess of $13,500. Jail time can range from two days to 12 months, depending on various factors. In 2015, Colorado enacted a new law making an individual’s fourth DUI conviction automatically eligible for a class 4 felony charge, which can result in a lengthy sentence to the department of corrections. In addition, you have only 15 days to request a DMV hearing to keep your license from being revoked. If you lose at the hearing, your license will be revoked immediately, and you will not even be able to drive home from the hearing.
Other penalties can include:
- Higher insurance rates
- Misdemeanor or felony charges on your record
- An order for a vehicle ignition interlock device
- Alcohol education classes
- Community service
Because the ramifications are so severe, it is wise to retain an experienced DUI defense lawyer who can vigorously advocate for you. Here at The Law Center P.C. in Highlands Ranch, we provide skilled legal counsel and representation to clients statewide.
DUI Vs. DWAI
If someone’s blood alcohol level is above .08, they face a per se DUI charge. However, Colorado is one of only two states with a lower-level impaired driving offense called a DWAI (driving while ability impaired). A DWAI is a misdemeanor offense for driving a vehicle when alcohol or drugs affect your ability to drive “to the slightest degree.” For example, if someone’s blood alcohol level is above .05 but below .08, they may be charged with a DWAI.
While a DWAI offense is not as damaging to your driving record as a DUI, it is still a criminal law matter and could appear on your criminal record. In Colorado, a DWAI offense adds eight points on your license, while a DUI offense adds 12. On your DMV record, they both show as alcohol-related convictions and result in prosecutions as a prior offender.
Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs
Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is a complex issue, especially since recreational marijuana use is now legal in Colorado. While alcohol only stays in a person’s system while he or she is impaired, marijuana is different. A joint smoked an hour ago can give test results similar to that for multiple joints smoked a week ago.
In addition, drug use cannot be determined by a breath test, so the prosecution must rely on a blood test instead. Even then, such tests cannot determine when drugs were last used.
Even legally administered drugs — such as a prescription painkiller from a reputable physician — may impair a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle and result in a DUID charge. The fact that you were prescribed the medication is not a defense to DUID!
Should You Accept A Plea Bargain Or Take The Case To Trial?
To find you guilty of drug-related DUI or DWAI, the prosecutor’s case against you must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Our lawyers know how to exploit any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and develop a strong defense. We know how to challenge the various tests and attack procedural inadequacies.
Many people ask, “Won’t I get the same plea bargain whether I spend the money on an attorney or not?” The answer is a definite “maybe.” Sometimes the prosecutor will offer a quick or favorable plea bargain because he knows the breathalyzer machine was malfunctioning at the time of the arrest and he cannot obtain a conviction at trial. Our lawyers have access to this type of information and know how to read test results.
Before taking your case to trial, we will discuss the possible trial outcomes with you so you can make an informed decision. For some clients, it is preferable to plead guilty to a downgraded charge of DWAI, reckless driving or another offense, rather than risk going to trial and being found guilty of DUI.
Never assume that you must plead guilty. Our attorneys may be able to get your case dismissed or lessen the impact on your driving record and your wallet. Call The Law Center P.C. at 303-991-5280 or contact us online.