If you are charged with DUI, hiring a DUI defense lawyer is the most important thing you can do.
Being charged with a DUI is far more serious than receiving a traffic-related ticket. A DUI will not only result in arrest, but it can also result in life-long consequences. With a current conviction rate of over 88%, Colorado has a high rate in regard to DUI convictions. This is mainly due to the fact that the judicial system refuses to supply charged individuals with resources to help them through their cases. Resulting in many individuals taking the charge on the chin without even trying to fight it.
DUI charges are regarded by many people as being unbeatable once they’ve been filed. In addition, they believe that the evidence against them is too overwhelming. The truth is, with the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer, individuals are able to fight back against DUI charges in Denver. There are no perfect people, and that includes police officers. A police officer may make a mistake, so the individual facing DUI charges should not be held responsible for the officer’s error. Deficiencies in due process and rights infringements are not readily apparent to a charged individual.
Individuals who do not fight their DUI charges do so because they do not understand the process following their arrest. The power of knowledge cannot be underestimated. Consequently, we have put together a list of things to know after being charged with a DUI in Denver. This information has been compiled to help educate individuals so they have a better understanding of what to expect during the DUI process.
Being Charged with a DUI
If someone exhibits signs of intoxication or impairment, they can be pulled over by a police officer in the state of Colorado. Signs of impairment can include, but are not limited to:
- Swerving over the yellow line
- Unable to stay in one lane
- Not following traffic signals
A police officer may administer a roadside sobriety test, which includes a breathalyzer if they have probable cause to believe that the driver is under the influence. Every individual has rights that they need to protect, even from police officers. However, there are certain aspects of a traffic stop that drivers must comply with. Drivers must comply with officer orders to exit their vehicles, but drivers are not required to take a roadside sobriety test or breath test if they are asked to do so. It is in fact possible to use the evidence gained from breathalyzers or roadside sobriety tests against an individual in court to prove they were drunk. In the event that the driver refuses these tests, their lawyer can easily prove that they didn’t do anything wrong, instead of opposing the evidence.
Upon determining that the driver has been illegally driving, the officer will arrest him or her and take them to the police station for booking. During the booking process, the individual will:
- Provide their identifying information
- Undergo a criminal record or background search to look for warrants
- Give fingerprints
- Take a mugshot
The individual will await arraignment once they are booked. It is at an arraignment that the charged individual learns what charges are being brought against them and receives a bail amount. As a result, the defendant will have the option of bailing out, hiring a bondsman or staying in jail until their full hearing date comes around.
Consequences of Being Charged with a DUI
A driver’s DUI record and the circumstances surrounding their arrest determine the consequences of their charge when they are caught driving under the influence. An alcohol education course and jail time are mandatory for any defendant who has been convicted of DUI in the past 10 years. It is most likely that someone will be charged with a felony if they are convicted of a fourth DUI in the last 10 years, and that will require prison time.
The penalties for DUIs involving collisions will be higher and more severe. To cover the losses of the other parties involved, they will be required to pay restitution. It is possible for a driver who causes injury in a DUI collision to be charged with DUI causing injury, a “wobbler” offense. It is, therefore, possible to classify the charge as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on its seriousness.
DUI offenders convicted of their first offenses can lose their licenses for a year. In addition to that, they can face a jail sentence of up to 6 months and a fine of $390 to $1,000. A probation period of up to five years may also be required of first-time DUI offenders.
Know Your Rights
Because many people don’t know their full rights, they choose to take a DUI charge on the chin. There is a misconception that roadside sobriety tests, as well as police interviews, are mandatory. Actually, they don’t.
It is not necessary for a driver to comply with a roadside sobriety test. As part of the investigation, the driver will be asked to perform a variety of maneuvers to prove they are not under the influence of alcohol. They do not have to comply when an officer asks them to perform a roadside sobriety test. In Colorado, however, an individual has already agreed to undergo chemical testing upon receiving their driver’s license. Breathalyzers and blood tests are subject to an express consent law. Refusing these tests will result in automatic revocation of a person’s license, as well as immediate arrest and DUI charges.
Here are the unalienable rights that drivers have when they are pulled over:
- The right to be free from unlawful search and seizure.
- Motorists’ vehicles cannot be searched without reasonable suspicion or cause by a police officer.
- You cannot be pulled over for no reason and charged with a DUI.
- When officers pull over a vehicle, they must have reasonable cause to do so, such as weaving between lanes or speeding. If a police officer suspects someone of driving under the influence, he or she cannot simply pull them over for no reason.
- The right to a clear explanation for sobriety field tests.
- Whenever a police officer administers a field sobriety test, he or she must explain the process clearly and explain that the driver has the right to refuse it. Police officers who make it seem like the tests are mandatory are violating the driver’s right to refuse roadside testing.
- Reading the driver their Miranda rights.
- The police officer must explain the driver’s rights to them before interrogating them. If a driver provides information to a police officer before receiving a Miranda warning, the information will not be allowed to be used against them in court.
Drivers have the option of choosing the type of chemical test they wish to take when it comes to chemical testing. There are two types of tests they can take: breathalyzers or blood tests. Since many people are unaware of this, they do both tests or just breathalyzers. Because blood tests can be challenged in court, it’s always a good idea to request blood tests instead of breathalyzer tests. Two samples of blood are taken when a DUI test is conducted. A court copy and a defendant copy. To ensure the court’s blood test results are accurate, an experienced DUI defense lawyer can arrange for the blood sample to be tested by an independent certified laboratory. These two results can differ significantly from each other quite frequently. Consequently, blood samples can be thrown out of court in order to remove any evidence that could demonstrate the individual was under the influence.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney Near You
If you are charged with DUI, hiring a DUI defense lawyer is the most important thing you can do. Furthermore, your lawyer may be able to minimize your charges by helping you avoid a DMV suspension and obtaining an independent blood test. It is even possible to reduce a DUI charge to “wet reckless” driving, which does not require jail time nor a conviction. Experienced DUI lawyers will make sure your rights are protected and provide you with a number of chances for reducing or dismissing the charges.