5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DUI CASES IN COLORADO.
June 25, 2019
(1) DMV HEARINGS
A DUI charge concerns proceedings in two different settings: one in a criminal court and one in administrative court. In Colorado, the criminal part of the charge is handled by a county court judge. For example, a DUI charge in Frederick, Dacono, Firestone, or Erie will be handled by a Weld County Court judge in Greeley. The administrative part of the case is handled by a DMV hearing officer. The hearing officer is the one that conducts the hearing that determines how and if the DUI charge will effect your privilege to drive in Colorado. There are many different things that can effect the privilege to drive, including, but not limited to: whether or not there was probable cause to ask you to do a chemical test, how high the chemical test was, and whether or not there are any prior DUIs.
(2) FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS
The most common field sobriety tests or “roadsides” used in Larimer, Weld, and Boulder County are the “walk and turn” test, the “one legged stand” test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Keep in mind that these tests are completely voluntary. If the officer that arrested you for DUI did not tell you they were voluntary, you may be able to suppress (sometimes called “throw out”) the evidence concerning roadsides. The other thing about roadsides to keep in mind is that they are incredibly subjective. You could line up 10 police officers, all well intentioned and honest, but still get 10 very different results as to whether or not someone “passed” roadsides. Results on these vary wildly.
(3) CHEMICAL TESTS
Refusal to take a test will cause an immediate revocation of your driver’s license. Whether or not you actually lose it and how long you lose it depends on how things go at the DMV hearing. Chemical tests are not infallible. Keep in mind that you have the right to challenge and you should challenge the results of your test. The Colorado Department of Health has set forth hundreds of regulations that govern how these tests should be done. If the test was not conducted properly, that is a vulnerable part of the prosecution’s case that you might be able to exploit during plea negotiations or at trial.
(4) REASONABLE SUSPICION
Police are not legally allowed to pull someone over unless there is a “reasonable and articulable” suspicion that a person has broken, is about to break, or is breaking the law. If the police pull you over and there is not “reasonable suspicion” for the initial contact, all evidence that flows from the initial contact is typically suppressed (“thrown out”). If at some point during the contact after the initial stop the police violate your Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures, all evidence that flows from the illegality would typically be thrown out too. You will want a skilled defense attorney to help identify these weaknesses because they can typically be used as leverage in plea negotiations or possibly be used to throw out evidence at a motions hearing.
(5) KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DUI AND DRIVING WITH EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONTENT (“DUI PER SE”) There are actually two different ways a person can be charged with a DUI. One is where the prosecution must prove that a person was impaired because of the ingestion of drugs or alcohol. Colorado’s DUI statute requires that the prosecution be able to prove a person was “substantially incapable” of operating a motor vehicle because of the ingestion of drugs, alcohol, or both. The second type of DUI is Driving With Excessive Alcohol Content. For this type of DUI, the DA does not even need to prove impairment. All they need to prove is that a person’s BAC level was over the legal limit, .08. If you are facing Driving With Excessive Alcohol charges in Colorado, you will want to use a lawyer that understands how chemical tests are conducted and the vulnerabilities of these tests.
Mr. Merson has defended thousands of people in Weld and northern Colorado on every case imaginable. He strives to provide his clients with the best possible defense. If you are facing DUI charges, you will want an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you have been accused of a DUI, you will want an experienced lawyer. Choosing an experienced lawyer is the best decision you can make early on in your case. Mr. Merson provides representation to people accused of DUI charges in Longmont, Berthoud, Erie, Firestone, Frederick, Lyons, Mead, Niwot, or Dacono. To schedule a free consultation, call The Merson Law Office at 970-219-2923 or 303-776-3511. Or fill out an intake form here.
Merson Law Office, LLC 636 Coffman, Suite 200 Longmont, Colorado 80501 firstname.lastname@example.org (970) 219-2923 or (303) 776-3511 Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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