I got a DUI. What do I do?
Driving under the influence is a serious offense in Colorado. DUI charges can lead to a suspended license, jail time and thousands of dollars in fees. A conviction can lead to more fees, a lengthy prison sentence and being barred from driving.
It is imperative that you contact experienced DUI defense attorneys for legal representation. A skilled lawyer can scrutinize how the police conducted sobriety tests and that your rights were not violated during the DUI check. Without an attorney fighting for you in the courtroom, you may end up paying more in fines and penalized much harsher.
How Long Will Go to Jail for if I get a DUI in Colorado? How Much Money in Fines Will I have to Pay?
The sentence of your jailtime and the amount you have to pay in fines depends on how many DUI’s you have been convicted of. A first, second and third DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor. The fourth and subsequent DUI charges become felonies. Here are the full charges and penalties for each number of DUI offenses:
|Offense||Charge||Jail/Prison time||Fines||License Suspension|
|First-time DUI||Misdemeanor||5 days to a year||$600 to $1,000||9 months|
|Second DUI||Misdemeanor||Mandatory minimum of 10 days, but up to a year||$600 to $1,500||One year|
|Third DUI||Misdemeanor||Mandatory minimum of 60 days, but up to a year||$600 to $1,500||One year|
|Fourth or Subsequent DUI||Class 4 Felony||Mandatory minimum of 90 days, but up to six years||$2,000 to $500,000||Two years|
|DUI Vehicular Manslaughter||Class 3 felony||Four to 12 years in prison||$3,000 to $750,000||Minimum of one year|
Why should I use your firm for my DUI defense attorney in Colorado Springs, CO?
Whether it is your first DUI, third DUI or vehicular manslaughter, Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC can help you through every step of your charge. We have decades of experience successfully defending clients charged with DUI charges. Our attorneys will use this experience to your advantage and develop a defense plane catered to your case.
If you have been charged with a DUI, contact us immediately. Timing could be a factor in securing a favorable outcome in court. Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a time to speak with us more about your case. We defend those accused of DUI offenses in areas such as El Paso County, Denver County and Arapahoe County.
What do Colorado’s DUI laws say?
For police to pull you over, they must have probable cause. This can include witnessing you walk from a bar to your vehicle and then swerving or speeding while you drive. An officer may investigate a DUI if they believe the driver smells of alcohol, has slurred speech, if his or her eyes are bloodshot and see other signs of possible intoxication.
In order to meet the legal definition of under the influence in Colorado, the accused must:
- Have a BAC of .08% or higher
- Have 5 nanograms or more of THC per one milliliter of blood
- Being intoxicated to the point you can no longer operate a vehicle safely
Even if you do not meet the threshold of intoxication of alcohol or marijuana to be fully charged with a DUI, a driver can be arrested and charged with driving while ability impaired. DWAI involves being impaired for the slightest degree. If the DWAI charge involves intoxication by alcohol, you may also be charged with DUI per se. This means you can be arrested and charged for a DUI based solely on the results of a chemical test.
Charges for a DUI per se cannot be issued when the offense only involves marijuana. A DUI per se is handed down when an officer makes an arrest and the alleged offender does not submit to a field sobriety test.
How do the police test for DUI?
Law enforcement officials have multiple ways to test if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or THC. For to test for alcohol intoxication, police can use field sobriety tests. The tests include:
- One leg stand: The accused is instructed to stand on one leg for about 30 seconds, testing his or her balance. An officer can determine if you are intoxicated if you wobble, fall or otherwise are incapable of standing on one leg for 30 seconds.
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus: This test involves placing an object about a foot from the drivers nose and moving it back and forth. The driver is instructed to follow the object with his or her eyes, without moving their head. An officer will determine your level of intoxication based on how your eyes move and if they have difficulty following the object.
- Walk and turn: Walking straight and turning right around doesn’t seem like a difficult task but it can become much more difficult if you are intoxicated. As the test name suggests, the driver is instructed to take nine heel-toe steps in a straight line, turn on one foot and then take an additional nine heel-toe steps back. An officer can determine if a driver is intoxicated if he or she has difficult walking in a straight line, is unable to keep their steeps heel to toe or is incapable of turning on one foot.
Following a field sobriety test, an officer may ask the driver to submit to a chemical test. These tests measure how much alcohol is in your system. Police may use the following chemical tests during a DUI investigation:
- Breath: This test is used to determine the amount of alcohol in your system. The test involves a portable breath test machine like a breathalyzer, which may be administered on site or at the police station.
- Urine: This test is used to determine what type of drugs are in your system. This chemical test is controversial since some substances like marijuana can stay in your system for more than three weeks. Yet, you may have not ingested marijuana recently at the time you were tested.
- Blood: This chemical testing can be used for both blood and drugs. It is also the most accurate of all chemical testing. These tests are not flawless however, especially when it comes to testing for drugs.
What if I Refuse to Take a Chemical Test? What is Expressed Consent?
You have the right to refuse taking a chemical test if an officer makes a request for you to do so. However, most drivers are not aware that they have already given their consent to chemical testing by law enforcement. Expressed consent means you are required to comply with an officer’s request to take a chemical DUI test after you’ve been arrested.
If you refuse to take the chemical test, your license will automatically be suspended from the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles. If you have refused multiple chemical tests during past DUI investigations, you may have your license suspended longer. A first refusal results in a one-year suspension; a second refusal will result in a two-year suspension, and a third refusal will result in a three-year suspension.
Other penalties for refusing a chemical test may include mandatory alcohol or a drug treatment program, having an ignition lock devise installed on your vehicle and being required to carry SR-22 insurance, even if you’re not convicted of a DUI.
Is there anything else I should know about building a DUI defense?
Driving Under the Influence | Colorado Revised Statutes – Follow the link provided to read the section of the revised statutes governing driving under the influence. You can read the legal definition of the offense and learn more about DWAI and DUI per se. You can also gain access to information on how juveniles are charged and when you are not considered under the influence.
DUI Statistics for Colorado – Visit the official website of the Colorado Department of Public Safety to view statistics about driving under the influence. You can find out which age group is commonly arrested for the offense and which month sees the most arrests. You can also view the data by county.
What Can a Colorado DUI Defense Lawyer do for my Case?
If you have been charged with a DUI offense and your court-appointed lawyer isn’t helping, you should call Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC. We have proven experience defending clients of DUI crimes. We will suppress evidence, file motions and aggressively advocate on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved.
Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a case evaluation. We represent clients in areas such as Colorado Springs, Denver, and Pueblo.