Driving under the influence accounts for nearly 30% of all traffic fatalities, so law enforcement is on high alert for anyone committing the offense. The crime may only be a misdemeanor for the first three convictions, but that doesn’t mean a judge won’t sentence you to time behind bars.
It’s crucial you retain legal counsel if you have been charged with a DUI offense. The penalties for driving under the influence can have a damaging effect on your life. In addition to time behind bars, you may be required to pay expensive fines, have your driver’s license suspended and have an ignition interlock devise installed on your vehicle.
DUI Defense Attorney in Colorado Springs, CO
Whether you have been charged with your first DUI or vehicular manslaughter, Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. if here to help. We have nearly a decade of experience successfully defending clients of DUI offenses. Our attorneys will use this experience to your advantage and develop a defense plan catered to your case.
Don’t delay. The sooner you contact legal representation, the better your chances of a more 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.
- Colorado’s DUI Laws
- DUI Testing Methods
- What is Expressed Consent?
- How Long Will I Go to Jail for DUI in Colorado?
- Additional Resources
Colorado’s DUI Laws
It should come as no surprise driving under the influence is illegal in the Centennial State, but nearly 22,000 people were arrested for the offense last year. For police to arrest you for DUI, they must first have probable cause to pull you over. Probable cause could include watching you walk from a bar to your vehicle, swerving or speeding.
An officer will only investigate a DUI if they notice signs of intoxication during a traffic stop such as the smell of alcohol or slurred speech. There are three ways you can meet the legal definition of under the influence in Colorado:
- Having a BAC of .08% or higher
- Having 5 nanograms or more of THC per one milliliter of blood
- Being intoxicated to the point you can no longer operate a vehicle safely
In addition to DUI, you can be arrested in Colorado for driving while ability impaired (DWAI) and DUI per se. DWAI involves being impaired in the slightest degree. This means you can be arrested for operating a vehicle with a BAC under .08% but more than .05%.
DUI per se can be a bit more complicated to understand. Per se is Latin for by itself. This means you can be arrested and charged for the offense based solely on the results of a chemical test (You cannot be charged with a DUI per se when the offense involves marijuana). Charges for DUI per se are handed down when an officer makes an arrest without having an alleged offender submit to a field sobriety test.
DUI Testing Methods
There are various testing methods law enforcement can employ to determine if a driver is under the influence. The first type of testing typically conducted is field sobriety testing. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) approves of three field sobriety testing methods that can be utilized by law enforcement. Listed below is a brief explanation of each test:
- One leg stand: This test is designed to test your balance. As the name implies, you will be asked to stand on one leg for about 30 seconds. An officer may infer you are intoxicated if you struggle to keep balance.
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus: The eyes are a good indicator if someone is under the influence. This test is done by placing an object about a foot from your nose and moving it back and forth while you track it with your eyes. An officer will watch for twitches in the eyes and if you struggle to track the object.
- Walk and turn: A walk and turn test is used to gauge physical faculties. You will be asked to take nine heel-toe steps in a straight line and then turn on one foot and take an additional nine heel-toe steps back. You may be deemed intoxicated if you fail to keep balance.
After an officer has conducted a field sobriety test, they will ask you to submit to a chemical test. All chemical tests can measure the level of alcohol in your system, but blood or urine testing will be utilized if you are suspected of being under the influence of drugs.
Listed below are the three types of chemical test utilized by law enforcement:
- Breath: Breath analysis is the most common chemical testing method. The test can be conducted with a portable breath test machine or by using a breathalyzer at the police station.
- Urine: A urine analysis is conducted when you are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs. This type of testing can be controversial since drugs can stay in the body longer than 24 hours. Marijuana, for instance, can stay in your system for more than three weeks.
- Blood: Blood testing is the most accurate of all chemical testing. You may be asked to submit to this type of testing if an officer believes you are driving under the influence of drugs. But like urine analysis, blood tests are also controversial when it comes to testing for drugs.
What is Expressed Consent?
Most drivers are not aware they have given their consent to chemical testing by law enforcement. This is called expressed consent, and it’s codified in section 42-4-13011 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. According to the law, you are required to comply with an officer’s request to take a chemical DUI test after you’ve been arrested. You have the right to refuse, but you should be aware of the consequences.
Refusing to take a chemical test will result in a license suspension from the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles. The length of suspension will depend on the number of past refusals. A first refusal will result in a suspension for one year, while a second is two years and a third refusal is three years.
Along with a license suspension, you may also be penalized with the following:
- Attend mandatory alcohol or drug treatment program
- Have an ignition interlock devise installed
- Carry SR-22 insurance even if you are not convicted
How Long Will I Go to Jail for a DUI in Colorado?
How much time you spend behind bars will depend on the factors of your case. Keep in mind, spending time in jail or prison is not the only criminal penalty you will have to endure. You may be required to pay expensive fines, attend treatment programs and have your license suspended.
Listed below are the penalties for various DUI offenses in Colorado:
|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|
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.
Colorado Springs DUI Defense Lawyer
Having you been charged with a DUI offense? Is your court-appointed lawyer not helping? Then you have come to the right place. Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. has 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 Littleton.