In the state of Colorado, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is called “Driving Under the Influence”, or DUI. A DUI is a serious charge, and the penalties vary based on a number of factors, including previous DUI history and level of impairment. For multiple offenders, there is a schedule of mandatory minimum jail sentences that a court may be required to follow.
Being charged with a DUI can be either a misdemeanor or felony (if you’ve had three or more DUI’s), and the penalties can include imprisonment, license revocation and required public service.
Colorado’s Blood Alcohol Limits
If your blood alcohol content (BAC) has been established at .08%, you are presumed to have driven while under the influence. However, a BAC of .08 or higher is not required to charge a driver with DUI. Someone driving with a BAC of under .08 can still be charged with driving under the influence if they appear to show other signs of intoxication, or if the driver is under the age of 21 and has any alcohol in their blood system.
Colorado also recognizes Driving While Ability Impaired, or DWAI. This is determined when your BAC is greater than .05 but still less than .08. DWAI is considered a lesser-included offense to DUI.
Colorado also has an aggravated DUI charge for those charged with driving while their BAC is at or above .17.
Colorado’s Express Consent Law
If law enforcement has probable cause to believe a driver is driving under the influence, he or she may require a blood alcohol test through either a blood or breath test. While a driver may choose which test to take, a refusal to take a test will result in license revocation by the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles.
It is important to understand the different, but related, roles the courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles play. Courts do not have the power to revoke or suspend driving privileges. Instead, authority over driving privileges is vested in the DMV. If a license is revoked due to failure to comply with the express consent law, the driver is entitled to a hearing with an administrative law judge who must determine whether a license was properly revoked. This can be an extremely important hearing. There are strict time limits on requesting a hearing with a DMV hearing officer.
In addition, if a driver is convicted of a DUI or DWAI in court, the DMV will be notified and there will be additional license revocations levied.
Important Issues Common to DUI Cases
While each case is unique, there are a number of issues common to most DUI cases that we carefully consider. We look closely at all of the evidence pertaining to the stop and subsequent arrest to determine whether law enforcement acted appropriately and within the law. We carefully examine the evidence surrounding the BAC test to determine whether it was validly administered according to state regulations. We look at all of the evidence to determine whether the prosecution can prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Finally, in the event of a conviction or plea bargain, we spend time focusing on sentencing and available sentencing alternatives that are available to defendants.
Why Tisdel Law Firm?
A DUI charge is not something to take lightly, and if you’ve taken the steps to finding representation, don’t choose your attorney lightly either. We’ve had over 35 years worth of experience to help you get the best possible result in your case. We have expanded our practice all over the state of Colorado, and while our primary office is in Ouray, we are also proud to serve Telluride, Durango, Grand Junction, and the rest of the Western Slope.