A DUI is considered a major traffic offense and can affect, not only your freedom, but your privilege to drive and your driving record for years to come. Contacting a lawyer early in the process is critical to ensure your rights are preserved and protected.
“Driving under the influence” is defined as driving when you are substantially incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. “Driving” also has a specific legal definition. Driving is not limited to moving a motor vehicle from one place to another. Driving includes any actual physical control of a motor vehicle. There are multiple factors that determine whether a person is in actual physical control. Careful legal analysis is often required in situations not involving movement of the vehicle. “Motor vehicle” has a specific legal definition as well.
In Colorado, if a driver’s BAC is 0.080 or greater, the driver is deemed to be under the influence. This is called a DUI per se.
In drug related DUI cases (DUID), there is no per se level. This means prosecutors, judges and jurors make their own determination as to whether a certain drug level supports a DUI charge. In marijuana cases, the law establishes a presumption, which is different than a per se charge. A presumption means the law assumes a person is under the influence, but evidence can be presented to show otherwise.
The possible penalties for a DUI are:
- One year in jail
- $1,000.00 fine
- Two years of probation
- 96 community service hours
- Mandatory alcohol treatment
- Victim impact panel
The penalties for an alcohol related DUI are the same as the penalties for a drug related DUI (DUID). Some situations have mandatory jail time and mandatory probationary periods, meaning a conviction requires a judge to sentence you to jail time and/or a lengthier probation sentence. Whether a mandatory sentence applies is determined by your alcohol level and prior convictions for DUI or DWAI. Under extreme circumstances, a DUI or DWAI can result in a felony charge, such as vehicular assault or vehicular homicide [link to vehicular homicide page], aggravated driving after revocation prohibited or a felony DUI because a person has too many prior convictions for DUI or DWAI.
In addition, your driving privilege may be revoked. Under most circumstances, you only have seven days from the date you were charged to request a hearing with DMV to contest that revocation. Failure to do so will result in the automatic revocation of your driving privilege.
You need an attorney who knows the entire system. The attorneys at Dahl, Fischer, and Wilks are all former prosecutors who have handled hundreds of DUI cases. We know how to analyze your case in order to vigorously defend you, whether looking for standard issues, such as constitutional violations and improper testing, or something unique to your case.