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Driving Under The Influence (DUI) - Now What?

By Joe Galera on January 28, 2020

You’ve been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and now you don’t know what to do.  Maybe you were arrested and taken to jail or maybe you were given a summons to appear in court at a later date.  Some friends may tell you that you don’t need a lawyer because you will have to take some classes and that’s about it. 

Unfortunately, DUI is a serious crime in Colorado and carries significant penalties that may affect your job, your family and your freedom.  A basic understanding of what may be in your future is necessary in order to make the best decisions for yourself.

WHAT IS DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (DUI)?

DUI is a crime found under Colorado Revised Statute §42-4-1301 and is defined as follows:

A person who drives a motor vehicle or vehicle under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, commits driving under the influence.  "Driving under the influence" means driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to a degree that the person is substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.  Section 42-4-1301, (1)(a), (f) C.R.S.

Essentially, the crime of DUI boils down to whether the consumption of alcohol substantially impaired a person’s ability to drive.  The police can prove that your ability to drive was impaired by alleging a number of factors including:

  • A strong odor of alcohol on the driver

  • Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

  • Bloodshot, watery eyes

  • Unable to walk a straight line

  • Weaving while driving

  • Difficulty following commands

  • Slow, slurred speech

  • Open, empty alcoholic containers in car

  • Confusion

  • Other traffic infractions

WHAT DO THE BAC NUMBERS MEAN?

Blood Alcohol Content or “BAC” refers to the percent of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream.  In Colorado, certain benchmark BAC levels present problems if you have been charged with DUI.  For example, if a driver is found to have a BAC of .08 or more, then a jury can infer, without any other evidence, that the driver was under the influence of alcohol.  The prosecution would not have to introduce any other evidence of impairment and the driver would bear the burden of demonstrating that he/she was not actually under the influence.

However, if the driver’s BAC is .05 or less then it is presumed that the driver was not under the influence of alcohol and that the defendant's ability to operate a motor vehicle or vehicle was not impaired by the consumption of alcohol.

WHAT ARE POSSIBLE PENALTIES FOR DUI?

The possible penalties for a DUI in Colorado include the following:

  • Jail for between 10 days and 1 year (the judge can suspend jail time if certain conditions are met;
  • A fine of between $600-$1,000;
  • 48 – 96 hours of community service;
  • Up to 2 years of probation;
  • Completion of Level II alcohol safety education;
  • Continuous alcohol monitoring;
  • Mandatory use of interlock device on vehicle;
  • Attendance at a victim impact panel.

There are additional penalties that apply including the loss of your driver’s license.  Additionally, you may have problems with your present job and may face trouble when applying for future employment.

DO I NEED A LAWYER?

Yes.  DUI is serious crime in Colorado that could land you in jail.  You should always hire a lawyer whenever you may be facing the possibility of jail.

HOW CAN OUR DUI LAWYERS HELP?

At Dunsing, Deakins, & Galera, LLC our attorneys are skilled in the criminal courts of Colorado.  Many factors impact the ultimate results of the case and we can help identify issues such as whether the police were allowed to stop you in the first place and whether the police conducted roadside and BAC tests properly and in conformance with accepted standards.  There are many issues that may prevent a conviction that you may not be aware of and our attorneys are ready to help and review your case.  Additionally, we can help mitigate or minimize the potential penalty coming your way. 

CONTACT DUNSING, DEAKINS & GALERA LLC

If you would like to learn more about DUI defense and other matters related to your case, we encourage you to contact our team of DUI and criminal defense lawyers. You can reach our law firm in Denver by calling (303) 758-8981, or our location in Avon by calling (970) 343-0023.

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