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When someone is charged with a DUI (driving under the influence), they must take immediate action to protect their rights. A DUI can result in fines, jail time, revocation or suspension of driver’s license, and the possibility of a felony criminal record.  

Step 1: Hire a Defense Attorney

If you receive a DUI the most important step you can take to protect yourself is to hire an attorney. An attorney will be able to help you obtain and understand the police reports, procedures, etc. Their knowledge of the law gives them the experience required to analyze all of the evidence and craft the best defense

Step 2: Request a DMV Hearing

When you are arrested for a DUI, in some cases the arresting officer will take your driver’s license away immediately upon the completion of a breath test or a refusal to take a test.  In most cases, you must contact the DMV with 7 days of the date of the offense to request a hearing.  If you request a hearing, the DMV will issue a temporary driving permit that is good for 60 days or until the date of the hearing, whichever comes first.  If you chose a blood test, the DMV will notify you by mail of your blood results, and at that point, you may request a hearing if you choose to do so. 

Step 3: Write Everything Down

DUI cases are usually won or lost with the details of the DUI arrest. It is best to write down everything about the stop like when and where, breath test information and description, conversation descriptions, and anything else that you can remember.

Step 4: The Police Report

After any DUI arrest, the police officer prepares a written arrest report. The police report will help add more information to the details that you remember. The police report may contain biased information, or it may even omit information so be aware that your account or eye witness accounts can be crucial. Your attorney will be able to obtain this for you.

Step 5: Review Your Options

Your defense attorney will explain the different options that you have. Depending on the facts of your case, they may want to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor before appearing in court, or they may advise you to take the case to trial. They will determine what is the best course of action based on the details and evidence in your individual case. If you’ve been charged with a DUI the most important step you can take to protect your rights is to hire a defense attorney. They will be able to help walk you through all of these steps.

Penalties for receiving a DUI are much harsher for commercial drivers and the consequences may reach far beyond losing your license and paying a fine. Commercial drivers are subject to stricter standards because their job requires them to operate vehicles that can contain toxic waste or precious cargo—it is a matter of public safety that these drivers be as safe as possible. Driving drunk while operating a company vehicle puts the company as well as the public-at-large at risk.

A DUI arrest results in two separate legal proceedings against you: the criminal case and an administrative license revocation hearing through the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. If your BAC is confirmed through chemical testing to be .08 or above, or if you refused to submit to a breath or blood test, you will be subject to a license revocation through a civil administration hearing.

There are two different alcohol related offenses that can result from driving after you have consumed alcohol. Whether you are charged with one or the other depends on the amount of alcohol in your system. The charges are: “Driving While Ability Impaired” – DWAI and “Driving Under the Influence” – DUI.

Recent changes to Colorado law have made it so it is now legal to possess and use marijuana. However, it is still a crime to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana or any other drug. A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs will lead to the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol.

Drug PossessionIt is not a defense to a charge of DUI/DWAI that drugs affecting the driver’s ability to operate their motor vehicle were lawfully prescribed. All that is required of the State is they prove you consumed a certain drug or drugs, and that consumption of those drugs affected your ability to operate your vehicle. Whether the drugs are legal or illegal is irrelevant to whether they affected your ability to operate your vehicle.

The State will have to prove the same elements as it would in an alcohol DWAI or DUI case, but will not have the presumptive BAC levels that are used in those types of cases. There are no set drug levels the State can use to show you were affected by a drug in your system. Instead, the State will have to prove its case using other evidence to show your driving ability was impaired. Generally, this involves the arresting officer’s testimony about your behavior, and ability to safely drive your motor vehicle. Blood and urine tests may also be used to show the presence and levels of specific drugs that have been consumed.

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