While a driving under the influence charge (DUI) may initially seem like a minor offense, you soon will find out that the penalties could be harsher than you thought. Not only can you face probation, fines, and a jail sentence, but you also are likely to face a license suspension, random UA’s, and mandatory community service hours while having to report to a PO for several years. If you are facing charges for driving under the influence, get help from a Greeley DUI lawyer.
Various defenses may be applicable in DUI cases so that you may benefit significantly from the input of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Whether your traffic stop was illegal, field sobriety test results were inaccurate, or your blood alcohol content (BAC) results are incorrect, you may be able to build a strong defense to the DUI charges. Let Justie and Jenn at Nicol Gersch advocate on your behalf and help you avoid a conviction and possibly even save your drivers’ license.
DUI and DWAI in Greeley
C.R.S. § 42-4-1301 covers three major types of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. DUI occurs when individuals drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, to the point that they are significantly unable to mentally or physically drive the vehicle safely. If the alcohol or drugs makes them unable to exercise the requisite level of judgment, control, and due care necessary to safely drive, then they violate this section of the statute. Roadside maneuvers are designed to determine whether you are in control of your bodily and brain functions enough to safely handle multitasking while you drive.
DUI per se, on the other hand, occurs if individuals have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. This statute requires that you submit to a test: either blood or a breath test with a big machine back at police headquarters (not the portable one on the side of the road, which is inadmissible for DUI cases). Also, urine testing is no longer used in Colorado due to inaccurate scientific methods and the rise of marijuana usage. If you do submit to a test and it’s within two hours of operating a motor vehicle, the DMV is likely going to revoke your license for a small period of time. If you refuse to submit to a test, the DMV will revoke your license for a longer period and can even label you a persistent drunk driver. Individuals may present a defense to DUI per se if they can prove that they consumed alcohol after stopping driving (i.e. a “drink after drive” defense). As always, constitutional violations by the police may also mean dismissal of your case, and a good attorney is best suited to review your specific case facts and advise you about your chances of success at a Motions Hearing.
The final type of impaired driving that may occur under this statute is driving while ability impaired (DWAI). Individuals face DWAI charges when they drive a motor vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs that makes them less able than ordinary to operate a vehicle safely, whether their impairment is physical or mental. Impaired due to the consumption of drugs, alcohol, or both lands you in hot water for DWAI, which basically includes impairment to the slightest degree. Keep in mind prescription drugs—even when used as prescribed—can also be used to convict an individual of these types of offenses. A BAC test result of between 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent creates a legal presumption that a DWAI has occurred. As such, a DWAI is often a lesser included offense of DUI. Juries will routinely come back not guilty on DUI (because the prosecutor can’t prove substantial impairment), but guilty on DWAI (because impairment to the slightest degree is much easier to prove).
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
Whether individuals are facing DUI, DUI per se, or DWI charges, they are facing misdemeanor charges for a first offense. If their BAC measures 0.15 percent or more, though, then they can face additional penalties, even for a first-time charge. In addition, mandatory jail is a major problem if the BAC measures above 0.2. That mandatory jail period often cannot be served as work release, weekenders, in home detention, or any other alternative sentencing arrangements—it is hard to overcome mandatory jail but not impossible if you’ve got the help of a good Greeley DUI lawyer.
The potential penalties for a low-BAC, first-time DUI offense in Colorado may include up to one year of incarceration, payment of fines of up to $1,000, court costs, and fees, and a license suspension of up to nine months if you took a test (a refusal is more like a year). In addition, if you want your license back earlier, individuals may be required to install costly ignition interlock devices before they resume driving. Our attorneys at Nicol Gersch Petterson may be able to help you afford an interlock device by applying for financial assistance through the DMV or even offering discount codes with our partner interlock companies.
Other potential penalties may include completion of between 48 and 96 mandatory community service hours, DUI education courses, and attendance at a victim impact panel. In some cases, individuals who are facing first-time charges may be able to have their jail time suspended if they comply with certain conditions, such as refraining from alcohol use, participating in substance abuse counseling, and engaging in treatment programs.
A history of prior DUI or related convictions can result in harsher charges, including felony charges in some cases, which may make the assistance of a DUI attorney in Greeley more crucial. If you have three prior DUI-type offenses in your lifetime in any state, you need to consult an attorney immediately, since a fourth offense in Colorado is a felony. These individuals may face lengthier terms of incarceration, more extended periods of license suspensions, and higher fines. Parole is also much more likely vs. just regular county-level probation on these felony cases.
Reach Out to a Greeley DUI Attorney for Advice
Although you may not fully realize the consequences of DUI charges at first, you soon will realize just how unpleasant and unexpected those penalties can be, not to mention long-lasting. Fortunately, there are defenses available in driving under the influence cases that you may be able to use with the help of a Greeley DUI lawyer.
Working with legal counsel may enable you to avoid some or all the serious consequences of DUI charges. Jenn and Justie at Nicol Gersch are ready to take on your case. Call today.