Colorado DUI Process
What Happens After I Am Charged with a DUI in Colorado?
If you are reading this, you have likely already been arrested and given a citation for driving under the influence. However, don’t skip this section just yet. The manner in which police arrested and charged you could be critical in your case, especially if law enforcement violated proper protocol.
At the point you are arrested for DUI, you will be forced to choose between the following:
- Take a blood test.
- Take a breath test.
- Refuse to take either test.
Be advised that if you refuse to take either test, you will automatically be charged with DUI and your license will be revoked. However, if you do opt to submit to chemical testing and your test results show that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit, you will still be charged with DUI and left without a license.
Whether or not you choose to take a blood or breath test, be sure to behave respectfully toward members of law enforcement in order to avoid making your case more difficult than necessary.
Express Consent Hearing
As previously stated, refusal to submit to chemical testing will result in automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
However, there is a way to contest this suspension: an Express Consent hearing. These hearings are conducted at your local DMV and must be requested within 7 days of your arrest. Hearings typically occur within 60 days of your request. Once approved for a hearing, the DMV will send you a notice of your hearing. If you have an experienced DUI lawyer in Colorado on your side, they may be able to go to this hearing on your behalf and help you regain use of your driver’s license.
After being charged with DUI, you should have received a summons or citation telling you when and where you are expected to appear in court. At this hearing, you will be officially arraigned of the charges you are facing and made aware of the punishments you may receive if convicted.
Do not skip this hearing. If you do (or if you fail to appear for any other reason), the court will issue an arrest warrant your license will be suspended until related court fees have been paid and the warrant issued against you has been cleared.
You may be able to avoid this hearing by hiring a criminal defense attorney and going over the charges levied against you. However, you must receive official approval in order for your arraignment date to be vacated.
Once you have been arraigned, your legal representative will meet with the prosecution (usually the district attorney) to go over your case. This usually happens several times and additional negotiations may need to take place as new information comes to light regarding your case. It is during these conferences that your defense attorney will work to come up with a plea deal, if applicable.
Motions Hearings, Trial by Jury, & Sentencing
Once the district attorney has filed motions against you, litigation begins and both sides present their arguments before a judge. It is at this phase that your attorney may seek to suppress evidence that works against you, such as test results or arrest records.
If an agreement cannot be reached, your DUI case may move to trial, where a jury will decide your fate. This phase may involve witnesses, cross-examination, and extensive argumentation in court, depending on the severity of your case.
After hearing your case and taking into account the views of the jury, the judge will decide whether your convicted is merited and how your sentence will be carried out (if at all).
DUI penalties often include:
- Time in jail or prison
- Points on your license
- Thousands of dollars in fines
- License revocation/suspension
- Mandatory use of ignition interlock devices
A DUI conviction also comes with a number of other painful, indirect consequences such as:
- Social stigma
- Significantly increased insurance premiums
- Difficulty finding jobs or moving up the ranks in your place of work
- Inability to work (especially if your work requires driving or mandates that you hold a commercial driver’s license)
Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Are Passionate About Defending Your Rights
Unfortunately, members of the criminal justice system sometimes rush to arrest and charge individuals of driving under the influence without following appropriate protocol. As a result, people accused of DUI are subjected to criminal punishments they do not deserve due to failures in the criminal justice system or unfair practices by law enforcement.
However, at Fife Luneau, P.C., we believe that all people are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. Without someone to stand in between you and the courts, you are likely to punished more harshly than necessary, even if you aren’t guilty of the crime in question. However, with our highly skilled Denver DUI attorneys on your side, you may be able to get your penalties reduced or have them dismissed completely.
We are available 24/7. Call (720) 408-7130 to speak to a member of our team or contact us online to schedule a consultation.