If you are charged with a DUI in Colorado that involved property damage, you will face the same penalties that come with a DUI charge where no accident occurred. However, it is likely that the prosecutor will recommend the maximum penalties allowed in your case. Furthermore, in addition to criminal charges, you may also face a civil lawsuit from the property owner.
Colorado takes DUI charges very seriously. Even if it is your first offense, the potential penalties are still severe. If the offense resulted in an accident causing property damage, receiving the maximum penalty could significantly alter your life. At the law offices of Christian A. Schwaner, we have a long history of successfully defending our clients against DUI charges.
Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule a free initial case consultation.
Property Damage Will Not Automatically Result in Higher Penalties
While a DUI accident that results in bodily harm will mean more serious charges and harsher penalties for a conviction, the same does not apply if the accident only resulted in property damage. In most cases, a DUI accident resulting in property damage will be treated the same as a DUI that does not result in an accident.
However, if a DUI does result in an accident, you will likely receive penalties on the higher end of what is allowed by law, which might not be the case if you were stopped for a DUI where no property damage occurred.
For example, in Colorado, a first-offense DUI can result in five days to one year in jail, a fine of $600 to $1,000, and 48 to 96 hours of public service. While a simple DUI may mean only a few days in jail, a $600 fine, and 48 hours of public service, a DUI causing property damage will likely result in a fine of $1,000, 96 hours of public service, and several months to a year in jail.
For a free legal consultation with a Personal Injury lawyer serving Colorado, call (719) 440-6720
A Civil Lawsuit for Property Damage Caused by a DUI Accident
If you are charged with a DUI that caused property damage, there is a strong chance that you will face a civil lawsuit in addition to criminal charges. If the property damage is significant, you could be forced to pay thousands of dollars in compensatory damages in addition to any fines owed in your criminal case.
Fighting legal battles on two fronts can be incredibly taxing, and makes the need for an experienced attorney even greater.
You should also note that even if you beat the criminal DUI charge, you may still lose your case in civil court and be forced to pay damages. The burden of proof in a civil claim is much lower than in a criminal case, making it common for defendants to beat criminal charges but still owe damages.
Colorado DUI and Property Damage Lawyer Near Me (719) 440-6720
Common Defenses Against a DUI Charge
If you have been charged with a DUI that resulted in property damage, there are a variety of defenses you can use. Choosing the right defense will depend on the particular details of your case and the strength of the evidence against you. Some of the possible defenses include:
- You were not driving
- You were not intoxicated
- Police violated your rights
You Were Not Driving
Obviously, if you were not behind the wheel at the time of the accident, you are not guilty of DUI. If there were no witnesses to the crash, police officers arriving late to the scene may make assumptions about your role in the accident.
An experienced DUI attorney can work to show that you were not driving the car that caused the property damage and, thus, are not guilty of the charges you face.
You Were Not Intoxicated
Even if chemical testing showed that you were above the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), you may be able to argue that you were not intoxicated at the time of the accident. These tests can result in faulty results for a variety of reasons. Equipment malfunction and human error commonly lead to false readings in these tests.
Your lawyer can call into question the validity of chemical tests in general and may even be able to prove that a specific error occurred in your case.
However, even if you can prove that you were not intoxicated, it is still possible that you could be convicted of a lesser charge, like reckless driving. Additionally, you could still be forced to pay for any property damage caused in the accident in civil court.
Police Violated Your Rights
Unfortunately, police can sometimes get overzealous when pursuing a case. This can lead to officers cutting corners and violating your rights. From failing to read you your Miranda rights during an arrest to breaking the chain of evidence for your chemical test, a violation of your rights can be used as a defense in your case.
Depending on the manner in which your rights were violated, proving that police failed in their duties can have varying effects on your case. In some situations, establishing that police violated your rights can result in the exclusion of certain evidence, while in other cases, this proof could lead to your case being dismissed.
Get a Free Consultation from an Experienced DUI Attorney in Colorado
When facing a DUI charge that resulted in property damage, it is essential that you hire an experienced DUI lawyer to help you beat a conviction. Christian A. Schwaner has worked these cases from both sides, first as a deputy district attorney for seven years before working as a defense lawyer for nearly two decades.
Schedule a free initial consultation today by calling or completing the contact form on this website.