Aggressive DUI Defense in Kiowa, CO

A person commits the crime of driving under the influence (DUI) when he or she drives a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs. For most people, a DUI arrest is an incredibly embarrassing experience that can lead to several newfound complications in life.

DUI arrests can lead to revocation of driver’s licenses as well as criminal charges that carry possible imprisonment and fines for some convictions. Many people immediately assume that their arrests are in and of themselves the evidence of their guilt and they can only hope that judges will offer some mercy on their sentencing.

In truth, every single alleged offender accused of DUI in Colorado is entitled to a presumption of innocence, and a prosecutor has the burden of proving that individual’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In many drunk driving cases, errors by police officers can lead to evidence being inadmissible and creating reasons for reasonable doubt.

Regardless of what your breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) allegedly was, you should not wait to seek legal representation after being arrested for DUI in Colorado. You want to begin preparing a winning defense as soon as possible.

Schwaner Law, P.C. represents clients arrested in Kiowa and surrounding areas of Colorado. Our criminal defense attorney will fight to get your criminal charges reduced or completely dismissed if possible.

Call (719) 577-9700 or fill out an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free consultation.

DUI Laws In Elbert County

Colorado Revised Statute § 42-4-1301 essentially establishes two different drunk driving crimes: DUI and driving while ability impaired (DWAI). Under Colorado Revised Statute § 42-4-1301(1)(f), driving under the influence is defined as a person being affected by alcohol or drugs to a degree that he or she 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,” while driving while ability impaired is defined under Colorado Revised Statute § 42-4-1301(1)(g) as a person being affected to the slightest degree by alcohol or drugs such that he or she is less able than he or she ordinarily would have been.

In short, the legal BAC limit that will result in a DUI arrest is 0.08, and such arrests are referred to as DUI per se offenses under Colorado Revised Statute § 42-4-1301(2)(a) with “per se” being Latin for “by itself” or “in itself.” In most cases, a BAC of 0.05 can trigger a DWAI arrest, but a person can technically be arrested for any BAC result when a police officer believes there is enough evidence of impairment.

Colorado Revised Statute § 42-4-1301(2)(d)(I) also makes it illegal for a person under 21 years of age to drive a motor vehicle when his or her BAC is at least 0.02. This offense is commonly referred to as underage drinking and driving or UDD. Driving under the influence of drugs arrests is frequently abbreviated as DUID.

Colorado Revised Statute § 42-4-13011 is the state’s expressed consent law (commonly referred to as implied consent in other states). Under this law, any person who drives a motor vehicle in Colorado is required to submit to any test or tests for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of the person’s blood or breath when requested by a law enforcement officer having probable cause to believe that the person was driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The expressed consent law is intended to force all people suspected of drunk driving to submit to chemical tests to determine impairment. You can still refuse to submit to these tests, but there are immediate administrative consequences to doing so, namely the suspension of your driver’s license.

If you are stopped for a suspected DUI offense, you should know that there is no consequence to refusing to submit to field sobriety tests, the battery of tests that assess a driver’s balance and coordination. Refusal to chemical tests will usually not prevent you from being arrested for DUI.

In most cases, people consent to a test of their blood or breath. Blood tests are chosen less frequently and result in two blood vials being taken, with one being given to the alleged offender to test at the independent laboratory of his or her choosing.

Blood tests may be required by officers who suspect that an alleged offender is under the influence of a controlled substance such as marijuana or a prescription drug. Breath tests do not provide relevant information in such cases.

With breath tests, one test may be performed using a roadside device (the Colorado Department of Transportation teamed with BACtrack for a partnership to promote the use of smartphone breathalyzers), and another is performed on a breathalyzer at the police station, usually an Intoxilyzer 9000 (I-9000). Both blood and breath tests must be conducted in compliance with state law to be submitted as evidence in a criminal case.

Elbert County DUI Penalties

The most immediate consequence for most people arrested for drunk driving in Colorado is the loss of their driver’s license. It is critical to understand that you only have seven days from the date of your arrest to request an administrative hearing.

The administrative action is a civil proceeding opened by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and presided over by a Hearing Officer from the Department of Revenue. This action is entirely separate from your criminal cases, but DUI and DWAI arrests can have significant implications on driver’s license statuses.

A DUI or DUI per se arrest will result in 12 points being added to an alleged offender’s driving record and one of the following suspension periods, depending on the number of prior convictions:

  •    First Offense — Nine months
  •    Second Offense — One year
  •    Third or Subsequent Offense — Two years

DWAI arrests do not carry consequences for driver’s licenses, but they can result in eight points being added to an alleged offender’s driving record. A UDD arrest results in four points being added to an alleged offender’s driving record and one of the following suspension periods, depending on the number of prior convictions:

  •    First Offense — Three months
  •    Second Offense — Six months
  •    Third or Subsequent Offense — One year

Chemical test refusal cases carry the harshest driver’s license punishments, with offenses being punishable as follows:

  •    First Offense — One year
  •    Second Offense — Two years
  •    Third or Subsequent Offense — Three years

In addition to the driver’s license issues stemming from a drunk driving arrest, a person also needs to deal with the actual criminal case. Prosecutors handling DUI cases usually have all evidence collected by police officers relating to your arrest, and most enter courtrooms expecting guilty pleas.

Drunk driving penalties become more severe for repeat offenses, although particular consequences are also delineated out for people with high BAC levels. A driver with a BAC of 0.15 or more will be classified as a “persistent drunk driver” and faces a mandatory ignition interlock requirement for at least one year.

A driver arrested for DUI who has a BAC of 0.20, or higher will face the same penalties as a person arrested for a second DUI offense, even if it is only his or her first. In general, DUI convictions are punishable as follows:

  • First Offense — Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, fine of up to $1,000, and up to 96 hours of useful public service.
  • Second Offense — Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, fine of up to $1,500, up to 120 hours of community service, and mandatory ignition interlock requirement for two years.
  • Third Offense — Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, fine of up to $1,500, up to 120 hours of community service, and mandatory ignition interlock requirement for two years.
  • Fourth or Subsequent Offense — Class 4 felony punishable by up to six years in prison, fine of up to $500,000, up to 120 hours of community service, and completion of a level II alcohol and drug driving safety education or treatment program.

DWAI convictions have their own sets of consequences, which similarly increase in severity with repeat offenses:

  • First Offense — Misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail, fine of up to $500, and up to 48 hours of useful public service.
  • Second Offense — Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, fine of up to $1,500, up to 120 hours of community service, and mandatory ignition interlock requirement for two years.
  • Third Offense — Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, fine of up to $1,500, up to 120 hours of community service, and mandatory ignition interlock requirement for two years.
  • Fourth or Subsequent Offense — Class 4 felony punishable by up to six years in prison, fine of up to $500,000, up to 120 hours of community service, and completion of a level II alcohol and drug driving safety education or treatment program.

Colorado imposes the following punishments in UDD cases:

  • First Offense — Class A traffic infraction punishable by a fine of up to $150 and up to 24 hours of useful public service.
  • Second or Subsequent Offense — Class 2 traffic misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail, fine of up to $300, and up to 120 hours of community service.

To avoid the consequences of a criminal conviction, it is critical for any person accused of DUI or DWAI to immediately retain legal counsel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I seal or expunge a DUI conviction from my record?

No. Unlike certain other criminal offenses. Colorado does not allow people to seal or expunge criminal records of DUI convictions. The best way to avoid having a conviction on your record is to fight to win your case.

What is a red license?

A red license is another name for the probationary driver license (PDL) that is issued at DMV hearings. A red license allows a person to drive, for limited purposes, such as employment, during the term of a license suspension. A person can only request a red license if he or she submitted to a requested blood or breath test.

What is an SR-22?

Some DUI offenders are required to file an SR-22 when you reinstate from specific suspensions and revocations. An SR-22 is an insurance document required for specific “high-risk” insurance policies that require an insurance company to notify the DMV of any policy cancellation. The SR-22 itself is not an insurance policy, but the driver is responsible for keeping our current as the insurance company must notify the DMV when an SR-22 is no longer in effect. This violation can lead to another driver’s license suspension.

Christian Schwaner Can Help

Most people know that they are not prepared to defend themselves against criminal charges, but far too many people wait until it is too late to contact an attorney for help. If you’ve been arrested and charged with DWI, don’t wait to get the legal help you need.

Schwaner Law, P.C. understands the embarrassment that many individuals feel after being arrested for drunk driving, but we will discuss your case with you and immediately identify any areas in which we think a closer examination could lead to a reduction in or dismissal of criminal charges. Our firm will consider every possible defense option.

When you hire a law firm, you will immediately have somebody who fully understands all of the applicable state laws relating to your case. Blood tests and breath tests must be administered with strict state requirements, and failure to follow specific procedures can result in that evidence being inadmissible and a prosecutor essentially having nothing other than officer testimony to prove your guilt.

Numerous other factors can also negate testing results. For example, failure to maintain a breathalyzer could impact all results and lead to them being declared invalid.

Keep in mind that when you hire a lawyer who handles DUI and DWAI cases in Kiowa, your attorney very likely is familiar with some of the parties involved in your case, from the arresting officer to the prosecutor. This can often help anticipate how a case is likely to unfold in some cases.

Early on in your case, your lawyer may be able to convince a prosecutor not to file charges when an arrest involves several mitigating factors. After the discovery portion of the case, the attorney will have a much better idea of the quality of the evidence that the prosecutor plans on presenting.

After assessing all of a prosecutor’s evidence, your lawyer will be able to determine your best possible defense options moving forward. Most cases are resolved through plea agreements rather than trial, and the alleged offenders always have the final say in which option they prefer.

Colorado DUI Statistics

According to the Colorado Department of Public Safety, the state had 500 DUI/DUID fatal crashes in 2016 and 508 in 2017. In 2016, 2,828 proactive DUI citations and 1,418 reactive DUI citations were issued, while 3,018 proactive DUI citations and 1,413 reactive DUI citations were issued in 2017.

The Division of Criminal Justice reported in 2018 that nearly three-quarters of people charged with DUI were men and males in their 20s represented about a third of the total cases analyzed. Almost 38 percent of defendants charged in 2016 had prior DUI convictions, according to the report.

The Division of Criminal Justice also reported that Arapahoe County filed the most DUI cases in 2016 with 3,157. The highest BAC recorded that year was 0.464.

In 2017, the Denver Post reported that the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana use jumped 145 percent from 47 in 2013 to 115 in 2016. According to the Post, drivers tested positive for the drug in about 10 percent of all fatal crashes in 2013, but that figure increase to 20 percent by 2016.

The Post also reported that more than 52 percent of the drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 who tested positive for cannabinoids had no alcohol in their system, but that figure grew to 69 percent by 2016. According to the Post, 71 of the 115 drivers in fatal wrecks who tested positive for marijuana use were found to have Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their blood, indicating use within hours, and 63 percent were over the state’s limit for driving of 5 nanograms per milliliter.

The Post reported that almost a dozen of the positive-testing drivers who died in crashes in Front Range counties had levels five times the amount allowed by law, and one was at 22 times the limit.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Were you recently arrested for a drunk driving offense in the greater Kiowa area? Make sure that you contact Schwaner Law, P.C. as quickly as you can.

Our firm is committed to helping you achieve the most desirable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible consequences. We are here to stand up for you and help you in your time of need. Contact us by calling (719) 577-9700 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation.