If you’ve been charged with a DUI, DWAI, or DUID in Colorado Springs, you’re probably wondering what’s going to happen next. The process following a DUI arrest in Colorado can be complex. Every judicial district throughout the state has a different way of moving a DUI case through the court system. While a majority of the information here is general and will apply to any judicial district in the state, the focus of this article is how the DUI process unfolds in El Paso County and Colorado Springs.
The first thing to look at in the DUI process is chemical testing. If you did a breath test or if you refused chemical testing, it is likely the officer who arrested you gave you a Notice of Express Consent Affidavit and a Notice of Revocation. This document will let you know that you have seven days from the date of your arrest to go to a Colorado DMV office to request a hearing. If you do not do so, your driver’s license will be revoked on the eighth day after your arrest.
If you provided a blood sample, the process is somewhat different. The state will have your blood tested for alcohol content. If that content is above the legal limit, the officer who arrested you will be notified of the results. He or she will then file the Notice of Express Consent Affidavit with the DMV. Upon receipt of the affidavit, the DMV will send you a letter notifying you of the results of the blood test and informing you that you have 10 days from the date on the letter to request a hearing from the DMV. If you do not request a hearing, your driver’s license will be revoked on the 11th day after the date on the DMV letter.
Administrative License Revocation Hearing
An arrest for DUI in Colorado sets two processes in motion. One is the criminal charge against you that will proceed through the court system that has jurisdiction over your case. The other is an administrative process overseen by the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV. This administrative process is completely separate from the criminal charges and revolves around the revocation of your driver’s license.
The Importance of Requesting a Hearing
The request for hearing must be made in writing on a form provided by the DMV. Because of this, it is best to go to the main DMV office in your city or county, bringing your Notice of Express Consent Affidavit or DMV letter with you, and fill out the form while you are there. On the form, you can request to have the officer who arrested you present at the hearing. There are advantages and disadvantages to having the arresting officer present. It is best to discuss this matter with your attorney to see which choice is best for you, given the circumstances of your case.
There are two reasons why it makes sense to pursue an administrative hearing with the DMV regarding your license revocation. First, it affords you an opportunity to avoid revocation altogether, allowing you to keep your driver’s license. Second, it allows your attorney an opportunity to size up the state’s case against you. An advance look at the evidence the state plans on using against you at trial can be invaluable in planning the best defense to the charges pending against you.
The DMV hearing has to be held within 60 days of your request. You will be able to continue to drive during this time. If you lose at the hearing, your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, was .08 or above, and this was your first DUI offense, you will not be able to drive for 30 days. After 30 days, you can submit an Application for Reinstatement to the DMV along with proof that you have had an ignition interlock device, or IID, installed on your vehicle, a check for $95.00 and an SR-22 insurance certification. You will then have to drive with the interlock device on your vehicle for nine months. If your BAC was 0.15 or higher, you will have to go through the same reinstatement process, however, you will be required to have an IID on your vehicle for 24 months.
Finally, if you refused chemical testing, you will not be able to drive for 60 days. In addition, you will be required to have an IID installed on your vehicle for 24 months.
DUI Court Process
The ticket that you were given during your DUI arrest will have the date of your first court appearance. It is very important that you appear before the court on this date. If you fail to appear, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest.
At the hearing, you will be told what charges are pending against you and the potential penalties for those charges. It’s possible that you will have an opportunity to meet with the prosecutor assigned to your case to find if there is an offer available in return for a guilty plea. Next, you will be given an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty to the pending charges.
If you plead guilty, one of two things can happen:
the case will either be set for sentencing, in which case you will have to undergo an alcohol evaluation with the department of probation, or
you could be immediately sentenced and undergo the evaluation at a later date.
If you plead guilty, all of the fines, costs, and penalties associated with a DUI conviction may be imposed upon you.
Pleading Not Guilty
If you plead not guilty, the case will be set for trial.
It is critical that you hire an experienced Colorado DUI attorney to represent you during the criminal process. DUI cases are complex. The consequences of a DUI conviction are severe. Every DUI case is unique. Even if you think that there is no way to avoid a conviction, you still need a competent attorney advising and representing you.
It’s also important to remember that the DA representing the state does this for a living. Every day, they are in court handling cases just like yours. They are good at what they do. They don’t get paid to be nice. They don’t get paid to voluntarily offer deals. They get paid to convict people accused of breaking the laws of the state of Colorado. You are just another case number to them. Walking into the courtroom alone and unrepresented is a virtually guaranteed way to get the worst possible result given the severity of your case.
That’s why former prosecutors, like Christian Schwaner, make such good DUI defense attorneys. They understand how the court system works. They understand how the DA prosecuting your case works. They have the courtroom experience that allows them to use the evidence in the case to your advantage. Walking into the courtroom represented by an experienced DUI attorney is the only way to obtain the best possible result given the facts of your case.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Colorado Springs, you need an experienced Colorado DUI attorney on your side. Take the time to contact our office today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your options.