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       600  17th Street, Suite 2800 South, Denver, Colorado 80202;   303.820.0840

 

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Tips  to  Know  If  You're  Charged  With a Colorado DUI 

If your license is revoked for DUI, how will you get to work or care for your children or a sick family member?  Did you know that except in the case of first time DUI offenders (Colorado Senate Bill 03-076 "Probationary licenses for first time DUI"), Colorado DMV will no longer issue "red" or Probationary Licenses for any reason, during the period of a DUI license revocation?  Even first time offenders face at least one month of no driving. To make matters worse, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation keeps permanent computer records of all DUI convictions.  These records are available to anyone, including prospective employers - for only a nominal fee.

Today - more so than ever - choosing a DUI lawyer to help with a DUI charge could be one of the most important decisions of your life.  For example, Colorado now requires mandatory jail upon receipt of a second or subsequent DUI conviction - even if your last DUI was twenty years ago in another state!  If your breath or blood alcohol level was over 0.20% BAC, you face double the usual amount of fines and a minimum of ten days in jail - even for a first offense.

Steps you should take if you've been charged with DUI in Colorado

Most people arrested for drunk driving are pretty shaken up for a few days after their arrest. Because of ever decreasing "legal limits" for breath and blood alcohol concentrations, behavior which most people would consider innocent - a couple of glasses of wine with dinner or a few beers during a concert - can result in hefty fines, lengthy probation and jail.  What can you do to protect yourself against drunk driving charges? Listed below are a few simple steps you should take as soon as you are released by the police or detox center:

  • Gather and safeguard all relevant paperwork.

    Documents given to you at the time of your release may contain information which will form the basis of a defense, e.g., do the documents contain facts, errors or inconsistencies which can be used to discredit the police officer's reason for stopping you? Was a test taken within the two hour time limit mandated by law? You should also preserve documents such as credit card receipts from the tavern or restaurant where you consumed alcohol. These documents can be of significance if the alcohol test results are inconsistent with the number of drinks you consumed. Documents such as cell phone records, restaurant receipts, etc., may help your case if the time of contact with police or time of driving becomes an issue. 

    If you have been charged with a driving offense, you should also obtain a current copy of your DMV driving record and bring it with you.  Your DMV record can be obtained from any DMV office for a mere $2.20.  Without it, we will be unable to give you reliable legal advice about your driving-related case.

     

  • Write down everything you remember about the event and the arrest.

    Any experienced criminal defense lawyer will tell you that as time passes you will forget important details about your case. While certain facts may seem insignificant to you, these same facts in the hands of an experienced defense attorney could mean the difference between conviction and acquittal. Talk to friends or family to ask them what they remember. The police are trained to take notes about things that might incriminate you. Many police personnel will purposely exclude facts from their reports that might exonerate you - so it's up to you to bring to your attorney's attention all facts which might help you. Take a few minutes to write down everything you remember about what happened before you were contacted by the police. Your notes should include a detailed account of everything you said and that the police said up to the time you were released. Include a list of what you had to eat and drink and when you ate or drank it. These notes could be helpful in formulating a defense or to refresh you memory months later during a trial or other hearing.

     

  • Request a hearing from the Colorado Dept. of Revenue.

    If you took a breath test and an Affidavit and Notice of Revocation was issued to you, you should request a hearing and the presence of the stopping & arresting officers, in writing, before the Department of Revenue within seven days. Failure to do so will result not only in loss of your driver's license but also loss of your right to a hearing during which you might save your license.   If you chose a blood test, the hearing request must be made later, within a time period that will be specified in correspondence from the DMV.

     

  • Request both the initial Stopping Officer/Investigating Officer and the Arresting Officer's presence at the DMV hearing.

    The attendance of these officers is critical to a fair determination of your case at the civil, administrative DMV Hearing.  Only with this officer (these officers) present can you avail yourself of your Constitutionally guaranteed right to confront and cross examine witness against you.  Thus, if DMV subpoenas the officer(s) but the officer(s) does not show for the hearing, you may be able to get your potential license suspension dismissed against you at the DMV hearing.

     

  • Contact an experienced DUI defense attorney.

    Most criminal defense lawyers advertise drunk driving defense. However, few lawyers practice mainly in this area.  Attorney Timothy Kelly does.  Drunk driving defense is unique in that it requires not only an understanding of criminal law, but also a thorough understanding of the technical aspects of alcohol metabolism and alcohol testing.  For this reason, you should consult with a lawyer specializing in drunk driving defense work.  Most DUI attorneys offer free consultations. Accordingly, there is no reason not to run your case by someone who undoubtedly knows more about the subject than you do.

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Copyright 2009 Timothy Kelly & Associates, LLC - Attorneys & Counselors at Law
Last modified: 02/28/11

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