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DUI / DUID

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/ or Drugs is the Colorado law imposed upon those found to be operating a motor vehicle when they are under the influence of a substance that impairs their ability to drive. If you are pulled over late in the evening, expect the officer to inquire as to whether or not you have been drinking beverages that contain alcohol. With Colorado’s recent decriminalization of marijuana, law enforcement agencies are likewise now on the lookout for people driving under the influence of marijuana.

The first issue that all Colorado drivers need to know is that they have the right to refuse voluntary roadside maneuvers. These tests are viewed by many in the legal field to be designed to fail, and to collect evidence for the prosecution of that driver. For example, one of the commonly used tests requires the driver to demonstrate that he or she can walk on a real or imaginary line, one step at a time, while never missing a heel to toe, never raising one’s arms, and never stepping off of the line. This can be a very challenging test for many when they are sober, as human beings are not designed to walk that way. Another “roadside test” often offered to motorists is to cooperate in the taking of a Preliminary Breath Test. Law enforcement officers commonly tell drivers that this test cannot be used in court, and that is simply not completely true. While it is true that such PBT test cannot be admitted as evidence at trial, the law allows a judge to hear evidence of a PBT result when determining whether there was probable cause to require a driver to elect a chemical test of their blood and/ or breath. The advice given to drivers by the attorneys at Fahrenholtz & Wiens is to politely refuse to cooperate in these tests.

The other issue that drivers in Colorado need to know is that they will be given the opportunity to take a chemical test of their blood and/ or breath upon a law enforcement officer having probable cause to believe that one is operating a motor vehicle under the influence. When there is probable cause to believe alcohol is the only factor, then drivers are allowed to choose between a blood or breath test. When there is probable cause to believe that drugs are a factor, the law restricts the test to that of one’s blood. If a motorist in Colorado refuses to cooperate in the testing of their blood or breath, their driving privileges are usually revoked.

A significant issue surrounding DUI’s and DUID’s is the involvement of Colorado’s Motor Vehicle Division (DMV) of the Colorado Department of Revenue. If a chemical test of one’s blood or breath results in a test above .05 but less than .08 (for an adult), the driver will be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), which is a lesser offense than DUI. If the driver’s BAC is .08 or higher, however, than the driver will be required to request a DMV hearing within 7 days of being issued the ticket, where a Hearing Officer makes a determination as to whether or not a driver’s privilege to drive should be suspended. The length of the suspension varies depending upon a driver’s history, and whether or not the driver refused to take a test.

If convicted of a DUI, twelve (12) points are assessed against a person’s driver’s license. If convicted of DWAI, eight (8) points are assessed. This issue must be watched very closely as a person’s driving privilege will be suspended if twelve (12) points are accumulated in twelve (12) months, or if eighteen (18) points are accumulated in eighteen (18) months. This result varies, largely dependent upon whether DMV has already taken action against one’s driving privilege based upon the chemical test result or the refusal to take such test.

A person charged with DUI or DUID should seek legal representation immediately, as failure to take certain action within the first days after being arrested can be devastating. At Fahrenholtz & Wiens, LLC, we walk people through all of the steps necessary to ensure that a person’s rights are protected.

Free DUI / DUID Criminal Defense Consultation

Any potential criminal case requires a detailed understanding of the facts, the processes, and the law. If you or someone you know has committed a crime or have been accused of a crime by the Federal Government, you will want to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Not sure what to do? Contact Fahrenholtz & Wiens, LLC to schedule your free consultation.

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