Much like in most other states, it is illegal to drive while under the influence (DUI) in Colorado. What that means is, the law prohibits drivers from being in “actual physical control of” or “operating” a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. What’s perhaps surprising is the fact that you can get arrested and DUI charges brought against you even when you were not driving a car in Colorado.
Understanding different situations when you can get a DUI in Colorado will go a long way in helping you protect your rights and ensure that your DUI charges do not put your independence, career, and reputation on the line. Here are several scenarios when you can get a DUI even when you are not driving.
Believe it or not, charges may be brought against you for driving a boat while allegedly impaired. Under Colorado Revised Statutes § 33-13-108.1, it is illegal for any person to be in actual physical control of or operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or both. In fact, BUI charges are not only limited to boats. One can face charges even for operating jet skits and other watercraft while allegedly impaired.
BUI charges for first-time offenders carry a jail sentence of 5 days to one year, up to two years of probation, a maximum of 96 hours of community service, and a fine of between $200 to $1,000. The offender must also be restricted from operating any vessel for three months. In case you are a second-time or subsequent offender, penalties often tend to be more stiffer.
Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation in Colorado and most other parts of the country, as it is considered healthy and eco-friendly. However, bikers in Denver and all of Colorado need to be watchful of DUI laws while biking as breaking any may lead to DUI charges. That means you can get pulled over and arrested for biking while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Colorado, those facing charges for riding a bicycle while allegedly impaired risk the same penalties just like other motorists facing DUI charges. While this sounds a bit odd, the law intends to reduce the number of road accidents by preventing people from remaining on the roadway when their judgment, perception, and reaction times are impaired by alcohol or drugs.
It is not uncommon to face DUI charges for remaining in the driver’s seat even without driving the car. As long the law enforcement officer has a valid reason to believe that you were planning to drive or have just stopped the car (i.e., the vehicle is still one or having the keys in the ignition), DUI charges may be brought against you.
There have also been cases where drunk passengers in a vehicle with a drunk driver were charged with DUI in other states. The unfortunate bit is that such DUI charges may still count against you as a prior DUI case in Colorado.
These are not the only odd instances where Colorado individuals were arrested and DUI charges brought against them. There have been reported cases where people faced DUI charges for riding or operating go-karts, segways, lawnmowers, or even riding horses when allegedly drunk.
There’s no denying that being arrested for DUI under any circumstances can be a devastating experience. However, DUI charges can have far more serious consequences on your personal and professional life. Not only do you risk paying hefty fines but you may lose important licenses and even spend days or months in jail. The good news is that the prosecution must prove every specific DUI charge element to warrant your conviction. Even better, facing DUI charges does not deprive you of the right to defend yourself or hire an attorney to represent you. The right DUI lawyer will help you challenge the prosecutor’s evidence by:
Whether you are already facing charges or have just been arrested, the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani can help you fight your DUI charges. Our DUI attorney is committed to helping Denver individuals and will dedicate all his legal resources to help you obtain the best possible outcome. When you reach out to us, we will evaluate your case, establishes shortcomings in the prosecution’s evidence, and develop the most effective defense strategy to defend you. Give us a call today or fill out the contact form so we can get started on your case.