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What Are the Costs Associated with a DUI in Denver?

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16 June, 2022

In the state of Colorado, being convicted of DUI can be expensive. Between the costs of an attorney and going to court, along with the class fees, penalties, and other related costs, the total amount you must spend for a DUI conviction is significant.

Some say this is for a good reason. With drunk drivers being at-fault for thousands of deaths every year, the penalties seem to fit the crime.

To help reduce the incidences of drunk driving, many law enforcement agencies have increased the costs of a DUI conviction. Because of this, you may wonder – what is the actual cost of a DUI? Is it just a few hundred, a few thousand, or more?

The answer to this is – it depends. The fact is each case is unique and impacts the true cost of the DUI. Regardless of the facts of your case, you can rest assured that it’s going to put a rather significant dent in your wallet.

Here you can learn more about the factors that impact the cost of your DUI and why hiring an experienced attorney from the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani is a smart move.

The Cost of a First DUI in Denver

What you must pay to resolve your DUI situation and cover all the fees and obligations varies. If you are charged with DUI for the first time and don’t have much experience with the criminal justice system or know how to defend yourself, you may be confused about what to do next. However, our legal team is here to help.

The first time you are arrested for DUI in Denver, you can expect to pay (on average) $7,000 if you are convicted. Some people wonder why this is the case since the court fines for DUI are only $1,000 max. The reason that the cost of this is so high is that there are many other expenses and costs related to a DUI charge than just the fine you must pay when convicted.

The costs will start to add up even before you go to trial because you must pay things like bail costs, vehicle storage fees, towing fees, and more. If you plan to contest the suspension of your license before you go to trial, there are fees associated with that, too, which include a reinstatement fee for your license.

The true cost of your DUI will increase if you are convicted. Even first-time DUI offenders who don’t have a past criminal history may have to pay supervision fees for probation, a fee for law enforcement help, fees to the victim, alcohol and drug treatment, a PDD (persistent drunk driver) surcharge, and an increase in your insurance premiums.

The Cost of a Second DUI in Denver

If you have been arrested for a second DUI in Denver, the costs will likely be much more than a first DUI conviction. However, this is not always the cost since the initial fines are much higher. Instead, the amount of community service, education, and jail time will all contribute to the higher cost of a second DUI charge and conviction.

With second and subsequent DUIs, you will have to pay all the same pre-trial costs that you did with your initial DUI again. Car storage, DMV hearing costs, bail, license reinstatement, towing, and booking will still add costs to your charge. If convicted, you will also pay additional fees related to the increased consequences. For example, you must pay for someone to install and calibrate an ignition interlock device.

With all “hidden” fees accounted for, the average amount you will pay for being charged and convicted of a second DUI is around $10,000. If you experience a third, fourth, or more DUI, the fees will likely exceed $15,000. There are a few reasons that this will happen. The court costs are much higher, the fee for a conviction is higher, and there are more conditions related to sentencing like longer alcohol or drug course. Your bail will likely be higher, as well.

Tips to Reduce the Cost of Your Denver DUI Charge

As you can see from the information above, even a first-time DUI conviction is expensive. If you plead guilty or go to trial without legal representation, it may cost you up to $13,000 or more.

One of the best ways to reduce the cost associated with DUI charges in Denver is to avoid being convicted. If you are convicted, then you will have to pay all these fees (in most cases) or more.

One of the best ways to limit the overall cost of a drunk driving charge is for you to avoid being convicted. If you happen to be convicted, then you must pay most of these things. Make sure you don’t plead guilty mindlessly for a DUI or some other criminal offense. Our legal team is here to help and provide you with the representation that you need to reduce the cost of your DUI charge and conviction.

We offer each client a free consultation to discuss their case and needs. Our Denver drunk driving defense lawyer will listen to your situation, review what you have been charged with, gather evidence, and help you figure out what you can do to protect your financial interests and legal rights. By hiring our DUI defense lawyer, you can save several thousand dollars or more.

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Is It Smart to Accept a Plea Deal in Your Denver DUI Case?

Most Common Drug Arrest in Denver

Is It Smart to Accept a Plea Deal in Your Denver DUI Case?

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06 April, 2022

Being arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) can cause a lot of stress. Unfortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, you may not know what to do or your options. 

One of the best things to do in these cases is to get in touch with our team of experienced DUI attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani. We can help you decide how to move forward with your case while providing advice and guidance. 

While each case is unique, there are some situations where the prosecution may offer you a plea deal. It can be tempting to avoid going to trial for the case; however, before agreeing to anything, it’s best to have the agreement reviewed by your DUI attorney. 

The Purpose of DUI Plea Deals

The criminal justice system in Denver (and the entire state of Colorado) is burdened by all types of cases. Many criminal cases last for months or even years. Because of this, many prosecutors try to offer plea deals for some people to help save time. 

There are benefits to this. For example, both you (the defendant) and the prosecution have more control over what happens and how the case is resolved. If you happen to go to trial, the outcome is unpredictable since the final decision is put in the hands of a jury. 

Understanding the Plea Deal Process for DUI Charges in Denver

The plea deal you receive is dependent on the circumstances of your case. However, some of the terms that you may see in a plea deal for a DUI charge include:

Reduced Sentence

With this type of plea agreement, you are typically required to plead guilty to the charge, which means you are accepting it, or plead no contest, which means you aren’t contesting the charge against you. If you agree to this, then your sentence is reduced. The reduction amount depends on the specifics of your case. 

Reduced Charges 

For reduced charges, the plea deal will include dropping the original charge of DUI against you. However, you must plead guilty to a reduced charge. Usually, this will be reckless driving that involves alcohol. Usually, this deal is called a “wet reckless plea deal.”

Complete Dismissal of Your Charges

In some situations, you may be facing multiple charges, along with DUI. In this case, the prosecution may present a plea deal where you must plead guilty to one or several of the other charges you face while having the other charges dismissed or dropped. 

Important Information about Colorado Plea Deals

If you are offered a plea deal, there’s no obligation to accept it. This is true for DUI charges or any other criminal charges you face. There are no circumstances where the prosecution can try to coerce, threaten, or persuade you into accepting the deal, either. 

Also, remember that the plea deal you are offered is a compromise. Because of this, your attorney may be able to go to the prosecution and negotiate with them to help you receive an even better deal than what is offered at first. 

When discussing a plea agreement, be sure you don’t say anything to the prosecution that may be seen as an admission of guilt. What you say during the negotiation of a plea deal can (and will) be used against you if your case happens to go to trial. This is one of the most important reasons to let your DUI attorney handle negotiations for you. 

Avoid telling the prosecution anything about the defense strategy that you have created. They may try to convince you to reveal something by making promises of a great offer; however, you should never let them know how your attorney will defend against the prosecution’s case. 

Generally, it is best to leave all the negotiations and discussions to your attorney. 

Is It a Good Idea to Accept the Plea Deal for Your DUI Charge in Colorado?

There’s no way to know if accepting a plea deal for your DUI charge is good. That’s because each case is unique. 

Our experienced attorneys can review the charges you are facing, search for any loopholes or weaknesses in the case against you and determine if it may be possible to have the DUI charge dismissed or even have your case acquitted. 

If we believe we can fight successfully against the prosecution’s case, then it may be smart to turn down the plea agreement. However, if the prosecution has the needed evidence to secure a conviction, negotiating the plea agreement is smart. 

If you face a DUI charge in Denver, reach out to us today. Our team is ready and able to help you with your tu and provide you with knowledgeable advice and guidance along the way. 

Is There a Statute of Limitations for a Denver DUI?

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24 January, 2022

The statute of limitations is a common phrase heard in the legal community. While it is commonly used for personal injury cases and in crimes like theft and murder, you may wonder – does it apply to DUI cases, too?

While the answer may surprise you, it’s “yes.” However, some factors will impact how long the statute of limitations is. Keep reading to learn more about this. 

Remember, if you are ever charged with a DUI in Denver, it’s in your best interest to contact a Denver DUI defense attorney right away. 

Misdemeanor DUIs in Denver

A misdemeanor charge occurs if you operate your vehicle with a BAC of 0.08%. It does not matter if you are impaired. The prosecution has 18 months to file charges for a misdemeanor DUI charge. 

If you are charged and found guilty of this crime (as a first-time offender), you may face up to 12 months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. Your driver’s license can be suspended for up to nine months and required to complete 96 hours of community service. 

Felony DUIs in Denver  

If you have three prior DUIs or are involved in a DUI that injured another person, you are charged with a felony DUI. Prosecutors have three years from the date of the incident to file this charge. If someone died in the incident, the time period increases to five years. 

Individuals who get a fourth DUI will face a Class 4 felony, which carries up to six years in jail. Any DUI that results in serious injuries to someone is also a Class 4 felony and carries the same six years in jail and up to $500K in fines. 

DUI cases that result in the death of someone are charged as Class 3 felonies. If you are found guilty, you may face up to 12 years in prison and have to pay fines of up to $750K. 

Contact a Denver DUI Attorney for Help

If you face DUI charges in Denver, it is best to call an attorney for help. They can review the facts of your case and work to help have the charges reduced or eliminated completely. While there are no guarantees about the case’s outcome, having an attorney will be an invaluable resource, especially if you have no prior experience with the court system. 

Getting a 2nd or 3rd DUI in Denver: What to Expect

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12 November, 2021

A night out on the town in Denver or anywhere else can be a fun-filled experience. Adding alcohol to the experience may add to the excitement factor, but it can have serious repercussions. This is especially true if you are the designated driver and already have one DUI in your record. 

Drive intoxicated, and you might get your 2nd DUI in Denver. Worse yet, another incidence of driving with a high blood alcohol (BAC) level can spell your 3rd DUI. 

Whether it is the 2nd DUI in Denver or the 3rd, know that the consequences will be more severe than your 1st. Here is what to expect from your 2nd or 3rd DUI in Denver. 

Jail Time for a 2nd DUI in Denver

Jail times are prescribed for first-time offenders in Denver. Depending on the ruling, jail sentences can be five days to one year long. However, few serve jail sentences. First-time offenders often face fines, 24 to 48 hours of community service, and a one-year revocation of their licenses. 

It is a different story for offenders with their 2nd DUI in Denver. In the eyes of the state’s courts, offenders who commit their 2nd and 3rd DUIs in Colorado are considered persistent DUI drivers. Colorado state laws make jail time mandatory for persistent DUI drivers. In other words, if you get your 2nd DUI in Denver, expect to spend some time in jail. 

The length of time you will spend in jail will depend on whether you have committed your 2nd or 3rd DUI. For second-time offenders, jail sentences can be 10 days up to a whole year. In the case of a third DUI conviction, jail sentences are longer. Usually, the sentence runs for 60 days up to a year. 

Community Service for Persistent DUIs

Other than jail time, there are other criminal penalties for 2nd and 3rd DUI convictions. One of these is community service. 

The length of time for rendering community service is the same for second and third-time offenders. According to Nolo, the required hours for community service are 48 to 120 hours. In addition to community service, offenders must pay $120. 

Fines and Penalties

If you are convicted for a second or third DUI, you need to pay a fine. This is on top of the amount payable for community service. 

For both second and third-time DUI convictions, the state of Colorado requires a fine of at least $600. The amount can go up to as much as $1,500 depending on factors like the person’s BAC at the time of the arrest. 

Two-Year Probation

If you get a 2nd DUI in Denver, part of the penalties following the conviction is a two-year probationary period. The probationary period begins upon release from jail. During this time, you need to submit to regular drug and alcohol monitoring. Under no circumstances can your BAC be above .8% while you are on probation. 

In addition, you will also have to undergo alcohol and drug rehabilitation and treatment. As part of rehabilitation after a DUI conviction, you also need to take classes on driving safety. 

A violation of the terms of probation can land you back in jail. 

Revoked License

License revocation begins as soon as you are convicted of your second or third DUI. In Colorado, license revocations are different for second and third-time offenders. 

If you get a 2nd DUI in Denver, you can expect your license to be revoked for at least a year. You may still operate a vehicle while your license is revoked. However, you will need an interlock license from the DMV to do so. Applying for this is possible a month after your license has been revoked. 

For third-time DUI offenders, the license may remain revoked indefinitely. The DMV and court can reinstate the driver’s license if the offender has completed: 

  • A drug and alcohol monitoring program
  • Driver’s education
  • Community service
  • Jail time

Drug and Alcohol Monitoring, Evaluation, and Treatment

All DUI offenders must submit themselves to drug and alcohol screening. Also, they must complete evaluation and treatment for the judge to reinstate their licenses. Those on interlock licenses may apply to have their original licenses following drug and alcohol rehab. 

Call a Lawyer if You Get a 2nd DUI (or 3rd) in Denver, CO

Full reinstatement of your license may allow you to drive again. However, between getting a 2nd DUI in Denver and that time, you can expect a series of penalties and jail time. Also, a DUI is a misdemeanor that will make its way to your criminal record. 

To prevent all this from happening, you will need help. If you are arrested for a DUI in Denver, you can fight the charges. Seek the aid of a criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record of fighting DUI charges. 

For legal representation that serves your best interests in Denver, call us now

YES You Do Have the Right to Refuse a Field Sobriety Test

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23 October, 2021

Do You Have the Right to Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?

You have probably heard of field sobriety tests before. You may have even taken one in the past. These are the tests used by police officers when they suspect someone of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The test using the breathalyzer, for example, is up to 91% accurate when determining if someone has a BAC over 0.08% (the legal limit in most states).

While these tests are beneficial for law enforcement officers, you may wonder if you have the right to refuse?

Refusing a Field Sobriety Test

You are within your rights to refuse to take a field sobriety test. However, it is important to understand there are pros and cons to doing this.

If you are stopped by the police and suspected of intoxicated driving, the officer will attempt to convince you to take the field sobriety test. The purpose is to establish probable cause for stopping you and collect evidence of your intoxication.

Essentially, they are building a case to arrest you.

However, even if you are intoxicated and you pass the initial field sobriety test, the officer can still arrest you if they believe you are unfit to drive, or they will request you to take a breathalyzer test. Again, these are used to collect evidence against you and prove there was probable cause to pull you over.

What Happens if You Refuse?

While there are no legal requirements for you to take a field sobriety test when a police officer requests one, if you refuse to cooperate with them, it may make it appear like you are trying to hide something. Also, if you refuse the test, you will probably be arrested.

Suppose you pass the field sobriety test, and you do not register as being intoxicated with a breathalyzer test. In that case, you may still be arrested if the officer believes you pose a danger to other people. While this is true, if you pass the test, your attorney can make the case that there was no probable cause to stop you or arrest you.

Alcohol and Field Sobriety Tests

Since even small amounts of alcohol can impair your judgment, if you are stopped after drinking, you may be more confident in your abilities to drive and to pass the field sobriety tests than you really are.

With any level of alcohol consumption, you will experience performance issues if something requires your complete attention.

If you wind up refusing the field sobriety test requested by the officer, it is important to make sure you do not worsen the situation. Stay polite (without being over-polite), respectful, and decline the test. Ensure you do not worsen the situation or give the officer a reason to arrest you and charge you with something else.

By being calm and respectful, you can keep the situation from escalating while still exercising the right you have to refuse the test requested by the police officer who pulled you over for suspicion of drinking and driving.

Consult with a DUI Defense Attorney

Any time you are arrested, it is best to consult with an attorney regarding the actions taken by the police. You need to fully know and understand your rights before saying or doing anything that may make the situation worse for you.

The bottom line is that you can refuse a field sobriety test. While this is true, you will still likely be arrested. Your best line of defense is to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest who can help ensure your rights are protected.

9 Mistakes You Should Avoid After a Denver DUI

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14 July, 2021

1. Going To Court Without Legal Representation

You need a reputable lawyer to help navigate the legal system and avoid common mistakes when facing a DUI charge. You will meet with a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s office at your first hearing and you must be able to decide how you want to proceed. You need the advice of a good Denver DUI lawyer at this point, to make the right decision and provide you with the best advice on how to proceed.

2. Failing to Request an Express Consent Hearing

If you’ve been charged in Colorado, you have likely been served with an affidavit from the arresting officer, which gives notice that your license will be revoked. The express hearing is separate and determines whether you will lose your license. The DMV will ask whether you wish to challenge the arresting officer. This is where you need the expertise of a seasoned attorney who knows how to represent you effectively and navigate the justice system. A lawyer knows where the loopholes may exist, because he or she knows the system and how it works.

3. Making Assumptions About A High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

When you assume your case is undefendable, you may not be giving yourself a chance. The prosecutor has to introduce your test into evidence with a sound foundation, so a jury or judge can consider all the facts. Factors such as certification of the testing lab, functioning and accuracy of the breath alcohol testing machine, procedures for obtaining and handling the blood sample, and chain of custody issues can be issues that make the case difficult for the prosecutor to present. If there are errors in any of these processes, the case could be dropped entirely because the quality and legitimacy of the evidence will be questioned. An experienced DUI lawyer can find these errors quickly.

4. Not Getting Your Blood Tested By An Independent Lab

This is important because the state must take two vials, so one can go to a lab of your choosing. If the private lab’s results showed a lower level than the state’s, the accuracy of the test will be questioned. This could result in the prosecutor dropping the case, because the whole foundation of the charge comes into question. The credibility of the police officer and the police department is questioned when this happens. The accuracy of the state lab may be questioned when the results of the 2 labs come back very different.

5. Failing To Understand The Long Term Implications Of A DUI Conviction

This is a criminal conviction that will follow you for the rest of your life and stay on the Colorado Bureau of Investigations records permanently, possibly hindering your ability to take certain types of jobs. Your driver’s license could also be suspended for a length of time, resulting in additional fees and channels to go through to get it back at the end of that period. If you think about the repercussions before choosing a lawyer, you may be more likely to select an experienced DUI attorney who is known for getting results and representing his or her clients.

6. Not Hiring a Good DUI Defense Lawyer

One of the most common mistakes after a DUI is not hiring a good lawyer. You want a DUI lawyer who has a good reputation and is known for getting results for his or her clients. It may save you money by retaining a cheaper lawyer, but the end results can have far reaching consequences, such as a DUI charge and a permanent record of DUI. Your future should not be gambled on a lawyer who may not have the right experience. It is well worth the extra money to find an experienced lawyer with a good reputation in helping clients who have been charged with DUI. A good lawyer may be able to find all the holes in your case and will give you advice that is in your best interest.

7. Not Appearing In Court On Time

If you fail to show up to court, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. This will result in higher fees and more charges when you’re caught. By showing up and dressing properly, you are sending a message that you take the charges seriously and expect to represent yourself to the best of your ability. 

8. Not Having The Evidence Preserved

You should have the evidence, such as lab test results, preserved so they can be used in court. In addition, testimony of lab professionals also carries plenty of weight in the courts. But, you need to notify the courts that you will be doing this prior to any scheduled hearings. Having evidence and proper testimony can make the difference in losing your license and getting a DUI charge or winning your case due to the evidence presented in your favor. 

9. Not Challenging The Charges

There are times when an officer may conduct an illegal search and a judge will not question the procedures. You need representation so these issues can be questioned. A lawyer who works with DUI clients understands that illegal searches can and do happen and can question the actions of an arresting officer. It would be a shame to have a DUI on your record because an officer conducted an illegal search.

Avoid These Mistakes By Hiring an Experienced Denver DUI Defense Lawyer

If you’re facing a DUI in Denver, be sure to avoid these mistakes and reach out to an experienced Denver DUI defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, we handle each case we take with compassion, professionalism, and unmatched drive to win. For more information about how Denver DUI attorney Steven J. Pisani can help protect your rights if faced with Colorado DUI charges, schedule a free consultation by contacting us online or calling us today at (303) 529-2834.

What to Expect When Charged with Your Second DUI in Denver

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10 June, 2021

Getting a DUI can lead to devastating consequences. However, when you are charged with your second DUI, the severity of the consequences you face is much more significant. In fact, if you get convicted of a second DUI, it can result in you having a permanent criminal record and having a driving record at the state’s DMV. 

If you find yourself in a situation where you have been charged with your second DUI (or even your first one for that manner), hiring an attorney to help with the second DUI in Denver case is highly recommended. 

Potential Penalties After Your First Denver DUI in Denver

In 2015, getting a fourth DUI during your life was turned into a felony crime. Before this date, convictions were not as serious, and the consequences were not as severe. 

Now is the time to consider what you know and how things work after being charged with a DUI. 

When you receive your first DUI, some of the potential penalties you will face include:

  • Minimum of five days and maximum of one year in jail
  • Minimum fine of $600 with a maximum fine of $1000
  • Minimum of 48 hours of community service up to 96 hours of community service
  • Minimum of no time on probation with a maximum of two years on probation

Keep in that these are considered guidelines. They do not encompass all that a judge can do when it is time to sentence you. Some other requirements may be that you remain sober, avoid using alcohol, and never drink excessively. 

You may also be ordered to begin using a monitoring device and attend a victim impact panel. It all depends on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. 

Potential Penalties After Your Second DUI in Denver

In Denver, if you are charged with your second DUI and convicted, it is considered a misdemeanor. Because this is considered a more serious crime, it has higher potential penalties than your first DUI Does. 

Some of the penalties you will face after your second DUI in Denver include:

  • Minimum of 10 days in jail, maximum of one year
  • Fines of $600 up to $1,500
  • Maximum of four years of probation
  • Community service requirement of 48 up to 120 hours
  • Enrollment and completion of alcohol education classes
  • License revocation for up to one-year
  • 12 points assessed against your license
  • Use of an ignition interlock device for up to two years

Being Classified as a “Persistent Drunk Driver”

When you are convicted of the second DUI you are charged with; then you will be classified as something called a “persistent drunk driver.” If you are classified with this designation, there are more penalties that you may face:

  • Proof of your financial responsibility in the way of SR-22 insurance coverage for a minimum of two years
  • Use of an ignition interlock device for a minimum of two years to get your license reinstated 
  • Enrolling in alcohol education classes

Is It a Felony to Get a Second DUI in Colorado? 

Usually, if you are charged with a second DUI, it is considered a misdemeanor. Even a third-time offense will only be charged as a misdemeanor. It will turn into a felony offense if you receive four DUIs. 

Keep in mind, though that there are some exceptions. For example, if the accident resulted in someone’s serious bodily harm or even the death of another person, they can face felony charges. 

Even in cases where it is your first DUI, if a serious injury or the death of another person occurs, a felony charge may be applied. 

For example, vehicular assault DUI is considered a class four felony. This involves someone driving while under the influence and causing serious harm to someone else. With this situation, you can face between two and six years and may have to pay a fine of $500K or more. 

Another potential charge you will face is vehicular homicide DUI. This is considered a class 3 felony. If you are charged with this, you may face four to 12 years in jail and have to pay a fine of over $750K. 

Hiring the Best Attorney to Help with Your Second DUI in Denver

The best way to avoid finding yourself in this situation is to avoid drinking and driving. However, if you are pulled over in Denver for a DUI, hiring a qualified and experienced attorney is a must. They can help review the evidence in your case and provide you with insight and information about what you should ensure your case succeeds. 

There is no question that being charged with a DUI can be a stressful and often scary experience. While this is true, with the help of an attorney, you can build a defense and reduce the potential penalties that you face. If you have questions about your case or need more information, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC by calling 303-529-2834.

What To Know About a DUI in Colorado

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20 May, 2021

In Colorado, if you’re pulled over and the law enforcement officer finds out that you have a BAC of 0.08% or more, you’re likely to face DUI charges. However, if you are under 21, a BAC of as little as 0.02% can lead to underage drinking and driving (UDD) charges. Regardless of your circumstances, if you’re facing a DUI in Colorado, it’s best to work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Denver, CO who is familiar with the state laws and can walk you through what to expect and how to fight your DUI charges.

What happens during a DUI arrest?

Once you are pulled over for suspected DUI, the arresting officer may carry out a sobriety test to check your level of intoxication. Some of the tests may include a preliminary breath test on a handheld breathalyzer and the three standard field sobriety tests (FTS). These include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and the one-leg stand. 

Although an officer is allowed by law to perform these tests when making an arrest, taking the test is voluntary for a driver. That means a driver cannot be punished or charged with a crime for failing to take the test. If you have reason to believe that taking the test will incriminate you, it would be best to consult a DUI defense lawyer immediately. 

DUI vs. DWI

In Colorado, there are two levels of alcohol-related driving offenses depending on the prevailing circumstances. The first and the most serious is driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (DUI), while the second is driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs (DWI).

A person can be charged with DUI in Colorado if they have a BAC of 0.08% or 0.02% for persons under 21. On the other hand, a person may be charged with DWI if they have a BAC of up to 0.05% and if the driver’s ability to drive is in any way impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Penalties for DUI in Colorado

breathalyzer test for a DUI charge
Penalties for a DUI in Colorado include fines, jail time, community service, and license suspension.

 

In Colorado, the penalties for DUI are contingent on prior convictions. Here is a breakdown of the DUI penalties in Colorado.

First-time offender

Upon conviction, a first-time offense will carry a less severe penalty compared to a second or subsequent offense.

  • Five days to a maximum of one year in jail
  • Fines of between $600 to $1000
  • 48 hours up to a maximum of 96 hours of community service
  • 12-point demerit on the driving license 
  • Having their driver’s license suspended for a period of up to 9 months

Second and third time DUI offenses

A second DUI conviction in Colorado is also a misdemeanor. However, it carries potentially harsher penalties than the first conviction, including:

  • Fines of between $600 to $1500
  • Ten days to a maximum of one year in jail for a second offense and 60 days to 1 year in jail for a third conviction
  • Community service of between 48 to 120 hours, or 
  • 1-year license revocation if the repeat offense is within five years to the previous conviction for a second conviction and a two-year suspension for a third conviction.
  • Drivers may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed and functioning at all times when driving

Fourth DUI conviction

In Colorado, a fourth-time conviction with an alcohol-related offense is a class 4 felony that carries severe penalties, including: 

  • Fines of between $2000 and $5,000
  • Jail time of between 2 to 6 years in a Colorado state prison
  • 3-year mandatory parole
  • A two-year license suspension, or 
  • A requirement to have an ignition interlock device installed at all times while driving

Other possible consequences of a DUI conviction

The cost of a Colorado DUI conviction goes beyond the fines imposed on offenders, court charges, and legal representation fees. It is, therefore, essential to take the charges very seriously and work with a reliable DUI defense lawyer in Denver to avoid or reduce other consequences of a DUI conviction such as:

  • Higher cost of insurance premiums: If you are convicted of DUI, your car insurance premiums may go up because insurance companies view convicted drivers as riskier.
  • Difficulty finding employment: When hiring, most employers carry out a background check on potential candidates. Since a Colorado DUI conviction stays on the record for years, it may become difficult to find employment because many employers may view a DUI or DWI conviction as a red flag.

Hire an experienced Denver DUI defense lawyer today

If you find yourself facing a DUI charge in Colorado, working with an experienced DUI attorney is critical, considering the consequences of a conviction. Our skilled Denver DUI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC has over a decade of experience representing Colorado residents who have been faced with similar circumstances. Irrespective of your DUI charge circumstances, your case stands a better chance with us. Give us a call today at 303-635-6768 or contact us online for a free consultation.

What to read next: Tips For How To Deal With Police Officers

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?

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11 December, 2020

If you drive a car in Denver or other parts of Colorado, you’ve probably seen sobriety checkpoints, also known as DUI (driving under the influence) checkpoints. Unlike many other states, Colorado does not make DUI roadblocks illegal but drivers in Colorado must understand their legal rights during these checkpoints to protect themselves from unwarranted arrests. It’s important to speak with a Denver DUI attorney to learn more about your responsibilities and rights at a sobriety checkpoint. 

Where are DUI checkpoints legal or illegal in the U.S.? 

Under the U.S. Constitution, sobriety checkpoints are generally legal; however, many states have their own laws and statutes that affect the legality of DUI roadblocks. According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, eight states prohibit sobriety checkpoints. The following states that make DUI roadblocks illegal under the state constitution, law, or statute are:

    1. Rhode Island (state constitution) 
    2. Oregon (state constitution)
    3. Michigan (state constitution)
    4. Minnesota (state constitution)
    5. Washington (state constitution)
    6. Idaho (state law)
    7. Wisconsin (statute)
    8. Wyoming (statute)

Meanwhile, the rest of the U.S., including California, Florida, New York, and the District of Columbia make DUI roadblocks legal as part of their efforts to combat drunk driving. While Colorado is also among the states where DUI checkpoints are legal, a roadblock can be deemed unlawful if the law enforcement violates guidelines for sobriety checkpoints. 

When are DUI roadblocks illegal in Colorado? 

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) warns motorists of upcoming sobriety checkpoints by posting advance notice of DUI roadblocks. Often, law enforcement in Colorado conducts sobriety checkpoints during specific holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s Day, and other holidays when alcohol consumption is high. Nevertheless, DUI checkpoints are illegal if they violate CDOT’s guidelines for sobriety roadblocks:

  • The roadblock poses too much inconvenience to motorists or creates traffic hazards 
  • The officers use a discriminatory procedure for choosing which vehicles to stop 
  • Failure to give adequate warning to drivers to inform them of the upcoming roadblock 
  • The department did not have official procedures to conduct the DUI checkpoint 
  • The officers set up a roadblock in an unsafe location 
  • The officers were not adequately trained to conduct the checkpoint 
  • The department failed to publicize the sobriety checkpoint before setting up the roadblock
  • Failure to assure the safety of the general public and police officers involved
  • The lack of approval from the police agency to conduct the DUI checkpoint

While the law enforcement’s failure to comply with the guidelines does not automatically make the DUI checkpoint illegal, it provides a solid ground for challenging the traffic stop and getting the DWI, DWAI, or other charges dropped or dismissed. Contact the skilled Denver DUI attorney at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC to investigate your particular case and help you prove that the sobriety checkpoint was illegal due to police violations of CDOT guidelines. 

What happens during a DUI checkpoint in Colorado?  

At a DUI checkpoint in Colorado, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test, although this refusal can result in suspension of your driver’s license.
Warning: At a DUI checkpoint in Colorado, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test, although this refusal can result in suspension of your driver’s license.

 

When a police officer pulls your car over at a DUI checkpoint, you will be asked to roll down the window. The officer will request to see your driver’s license and registration, and you are legally required to comply with the request. 

The police officer may suspect that a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs if: 

  • The motorist has difficulty finding or handing over their license and registration 
  • The officer smells alcohol or marijuana in the vehicle
  • The officer sees an open container of alcohol, illegal substances, marijuana, or drugs in the car
  • The driver manifests signs of impairment, including slurred speech, bloodshot or watery eyes, slowed reaction, and others

If the police officer suspects a DUI, they will ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and may request the motorist to take a field sobriety test and/or a breath test, also known as the preliminary alcohol screening test. Note: The results of these tests can be used as evidence of impairment in your DUI case. Know that the field sobriety test and the breath test are optional, which means you have a right to refuse to take these tests without facing any legal repercussions. 

However, if the officer has a reasonable belief that the driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs, they can arrest the motorist for DUI of alcohol or drugs, DUI “per se” (when the blood alcohol concentration exceeds .08%), DWAI by alcohol or drugs (when the BAC level is between .05% and .08%), or underage drinking and driving (UDD)

Upon your DUI arrest, the officer will request you to take a blood test or evidential breath alcohol test. You have the option to choose between these two chemical tests. Under the C.R.S. § 42-2-126, a driver can face the following penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test: 

  • Revocation of the driver’s license 
  • Designation as a “persistent drunk driver” (PDD), which requires a minimum 2 year interlock device in your vehicle as a mandatory term of driver’s license reinstatement
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol treatment and education program
  • Mandatory installment of an ignition interlock device (IID)

In addition to the above consequences, your refusal to take the chemical tests will be used against you as evidence of guilt in court.

Fight unlawful DUI checkpoints with a Denver criminal defense attorney

If you were stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Colorado and were arrested for driving under the influence, don’t hesitate to contact our DUI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC to help you fight the charges and protect your driving privileges and rights. Give us a call at (303) 635-6768 to receive a free consultation. 

DUIs During the Holidays in Colorado

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23 November, 2020

Holidays are a time to enjoy and make merry. More people go to parties, consume alcohol, and unfortunately, engage in drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) points out that in 2018, 1068 deaths caused by drunk drivers occurred across the U.S. and twenty-four of these deaths occurred in Colorado. According to the Colorado State Patrol, the number of deaths resulting from drunk drivers increases from Thanksgiving to New Years, with the most-traveled holiday period in Colorado being Thanksgiving weekend. As such, DUI arrests are highest between Thanksgiving and the end of the New Year’s weekend.

Many Colorado drivers do not realize the impact of even a small amount of alcohol in their system which can impair a person’s ability to drive and indeed, statistics reveal that each day, nearly 60 people are arrested in Colorado for drunk driving. 

Consequences of DUI charges 

Driving under the influence is a serious crime in Colorado with severe penalties. If you face DUI charges, you should contact a Denver DUI attorney immediately. An attorney will help you understand your legal options and how best to fight the DUI charges. The DUI penalties in Colorado depend on a driver’s prior DUI convictions and the BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) level.  A first-time DUI offense is a misdemeanor whose potential consequences are:

You can face a DUI per se charge if you drive with a BAC of 0.08% or more. However, you may still face charges even with a lower BAC as depending on the police’s observations, you may receive charges for DWAI (driving while ability impaired) even if your BAC does not exceed the allowable limit. The penalties for DWAI may be lower compared to a standard DUI offense:

  • A jail time of 2 days to 180 days. 
  • A fine not exceeding $500.
  • Community service for up to 48 hours.
  • 8 points against your driver’s license.

Every subsequent DUI offense that you commit will attract a harsher penalty than the previous one. Don’t overlook the importance of hiring a Denver DUI attorney even if your charges seem minor. An attorney goes a long way in determining the outcome of your case. 

Curbing drunk driving in Colorado 

During holidays, law enforcement agencies across Colorado increase their patrols to remove impaired drivers from the road. The officers set a lot more stops to conduct alcohol checks with patrols aimed at identifying DUI cases. The Colorado State Patrol also sends out more troopers during holidays to spot impaired drivers and take action. 

As a preventative measure, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) introduced the Take Some Time campaign to create awareness regarding how long it takes a driver’s BAC to return to zero after alcohol consumption. As most people mistakenly believe they are good to drive after one or two beers, the campaign aims to change how people view one pint, shot, or glass of alcohol, and helps drivers understand just how long it takes to get sober again after drinking. 

Tips for preventing driving and drinking 

More than 32% of fatal car crashes in the U.S. involve an intoxicated driver. If your social plans involve alcohol, take measures to prevent drinking and driving:

  • Have a designated driver for your groups. 
  • Don’t allow friends to drive after drinking; take their car keys if necessary. 
  • If you have been drinking, call a taxi or get a ride home from a sober friend.
  • If you plan a party, include some alcohol-free drinks and encourage guests to designate a sober driver to take them home. 
  • As a caregiver or a parent, talk to your children, especially your teens, about drunk driving and the risks involved.
  • If you spot a drunk driver on the road, inform the police by outlining the drunk driver’s location, direction they are headed, their vehicle model, and license plate number. 

If you face an arrest due to drunk driving, contact a Denver DUI attorney who will explore several defenses to your charges, including:

  • Gathering evidence regarding your case.
  • Conducting legal research and filing motions.
  • Negotiating with the prosecutor and the judge on your behalf. 

Don’t wait too long after a DUI arrest before contacting an experienced Denver DUI attorney. Speak with a knowledgeable attorney at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC in Denver, Colorado. 

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