Being charged with a DUI can be a confusing and scary experience. If you’ve never had any trouble with the law before, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, DUIs are relatively common in Colorado. According to the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), more than 26,000 impaired driving cases were filed in Colorado in 2019.
Most people with a DUI can avoid jail time and get their charges reduced or dismissed entirely if they work with a qualified DUI attorney. But even if you have a good lawyer, it’s essential to understand the laws surrounding DUIs to make informed decisions about your case. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the most important DUI laws in Denver.
Related Article: What To Know About a DUI in Colorado
Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. DUI is a criminal offense in most jurisdictions, and penalties can vary depending on the severity of the offense.
In many states, a first-time DUI offense is punishable by fines, community service, and mandatory alcohol education classes. More serious offenses can result in jail time, the loss of driving privileges, and even the seizure of a vehicle.
Driving under the influence is a severe offense in Colorado. If you are caught operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, you will be charged with a DUI.
You can still be charged with DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, if your blood alcohol level is between 0.05 and 0.08 percent and you are deemed impaired by law enforcement.
This is a lesser charge than a DUI, but it is still a serious offense. If you are convicted of a DWAI, you will face fines, community service, and a possible license suspension. A Denver DWAI lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and avoid serious penalties.
Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, have represented clients facing DUI and DWAI charges in Denver and throughout Colorado. We know the ins and outs of Colorado’s DUI laws and can help you build a strong defense.
Related Article: What Are Possible Defenses to DUI and DWAI Charges in Colorado?
In Colorado, we take our DUI laws pretty seriously. And rightfully so – drunk driving is a leading cause of road accidents, injuries, and fatalities. But what many people don’t realize is that, by getting a driver’s license, you give “expres s consent” to submit to a chemical test if you’re ever pulled over on suspicion of DUI.
In other words, if an officer has reason to believe you’ve been driving under the influence, you must submit to a breath, blood, – or face some stiff penalties.
These include the immediate revocation of your driver’s license and a suspension for up to 12 months. Next time you’re out on the town, plan and designate a sober driver. It could save you a lot of hassle (and money) in the long run.
If you have any questions about your own situation, consult a Denver DUI lawyer. For a free consultation, contact us at (303) 529-2825.
Related Article: What Are Your Rights When Pulled Over?
Colorado has a zero-tolerance law for those under the legal drinking age of 21. That means anyone under the legal drinking age pulled over with alcohol in their system between 0.02 and 0.08 percent can be charged with a DUI.
Penalties for this offense include:
Denver DUI attorneys from the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, can help if you or someone you know is under 21 and charged with a DUI. We understand the Colorado zero-tolerance law and can help you fight your charges.
Related Article: DUI Penalties for Drivers Under Age 21
In recent years, Denver has implemented sobriety checkpoints to crack down on drunk and drugged driving. While these checkpoints have effectively reduced the number of DUI-related accidents, they have also been controversial.
Some argue that sobriety checkpoints violate constitutional rights, while others argue that they are essential for keeping the public safe.
A checkpoint is an exception to the probable cause rule. This means that police officers do not need probable cause to stop a motorist at a checkpoint. However, checkpoint stops must be conducted to minimize the intrusion on motorists.
While sobriety checkpoints are not without their detractors, remember they are an effective tool for reducing drunk and drugged driving.
Related Article: Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?
A probable cause for a DUI stop in Denver exists when an officer reasonably believes that a driver is intoxicated. This can be based on the driver’s behavior, such as swerving or weaving, or the field sobriety test results. If an officer has probable cause to believe a driver is intoxicated, they can make a DUI stop.
At a DUI stop, an officer will usually ask the driver to submit to a chemical test, such as a breath test. If the driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, they can be charged with DUI.
As discussed above, it is against the law to refuse to submit to a chemical test if you have been arrested for DUI. If you are convicted of DUI, refusing to submit to a chemical test can result in additional penalties, such as a longer license suspension.
Related Article: Is It Smart to Accept a Plea Deal in Your Denver DUI Case?
The legal drinking age in Colorado is 21, meaning anyone under that age cannot purchase or possess alcohol. However, there are also laws in Denver that prohibit anyone under 21 from having alcohol inside a car that is in operation.
Even if the driver isn’t drinking, it’s illegal if there’s alcohol in the car. These laws are designed to discourage underage drinking and keep our roads safe. If you’re caught violating them, you could face fines, jail time, and even the loss of your driver’s license.
Related Article: 9 Mistakes You Should Avoid After a Denver DUI
In Denver, the law is clear regarding DUIs and lookback periods. If you have been convicted of a DUI, the court can use that conviction to enhance your sentence.
This means that even if your previous DUI conviction was years ago, the court could still give you a harsher punishment.
The good news is that judges also have the discretion to be lenient if your prior DUI conviction is not recent. A Denver DUI lawyer can help you argue for a lenient sentence if you find yourself in this situation.
Related Article: Is There a Statute of Limitations for a Denver DUI?
The DUI laws in Denver are designed to keep our roads safe. You could face serious penalties if caught driving under the influence. These include fines, jail time, and the loss of your driver’s license.
If you are facing DUI charges, contact a Denver DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Our Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, offer a free consultation to discuss your case. We can help you understand your legal options and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.