In Colorado, it's illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI). Violating Colorado's DUI law can lead to a criminal charge, which carries severe criminal penalties. Worse, the process of a DUI investigation in Colorado can be unreliable. Together with the serious penalties that you could face, if convicted, this makes it absolutely crucial to have a solid DUI-defense attorney at your side.
DUI Investigations are Unreliable
DUI cases often start the same way: You'll be driving along when a police car comes up behind you with its sirens on and its lights flashing. You'll get pulled over and the police officer will ask you to step out of the car to take field sobriety tests or blow into a breathalyzer. Sometimes, the officer will have you do both.
Both of these types of tests, though, are hopelessly unreliable. Field sobriety tests are only accurate three out of four times and are easily manipulated by police who want to make an arrest. Handheld breathalyzer devices are equally problematic. They're not as scientific as police say they are, only giving measurements to two significant digits, and they need to be properly calibrated to take correct readings. Additionally, police can also conduct a breathalyzer test in ways that are meant to get higher readings. Failing a field sobriety test or blowing higher than a 0.08% on a breathalyzer will result in an arrest.
Even if you do manage to pass all of these tests, though, the officer can still determine that you're “under the influence” and put you under arrest.
After an arrest, you'll be brought back to the police station and often given a blood test. While blood tests are more direct ways to test you blood alcohol content (BAC) than the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests, the machines that many police departments in Colorado use are still far from precise. Nevertheless, the results of this blood test are often used as the cornerstone of the case against you in court and are often seen as definitive proof in the eyes of the jury.
Throughout this process, police are trying to build their case against you. In fact, they probably already have evidence against you before they pull you over. In a DUI investigation, any sign that you're under the influence – even if it's just weaving on the road more than the cop thinks is normal – can be used against you.
DUI Penalties are Serious
Once you've been charged, the penalties that you could be facing for DUI are significant. These penalties come in a variety of forms, from fines and jail time to a license suspension. Additionally, there are also collateral consequences of being convicted for DUI in Colorado that can seem to last forever.
Even if it was just your first offense for DUI, you could have your license suspended for 9 months, spend between 5 days and a year in jail, pay a fine of between $600 and $1,200, and perform 48-96 hours of community service. Subsequent offenses result in steeper and steeper punishments. Other factors can increase these penalties, too. For example, if someone was hurt or killed in the accident, you could face vehicular assault or homicide charges.
On top of all of these punishments, there are also collateral consequences and other hidden costs of a DUI conviction. For example, it costs money to get your driver's license reinstated after it's been suspended for DUI. There are also a handful of court costs to pay if you get convicted. Finally, having a conviction on your criminal record can make it more difficult to get a job or do other things that you want to do. These collateral consequences of a DUI conviction stay with you for years afterward.
Colorado Springs DUI-Defense Attorney William Beck
Having a DUI-defense attorney at your side throughout this process is vital. By challenging the prosecutor's case and arguing for your rights and interests, both in and out of court, DUI-defense attorney William Beck can ensure your case goes as smoothly as possible. Contact his law office in Colorado Springs online or at 719-301-5979.