Do you need a Colorado DUI Attorney to help you navigate the legal system after an arrest? The two types of driving while drunk offenses in Colorado are DUI and DWAI. DUI is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. A DUI conviction is strong enough to significantly affect your life. It can prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment or even going to school.
DWAI means driving while ability impaired and is slightly different from a DUI. DWAI is a minor offense that occurs when a person’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is 0.05% or higher. There are two ways in which a DUI case can be prosecuted in Colorado. One focuses on the driver being impaired; this can lead to strange driving habits, failures in field sobriety tests, an intoxicated appearance, or the amount of alcohol in the driver’s clothing or breathing. The other way to pursue a case is to base the case on the results of the tests carried out. If a person’s blood alcohol level exceeds 0.08%, the prosecution does not need to show that the person is impaired. All they require to show is that the blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit.
Penalties for a DUI in Colorado are somewhat more severe than penalties for DUI in some other states. Many states have provisions for courts to replace jail terms with community services or drug treatment programs. The Colorado law states that it is mandatory for DUI offenders to serve at least the minimum period of imprisonment for a conviction for a second or subsequent offense. You could also be facing probation, a significant fine and court costs, community service, alcohol education classes, outpatient therapy, and a revocation of driving privileges. The objective is to minimize these consequences.
Without any doubt, the best way to avoid being arrested for DUI is not to drink and drive at all. It’s a really dangerous and illegal thing to do. Well, that’s wonderful advice, but it’s probably not comforting to those who have been arrested already. For people who are in an unfortunate state for making the wrong decision (or even people who did not really make the wrong decision, but who are suspected of driving while drunk) and who now have flashing police lights behind them, here are the things to do.
5 Things to Do If You Are Pulled Over for a DUI in Colorado
First and foremost, you have to stay and remain calm. Take a very deep breath and clear your head. Find a safe place to stop and pull over to the side of the road. Put your car in “Park” and if your driving license, vehicle registration, and insurance proof are within reach, get them ready. Prepare them when the officer comes to your window. It is possible that the officer will not go through all of them, but it is better to keep them around so that there won’t be any problem searching for them while the officer is at the window. If these documents aren’t within your reach, do not bother searching for them without first advising the officer. You do not want the officer to think you are trying to reach for a weapon, do you? Wait until the officer specifically asks for them. You will obviously be very nervous and you do not want your nervous clumsiness to be mistaken for a sign of drunkenness.
Be Polite to Law Enforcement
Always be polite and respectful to officers. While we all have heard stories of dirty cops stopping people only to harass them or meet some kind of “arrests quota,” most policemen simply try to do their job and they have pulled you over because they have a real suspicion that you may be drunk. Moreover, no one has ever benefitted from annoying the officer that pulled him/her over for DUI. Upsetting an officer is an amazing way of making things get worse much faster. Believe it or not, there are police officers who “go to bat” in court for the people they arrested for DUI, simply because the person was polite and respectful to them. And in this specific situation, you do not have to become the enemy of a person who has the power to decide whether you go home or go to jail for the night.
While you are trying to stay as polite and courteous as possible, do not expect the officer to favor you. They are not your friend. He/she is trying to collect evidence that will be used against you. Do not give it to him/her. And how can I do that, you would ask? Continue reading.
Provide Requested Document and Invoke your 5th Amendment Right
Give the officer all the required documents and leave the car when he/she asks you to, do nothing more than that. By law, you must provide an identification when a police officer requests and you must leave your vehicle when demanded. However, the law does not require you to do anything else unless you are arrested.
Ensure you do not say anything that could be used as evidence against you. Once again, the officer is not your friend. Talking will not set you free. The more you say, the worse you are making it be for you. Some people seem to think that the best way to get out of such situation is to simply “spill their guts.” This is not true.
Do not say anything. Do not admit anything. If an officer presses you to answer questions, simply tell him that you do not feel comfortable answering questions without talking to an attorney. Your 5th amendment right supports that. At this moment, the officer should stop all questioning. However, if not, continue to repeat the previous sentence until the officer finally understands that you won’t be providing any information. Even answering harmless questions can come back to haunt you later if you give the wrong answers. Do not try to evaluate what questions are answered correctly and those that are not (especially when your mental abilities are already under stress by the officer in front of you). You have the right to remain silent. Use it well.
Stay Calm After Being Arrested
You’ve probably been arrested and you are sitting in the back of the cruiser. Do not curse yourself or anyone for putting you in this position. Again, do not say things that will implicate you, do not answer questions, do nothing until you talk to an attorney.
After being released from the police station with all your various documents in hand, what’s next? Contact an attorney right away. If you have done well thus far, your attorney will have ammunition to use in your case, and he will have many options available.
Now, before hiring an attorney, ensure that person is someone who’s actually practicing and has a lot of experience in the field of criminal and DUI defense. You wouldn’t want to go to your dentist when you need brain surgery. Do not hire someone just because it’s inexpensive or because he/she is family or friend. If anything goes wrong, you’ll be the one in jail, not him/her. And if you’re having fun with the idea of representing yourself to save a few bucks, just report directly to jail. You aren’t doing any favors to yourself.
Here’s something you should always remember; “a doctor is qualified to remove an appendix, but he wouldn’t be foolish enough to try to remove his own appendix himself.” Do not make a fool of yourself. Hire an experienced and competent Colorado attorney. Hiring an attorney is the most reliable way to ensure that your rights are being protected. Contact us now to speak with a DUI Attorney who can help you fight your case.