According to the most recent data from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), approximately 60 people are arrested for impaired driving in our state every single day. Colorado takes intoxicated driving charges very seriously. If you were arrested for drunk driving, it is imperative that you seek help from the best DUI lawyer in Denver. Here, our legal team lists the key things that all experienced DUI defense attorneys want you to know.
Six Things the Top DUI Attorneys Want You to Know
- The Best Way to Avoid Legal Problems — Don’t Drink and Drive
If you are planning on consuming alcohol, you need to plan ahead. Please be sure that you make travel plans that do not involve you getting behind the wheel at any point. It is always better to play it safe. You will reduce the risk of a serious accident and keep yourself out of legal trouble.
- The Legal Limit is Lower than You Probably Realize
What is the legal limit for alcohol in Colorado? If you are a knowledgeable driver, you may respond with “a BAC of 0.08 percent.” That answer is not necessary ‘wrong’ — 0.08 is the level for a DUI in Colorado — but you could actually be charged with a ‘driving with ability impaired’ offense if your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08. The bottom line: it does not take all that many drinks to get you into trouble. Be very careful.
The number of alcoholic drinks it takes to reach the limit of 0.08 percent for a Colorado DUI is also probably much lower than you might expect. According to a fact sheet from the University of Michigan Health, “it might not take as many drinks as you think to slow your reaction time and make safe driving harder.”
As that fact sheet explains, two drinks for most people result in a BAC of 0.02 percent. Even then, there are effects on a person’s driving. For example, with a BAC of 0.02 percent, most people notice a decline in their visual functions, the inability to multi-task in any capacity, and a slight loss of judgment. When a person has three drinks, the BAC is usually 0.05 percent or higher.
As you know, a BAC of 0.05 percent can result in the offense of “driving with ability impaired.” At 0.05 percent, most people experience reduced coordination, difficulty steering a car’s steering wheel, and a slower response to any emergency situations on the road. For most people, four drinks will result in a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. For smaller individuals or those who have not eaten, even fewer drinks can result in a BAC that makes it unlawful to drive.
- Do Not Try to Talk Yourself Out of a DUI — Keep Your Mouth Shut
If you have been pulled over, it is time to keep your mouth shut. Of course, you should not be rude, nor should you be aggressive with the officer. That being said, it is not your job to help the police with their investigation. It is not a good idea to try to talk yourself out of trouble. It is unlikely that you are going to do it. Every word you say could potentially be used against you in court. If the officer decides to arrest you on suspicion of a DUI, do not make any further statements. You need an attorney immediately.
- You Do Not Have to Submit to Pre-Arrest Sobriety Tests
Colorado has an express consent law. After a DUI arrest, drivers are required to submit to chemical testing. If they refuse to do so, there will be consequences. However, drivers are under no obligation to perform any pre-arrest field sobriety tests — including blowing into a breathalyzer. Unless you have already been arrested — and a police officer must tell you if you have been — you can lawfully refuse to participate in a sobriety test.
While you may not be required to submit to a pre-arrest sobriety test, it is important to keep in mind that refusing to take a chemical test once you have been arrested can result in serious penalties. Under Colorado law (C.R.S. § 42-4-1301.1), simply by driving in Colorado, you are giving your “express consent” to take a chemical test if you are arrested by law enforcement officials in the state on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), driving while ability impaired (DWAI), or underage drinking and driving (UDD).
This means that your refusal to take a chemical test upon arrest can have serious consequences. Those penalties may include the automatic suspension of your driver’s license for one year, your designation as a “persistent drunk driver” in Colorado even if you have never been arrested for a DUI previously, mandatory education and treatment in an alcohol or drug program, installation of an ignition interlock device, and additional insurance even if you are never convicted of driving under the influence.
- You Cannot Expunge a DUI Conviction in Colorado
If you are convicted of a DUI in Colorado, it is going to remain on your record permanently. Under Colorado law, it is generally difficult for adults to expunge criminal records. DUI convictions are not eligible for expungement. While a DUI arrest record can sometimes be expunged, that is only true if the defendant was not actually convicted of the offense.
- You Have a Right to a Lawyer — Use It
Finally, the most important thing you need to know is that you should hire the best DUI attorney Denver. Too many drivers fail to exercise their right to seek professional legal representation. There is a lot on the line in a drunk driving case; there is no reason to go it alone. You need a top-rated Denver DUI defense lawyer on your side.
Your Colorado DUI defense attorney can develop a defense strategy that is tailored to the facts of your case. There are numerous possible defenses to DUI charges in Colorado that may be applicable to you. For example, in order to stop your vehicle and conduct a search on suspicion of a DUI, a law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion and probable cause under the Fourth Amendment.
If there was insufficient cause for you to be stopped, you could avoid a conviction based on a Fourth Amendment violation. There are also numerous other possible defenses that may be applicable to your case, such as a faulty breathalyzer test or improperly administered breathalyzer test, or a contaminated chemical test sample. A criminal defense attorney at our firm can assess your case and discuss potential defense strategies.
Speak to Our Denver, CO DUI Defense Attorney Today
At Miller Leonard PC, our Colorado drunk driving defense lawyer has more than 19 years of experience — working as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney. To set up a free, fully confidential review of your case, please contact our legal team today. We serve communities throughout the region, including in Denver County, Jefferson County, Boulder County, and Adams County.