What to Expect at Your DUI Trial
Dec. 5, 2023
Being charged with a DUI is an experience that can leave you feeling lost, overwhelmed, and fearful for your future. The uncertainty of what lies ahead can be daunting, potentially affecting your personal life, your career, and your peace of mind. It's a situation that demands understanding, compassion, and most importantly, dependable legal guidance.
That's where I come in. At Watkins Law Firm LLC, I have dedicated over two decades to providing top-notch criminal defense representation to individuals facing DUI charges in Boulder, Colorado, and the surrounding areas. I understand the intricacies of the legal process, and I am committed to standing beside you every step of the way, fighting tenaciously for your rights, and striving for the most favorable outcome.
DUI/DWAI Charges in Colorado
In Colorado, impaired driving is categorized into three distinct types: driving under the influence (DUI), DUI per se, and driving while ability impaired (DWAI). A DUI charge applies when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is found to be .08 percent or higher. A DWAI, on the other hand, is a lesser offense, applicable when your BAC is between .05 percent and .08 percent. Drug impairment can also lead to a DUI if your blood contains five nanograms or more of Delta-9 THC, the active substance in marijuana.
Understanding these distinctions is vital as it informs the nature of the charges against you and the potential consequences. As your attorney, I will explain these charges and their implications in detail, ensuring you have a clear understanding of what you're up against.
What Happens at a DUI Trial?
A DUI trial involves several steps, each crucial in its own way:
Arraignment: This is a pre-trial proceeding where you'll hear the charges against you and enter your plea. If you plead guilty, the judge may set a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, a court date for your trial will be established.
Preliminary Hearing: If you've pleaded not guilty, a preliminary hearing will follow. Here, the state prosecutor presents the facts of the case. This is an opportunity for me, as your attorney, to challenge the evidence and protect your rights.
Trial: The trial follows the preliminary hearing. The prosecution presents their evidence, and I'll defend you in front of a jury. This is where my experience and skills truly come into play, as I build a robust defense strategy for you.
Jury Deliberation and Verdict: After closing arguments, the jury deliberates and arrives at a verdict. If the decision isn't unanimous, there could be a retrial or a mistrial.
How to Prepare
The key to navigating your DUI trial successfully lies in thorough preparation. Here are some steps you should take:
Work With an Attorney
Engaging an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial. I provide personalized guidance and know how to devise a legal strategy tailored to your unique goals and circumstances.
Understand the Details of Your Case
It's important to fully understand the specifics of your case. This includes reviewing the police report meticulously and asking me any questions you may have.
The way you present yourself in court can make a significant difference. Dressing professionally and behaving respectfully can positively influence the court's perception of you.
Keep Your Records/Documents Organized
Maintaining an organized record of all arrest documentation, witness lists, and court papers is vital. It helps ensure that we have all the information we need at our fingertips.
What the Prosecution Needs to Prove for a Conviction
For a conviction in a DUI trial, the prosecution has to prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt. These include:
Proof of Impairment: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both. This could be through observational evidence, such as a police officer's testimony about your behavior, driving pattern, appearance, and performance on field sobriety tests.
Proof of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): If your BAC was .08 percent or higher (for a DUI charge) or between .05 percent and .08 percent (for a DWAI charge), the prosecution will use this as evidence of impairment. BAC can be determined through breathalyzer, blood, urine, or saliva tests.
Refusal to Test: Refusing to take a test can lead to automatic driver's license revocation and can also be used as evidence against you in court. The refusal implies you were aware of your impairment and chose not to provide further evidence of it.
Operation of a Vehicle: The prosecution must show you were operating a vehicle while impaired. This doesn't only apply to cars. In Colorado, you can be charged with a DUI or DWAI even if you were riding a bicycle, operating a Segway, or driving a boat.
Lawful Arrest: The arrest must have been lawful, meaning the police officer had probable cause to stop, detain, and arrest you. Any violation of your rights during this process can be challenged in court.
Let My Experience Be Your Guide
Facing a DUI trial can be intimidating, but remember, you don't have to navigate this alone. With over 20 years of experience in criminal defense, I have successfully defended numerous clients against a range of charges.
My aim is to provide you with reliable counsel, individualized attention, and detailed advice. I can advocate for your best interests and work relentlessly to pursue a favorable outcome. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge in or around Boulder, Colorado, contact me at Watkins Law Firm LLC for a free consultation. Together, we can face this challenge head-on