In a report released in November 2020, the Colorado Division of Justice assessed the 2018 driving under the influence (DUI) statistics from 2018. More than 26,000 DUI cases were filed that year with an 88% conviction rate. That means more than 3,000 cases resulted in no DUI conviction. In others, charges and penalties were reduced.
DUI arrests and prosecutions may be fairly standard, but that doesn’t mean they are not winnable cases. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help put you in a position to mitigate conviction penalties, receive a verdict of not guilty, or have the charges dismissed altogether. Given the long-term implications of even a first DUI conviction, fighting them is worth it.
I put my investigative and negotiating skills and trial experience to work for every single DUI client I represent at Watkins Law Firm LLC. I understand the negative impact a DUI conviction can have on the lives of clients in Boulder, Colorado, Longmont, Lafayette, Bloomfield, and Louisville. My firm is dedicated to fighting for the best outcome possible.
What Penalties Might I Face for DUI Conviction in Colorado?
Colorado courts use a chart to mete out penalties for DUI convictions. Punishment varies depending on the number of DUI convictions you have had and the percentage of BAC you had in your system. For example, for a first DUI conviction, there is no mandatory jail sentence, but you could spend up to one year there, serve up to two years of probation, pay $600 to $1,000 in fines, and face 48 to 96 hours of community service. If your BAC was .20% or higher, there is a mandatory requirement of 10 days in jail, plus all the same first DUI penalties.
Penalties for second and third DUIs are steeper. With all convictions, there are other possible penalties, such as a requirement to complete a substance abuse program or to install an interlock ignition device on your vehicle for a period. You will also lose your driving privileges for a certain amount of time or have them limited.
If you think it might be acceptable to just plead guilty to your first DUI and take those consequences, you might want to reconsider. Perhaps the greatest negative impact of any DUI conviction is the long-term effects of having it appear on your criminal record. Here are a few:
You could lose your job because of a conviction, be held back from advancement opportunities, or be prohibited from applying to jobs in certain areas, including law enforcement, education, healthcare, the military, and government. That DUI will appear to anyone who conducts a criminal background check on you, and employment applications will ask you about prior criminal convictions.
Because your conviction means you are at greater risk of causing an auto crash resulting in a bodily injury or wrongful death claim, your insurer will charge you significantly higher rates.
A conviction will likely harm your personal relationships as well. It will put financial stress on your family and could affect child custody arrangements.
With all that at stake for the rest of your life, why wouldn’t you fight a DUI charge?
What Defenses Are There for a DUI Charge?
This is where an experienced DUI defense attorney comes into play. With more than two decades of experience helping clients in Colorado, I deeply understand potential defenses, how to conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances, and how to leverage my negotiating experience with the prosecution. Every client’s case is different; however, here are a few potential defenses that may be used:
There was no reasonable cause for the stop by law enforcement that led to the arrest.
There is a medical reason why you appeared to be impaired but were not, such as speech or motor control issues.
The arresting officer violated proper procedure.
The BAC level is attributable to something other than drugs or alcohol, such as diabetes, certain medications, mouth freshening products, personal hygiene products, food, and non-alcoholic beverages recently consumed, or the presence of paints, varnishes, or gasoline.
The breathalyzer was not properly calibrated, or the test was performed by someone not certified to do so.
The breathalyzer results were skewed by electronic interference by power lines, radios, or cell phones.
Things are not always as they appear. Your DUI defense attorney may be able to help you strive to prove your innocence definitely, or call the results into question.
Getting the Experienced Legal Guidance You Need
Even if you want to admit that your BAC was likely over the legal limit when you were arrested, remember that how far over determines how you are penalized and what appears on your criminal record. There is no DUI arrest that isn’t worth fighting.
If you have been charged with DUI in Boulder, Colorado or in any of the surrounding communities, I’m ready to stand in your corner. Call Watkins Law Firm LLC today to talk.