Being charged with a DUI can have severe and long-term consequences here in Colorado. Convictions often involve fines, license loss, jail time, higher insurance premiums, and other penalties. These penalties can make it harder to maintain employment, qualify for loans, and even impact child custody agreements. With so much on the line, it is essential to take the charges seriously and employ all legal means to fight them.
No lawyer can or should guarantee results, but they can use DUI defenses that have worked in the past. Working with a knowledgeable criminal law attorney with experience defending clients against DUI charges can help protect your way of life.
Some valid defenses
Some defenses under Colorado law that an attorney can use include:
- Faulty breathalyzer test: Police employ several factors to determine intoxication, but they rely heavily on breathalyzer results that are over .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and other tests. However, breathalyzers must be adequately maintained and operated, and the officer can make mistakes.
- The driver was not in control of the vehicle: Drivers can get a DUI if they are in the car with keys in the ignition, but the officer must prove that the defendant drove the vehicle or was in control of it.
- Probable cause: Officers must have a reason to suspect that the driver is intoxicated. Common examples include reckless driving, moving violations, or prior confirmation that the driver had consumed alcohol or drugs. The bar for establishing probable cause isn’t exceptionally high, but it can’t involve profiling or assumptions.
- Miranda rights: The officer can ask questions during a stop (which the driver need not answer), but the officer can’t take the driver into custody and interrogate them without reading suspects their Miranda rights.
- The driver was not under the influence: The officer is tasked with stopping a driver and doing a short interview to determine if they should arrest the driver. However, people are different and respond differently to the stress of a stop, so slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and inability to balance or answer questions may not be an accurate read of a driver’s intoxication.
Drivers are innocent until proven guilty
Many assume they are guilty because the officer pulled them over and told them so, but the reality can be different. It is essential to remain calm, admit no wrongdoing and contact an attorney as soon as possible. These legal professionals will listen to the details of the case and determine the best course of action in mounting a solid defense.