Denver Criminal Defense Attorney for DUI Charges
At WeedenLaw, we understand how easy it is to spiral out of control when you are worried about your future. However, there is something incredibly important that you have to remember: a criminal charge is not a conviction. Even though it may feel like it, you have not been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The onus is on the prosecution to prove your guilt – all you have to do is mount an argument that creates enough doubt that the judge or jury is not sure about your guilt.
This is not easy, but with the right criminal defense law firm fighting for you, it can be done.
Denver criminal defense attorney Jeff Weeden is that advocate. He understands just how serious the consequences of DUI and DWAI are in Colorado and how dire the effects of a conviction can be. Because of this, he and his DUI attorneys will not leave any stone unturned in their quest to help you reach the best possible outcome in your case – just as they have done for countless people in and around the Denver metro area who have been unlucky enough to find themselves in your situation.
DUI Charge in Colorado?
Few things are more frightening than being pulled over by a police officer in the Denver area on suspicion of drunk driving. Most people do not have much experience interacting with police officers in situations like these, so you are likely to feel overwhelmed and emotional. You probably will not be thinking very clearly, either. You might say or do things that you would not if you had your wits about you.
The result? You are arrested. Charged with a DUI. It feels like your life is coming crashing down around you. Is this going to cost you your job? Your license? How will you get around? Could you end up in jail? How much will all of this end up costing?
Types of DUI Cases We Handle
The first thing you need to know is that there is more than one possible offense for drinking and driving in the state of Colorado. Most people are familiar with DUI/DWI charges (Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated), which apply when someone is over the legal limit of .08 BAC.
However, Colorado can also charge you with Aggravated DUI (if your BAC is .17 or higher), Underage Drinking and Driving (for anyone under 21), or DWAI (driving while ability impaired).
The latter two crimes have recommended BAC levels (between .02 and .05 for Underage Drinking and Driving and between .05 and .08 for DWAI), but technically, there is no specific BAC reading required. The state just has to mount an effective argument that you were drinking or (for DWAI) that your ability was impaired.
Sound subjective? It is. Unfortunately, it is also the law. Below, we’ll go into more detail regarding the different types of DUI charges a person may receive depending on their unique situation and circumstances.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
In Colorado, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges are taken very seriously and are primarily based on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The state’s legal BAC limit for drivers is 0.08%. This means that a person found to exceed this BAC will likely receive a DUI charge.
Law enforcement officers may use a blood or breath test to determine a driver’s BAC. Refusing to submit to a blood or breath test when suspected of DUI can result in automatic driver’s license suspension and other penalties, as Colorado has an implied consent law. The consequences of a DUI conviction in Colorado can include fines, mandatory jail time, and the loss of driving privileges, among other penalties.
Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)
In Colorado, Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) charges are distinct from DUI charges and are applied in cases where a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle is impaired by alcohol or drugs, even if their blood alcohol content is below the legal limit for a DUI. Penalties for a DWAI conviction in Colorado may include fines, points on the driver’s license, community service, and possible jail time, though these are typically less severe than those for a DUI conviction.
DUI Per Se
In Colorado, a DUI per se charge is specifically related to a driver’s blood alcohol concentration. This charge may apply when a driver’s BAC is 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether their driving ability appeared impaired. The term “per se” indicates that the BAC level alone is enough for the charge, without the need for additional evidence of impairment. Penalties for a DUI per se conviction in Colorado are similar to those for a standard DUI and can include fines, license suspension, and possible jail time.
Underage Drinking and Driving (UDD)
In Colorado, underage drinking and driving laws are particularly strict, reflecting a zero-tolerance policy. For drivers under the age of 21, the legal BAC limit is significantly lower than for adults, at just 0.02%. This means that virtually any level of alcohol in the system of an underage driver is illegal.
If an underage driver is found with a BAC between 0.02% and 0.05%, they can face an Underage Drinking and Driving (UDD) charge. Penalties for UDD offenses may include license suspension, fines, community service, and mandatory participation in alcohol education or treatment programs.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) applies when a driver is impaired by any drug, whether it’s a legal prescription medication, over-the-counter drug, or an illegal substance. Unlike alcohol-related DUIs, there’s no specific legal limit for drug concentration in the system. Instead, impairment is determined by observed driving behavior, physical signs, and performance on sobriety tests. If a police officer suspects drug impairment, they may require a blood test to detect the presence of drugs. The penalties for a DUID conviction in Colorado are similar to those for alcohol-related DUIs.
Aggravated DUI charges in Colorado represent a more severe category of DUI offenses. These charges may apply in situations where the driver’s BAC is significantly higher than the legal limit, often 0.15% or more, which is almost twice the standard DUI threshold.
Additionally, aggravating factors such as causing an accident that results in injury or death (vehicular homicide), having previous DUI convictions, or having a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense can also lead to an aggravated DUI charge.
The penalties of an aggravated DUI conviction are more severe than a standard DUI, with longer jail sentences, higher fines, extended license suspension periods, and mandatory alcohol education and treatment programs.
DUI with Child Endangerment
In Colorado, DUI charges that involve child endangerment are treated with particular severity due to the added risk posed to minors. When a driver is arrested for DUI while a child is present in the vehicle, they can face additional charges of child endangerment. This situation is considered an aggravating factor in the DUI offense, leading to much harsher penalties. The presence of a minor not only increases the potential consequences of the DUI charge itself but may also result in separate legal repercussions related to child welfare laws.
Penalties for a DUI Charge in Colorado
Under Colorado DUI law, the penalties for a DUI charge are serious and can have long-lasting effects. Aside from jail time and fines, a conviction will also result in a criminal record, which can impact various aspects of life, including employment opportunities (especially for those holding or seeking professional licenses).
Penalties for a DUI conviction can include jail time, probation, fines, and community service. mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle. The extent of the penalties depends on a number of factors, including the type of DUI charge, whether there are historical priors, whether there are aggravating factors, and more.
Below, we’ll list the maximum penalties for first-offense DUIs, DWAIs, and UDDs in Colorado:
|Criminal Charge||Jail Sentence||Probation||Fines||License Revocation||Community Services|
|DUI (1st offense)||1 year||2 years||$1,000||9 months||96 hours|
|DWAI (1st offense)||180 days||2 years||$500||n/a||48 hours|
|UDD (1st offense)||none||n/a||$100||3 months||24 hours|
Other Potential Penalties
As you can see, DUI offenses are charged and penalized differently. Depending on the specific offense you are charged with, you may also face:
- License suspension – For a first-offense DUI, your license will be suspended or revoked for nine months – it goes up with subsequent or more serious offenses.
- Mandatory Alcohol Assessment, Education, and Treatment – You will be required to attend courses and receive treatment to help you manage your use of alcohol.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID) – Ignition Interlock Devices are installed in vehicles and require you to blow into them before you can drive. They are mandatory if it is your second offense, and they may even be given to some first-time offenders depending on the situation.
An experienced DUI attorney plays a crucial role in navigating the legal system for those accused of a DUI, as they can provide legal advice, represent the accused in court, and help in potentially mitigating the severity of the penalties.
How Much Does a DUI Cost?
Like the penalties for a DUI, the cost of DUI convictions in Denver, Colorado vary depending on the specific of the case. Generally, the financial burden includes legal fees, court costs, fines, and expenses related to mandatory DUI education and treatment programs for the person convicted. Other costs to consider include installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device, increased insurance premiums, and potential income loss due to time off work for court appearances or jail time.
In Colorado, the estimated monetary cost of a first-time DUI conviction is an astounding $13,530. Those numbers are from the organization No DUI Colorado – and they are from 2016. Today, the cost is even higher. Of course, multiple DUI convictions typically result in higher costs due to increased fines and legal fees, longer mandatory IID periods, and more.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your DUI Charge
Law enforcement officials try hard to make it seem like there is no way to beat a DUI offense, but this is typically an attempt to scare people into admitting guilt or simply not fighting back. The truth is that there are all kinds of defense strategies an experienced DUI lawyer will know how to use to raise doubts about your charge. Which one is most likely to result in a positive outcome for you depends on the specific circumstances of your case, which is where a skilled Denver DUI attorney like Jeff Weeden comes in.
Some strategies he has had success with include:
- Challenging test results – Breathalyzers and other testing equipment are known to be surprisingly inaccurate. This can be due to mechanical failure, improper calibration, the presence of other substances in your body (like mouthwash), and more. Calling the results into question can raise enough doubts to prevent conviction.
- Challenging police procedure – Did the police really have grounds to pull you over? Did they read you your rights? If there are violations, this can help your case in court.
- Challenging lab procedure – There are certain protocols that must be followed when taking, testing, and storing BAC results. If the proper legal process is not followed, the tests themselves may be stricken from the record, removing the evidence against you.
These are just a few of the strategies that Mr. Weeden may consider in your case – there are many others. All in all, navigating Colorado DUI laws can be challenging, making legal representation by a defense lawyer crucial for anyone facing these charges. A knowledgeable Denver DUI defense lawyer like Jeff Weeden can ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process while working to develop effective defense strategies to reduce the severity of the penalties you face.
Why Choose Jeff Weeden As Your Denver DUI Attorney
Choosing Jeff Weeden of WeedenLaw as your Denver DUI lawyer can be one of the most important things you do when navigating the complexities of DUI cases in the Denver metro area. As a member of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the Colorado Bar Association, Jeff Weeden is recognized among other lawyers and clients for his skill and commitment to serving Denver, CO residents with unparalleled criminal defense.
With years of experience handling criminal cases such as DUIs, Attorney Weeden provides aggressive representation for those facing such a trying time in their life. His deep understanding of the legal system in Colorado, combined with his experience, knowledge of criminal defense law, and commitment to his client’s best interests set him apart as a top Denver DUI lawyer.
Contact the Experienced Denver DUI Defense Lawyers at WeedenLaw to Give Yourself the Best Chance at Beating Your Charges
The bottom line is that you cannot allow yourself to be intimidated into not fighting back against your criminal charges. Oftentimes, an experienced lawyer like Jeff Weeden is able to come up with arguments that reduce charges and penalties. In a number of cases, he has even been able to get charges completely dropped or dismissed.
However, our Denver DUI lawyers at WeedenLaw will not even have a chance to fight for you unless you reach out to us first. Get started on crafting the best possible defense right now by getting in touch with our law office and going over the options available to you.