Motorists who are stopped and charged with drunk driving in Colorado should consult an experienced Denver DUI attorney to discuss their rights.
Being arrested for DUI in Colorado will start a two-stage process involving both the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles and the criminal courts. First, motorists have just seven days to challenge a driver’s license suspension by requesting a hearing through the DMV. Failure to request a hearing will result in the automatic suspension of your driving rights.
We offer comprehensive defense of DUI charges in Denver and the surrounding area, including Lakewood, Aurora and Colorado Springs. By challenging your case before the DMV, our attorneys will get a good first look at the criminal case against you and will begin preparing a case aimed at keeping a DUI conviction off your record.
At the DMV hearing, the arresting officer may be called to testify and other evidence against you may be presented. The hearing is designed to determine whether there was probable cause to stop your vehicle and place you under arrest for DUI; whether your blood alcohol sample was legally obtained and whether it tested above .08; and whether you were properly advised of your rights under the law.
Your license will be revoked through the administrative hearing process if it is determined you were operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of greater than .08 or if you refused to submit to blood alcohol testing. (The threshold for drunk driving is between .02 and .05 for commercial drivers and those under the age of 21.)
But this process is completely separate from the criminal case. An experienced Denver drunk driving defense attorney will often use the DMV hearing as a means of exploring the case against a client. For instance, how credible is the arresting officer? How solid is the probable cause for the traffic stop? Using weaknesses exposed through the DMV hearing process can be a great way to build a criminal defense.
Typically the DMV hearing will be scheduled within 45 days of arrest for those who request it.
The same evidence used in the DMV administrative hearing process will be used in the criminal case. After your arrest, you will be issued a summon that notifies you of your court date for arraignment. (In the event you are held in jail, you will be taken to arraignment, at which time bond will also be set.)
Hopefully, you have hired an experienced DUI defense lawyer by the time of your arraignment, and he or she will help you through the rest of the process. Typically, your criminal case will consist of arraignment, pretrial, suppression or motion hearings, and trial. During pretrial, your attorney will discuss the possibility of a reduction in charges or other plea agreement with the prosecution. If no agreement is reached, your attorney may challenge evidence during a suppression hearing, including results of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer examination. If successful, the charges against you may be reduced or dismissed. At that point, you and your attorney can discuss whether it is in your best interest to take the case to trial.