Colorado’s Legal Blood Alcohol Level

Colorado DUI law states that a DUI is driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or above. A first offense results in a fine of $200 to $1,000, a jail term of 5 days to 1 year and mandatory public service of 48 to 96 hours. Drivers convicted of a DUI also lose their driver’s license for 1 year.

In Colorado, a driver’s BAC is measured using three methods, only two of which are admissible in a court of law. A preliminary breath test (PBT) is a small hand-held device that a driver is asked to blow into at the scene of the offense. Colorado does not consider PBTs reliable and accurate enough to be sufficient evidence in court. Drivers have the right to refuse this test without penalty and are advised to politely decline if asked to do so.

A driver may be asked to submit to a breath or blood test at the police station or hospital. These two tests are admissible in court and a driver’s refusal to take either one can be used against him or her. Colorado DUI laws give drivers the right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions, but refusing a blood or breath test may not be in a driver’s best interest. Although a driver has the right to refuse, he risks losing his driving privileges for a year without the possibility of getting a probationary license. Refusal to take either test may also give a prosecutor the leverage he needs to prove you are in fact guilty.

It is better to submit to a blood or breath BAC test and let your DUI attorney handle the legal aspects. A DUI attorney can ensure that the tests were performed according to the law, verify test accuracy and uncover any mechanical errors that could help a driver avoid a conviction due to inaccurate data.

Significant Decrease in Colorado DUI Fatalities

The number of alcohol-related fatalities in the state of Colorado have fallen sharply from 2005 to 2009, according to a report compiled by Colorado personal injury law firm Bachus & Shanker, LLC. The report uses statistics from both the Colorado Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and contains graphical and mapped breakdowns of alcohol-related fatalities, accidents and arrests by county.

While Jefferson County saw a 67% decrease in alcohol-related fatalities from 2005 to 2009, it still had the highest number of traffic deaths at 84 alcohol-related deaths, according to the report. Denver County runs a close second with 80 deaths; however, this is a decrease of 25 percent from 2005 to 2009. Weld County ranks third with 74 DUI deaths, a decrease of 43 percent between 2005 to 2009. Phillips, Lincoln and Kiowa counties had no alcohol-related fatalities in the last five years, and 10 counties experienced the greatest decrease in fatalities from 2008 to 2009, with no DUI deaths recorded in 2009.

Colorado’s overall DUI fatality rate has steadily declined since 2005 despite an increase of deaths in many counties. Counties such as Routt, Denver and Fremont had increases of 29 to 200 percent. According to the NHTSA’s Fatality Reporting System, DUI deaths are three times more likely to occur at night and the victims are four times more likely to be male.

As organizations such as MADD and law enforcement continue to spread awareness on the dangers of DUI, the downward trend in alcohol-related fatalities may eventually spread throughout the state of Colorado. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI charge, make sure you get a good Colorado Springs criminal lawyer so that you don’t become a statistic.

Colorado May Set Limits for Driving After Marijuana Use

According to the Denver Post, the Colorado legislature may set limits  for driving under the influence of marijuana. The bill that is expected to be introduced next year would create a threshold for the amount of THC that a driver could have in his system.  The threshold level for THC that is being discussed is 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood.

Read Full Article:  Colorado may set limits for driving after marijuana use – The Denver Post

Not a victimless Crime

White-collar crimes, is a phrase that was coined in 1939 by Edwin Sutherland, during a speech given to the American Sociological Society as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.”

White-collar crimes cost the United States over $300 billion each year according to the FBI. They include fraud, bankruptcy fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, computer crime, medical crime, public corruption, identity theft, environmental crime, pension fund crime, RICO crimes, consumer fraud, occupational crime, securities fraud, financial fraud, and forgery.

Although they are considered nonviolent crimes and are usually committed for financial gain, white-collar crimes are not victimless crimes. They can destroy companies and devastate families by wiping out entire life savings. They can also cost investors billions of dollars.

The penalties for white-collar offenses include fines, home detention, community confinement, paying the cost of prosecution, forfeitures, restitution, supervised release, and imprisonment. However, sanctions can be lessened if the defendant takes responsibility for the crime and assists the authorities in their investigation.

Our Colorado criminal lawyers will approach all white-collar crimes cases with consideration and sensitivity. Our experience and professionalism in handling high-profile cases will ensure that anyone facing financial crimes will be treated with respect.

Common DUI Defense Questions

Should I plead guilty? Even if the evidence is stacked against you, it is still better to plead not guilty. This allows you the right to challenge more than the question of whether you were drinking or not. Your rights could have been violated. Your CO Springs DUI lawyer will help you make this decision.

What should I say?  If the arresting officer reads your Miranda rights they will state, “You have the right to remain silent.” This is good advice. Give the officer any identifying information he requests, do the breath test or blood test and that is all. Any questions asked afterwards should come from you DUI lawyer.

How reliable are BAC tests? A BAC test is an accurate test of the alcohol content in a person’s system. The results can be very damning. The breathalyzer test; however does have a history of being incorrect as it is subject to human error, yet it is required by law in all 50 states and admissible in court.

Who can represent me? You may defend yourself, but perhaps you will be heading into court not knowing what to do.  The issue you face is that you have admitted full guilt and need to accept the maximum penalties. You could accept a court appointed lawyer but chances are they will lack the time to effectively help your case and you have to meet the eligibility requirements for court appointed counsel.  The best chance you have in fighting your case is to hire an experienced DUI lawyer.

How will these charges against me be challenged? Your DUI lawyers will have certain strategies they will want to employ. They include the validity of the breathalyzer test, any witnesses to the accident, the actions of the arresting officer (it is possible that some action or inaction by the officer has broken your legal rights).

DUI charges are not open and shut cases. With time and the proper legal assistance you will be able to present a defense.

How DUI Affects Your Criminal Record

“Driving under the influence” is one of the most common charges that people face in the United States. Its prevalence however, does not diminish its seriousness. A DUI conviction means that you have been convicted of a crime. Because of this fact, it can stay on your legal record for the entirety of your life. It is because of the severe nature of DUI that it is so important that, if you are charged with it, you should receive counsel from a qualified and highly experienced Colorado Springs DUI Attorney to help reduce your penalties

So what should you do if you are charged with a DUI?  It would absolutely be in your best interest to not plead guilty.   Having a veteran Colorado Springs DUI lawyer who knows the ins-and-outs of DUI law in Colorado will guarantee that you have the best possible defense in the court room.

There is of course good reason for DUI to be considered a criminal charge. The risks inherent in getting behind the wheel while intoxicated are simply too high. Drunk driving is in the top five leading causes of automobile fatalities in the U.S. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t want a clean legal record. Having one DUI on your legal record could cause trouble later in life when apply for insurance, finding employment or enlisting in the military. A Colorado Spring DUI attorney could be your safest bet for ensuring that you don’t have a DUI charge on your record.

First Time DUI/DWAI Conviction

Although Drunk Driving laws in Colorado are similar to other DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws in the United States, Colorado also has a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) Law. This law states that it is illegal to drive with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Level) that is lower than that of a DUI.

The DWAI law starts at .05 Grams of Alcohol (BAC) whereas most states have a standard measurement of .08 Grams of Alcohol (BAC). If you have been convicted for the first time with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), here is what you could expect:

  • 1st DUI
  • Jail – From 5 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine – From $600 – $1,000
  • License Suspension – 9 Months
  • License Points – 12
  • Public Service – From 48 to 96 Hours
  • Jail May be Suspended in Lieu of Alcohol Treatment Program
  • 1st DWAI Offense
  • Blood Alcohol Content of .05 But Less Than .08
  • Jail – From 2 Days  to 180 Days
  • Fine – From $200 to $500
  • License Suspension – None
  • License Points – 8
  • Public Service – From 24 to 48 Hours

Being convicted of a DUI can have serious consequences on your future. A potential employer may or could have access to all your criminal records, which could affect future employment.

It is extremely important that one of the first steps you take in fighting your DUI charge in Colorado Springs is to hire an experienced Colorado Springs DUI lawyer. Time is very critical and a qualified attorney will understand the laws and the proceedings in a courtroom. Having a legal professional helping you fight your conviction is the surest way to win your case.

Leaving the Scene of An Accident

As traumatizing as it is to be involved in an automobile accident with a stationary object, it is much worse if the accident involves two automobiles. It can be worse, still, if the person with whom you collided leaves the scene without checking to make sure there were no injuries or damages to either cars.

This is called a “hit and run” or leaving the scene of an accident and it can result in serious criminal charges. A hit and run is when one or more of the participants involved in the automobile accident do not wait for police to arrive so that an official report can be filed.

If this happens to you, first and foremost – call the police! It is required by law that the authorities be notified of any automobile accident. It is especially important in the case of a hit and run. The police and other law enforcement officers will work together to find the assailant.

If you have a camera or cell phone, take pictures of the damage done to your vehicle.

Get to a hospital. Even if you feel you were not injured in any way, many injuries don’t show up for weeks or months after the accident. Also, you will want to be examined by a medical professional to stave off any disputes you many have with your insurance company.

And finally, you will want to contact a Colorado Springs traffic attorney. Being as prepared as you can, with attorneys that are skilled and qualified in hit and run accidents, will help you receive the monetary compensation you deserve. Let our attorneys be the ones who work with your insurance agent after this traumatic experience.

2010 Colorado Legislative Update

2010 Colorado Legislative Update

There wasn’t much action in the legislature this session on issues involving criminal/DUI cases.

We wrote about the new DUI sentencing law in an earlier blog.

Here are some other laws of interest that recently went into effect.

HB1201 requires a police officer to read an advisement and obtain a written consent to conduct a search.  This applies only to searches for which there is no legal basis to perform the search.

HB1090 eliminated the mandatory 5 day jail sentence that was required for Driving Under Suspension (DUS) convictions that are non-alcohol based.  The 30 day minimum sentence for an alcohol based Driving Under Revocation (DUR) was not changed by this law.

HB 1338 allows a person with two or more felonies to be eligible for probation.

HB 1334 moved some activities from the public indecency statute into the indecent exposure statute