Another Weapon Against DUI: Electronic Monitoring

Drivers convicted of DUI face stiff fines, suspension of their driver’s license and jail time. In many states there are alternatives that can take the place of jail time. Electronic monitoring is one such alternative. Electronic monitoring allows a DUI offender to serve his jail sentence at his home instead of behind bars. For repeat offenders, however,  electronic monitoring is often administered in addition to jail time. It also does not negate any fines or license suspensions in either case.

The offender can go to work work or school provided he adheres to a court-imposed curfew. He can also attend court appearances, Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, court-ordered education classes, court appearances or other places required per his probation. The offender must wear the device for a period equaling the length of his jail sentence, but it could be longer. There are some states that require an offender to serve a minimum of 24 hours of jail time for a DUI conviction even if he is being electronically monitored. If jail time poses a serious risk to the offender’s mental or physical well-being, he may receive 15 days of electronic monitoring instead.

Electronic monitoring works similarly to house arrest. The DUI offender is fitted with an ankle bracelet that electronically tracks the offender’s location 24/7. The bracelet has an electronic sensor that is linked via telephone lines to a main computer that sends off a constant signal. Any interruption in the signal alerts the computer system, which automatically records the date and time of the interruption and the date and time the signal resumes.

Usually the signal is interrupted due to the offender going beyond a court-mandated radius. If this occurs at a time the offender is supposed to be at home, a parole officer will investigate. If it is determined that the offender violated the terms of his electronic monitoring period, the offender can be put on house arrest.

Curbing DUI Offenses Through Vehicle Sanctions

In every state in the U.S., a person driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher faces a stiff fine as well as loss of his driving privileges and/or jail time. License suspension is the most common DUI penalty, but accidents involving drivers with suspended licenses remain a concern for law enforcement. Imposing a vehicle sanction is a step taken to curb the number of accidents caused by drivers with suspended licenses and DUIs.

According to the DUI Foundation, 61 percent of third-time DUI offenders and 32 percent of suspended second-time DUI offenders received citations or violations while driving with a suspended license. Imposing vehicle sanctions can keep these drivers off the road or limit the use of their vehicle for a specified period of time.

Vehicle sanctions can be enforced through various methods. In many states, a DUI repeat offender’s car can be impounded or confiscated. His license plates can also be impounded or removed or marked so that he can be easily identified as being convicted of a DUI. A driver’s registration can also be suspended.

Another type of vehicle sanction that is becoming popular is the installation of a ignition interlock in the DUI offender’s vehicle. An ignition interlock is a device that is equipped with a breathalyzer into which the driver blows into prior to starting his car. If the breathalyzer detects a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit, the car will not start.

Sometimes an offender can keep his vehicle, but the courts render him unable to drive it by having a club installed to immobilize the steering wheel or lock a wheel with a boot. If you have questions about DUI vehicle sanctions, contact a DUI attorney today.

Sober Living Environment Gives DUI Offenders a Second Chance

Repeat DUI offenses are a recipe for jail time. In some states, however, repeat offenders may be given a chance to clean up their act by a court-ordered stay in a sober living environment. This measure may reduce or replace a jail sentence depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident in which the offender is found to be at fault while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Fees and/or fines resulting from the DUI conviction may also be reduced as well. A stay at a sober living environment is typically recommended to those DUI offenders with long-term substance abuse or alcohol problems.

The sober living environment is a home or apartment building set up to provide housing, supervision, guidance and support to residents while they “get clean” and adapt to a drug-free lifestyle. The residents are required to stay sober and take part in group sessions, counseling, 12-step meetings such as Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous to help residents deal with their addiction and prevent future abuse as well as subsequent DUIs. These sessions may take place in the house or at an outside location. The residents sets the rules for residents to adhere to, and residents are required to participate in the residential community and perform household chores like cooking and cleaning. In addition, the residents are expected to work or attend school.

A sober living environment is also a safe haven for people who have participated in a formal drug or alcohol rehabilitation program who no longer need to be medically supervised as they detox but still need some support as they transition to a life free of drugs or alcohol.

Ignition Interlock Devices

As of 2008, Colorado DUI law requires ignition interlock devices (IID) be installed on vehicles belonging to drivers with subsequent DUI convictions as a prerequisite to driver licenses reinstatement. Drivers who drive a car not equipped with an IID or attempt to circumvent the functioning of the device  face losing their driver’s license and driving privileges for 1 year.

Colorado DUI law has an interlock requirement of 8 months for first DUI convictions on or after January 1, 2009 and approved for early reinstatement after serving 30 days; 2 years for first DUI convictions with a blood alcohol level of .17 or greater; 2 years for second and third DUI convictions; and 4 years for drivers designated as Habitual Traffic Offenders with one alcohol-related driving offense after July 1, 2000.

The ignition interlock device is installed onto the dashboard and comes equipped with mouthpiece. The driver blows into the mouthpiece before starting the vehicle. If the device detects an elevated blood alcohol level, the vehicle will not start. A driver may have the option to do a “rolling-retest”, where the driver is allowed enough time to pull over or drive to where he can safely perform the test. If the rolling-retest is failed, the IID will record the result but will not shut off the engine for the sake of safety.

According to the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, the annual cost of an IID ranges between $800 to $1,000. Drivers must lease the devices from a DMV-approved vendor and can expect to pay an installation fee plus a monthly lease payment. Financial assistance is available for drivers who cannot afford the device.

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.