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DUI and DWAI Defense Lawyer in Denver, CO
Drunk driving and drugged driving have gained the national spotlight. At the same time, cities and states across the country have increased their efforts to stop, arrest, and convict people who are accused of driving under the influence. If you have been arrested for DUI, driving while ability impaired, or underage drinking and driving, you need an experienced Denver DUI attorney in your corner. At Castañeda Law, our attorneys understand this area of the law, and we are committed to obtaining the best possible result on behalf of each and every one of our clients.
The penalties for DUI offenses are harsh, and you could find yourself facing jail time. Even if jail is not imposed, the other consequences of a conviction could well turn your life upside down. Fines can strain your finances, and the loss of your driver’s license could affect your job, your family and your entire way of life. This is no time to try to navigate the legal system on your own. Call Castañeda Law for a free consultation.
What is DUI in Colorado?
You can be charged with DUI in Colorado if you have consumed alcohol and/or drugs which has caused you to be, physically and/or mentally, substantially incapable of exercising clear judgment, physical control or proper care in the operation of a vehicle. You can also be charged with DUI if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher at the time you were driving, or within two hours afterward. If the offense is based upon your BAC, it is called “DUI per se.” A BAC of 0.08 or more allows (but does not require) the jury to infer that you were under the influence. First-time DUI is a misdemeanor.
Driving under the influence of drugs is sometimes referred to as DUID. Note that taking medication prescribed by your doctor is not a defense to a DUID charge.
What is DWAI?
Driving while ability impaired, or DWAI, means that you have consumed alcohol and/or drugs, and that your judgment, mental or physical ability, or care in the operation of the vehicle are less than they would ordinarily have been. You can be charged if your ability has been impaired “to the slightest degree.” If your BAC was above 0.05, but less than 0.08, the jury may infer that your ability to operate a vehicle was impaired. DWAI is a misdemeanor.
Underage Drinking and Driving
If you are under 21 years of age, and you are driving with a BAC of at least 0.02, but less than 0.05, you can be charged with underage drinking and driving (UDD). UDD is a class A traffic infraction. This is considered a civil matter, not a criminal case.
There are a number of different penalties that may apply if you have been convicted of DUI. This is what you can expect for a first offense:
Jail time. Under the statute, a first-time DUI could still lead to jail time of between 10 days and one year. Ordinarily, the higher jail times are reserved for high BAC drivers, accidents, and those with prior DUI’s.
Fines. In most cases, a first-time DUI (absent other violations) will be assessed fines totaling between $600 and $1,000.
License Suspension. If convicted of DUI, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. Longer suspension periods apply for subsequent drunk or drugged driving convictions.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID). Installation of an IID is not mandatory for all first-time offenders, but could be required by the judge. You must bear the cost of the IID.
Additional penalties may apply for a BAC in excess of 0.20, and for those with prior convictions. Furthermore, circumstances such as DUI with a child passenger could expose you to additional charges, including child abuse.
DUI and DWAI are ordinarily misdemeanors. Under recent legislation enacted in Colorado, however, a fourth conviction for DUI or DWAI is now a class 4 felony. It carries a presumptive sentence of between 2 and 6 years in prison.
Defending a DUI in Denver
If you have been charged with DUI, DWAI or UDD, do not lose hope. While statistics vary from state to state, and even from city to city, a significant percentage of those charged with drunk driving are not convicted of that charge. There are a number of reasons for this, including the following:
Breath tests and other chemical tests are not infallible. The machinery may be faulty or uncalibrated, the officer may not be qualified to administer the test, or the test may be administered improperly. Moreover, the law in Colorado specifically allows the defendant in a DUI case to introduce direct and circumstantial evidence in support of the inference that the results of any chemical tests were in inaccurate.
Field sobriety tests are subjective. The results of a field sobriety test involve the subjective interpretation of the officer involved. Many are not qualified to administer FST’s or to interpret the results, and the results are always open to interpretation.
Illegal traffic stops. If you were charged with DUI after a traffic stop, the legality of the stop can be challenged, and a successful challenge could bar the admission of some or all the evidence against you.
Denver DUI Defense Law Firm
Defenses to DUI cases are often successful, and cases are won on a regular basis. But the severity of the potential penalties makes it all the more important to mount a serious defense if you are facing a charge of DUI, DUID, DWAI or UDD. This is an area where the experience of your attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
At Castañeda Law, we are experienced DUI defense attorneys. We know the possible defenses that can and should be raised, and we are not afraid to fight for the rights of our clients. Contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss your DUI case.
Call (303) 386-7135 for a free consultation
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