Ten Mistakes

  1. Going to court without legal representation. Representation by an experienced Denver DUI lawyer is critical when you first appear in court. At your first court appearance on a DUI charge, you will meet with a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s office and be expected to make decisions regarding how your case will proceed. You also may be required to appear before a judge to address whether you will be placed on pretrial supervision.
  2. Not properly requesting an Express Consent hearing. If you are charged with DUI in Colorado, you likely will have been served with an affidavit signed by the arresting officer providing you with notice of a pending action to revoke your Colorado driver’s license. This Department of Revenue Express Consent hearing is a separate administrative action that addresses whether your driver’s license will be revoked as a result of the DUI arrest. It is important not only to take action and request the hearing, but to properly respond to the DMV’s inquiry as to whether you wish to confront the arresting DUI officer at the hearing.
  3. Assuming that a high Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level means the case is undefendable. There are many ways to defend a DUI case in Colorado. If you took a breath or blood test, the prosecutor must lay a proper foundation to introduce your test result into evidence for the jury’s or judge’s consideration. To do this, the prosecutor must leap through many hurdles: whether the lab where the blood was tested was certified; whether the Intoxilizer 5000EN machine used was properly calibrated and in proper working order; whether your blood was correctly drawn without the use of alcohol or other substances that could affect the test result; whether the chain of custody procedure was properly followed, and more. An experienced Denver DUI attorney can examine all aspects of the scientific evidence in your case to challenge the state’s test result.
  4. Not getting your blood retested by an independent forensic laboratory. If you took a blood test, the state is required to take two vials of your blood — one for its lab to test and the other to be preserved for an independent test at a lab of the defendant’s choosing. Should the second, independent test come back substantially lower than the state’s test, the original result may be called into question, leading to a possible reduction in charges, dismissal of charges or dismissal of the driver’s license action taken against you.
  5. Failure to comprehend the long-term dangers of a DUI conviction. A conviction for a DUI is a criminal conviction and will be a lasting blemish on your criminal record. In Colorado, a DUI conviction appears on your Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) record and could have a negative impact on your future earning potential. Your driver’s license also could be revoked or suspended for a period of time in addition to what happens at your administrative Express Consent hearing with the Department of Revenue.
  6. Hiring a Denver DUI Attorney based on the fee alone. Understandably, an attorney’s fee is something that must be considered when searching for a Denver DUI attorney, but it should not be the only factor. There are some attorneys who will take as little as $1,500 to represent you on a DUI charge in Denver and the metro area. While the DUI attorney’s fee may not be a representation of his or her skill and experience, keep in mind that some lawyers make it a habit to charge low fees for DUI cases in an effort to sign up a lot of clients. They then escort their clients to the podium at the first court appearance for a guilty plea, never challenging the scientific evidence or taking the DA to task for the clients’ benefit. Be sure to find an attorney who will have your best interests in mind, and pay that attorney a reasonable fee to do so.
  7. Not showing up to court on time and dressed improperly. This one seems obvious, but if you do not give the judge and court staff the impression that you are taking the case seriously, you may suffer in the long term. Your DUI attorney also should have the same respect for the court and court personnel, as the prosecutor and court staff often will judge you by your choice of attorney. If you are late or miss your court date, a judge will issue a warrant for your arrest; this could factor into your eventual sentence if you are convicted of a DUI charge.
  8. Not taking steps to preserve the evidence and require testimony in your DUI case. There are motions that can be filed asking the court to order the state to preserve the evidence in your case. There also are procedures that require certain lab technicians to testify in your case, but you must put the government on notice that you will be exercising your rights of this in advance of trial; they are not automatic.
  9. Not evaluating and challenging potential violations to your constitutional Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures. In order to stop you, a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you committed a traffic offense or broke the law. If an officer does not have probable cause to arrest you for suspicion of a crime, a search incidental to that arrest is not permissible. But the DA you meet in court and the judge who hears your case will not make these constitutional motions for you — you are required to raise them in a timely fashion. An experienced Denver DUI lawyer versed in criminal law will be able to challenge these constitutional issues if they are an issue in your case.
  10. Driving on a revoked license. Unfortunately, driver’s licenses do get revoked in DUI cases. If your license does get revoked, do not drive for any reason. The penalties for Driving Under an Alcohol Revocation in Colorado include mandatory incarceration and steep fines, and will add at least one year to your license revocation without providing you with the opportunity to receive an ignition interlock restricted license or a hardship license. In addition, if you are stopped while operating a vehicle while under an alcohol revocation, Colorado law requires that the police officer arrest you, and you will have to post a $10,000 bond. In some jurisdictions, the police also will impound your car and begin a civil forfeiture action to permanently take your car from you.

If you have recently been arrested on a DUI charge in Denver or Colorado’s Front Range, you owe it to yourself to contact an experienced Denver DUI Attorney at Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. Our DUI defense attorneys are available around the clock to assist you with your questions and to defend you in court and at the Department of Revenue.