Most of us are aware of the fact that drunk driving is against the law and that people who are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) are subject to significant legal penalties. What “drunk”, “under the influence”, or “impaired” actually means is not as commonly understood. Colorado law has several different statutes regarding DUI, ranging from prohibiting individuals from driving with their ability is impaired to the “slightest degree” to a relatively new state statute creating a felony offense for any combination of 4 or more DUI or DWAI convictions in a lifetime. All offenses related to drinking and driving are a serious criminal matter that can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and future. Consequently, anyone who has been accused of drunk or drugged driving should retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
Colorado’s 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content Limit
Simply put, Colorado’s DUI per se statute makes it a criminal offense to operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or higher at the time of driving or within 2 hours after driving. In order to prove DUI per se in Colorado, a driver must submit to a chemical test of their blood or breath within 2 hours of the last time of actual physical control and with a BAC result of 0.08% or greater. The way that a DUI per se offense differs from other DUI offenses requiring the state to establish a certain degree of intoxication is that the only fact that the state needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt is the defendant’s BAC was 0.08 or greater within two hours of driving.
DUI per se penalties
A conviction for DUI per se carries several penalties, including the possibility of incarceration, substantial fines and court costs, driver’s license consequences, many hours of community service, Level II substance abuse education classes, and even monitored sobriety. An experienced Denver DUI defense attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system and develop arguments to combat the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case against you.
How to defend against a DUI per se charge
Many people are under the mistaken impression that there are generally no defenses available if law enforcement conducted a breathalyzer test or obtained a blood alcohol test showing the BAC was over the legal limit. After all, the state does not need to establish that a driver was intoxicated, under the influence, substantially incapable of operating a vehicle, or even impaired, but only that the driver’s BAC was ≥ 0.08 within 2 hours of the last time they were in actual physical control of a vehicle.
In reality, there can be defenses available, that skilled and experienced DUI attorney would look into, such as:
– Establishing that the initial contact was unjustified or illegal – In order for a traffic stop to be justified, the officer conducting the stop must have had reasonable suspicions that a crime was being committed or had recently been committed. If he or she is unable to do so, the stop may be ruled invalid, making any evidence obtained during the stop potentially inadmissible.
– Introducing evidence that the results of any chemical testing are invalid or outside of the two-hour time frame required to prove DUI per se
Contact a Denver DUI defense attorney for a no-sales pitch consultation
Anyone who has been accused of drunk driving or a DUI per se should retain a qualified defense attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of the Tiftickjian Law Firm are dedicated to representing the legal rights of individuals accused of crimes, especially DUI. In many cases, the assistance of an experienced DUI defense attorney can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. To schedule a consultation with one of our DUI defense lawyers, please call our office today at (303) 384-5280.