Most DUI cases don’t just come with a single DUI charge; law enforcement will have noticed another traffic infraction along the way like weaving or speeding or not using a turn signal or something like that. Typically, other traffic infractions are charged along with the DUI, especially if you have a case in which contact is initiated due to a traffic accident, so you may also face a careless driving or reckless driving charge or something like that, although in most cases the other traffic infractions are largely inconsequential; it’s viewed and handled as a DUI case and the other charges are often dismissed as part of the plea bargaining process.
However, if there are enough of those other charges, it can provide the prosecution some leverage when it comes to plea bargaining, because those charges can mean a lot of extra points and that person’s driver’s license can create leverage by either agreeing not agreeing to dismiss those other charges, or in terms of a case in which a not guilty plea has been entered and it’s set for trial, they can use those extra charges to bolster an otherwise marginal DUI case and provide ammunition, so to speak, in terms of other possible other areas of conviction or even adding other charges they might see available to them when they review the reports in the case.
What Happens to My Driver’s License If I’m Charged with a DUI?
A lot of that depends upon your history, not only with prior DUIs but also with other traffic infractions, at least in Colorado, where we use a point system. For most people, assuming they don’t have any prior DUIs, it’s a 9-month revocation of their driver’s license. They can be eligible for early reinstatement after one month if they agree to place an interlock device in their car that makes sure there’s no alcohol in their system before the car will start.
That’s typically what happens with most people, but when you factor in prior alcohol-related driving offenses, that can greatly affect that period of revocation and the eligibility for early reinstatement, so the amount of time one may be required to have an interlock device in their vehicle can be 3-5 years.
What Happens if Someone Refuses a Breath Test or a Blood Test in Colorado?
Generally that’s a one year revocation of the driving privilege, with the possibility for early reinstatement in most cases, but there are things that can be done to defend against that. In order for the invocation of what’s called “Expressed Consent,” which is the advisement that you must take a test, there must be probable cause for an arrest for an alcohol-related driving offense and then there has to be a proper advisement.
The standards for a proper advisement are pretty loose in the state of Colorado; basically, they have to advise you that you’re presumed to have consented to take the test, which is why it’s called Express Consent, and then must typically offer you the choice of a breath or a blood test, although case law says they don’t even have to offer you that choice; they just have to tell you that you’re presumed to have consented to that test and then offer you either a breath test or a blood test, but not necessarily your choice. Also, there’s case law saying they don’t necessarily have to advise you of the consequences of a refusal; although they can’t give you an advisement that is confusing, misleading or coercive to try to get you to agree to a test beyond just the barebones advisement, or Express Consent.
We are always looking at, again, first and foremost, whether there was probable cause for the arrest in the first place and then, secondarily, whether the advisement given was in the proper form and isn’t something that can be challenged as confusing, misleading or coercive.
What Are Some Factors that Will Aggravate or Enhance a DUI Charge?
Obviously anytime there is an accident involved, It will be an aggravating factor because you put the general public at risk, especially if there are injuries, even if they’re only injuries to yourself. Also, the higher your blood alcohol content is, the more aggravated the case is. Certainly, if you have prior offenses even if they aren’t alcohol-related can aggravate a DUI case.
Any circumstance in which you’re bringing an additional level of danger to the public – for example, if you’ve got kids in the car – that will certainly be an aggravated charge. Also, any time that you are belligerent or non-cooperative, the worse your behavior, the more aggravated your case will be. Most people are scared and cooperative with law enforcement but those who get belligerent tend to be dealt with more harshly; that’s just the reality of the situation.
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