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Hiring any lawyer can be a very stressful experience.  The stress can be compounded when one is charged with a DUI or DWAI offense in Colorado.  The following tips may help you find the best Colorado DUI lawyer for your case:

1. Get organized.  Know your court date, schedule it on your calendar, keep track of all of your paperwork, and determine what needs to be done with your driver’s license.  Express Consent Hearing requests must be made within 7 days for Breath and Refusal cases.  Blood test cases require waiting on a letter mailed from DMV before submitting a request before the deadline indicated in the letter.

2. Write down everything that you can remember about what happened.   Did you do roadside tests?  Which ones? Why did the police say they pulled you over?  What time were you pulled over? What did you have to drink?  What time? Details are important.  Writing everything down while it’s still fresh in your mind can be very helpful.

3. Meet with a handful of attorneys.  How many DUI cases has the lawyer handled in the last 3 years?  How are the fees calculated (flat fee or hourly)?  Does the lawyer also handle the driver’s license (DMV) side of the case?  What strategy would the lawyer use in defending you?  How much of the lawyers practice is dedicated to DUI defense?  Who’s going to be working on your case and who’s going to be appearing with you in court? (are you going to be passed off to a different lawyer)  How can you reach the lawyer to discuss the case or simply ask a question?  Is the lawyer available via email, text, and telephone (or do you have to get through a receptionist and paralegal first before you can speak with him/her?  How long does it take the lawyer to respond to your questions/issues?  Does the lawyer have experience in the court where your case is?  If so, how much experience (1 case or hundreds)?

4. Ask the lawyer a lot of questions and be honest about the facts of your case.  Write down all the questions that you want to ask the lawyer.  Be up front and honest about the facts of your case.  Remember that going to visit a lawyer can be similar to going to a doctor for health care.  If you’re not up front and honest with your doctor about the medical issues you are experiencing, how can your doctor properly diagnose and treat you?  The same applies for a lawyer.  The lawyer has to be able to assess your situation and determine the best course of action and strategy.

5. Should I just go with a public defender?  Public defenders are typically good lawyers, however they’re usually swamped with cases and not able to provide the individual attention that a private lawyer can provide.  They also don’t represent people before the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regarding the driver’s license.  You also don’t get to choose your lawyer.  You get whatever lawyer the state gives you.  And you must qualify financially- free lawyers aren’t available to everyone who wants one.

6. Should I represent myself?  No (and no again).  DUI law is complicated and there will be an enormous amount of information that you won’t know and won’t know how to address.  Your lack of knowledge will only hurt you.  Often times these cases can turn on case law in the area, mistakes that the police make, credibility issues, and nuances in the law.  As the saying goes, a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for client.  This is no more true than in a DUI case.

7. Should I hire just any lawyer or any criminal lawyer?  Probably not.  It’s rarely a good idea to hire a jack of all trades for any matter.   You should hire a Colorado DUI lawyer that works these cases day in and day out.  Even a criminal lawyer may often times not have the breadth of experience that an experienced DUI lawyer would have.  Ask a general practicing lawyer (or even a general criminal lawyer) what happens to your driver’s license based upon a BAC over .08, over .15, under .08, and a refusal and see what the answers are.  What would my reinstatement requirements be in those scenarios?  What if this is a 2nd offense, then what happens?  What elements does the cop have to prove at the Express Consent Hearing?  If the lawyer can’t quickly answer these questions off the top of his/her head, they likely aren’t working DUI cases on a regular basis (and you might want to keep looking).

8. Meet prospective lawyers in person.  Take advantage of free consultations.  Meet potential lawyers in person.  Consider the lawyer’s reputation in the community through online searches, reviews, and referrals.  Find a lawyer that you feel comfortable with (that’s probably the most important thing).  If you’re not comfortable with the lawyer that you hire, then the entire representation process will likely be a struggle.  If you’re forking over your hard-earned money to a lawyer, you should be very comfortable in your hiring choice.

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pexels-photo-7785050Many criminal records in Colorado, including a wide range of criminal convictions, are now eligible for a record seal.  If a person was convicted of a petty offense, civil infraction, or drug petty offense, she may motion the court to seal arrest and criminal records after waiting one (1) year from the completion of all criminal proceedings or her release from supervision, whichever is later.

A second or subsequent conviction for illegal possession or consumption of alcohol or marijuana by an underage person requires a one (1) waiting period from the date of the second or subsequent conviction.

Criminal offenses committed by victims of human trafficking are eligible at any time (no waiting period).

A two (2) year wait is required for Class 2 and Class 3 Misdemeanors, Level 4 Drug Felonies under CRS 18-18-403.5(2.5), and any Drug Misdemeanors.

Intentional misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal or intentional misrepresentation of a service animal requires a three (3) year waiting period to commence upon conviction.

Class 4 Felonies, Class 5 Felonies, Class 6 Felonies, Level 3 Drug Felonies, Level 4 Drug Felonies (except those pursuant to CRS 18-18-403.5(2.5)), and Class 1 Misdemeanors are eligible after three (3) years from the completion of all criminal proceedings or the person’s release from supervision, whichever is later.

All other eligible offenses require a five (5) year waiting period.  The waiting period starts at the termination/completion of all criminal proceedings in the case or the person’s release from supervision, whichever is later.

It may be possible to seal Misdemeanor offenses that are ineligible for a record seal if the district attorney’s office consents to the sealing or the person can show by “clear and convincing evidence” that her need for sealing the records is “significant and substantial”, she is no longer a threat to public safety due to the passage of time, and the disclosure of the records is no longer necessary to inform/protect the public.

Records that may be sealed include, but are not limited to police records, arrest records, probation records, court records, sheriff’s department records, other agency records, other custodians of records, and prosecution records.

Aside from convictions for petty offenses and drug petty offenses, the person must show that her interest in sealing the records outweighs the public’s interest in retaining the records (balancing test).

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Selling cars without a retail motor vehicle dealer’s license in Colorado is a criminal offense.  Sometimes unlicensed individuals selling cars are known as “curbstoners”.  The definition of a motor vehicle dealer in Colorado includes simply offering for sale or lease more than 3 (i.e. 4 or more) new or used motor vehicles at the same address or phone number in any one calendar year.  It also includes actually selling or leasing 3 or more new or used motor vehicles in a calendar year.  An owner of real property may also be charged with a criminal offense of acting as an unlicensed dealer if she permits more than 3 (i.e. 4 or more) motor vehicles to be offered for sale or lease on her property in a calendar year.

These cases are typically investigated by the Colorado Department of Revenue, Specialized Business Group-Auto, Criminal Investigators and then referred to the respective county’s district attorney’s office.

Pursuant to CRS 44-20-124 it is illegal for someone to act as a motor vehicle dealer, manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, manufacturer representative, business disposer, motor vehicle salesperson, used motor vehicle dealer, buyer agent, wholesale motor vehicle auction dealer, unless the person has the correct license for such activities.  There are some exceptions as follows: 1) business owners selling a vehicle owned for more than 1 year, the vehicle was used exclusively in the business, titled in the business name,  all vehicle taxes have been paid, and the total of vehicles sold by the business over a 2 year period does not exceed 20 vehicles; 2) manufacturers of utility trailers that weigh less than 2000 pounds and who do not manufacture any other type of motor vehicle; and 3) a person other than a manufacturer operating a motor vehicle dealer pursuant to CRS 44-20-126, who is a licensed dealer selling their own manufactured motor vehicles.

The criminal charges for motor vehicle dealer violations are typically class 2 misdemeanors.  However, any person who is acting as a manufacturer, distributor, or manufacturer representative without a license commits a petty offense (effective March 1, 2022).  The penalty for someone who is acting as a motor vehicle dealer, wholesaler, buyer agent, wholesale motor vehicle auction dealer, business disposer, motor vehicle salesperson, used motor vehicle dealer, commits a petty offense (effective March 1, 2022).

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IMG_3697-1024x768If you have at least 3 prior convictions for alcohol-related traffic offenses (to include DUI, DUI per se, DWAI) or vehicular homicide or vehicular assault, anywhere in the United States or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States you may be charged in Colorado with Felony DUI.  Felony Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Colorado is a Class 4 Felony.

If a person is found guilty or pleads guilty, he may be punished by two (2) to six (6) years imprisonment in the Department of Corrections followed by three (3) years of mandatory parole.  If probation is imposed rather than imprisonment in the Department of Corrections, then the minimum county jail sentence is 90 days up to 180 days.  No sentencing alternatives (i.e. work release, education release, in-home detention) are available for the minimum mandatory 90 days.   Alternatively, if probation is imposed, a judge has discretion to impose a minimum of 120 days up to 2 years of county jail time served on work release or education release if those programs are available in the county where the DUI occurred.

As referenced-above, a felony DUI in Colorado is triggered by a person having 3 prior alcohol-related traffic convictions.  These convictions are established by three possible methods: 1) if the DA and the person stipulate to the prior convictions; 2)  the prior convictions may also be established when the DA presents to the court a copy of the person’s driving records provided by the department of revenue or by a similar agency in another state which references the previous convictions; 3) the DA presents an authenticated copy of the record of the previous convictions or judgements from a court of record of this state or from a court of any other state, the United States, or any territory of the United States.  Of further note the Court shall not proceed to immediate sentencing if the person has not stipulated to prior convictions or if the DA has requested an opportunity to obtain a DMV record or court record.

The bottom line here is that felony DUI matters in Colorado are very serious matters.  Hiring an experienced felony DUI attorney is critical in fighting a felony DUI charge and addressing the complexities presented by prior offenses.  This is not the type of case that should ever be fought without experienced felony DUI representation.

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Phillips County DUI, DUI per se, DUI drugs, DWAI, and Felony DUI cases are prosecuted by the Sterling Office of the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  The courthouse is located at 221 S. Interocean Avenue, 2nd Floor, Holyoke, Colorado 80734.  The county court criminal docket is typically held on Thursdays.

Due to the lower population of Phillips County, Colorado, DUI and DWAI charges are  infrequently charged in the county court system.  In the year 2021, there were 20 total DUI cases and only 1 DWAI case charged in the court.  The Phillips County Sheriff’s Office, the Holyoke Police Department, the Haxtun Police Department, and the Colorado State Patrol are active law enforcement agencies in the county.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI offense in Phillips County Colorado it’s important to recognize that you likely have two cases going on at the same time.  The first case is a civil case with your driver’s license administered by the Colorado Department of Revenue.  The second case is a criminal case in Phillips County Court.

The civil case with your driver’s license is triggered by submitting a breath test at .08 or greater (or .02 or more if under 21 years of age), refusing a breath/blood test, or submitting a blood test yielding a result of .08 or greater (or .02 or more if under 21 years of age).  A hearing should be requested with the DMV within 7 days of the date of notice of the Express Consent Affidavit and Notice of Revocation for breath or refusal cases, and by the deadline indicated in the letter received from DMV for blood test cases.  If a driver is unable to request a hearing by the deadline in the Express Consent Affidavit or by the deadline indicated in a letter from DMV, a “late hearing request” may be submitted which sets forth the grounds upon which an Express Consent Hearing should be granted.  If a late hearing request is granted, it may/may not be possible to obtain a temporary permit to drive on upon until the hearing.

The criminal case in Phillips County Court will typically commence with an initial court date as indicated on a person’s summons (ticket) or bond paperwork.  It’s typically best to secure representation as quickly as possible prior to any court appearances in the case.  An experienced DUI lawyer will likely move the court date to allow time to investigate the case and prepare an aggressive defense strategy with the client.

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Colorado has revised their DUI and DWAI penalty structure again in 2022.  The penalty for a first time DUI or DUI per se offense is 5 days to 1 year in jail (the Court may suspend the 5 days if the person pays for and completes an alcohol and drug evaluation and treatment).  $600 to $1000 may be imposed as a fine, with the Court retaining discretion to suspend the fine.  48 to 96 hours of community service at a non-profit agency will be imposed.  If the person has a BAC of .20 or greater, a minimum 10 days up to one year of jail will be imposed.  However, the Court may impose “sentencing alternatives” such as work release, work-seek release, work release for a self-employed business, reasonable and necessary child or family care services, education release, medical treatment, day reporting, behavioral health treatment, reentry program.  Probation may be imposed not to exceed two years.

The penalty for a first time DWAI driving while ability impaired conviction is 2 days to 180 days in jail, the minimum 2 days may be suspended upon the person successfully completing an alcohol/drug evaluation and treatment.  A BAC of .20 or greater requires 10 days up to 1 year in jail, however the court may apply the same sentencing alternatives listed above for DUI offenses.  Probation may be imposed for a maximum of 2 years.

Second offenses, including DUI 2nd, DWAI 2nd, and DUI per se 2nd, with the prior being greater than 5 years ago, require a minimum mandatory 10 days up to 1 year of jail, however the Court retains discretion to impose the sentencing alternatives listed above.  No deductions to the jail sentence are allowed for trusty prisoner status, however the person can receive credit for time served prior to the sentence.  A fine of $600 to $1500 will be imposed, with the Court retaining discretion to suspend the fine.  48 hours to 120 hours of community service will be imposed, and is mandatory.  A minimum period of 2 years of probation will be imposed, in addition to a suspended 1-year jail sentence (on top of any jail imposed as a condition of probation).

If a person is convicted of DUI 2nd, DWAI 2nd, or DUI 2nd and the prior conviction (the 1st offense) occurred less than 5 years before the current offense, then the Court does not have discretion to impose the sentencing alternatives listed above.  However, the Court may still authorize work release, education release, and medical release (if these programs are available in the county jail of the sentencing court).  The purpose of the release has to be related to the following: continuing employment that the person held at the time of sentencing, continuing education that the person was enrolled in at the time of sentencing, participation in Level II treatment.

What is a “prior offense” for sentencing purposes?  A prior offense under Colorado law is when a person has a prior conviction for DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, or aggravated driving with a revoked license, driving under restraint-alcohol.  These prior offenses need not to have occurred in Colorado.  The priors are counted whether they occurred in Colorado, another state, the US, or an territory subject to the jurisdiction of the US.  Thus, Colorado takes a very broad and aggressive approach to what constitutes a prior.  Furthermore, Colorado does not have a specific “look back period” for priors.  Colorado factors in priors which occurred at any time during the person’s life.  In other words, a lifetime “lookback period” is utilized.  Even if a prior offense occurred 20 or 30 years ago, or more, Colorado will utilize it for sentencing purposes as a prior conviction.

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Being charged with a DUI in Colorado can be one of the most stressful times a person can go through in life.  Unfortunately, sometimes the stress of a DUI can be greatly compounded by also being charged with possessing a gun while intoxicated.

If you were stopped for DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, or DUI drugs in Colorado and had a gun in your vehicle, you most likely were also charged with “drunk with a gun” or “possessing a weapon while intoxicated”.  The statutory charge is identified as “prohibited use of weapons”, however it’s all the same charge- it’s simply characterized differently in some charging documents.  This charge is a Class 2 Misdemeanor offense and is punishable by 3 months up to to 364 days in the county jail and a fine of $250.00 up to $1000.00.  Whether or not the gun was loaded makes no difference under the statute- a loaded gun is treated the same was as an unloaded gun.  However, the fact that the gun was loaded or unloaded and the proximity of the gun to the driver are certainly factors that may be taken into consideration by a prosecutor in assessing aggravation/mitigation and strength/weaknesses in the case.

If a person is charged with prohibited use of weapons in addition to a DUI charge, the prosecutor must prove certain “elements” of the crime.  The first element is that the prosecutor must show that the person “possessed” a firearm.  This first element can be aggressively challenged by the defense.  Often times possession issues arise from the location where the firearm was found.  Examples include: a firearm locked in a toolbox in the bed of a pickup truck, a firearm located in the center console of the vehicle, a firearm located in the backseat of a vehicle, a firearm located in the glovebox, a firearm in the side map pocket of the door, etc.  Simply having a gun in the vehicle when stopped for DUI does not automatically establish the element of “possession”.  That burden falls on the prosecutor.

“Possession” in People v. Garcia, 595 P.2d 228 (1979) was interpreted to mean the actual or physical control of a firearm.  The  Court further indicated that “interpreting ‘possession’ to mean anything other that actual physical control would thus constitute an inconsistent construction of the statute”.

Secondly, the prosecutor must establish that the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a controlled substance.  There is no specific blood or breath level indicated in the prohibited use of weapons statute in establishing the requisite element of intoxication.

Possible defenses to this charge may include:

1) The driver of the vehicle was not intoxicated, therefore the prosecutor has not established the intoxication element of the charge;

2) The stop of the driver was illegal;

3) The weapon was found through an illegal search and seizure;

4) The driver did not possess the weapon through actual or physical control.

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pexels-photo-843563-683x1024The walk and turn test is popular among Colorado DUI police officers as a tool they utilize in an attempt to prove intoxication.  The walk and turn test is a divided attention test which divides a person’s attention between balance, memory, and muscle control.  There are two stages to the test: “the instructional stage” and the “walking stage”.  The test consists of a driver listening to a specific set of complex instructions and then walking down a straight line which could be an imaginary line or a real line.  The police officer will then score a driver’s performance on the test based upon 8 “clues” which may be observed.  Scoring on this test is similar to how golf is scored (the more strokes you have in golf, the worse your score is).  In the walk and turn test, the more clues you have the worse score is as well.  The “clues” are as follows: 1) the driver must keep her balance in the starting position during the instruction stage.  If the driver cannot maintain balance in the starting position the driver will be scored as having 1 clue.  2) If the driver starts walking too soon before instructed to start the test, the DUI police officer will assign a second clue for starting too soon.  Thus simply being anxious and starting the test will earn a driver a negative score.

Once the driver starts walking the line, if she stops while walking she will receive another clue/negative score.  The driver must touch each step heel to toe.  If each step is not perfectly heel to toe, the driver will receive a fourth negative mark/clue.  If the driver steps off of the line (even if an imaginary line) she will be scored with her 5th negative marking for stepping off the line.  Don’t use your arms for support like you’re walking a tight rope in the circus during any part of the maneuver.  If you do, you just scored your 6th clue/negative mark.

A driver must listen carefully to the instructions regarding the complicated turn at the end of the initial 9 steps.  For this turn, the driver must keep her front foot flat on the line and turn taking several small steps with the other foot.  This is not a normal way for a human being to turn around.  It’s a very complex turn that has to be performed exactly the way the police officer describes it.  If the turn is not perfect for the police officer the driver will score her 7th negative mark/clue.  Lastly, the driver must not try to earn extra credit by completing more (or less) than 9 steps.  If a driver does, she will be scored with the 8th clue/negative mark for taking an incorrect amount of steps.

If a driver doesn’t pay extreme attention to the complex set of instructions from the police officer, she will likely fail miserably.  Nervousness, footwear, confusion, the ground surface for the tests, wind and weather, a person’s age and physical abilities, and poor instructions can all be factors that come into play in performance on these tests.  Many people seem to especially have difficulty in staying in the instructional position, not starting the test too soon, and turning around correctly after the 9th step.

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DUI, DUI per se, and DWAI charges in Adams County Colorado are heard in the Adams County Justice Center at 1100 Judicial Center Drive, Brighton, Colorado 80601.  There are several different trial divisions that preside over DUI, DUI per se, and DWAI cases in Adams County.  Accordingly, your case could be assigned to any of the following trial divisions: Division 2, Judge Bowen, Division 3 Judge Cox, Division 4, Judge Roybal, Division 5 Judge Dang, Division 6 Judge Flaum, Division 7 Judge Howell, or Division 8 Judge Kirby.

Adams County DUI Lawyer Monte Robbins aggressively fights DUI charges in Adams County Court and at the DMV license revocation hearing.  If you submitted a breath test or allegedly refused chemical testing in your Adams County case you must request an Express Consent Revocation Hearing at any full service DMV office in Colorado.  This request must be made within 7 days of the stop.  The agent at DMV will ask you whether or not you want the police officer present at your hearing.  Strategy comes into play when making this request thus it is a good idea to speak with an experienced Adams County DUI defense attorney before requesting your hearing.  Any driver who is presented with an Express Consent Affidavit and Notice of Revocation should make the request for hearing regardless of whether the person lives in Colorado, is out of state, or has a valid driver’s license.  The Express Consent Revocation Hearing can be a valuable tool in further investigating the Adams County DUI case.  It’s important to keep in mind that the driver’s license case is a separate civil case from the criminal case in Adams County Court.  Thus, a person charged with DUI in Adams County will have 2 cases proceeding at the time time: civil and criminal.  Adams County Drunk Driving Lawyer Monte Robbins will fight for you in both the criminal and civil case.

If you submitted a blood test, you must monitor your mail for a notice from the Colorado Department of Revenue with the results of the blood test.  If the blood test resulted in an alcohol level of .08 or greater, the driver must request a hearing at any full service DMV office before the deadline indicated in the letter.  Upon requesting the hearing, the driver will surrender his physical driver’s license in exchange for a temporary permit that will be valid up until the date of the hearing but not to exceed 60 days.

IMG_3374-1024x768The Denver Police Department investigates thousands of hit and run cases annually, with an average of 446 hit and run investigations per month.  Hit and Run charges are serious offenses and should not to be taken lightly.  The police often charge multiple counts of hit and run in a single case and each hit and run charge carries the possibility of jail time and the suspension of a driver’s license.  The Denver Police Department has a specific division dedicated to handling hit and run charges.  This division is the Denver Police Department Traffic Investigations Unit located at 3381 Park Avenue West in Denver.

The Traffic Investigations Unit aggressively investigates hit and run cases and uses varying techniques to identify suspected hit and run drivers.  One of these techniques utilizes information from body shops, whereby certain body shops partner with the Denver Police Department to receive alerts about suspected vehicles involved in hit and run accidents.  The body shop may then contact the Traffic Investigations Unit to report that an alerted vehicle is at the body shop for repairs.  Another technique involves sending a seemingly innocent template letter to an owner of a suspected hit and run vehicle, whereby the owner (or driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident) is invited to the police department for a “vehicle inspection”.  Make no mistake about it, this vehicle inspection is in reality a stage of the process in a criminal investigation.

There are several hit and run crimes which may be charged in a single case.  Whenever a driver is involved in an accident, she has a duty under the law to give her name, address, registration of the vehicle driven, and to show her driver’s license upon request to the other person involved.  Further, she has an obligation to give reasonable assistance to any person injured (including carrying or making arrangements for the carrying of the person to a medical facility if requested by the person or if it is apparent that medical treatment is necessary).  In addition to providing the required information and assistance, a driver is required to immediately report the accident to the police.  If a driver violates any of these provisions, she may be charged with failing to comply with the duty to give notice, information, and aid in an accident, a Class 2 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense, and a 12-point driver’s license offense.  Because a driver 21 years of age and older will be suspended if she accumulates 12 points in a 12 month period, a conviction for any hit and run charge will absolutely suspend a driver’s license.

If only property damage occurs and no injuries are involved in the accident, a driver must immediately stop his vehicle at the scene of the accident (or as close to the accident scene as possible and immediately return to) and remain at the scene of the accident.  In addition to remaining at the scene, the driver must comply with providing notice, information, and aid and to report the accident to the police.  If the driver does not do this, he may be charged with failing to comply with his duty in an accident involving damage.  This offense is also a Class 2 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense and 12 points.

Under Colorado law, drivers have a duty to immediately report accidents to the police regardless of how minor the accident may be or if no one is injured.  This duty includes giving notice of the location of the accident, the name of the driver, the driver’s address, the registration number of the vehicle, and driver’s license information.  Upon reporting the accident and providing the necessary information, the driver must remain on scene of the accident when directed to until the police have arrived on scene and completed their investigation.  If a driver violates this law, he will often be charged with failing to comply with the duty to report accidents, a Class 2 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense, and 12 points.  The penalty for a Class 2 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense is 10 days to 90 days in jail and a fine of $150 to $300.

In addition to hit and run charges, the police will often assess fault in the accident by charging either careless driving or reckless driving.  Careless driving in Colorado is a Class 2 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense and 4-points if no injury results.  If injury results, careless driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense.  Reckless Driving is a Class 2 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense and 8-points.  In light of the police’s ability to stack numerous hit and run charges into a single case in addition to assessing fault through either reckless driving or careless driving, it’s easy to see how quickly one’s freedom and livelihood can be at stake, even if no injury resulted or if the accident was relatively minor.  The penalty for a Class 1 Misdemeanor traffic offense is 10 days up to 1 year in jail.

If injury or death results in a hit and run accident, the stakes are much greater.  If injury results from the accident, a driver may be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense.  “Injury” is defined as any impairment of physical or mental condition, physical pain, or illness.  If Serious Bodily Injury results, a driver may be charged with a Class 4 Felony.  Serious bodily injury is defined as an injury that occurs at the time of the actual injury (or at a later time) and involves a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body, or breaks, fractures, or burns of the 2nd or 3rd degree, a substantial risk of death, or a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement.  If death results, a driver may be charged with a Class 3 Felony.  Further, all three of these offenses will result in the mandatory revocation of a driver’s license at DMV.  The penalty for a Class 3 Felony is 4 to 12 years in prison and 5 years parole.  A Class 4 Felony carries a penalty of 2 years up to 6 years in prison and 3 years of parole.

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