Articles Posted in DUI

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file00059914429Picture yourself enjoying Colorado’s blue sky and sunshine and reaching into your mailbox to find this little “gem”:

Colorado Department of Revenue records indicate that your ignition interlock device has prevented the operation of a motor vehicle in three of twelve consecutive reporting periods due to excessive blood alcohol content.  In accordance with CRS 42-2-132.5 the period of your driver license interlock restriction is hereby extended for an additional one (1) year from the current expiration of your restriction.  If we do not receive a new lease agreement by the Order of Suspension effective (date indicated in letter) through the extended restricted licensing period, your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Colorado will be suspended.  If suspended, you must immediately surrender any driver licenses and/or permits in your possession to any driver license office.”  [Credit to: Colorado Department of Revenue, Driver Control Section, Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, Standard Letter to Respondent, Letter# dL408 (2017)]

What should you do? Panic?  Ask you neighbor for advice?  Sign-up for another year with that damn interlock machine?  The answer is no, no, and no.  You should immediately request a hearing.  As of the date of this blog post, DMV ignition interlock violation hearings are backlogged  6-8 weeks just to receive a Notice of Hearing letter and you must first secure a spot on a waiting list.  As soon as your name appears at the top of the waiting list, the Hearings Division will mail you a Notice of Hearing letter setting the hearing.  Most of the hearings anymore are held via telephone.  If at all possible an in-person hearing is typically better than a telephone hearing.  However more and more hearings are being scheduled telephonically and a Respondent may not have a choice.  If a hearing is requested, the Hearings Division may postpone the effective date of the extension until after the hearing.  It is vitally important for a Respondent to clarify this information with the Hearings Division and determine the status of the driver’s license until the hearing.

What does 3 out of 12 reporting periods mean?  This can be confusing.  A “reporting period” is a month, and is defined the Code of Colorado Regulations as the first and last days of a calendar month.  The violations must occur in 3 out of 12 consecutive months.  The 12 months must be consecutive, the 3 months reporting violations do not need to be consecutive.

What is “excessive blood alcohol content”?  Excessive alcohol content for purposes of the ignition interlock machine means a BAC of .025 or greater.

How does DMV monitor the ignition interlock device?  At least every 60 days, a driver must have the interlock device inspected by the interlock company.  There are 4 ignition interlock companies approved in Colorado at the current time:  Guardian, Intoxalock, #1 A LifeSafer of CO, and 1A Smart Start, Inc.  At this inspection, the interlock company will download the data records and forward them to DMV.  An interlock provider is supposed to notify a driver at the time of inspection if there are any violations.  However, a failure of the interlock company to advise a driver of any violations will not win an ignition interlock violation hearing for a Respondent.

What if a driver gets their regular unrestricted license back before violations are reported to Colorado DMV- can Colorado DMV still cause an ignition interlock extension?  The short answer is yes.  Even if a driver gets their unrestricted full privileges back, they can still be subjected to an ignition interlock extension for violations that occurred before the driver got their license back.

According to the Code of Colorado Regulations, if there is evidence of circumvention of an interlock device, an ignition interlock company will file a report of circumvention to the Colorado Department of Revenue.  If a police officer detects circumvention of the interlock device, he/she may file a report with the Colorado Department of Revenue and may file criminal charges in the appropriate county court.

The sole issue at a hearing for an extension of an ignition interlock period is whether “lockouts” occurred in 3 of any 12 consecutive reporting periods, and if proven, to then determine the length of the extension.

A Hearing Officer may determine the following as “aggravating factors” in determining an extension period: 2 or more lockouts in 1 month, a prior extension for lockouts, a pattern of readings consistent with attempted drinking and driving, any BAC readings of .05 or higher, lockouts in more than 3 of the 12 consecutive months at issue, and any lockouts in the last 6 months of an ignition interlock lease agreement.

A Hearing Officer may determine the following as “mitigating factors” in determining an extension period: any factors the driver may submit in mitigation (obviously this is very subjective), attendance at alcohol treatment after the last lockout, only 1 lockout in each of the 3 months and no lockouts in any other months at issue, more than 1 year remaining of the interlock requirement, and alcohol readings subsequent to the last lockout indicating that the driver walked away from the vehicle and did not re-attempt to start it after consuming alcohol.

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booze-1481628-1024x768New, enhanced, tougher DUI penalties for 4th, 5th, 6th or more DUI offenses in Colorado start on August 9, 2017 pursuant to House Bill 17-1288.  The new law requires a person convicted of a Felony DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI who is sentenced to probation to serve a minimum period of straight time jail or work release/education release.  The minimum period of straight time jail is 90 days up to a maximum of 180 days as a condition of any probation sentence granted.

In the alternative, if the Court grants probation for a person convicted of a 4th or subsequent Felony DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI, he/she must serve a minimum of 120 days up to a maximum of 2 years of jail with work release or education release authorized.  This provision applies only to counties that have jails that support work release and education release.  The statute further indicates that work release may only be authorized for people who have established employment at the time of sentencing.  Education release may only be authorized for those who are enrolled in an education program at the time of sentencing.  No other sentencing alternatives are authorized (i.e. in home detention, weekends, or mid-weeks), however release for medical treatment may be authorized.

Prior to this new enhanced law, there was no minimum mandatory period of jail to be served as a condition of probation.

Further, 48 hours of community service up to 120 hours are required.

If a person is not granted probation and is instead sentenced to prison (the Department of Corrections) for a Felony DUI, DWAI, or DUI per se, the Court must determine that incarceration is the most suitable option given the facts and circumstances of the case.  The Court shall consider the person’s willingness to participate in treatment and whether all other reasonable and appropriate sanctions and responses to the violation have been exhausted.  The Court must further determine that all other reasonable and appropriate sanctions and responses either present an unacceptable risk to public safety or do not appear likely to be successful if tried.

Probation, rather than prison time, may be authorized when it appears that the ends of justice and the best interests of the defendant and public will be served.  The length of the probation term is left at the discretion of the court.  By statute, the length of the probation may exceed the maximum period of incarceration authorized by statute.

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photo_13072_20090812-2What are the requirements?  Well that depends.  Adult drivers age 21 and up who have been stopped for a DUI or DWAI offense in Colorado and have either submitted a chemical test of their blood or breath at .08 or higher, or, have refused a chemical test are subject to revocation of their driver’s license.  Out of state residents who are stopped in Colorado are subject to the same revocation process and term as Colorado residents.

The revocation for a 1st offense per se revocation, blood or breath .08 or greater but less than .15, is 9 months.  Colorado residents are eligible to reinstate early after 30 days of no driving with ignition interlock on their vehicle for 8 months.  Early removal of the interlock device is possible after 4 months of 100% compliance.  The specific language of the statute requires that the monthly monitoring reports reflect that the ignition interlock device did not prevent or interrupt the “normal operation” of the vehicle due to breath alcohol.  Further, no tampering is evident, and no other reports of circumvention or tampering exist, and there are no other grounds to extend the interlock requirement.  Thus, in light of full compliance with the interlock, the requirement can be whittled down to just 4 months.

The Department of Revenue will serve a driver with a notice of eligibility for early removal.  If on the other hand, the driver has been compliant and has not received notice of early removal eligibility from the Department of Revenue, then the driver may request a hearing to determine eligibility by contacting the Hearings Division at 303-205-5606.

If the driver submits a blood or breath test result at .15 or greater or refuses a chemical test, the ignition interlock requirement lasts for 2 years following reinstatement.  Colorado labels these drivers “persistent drunk drivers” by statute.  Those who submit a chemical test .15 or greater are eligible for reinstatement as a Colorado resident after 30 days of no driving.  Those who are found to refuse a chemical test are eligible after 60 days of no driving.  There is no temporary or restricted driving privileges available for any drivers during the 30 day or 60 day period of “no driving”.

If a driver who has submitted a chemical test at .15 or greater or refused a chemical test decides not to reinstate his/her license early after 30 days or 60 days of no driving they must still reinstate with ignition interlock for 2 years once they decide to get back on the road again.  Thus, there really is no benefit for a driver who has either refused or submitted a .15 or greater BAC to wait on the sidelines in the hopes of avoiding an ignition interlock requirement.  If they ever want to get their license back in Colorado, thus must have 2 years of interlock.

Some drivers who cannot afford the full monthly cost of ignition interlock are eligible for financial assistance to help pay for the ignition interlock device.  Information on this program may be obtained by contacting Driver Services at 303-205-5600.

Drivers who hold an ignition interlock restricted driver’s license must only drive a vehicle in which an approved ignition interlock machine is installed.  This is sometimes difficult for drivers to adhere to.  An example of a common violation is when a driver’s vehicle is in the shop for repairs and the driver “takes the wife’s car” to work and is stopped for not using a turn signal or other minor traffic infraction.  Thereafter, DMV may revoke the driver’s ignition interlock license for failing to drive a vehicle equipped with interlock.  The revocation will cause a driver to no be eligible to reinstate his/her license for one (1) year or the remaining period of license restraint imposed prior to driver obtaining the interlock license, whichever is longer.  A driver subject to this type of sanction is eligible to request (and should request) a hearing to determine whether or not the license will be revoked and the length of time in which the driver is deemed to be ineligible to reinstate.  Operating a vehicle not equipped with interlock (when the driver’s license requires an interlock equipped vehicle) is a Class 1 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense.

If a police officer stops a driver and thereafter determines that the driver is not driving a vehicle equipped with interlock (and is required to under the terms of their license), the police officer is required to confiscate the driver’s license, file an incident report on a special form provided by the Department of Revenue, and not permit the driver to continue to drive the vehicle not equipped with interlock.

Courts may not accept a plea of guilty to just any reduced traffic offense or infraction for a driver charged with circumventing interlock/driving without interlock.  Courts may only accept a plea to another offense or infraction of the district attorney prosecuting the case is willing to state to the Court that he/she doesn’t have a prima facie case for the interlock offense charged.

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file000769845610-1024x768Governor Herbert in Utah just signed a bill to lower Utah’s BAC threshold for DUI offenses from .08 to .05.  Utah will be the first state to lower their BAC to this level when the law takes effect in 2018.  It’s noteworthy that Utah was also the first state to lower their BAC from .10 to .08.  Thereafter, the rest of the country followed in their footsteps.  It has been illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or greater in all 50 states since 2002.

In Colorado, there is a permissible inference that someone is under the influence of alcohol if they submit a chemical test of their blood or breath at .08 or more.  Similarly there is a permissible inference that a person is driving while ability impaired if they submit a chemical test of their blood or breath at .051 BAC up to .079 BAC.  A driver is presumed that they are not under the influence and not impaired if they submit a chemical test of their blood or breath at .05 or less (although sometimes Colorado police officers still charge people with DUI and DWAI even if they submit testing at .05 or less).

Drivers charged with DUI or DWAI after submitting chemical testing reflecting a BAC of .05 or less have the “power of the statute” behind them.  However, often times a DUI defense lawyer must “politely remind” a district attorney prosecuting this type of case as to what the statute reads CRS 42-4-1301.

Also in Colorado, if a person submits a chemical test of his blood yielding a result of 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of whole blood there is a permissible inference that the person is under the influence of THC- Marijuana.

Thus, people may wonder if Colorado will follow along with Utah and lower their BAC threshold from .08 to .05.

According to an article by Amy Joi O’Donoghue of Desert News Utah, the Utah governor “pointed out that 85 percent of the world’s population currently lives in countries with laws that have .05 percent blood-alcohol limits or less, including France and Italy”.

Some countries even have stricter BAC limits.  China and Colombia for instance have a BAC limit of .02.  Whereas India, Japan, and Taiwan have a BAC limit of .03.

Only time will tell how Utah’s direction with this new BAC legislation will impact other states who may wish to follow in their footsteps.

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file000496525036-1024x391Colorado law mandates that ignition interlock drivers are required to extend their ignition interlock lease agreements by a period of 12 months when it is reported by their ignition interlock provider that the ignition interlock device has prevented the operation of a motor vehicle in 3 of 12 consecutive reporting periods due to excessive alcohol.  This information is downloaded by the ignition interlock provider and submitted to DMV when it appears that the threshold for a suspension has been met.  Thus, it is critically important to always request a hearing regarding alleged ignition interlock violations.

The suspension process is initiated when DMV sends out a violation notice letter to a respondent indicating that the respondent is alleged to have violated the terms and conditions of the interlock device.  A respondent must then either submit a new ignition interlock lease agreement (with a 12 month extension) by the deadline indicated in the letter.  Or, the respondent must request a hearing on the matter.  A respondent should never simply agree to the ignition interlock extension.  A hearing should always be requested.  At the hearing, the extension may be either rescinded, reduced, or sustained.

A violation must be shown to interrupt or prevent the normal operation of the vehicle in 3 of 12 consecutive reporting periods.

Rolling retests don’t count.  Although an action may be triggered due to rolling retests, theses “fails” should not be upheld at an ignition interlock violation hearing.  Why?  Because they don’t fit the textbook definition of a fail.

The threshold alcohol detection level which triggers a fail is .025 BAC.  This figure is set by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in 5 CCR 1005-3 and is defined as the “setpoint value”.

Many interferents may cause this setpoint value to trigger a “fail” aside from a driver drinking alcohol.  This is a false positive.  Some known causes include mouthwash, windshield washer fluid, contaminants from orthodontics/oral appliances, spicy foods, energy drinks, sweets such as cookies and donuts, mouthspray, chewing tobacco, and many other reported interferents.

It is imperative in ignition interlock violation hearings that the complete interlock reports be acquired from the interlock company and investigated well in advance of the hearing.  Often times due to the sheer number of interlock violation hearings being held the reports are sent out by DMV only a few days in advance of the hearing.  This shortens the time period the respondent has to investigate the reports and prepare for the hearing.  The ignition interlock reports tell a very detailed story of the history of the use of the machine and are vital in defense preparation.

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file0001882885044-1024x715The burden of proof at an Express Consent Revocation Hearing in a Colorado DUI case is a preponderance of the evidence.  In order to sustain a refusal revocation, the police must show that the respondent was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle (a commercial vehicle also applies) in Colorado on the date alleged.  Secondly, the police must show that they had probable cause to believe that the respondent’s ability to drive was impaired even to this slightest degree and that they requested that the respondent complete a chemical test.  Finally, the police must show that respondent refused to take, complete, or cooperate in the completion of a chemical test of respondent’s blood, breath, saliva, or urine such that the test could be obtained within two (2) hours of driving.

According to the case law a respondent may not refuse a chemical test simply because the police officer requested the test more than two (2) hours after driving.  A reasonable time after driving is sufficient as long as the time is not so remote that it diminishes the evidentiary value of the test.

An Express Consent Revocation Hearing is independent from the DUI criminal case.  As such, often times when a driver is arrested for DUI, he will have two (2) cases pending.  The first is the Express Consent Revocation Hearing (administrative hearing) regarding his driver’s license through the Department of Revenue.  The second case is a criminal DUI case in the county where the action occurred.

Many people are familiar with the Miranda warnings of the police from watching crime television shows or movies.  The warnings encompass the following rights of a defendant: 1) the right to remain silent; 2) anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law; 3) you have the right to an attorney;  4) if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.  Police officers often advise a defendant of these rights upon arrest.

A problem can arise for the police when they advise a defendant of his Miranda rights before a request to take a blood or breath test.

Specifically, if a defendant is 1) read his Miranda rights; 2) chooses to remain silent and requests a lawyer; 3) the police give the defendant an Express Consent Advisement; 4) the defendant refuses the test because he wants a lawyer; and 5) the police do nothing to alleviate the confusion that they caused.

This scenario appeared in the Calvert case.  In Calvert, a Denver Police Officer observed Mr. Calvert drive his car in an erratic fashion.  Thereafter, the officer observed a strong odor of alcohol and staggering while Mr. Calvert walked.  He was arrested for DUI.  Calvert was subsequently read his Miranda rights and he requested to call his lawyer.  However, the officer refused to let him call his lawyer.

The Denver officer then handed Calvert a form regarding Colorado Express Consent (previously “implied consent”) and asked him to sign it.  Calvert refused to sign until he consulted with his lawyer (as you will recall the officer previously told him that he was entitled to a lawyer).  The police officer alleged that he refused a chemical test and the hearing officer at his driver’s license revocation hearing agreed.

Calvert appealed and won.  The Court found that Calvert was advised of Miranda, requested to speak with his lawyer, and was not advised that he didn’t have a right to speak with his lawyer regarding completing a chemical test.  Therefore Calvert was not held responsible for the refusal because the police failed to advise him that the right to remain silent did not include the right to refuse to submit to the test or the right to consult with a lawyer.

Thus the essential elements for a respondent to potentially avoid a driver’s license revocation sanction after Miranda are the following: a Miranda advisement, request to speak to a lawyer, confusion caused by the police about the right to a lawyer, and a failure of the police to clear up the confusion.

If your alleged refusal contains those elements mentioned above you may have a shot at keeping your driver’s license.

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file1951276608914-768x1024Colorado’s Felony DUI law is relatively new and went into effect on August 5, 2015.  In Colorado, driving under the influence (DUI), driving under the influence per se (DUI per se) and driving while ability impaired (DWAI) offenses are misdemeanors.  However, under the new law, a fourth offense (of DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI) is now a Class 4 Felony if the current offense occurred after three or more prior convictions arising out of separate cases for DUI, DUI per se, vehicular homicide, DWAI, or vehicular assault.  These five offenses are considered “priors” if they are convictions under the laws of Colorado, the U.S., any state in the U.S., and any territory under the jurisdiction of the U.S.

Some previous offenses do not result in convictions.  Thus if a person is facing a potential Felony DUI, it’s critical to determine whether or not a previous offense actually resulted in a “conviction”.  An example of a DUI charge not resulting in a conviction would be a case that was dismissed.  Another example of a DUI charge that does not result in a conviction would be a successfully completed deferred judgment and sentence.  Under a deferred judgment and sentence a guilty plea to a charge enters, however if the defendant complies 100% with the terms and conditions of the deferred and successfully completes it then the plea is withdrawn and the case is dismissed.  An additional example of a DUI charge not resulting in a conviction is through the trial process whereby a defendant is found not guilty.  Thus, every case that is charged as a DUI or DWAI under Colorado law or the laws of another state does not necessarily result in a conviction.

The punishment for a Class 4 Felony DUI is 2-6 years in prison (exceptional circumstances may lower this presumptive range to 1 year or increase the range to 12 years) if incarceration is the most suitable option in light of the facts of the case.  A fine of $2000 to $500,000 may also be imposed.  A defendant will also be subject to 3 years of mandatory parole.  By law, the Court  must consider the defendant’s willingness to participate in treatment, whether all reasonable and appropriate sanctions have been exhausted, do not appear likely to be successful, or there is an unacceptable risk to public safety.  Thus, in light of the provisions of the new law a defendant may avoid prison time, however the discretion is left in the hands of the Court.

Clearly multiple offense DUIs in Colorado are extremely serious.

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As the holidays are quickly approaching, police agencies are out in full force looking for impaired drivers. Colorado law enforcement agencies typically expect more motorists to be on the road traveling to grandma’s house, meeting up with friends, or perhaps attending an office party or other holiday party. It’s important that drivers in Colorado take precautionary measures to avoid driving under the influence. The following is a list of tips that I have gathered during my experience defending many drivers in Colorado accused of driving under the influence.

Tip 1. Don’t drink and drive. In fact, don’t drink any alcohol and then drive. Don’t rely upon the “system” to avoid a DUI. The DUI prosecution system is not designed to protect you. Officers can come to the wrong conclusion about who is DUI and who is not. Portable breath tests, Intoxilyzer machines, and Blood tests can give erroneous results. Often times the people conducting these tests don’t conduct the tests correctly. People make mistakes and machines are not infallible. In Colorado, you can be charged with a DUI with any trace amount of alcohol in your system. Thus, it’s best not to put yourself in that position.

Tip 2. If you decide to sleep it off and spend the night in your car on the side of the road, think again. You’re better off spending a few bucks and staying at a motel. A DUI will cost you much more than one night’s stay at a motel. In Colorado, you can be charged with a DUI if you’re sleeping it off in your car, thus it’s not worth the risk.

Tip 3. Take a cab. A cab ride is cheaper than a DUI. Store taxi cab numbers in your cell phone or information for RTD routes and times from your location.

Tip 4. Have a designated driver that doesn’t drink any alcohol. A designated driver doesn’t do anyone any good if he or she starts drinking. If a designated driver starts drinking as well, it’s best to have a back-up plan such as taking a cab or calling a sober friend.

Tip 5. Call a sober friend for a ride.

Tip 6. If you insist on drinking and then driving, know that you’re playing Russian Roulette regardless of how much you’ve had to drink. Eat enough food and hearty food to have a full stomach. These foods slow down the absorption rate in your stomach.

Tip 7. Avoid carbonated mixers and sparkling wines. These drinks speed the absorption of alcohol.

Tip 8. Check your car to make sure everything is in working order. Especially check all lights including license plate light bulbs and brake lights. Headlamp, tail lamp, valid registration stickers, and turn signal functions should also be checked. Take the plastic clear or smoke covers off your license plates! Many DUI cases start with something simple as a “license plate bulb out”.

Tip 9. If you drive, pay attention to all highway regulation signs. Drive the speed limit. Not over, not under. Use your turn signal. Dim your high beams. Stop at stop signs. Don’t weave between the lines.

Tip 10.Have your driver’s license, registration, and insurance documents readily available and current. Don’t fumble around in your car to find them. Know where they are and be able to confidently access them in the event you get stopped. Fumbling around trying to find documents can be an indicia of impairment.

Tip 11.Avoid DUI checkpoints. Search online and in the newspaper to find out where the DUI checkpoints will be before you go out.

Tip 12.Stay off your cell phone when driving. It’s a distraction. Leave the radio tuned where it is.

Tip 13. Wear your seatbelt for obvious reasons.

Tip 14. Don’t rely upon “one drink per hour and I’m ok” rule. Unfortunately, I’ve had many clients who have relied upon this rule and have ended up with a DUI. How the body processes alcohol is a little more complex than just one drink per hour. It depends upon a number of factors including, food in the stomach, body weight, hydration, gender, the strength of the drink, etc.

Tip 15. Driving to locations close to your home doesn’t ensure that you’ll escape a DUI. Here again, I’ve had many clients who have been stopped close to their home and some even as they are turning into their driveway and charged with DUI. Law enforcement in Colorado won’t give you a “pass” simply because you are “almost home” or your house is “right around the corner”.

Tip 16. If you get a DUI, get a lawyer to represent you that has experience defending clients accused of DUI. Shy away from lawyers who handle every type of case under the sun such as “divorces, wills, personal injury, workers comp….and DUI cases”. Look for lawyers who dedicate a significant portion of their practice to DUI defense. DUI defense is a complicated area. Make sure the lawyer answers all your questions, that you are comfortable with the lawyer, and can effectively communicate with him about your goals regarding the case.

It’s important to remember that the penalties in Colorado for drinking and driving are severe. DUI drivers face jail time, loss of driver’s license, and many collateral consequences as a result of a DUI charge. A little common sense and planning can go a long way towards a safe and happy holiday season.
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file2051287069638-1024x685CBS News reports that NBA Star Lamar Odom was recently arrested for DUI in California:

“The former Los Angeles Laker and Clipper was arrested by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in the early morning hours of Aug. 30 after officers noticed him driving slowly and weaving in and out of lanes.”

Driving slowly in the early morning hours combined with weaving is a sure-fire way to get pulled over in California or any other state. Police officers know that people who have been drinking and later decide to drive are often out at night and in the early hours of the morning. Police officers actively target minor traffic violations with an eye towards a possible DUI investigation especially during these prime times and often have designated “DUI cars” to focus on DUI arrests.

Colorado is no exception to this strategy. Colorado officers specifically train to look for these minor traffic infractions. Many jurisdictions in Colorado have designated “DUI officers” and “DUI cars”. The State of Colorado, Alcohol and Drug Impaired Driver Enforcement Manual, 2008 [Enforcement Manual], prepared by the Colorado Office of Transportation Safety, indicates that both “weaving” and “slow speed” are cues which “predict a driver is DWI at least 35 percent of the time”. The Enforcement Manual goes on to read that “the probability of DWI increases substantially when a driver exhibits more than one of the cues”.

According to the New York Daily News, “[t]he police report filed after his arrest described Odom as showing ‘objective signs of intoxication and was unable to perform field sobriety tests as explained and demonstrated.'”

In Colorado, roadside sobriety tests are a “search”, thus probable cause with exigent circumstances must exist or consent given from the motorist. However, because the maneuvers can’t be administered without the cooperation of the driver, consent is the typical focus of the investigating officer.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] indicates that three (3) roadside tests are the most reliable: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the One Leg Stand, and the Walk and Turn. NHTSA claims that all three tests combined can predict a driver’s BAC of .08 or greater in 91 percent of the cases. However, many officers don’t do the roadsides correctly and a properly prepared cross-examination can reveal this.

The Colorado DUI Enforcement Manual adds the alphabet or counting, the finger-to-nose test, and the Rhomberg test to the 3 tests validated by NHTSA.

According to ESPN, “Odom refused all chemical tests and was booked for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at 5:01 a.m., CHP officials said.”

Refusals in Colorado are similar to that in California. In Colorado, if a driver refuses a chemical test of his blood, breath, urine, or saliva at the direction of a law enforcement officer in a DUI stop, he can potentially lose his privilege to drive for one (1) year. A driver is entitled to a hearing at the Department of Revenue to contest the refusal. The hearing must be requested within 7 days of the stop. A new law is set to take effect in Colorado in January, 2014 which will permit a driver with a refusal revocation to apply for an ignition interlock restricted license after 2 months of no driving.
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DSC4881-619x1024An Upper Darby Pennsylvania man was recently arrested for his 11th DUI in Delaware after being released on another DUI two days previously. Cindy Scharr of the Delaware County News Network writes that:

“James John Duggan, 54, posted $1,000 bail on July 9 and walked out of Delaware County prison, where he had been incarcerated since March on charges stemming from a DUI arrest in Tinicum, according to court records.”

Under Delaware law, a third offense is a Felony according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

In comparison, a second offense within 5 years is a Felony in Indiana. A second offense depending upon the circumstances is a Felony in Minnesota. Both New York and Oklahoma classify a second offense as a Felony if the prior was within 10 years.

If the driver has a previous offense within the past 10 years, a third offense is a Felony in the following states: Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia.

Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, and West Virgina classify a third offense as a Felony, regardless of when the prior offenses occurred.

A fourth offense is a Felony in the following states if a prior offense occurred within the previous five years: Alabama, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Ohio utilizes a six year look back period for a fourth offense Felony determination.

A fourth offense is a Felony in the following states regardless of when the prior offense occurred: California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Oregon. Georgia and Tennessee look back ten years to determine if the fourth offense charged will be a Felony. North Dakota looks back seven years and Nebraska twelve years.

A fifth offense is a Felony in Washington state. The District of Columbia, Colorado, Maryland, Maine, and Rhode Island do not have a Felony DUI offense based upon the number of priors a driver has.

In Colorado, prior offenses unfortunately are a common occurrence and the penalties rapidly increase for drivers who have a prior conviction anywhere in the United States. However in Colorado, the prior offense has to be a conviction to be a “prior”. Sometimes a prosecutor will try to argue that a prior offense should be treated as a conviction, even when it is not. Thus, it’s important to secure the court records for any prior offense that is not actually a conviction.

A study by the Denver Post found that one in three drivers arrested for DUI in Colorado had a prior offense. Kevin Vaughan and David Olinger of the Post report:

“From 2005 to 2007, an average of 31,011 alleged drunken drivers were arrested each year in Colorado, according to statistics compiled by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. During that same three-year span, an average of 10,835 drunken drivers each year had at least one prior DUI arrest, according to Division of Behavioral Health data from probation-department evaluations of drivers facing DUI charges.”

The penalty for a first offense DUI is 5 days to one year in jail. The jail can be suspended. A second offense brings a minimum of 10 days to one year in jail. A third or more offense calls for a sentence of 60 days to one year in jail. Actual sentences vary greatly depending upon the facts of the case, the jurisdiction, the position of the district attorney, and how the driver is presented to the Court by experienced counsel.
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