It’s never good to drive after you’ve been drinking, but the fact is that alcohol can lead people to make poor decisions. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that as many as 300,000 people drive drunk in the U.S. each day. In 2015 alone, there were more than 28,000 DUI arrests in Colorado. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in this state, you are likely terrified about what the future holds and upset about your circumstances. Here is what you can expect after a DUI arrest in Colorado.
Were You Arrested or Given a Citation?
There are three common scenarios with a DUI stop. First, you may not have been under the influence and would have been let go. Second, the police decide that they have enough evidence for an arrest and book you into jail, often having your car impounded in the process. Third, you may be given a citation for DUI but allowed to either go to a detox facility or go home with a sober person that arrives on the scene to pick you up. With the second two scenarios, the next step will be similar since you have been officially charged with a DUI.
Did You Refuse to Take a Breath Test?
One other thing to consider before any initial court dates is what happened during the arrest stage with your blood alcohol test. While you don’t have to agree to a field sobriety test in Colorado, this is an implied consent state, meaning you do have to agree to a chemical test if you are arrested for DUI.
If you refused to take that test or took the test and failed, you have just seven days to request an “Expressed Consent” hearing with the Colorado DMV to determine whether your license should be suspended. This is something that your DUI attorney can explain further.
Attending an Arraignment
After a DUI arrest in Colorado, your arraignment will be your first required court date. During this hearing, the court reads the charges against you as well as the potential penalties for each charge. At this time, you will be asked to enter a plea to the charges. If you are posting a bond to be released from jail, the court will let you know the conditions of your release. If you fail to meet these conditions, there will be a bench warrant issued for your arrest.
Additional Court Appearances
Your arraignment was just the first of several mandatory court dates in the DUI process. Provided you are contesting the charges, your attorney will represent you at pre-trial conferences and motion hearings. If your case goes to trial, you will have to be present as your case is presented before a jury of your peers.
Most DUI cases don’t go to trial. A case that doesn’t end up with a dismissal will need to go to sentencing. This is the stage where punishment is assigned for your DUI, and it is vital that you have an experienced DUI lawyer in your corner that can argue your case and put forth the best defense on your behalf.
Penalties for First-Time Colorado DUI
Colorado has taken an increasingly tough stance on drinking and driving, so being convicted on one of these charges is something you want to avoid. A first-time offender could face stiff penalties that include fines up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, probation, an alcohol evaluation and therapy, and increased auto insurance rates.
Speak with an Experienced Colorado DUI Attorney
One thing you should never do is try to handle a DUI case on your own. There is simply too much at stake. Even a first-time DUI offender could end up with a conviction that will follow them for a lifetime. As soon as possible after your arrest, you should speak with an experienced Colorado DUI attorney who will protect your rights and freedom.
At Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, we have been fierce legal advocates for people accused of DUI offenses for more than three decades. Our goal is to keep our clients on the road and out of jail. Contact our Colorado Springs office now at (719) 473-9099 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.