It is a common misconception among drivers that they can only be charged with a DUI if they are driving drunkClick To Tweet
In fact, a DUI charge—that is, a “driving under the influence” charge—can come as a result of a wide range of scenarios, and a person can be charged with driving under the influence of a number of different substances in addition to alcohol, including drugs and prescription medications.
A DUI charge also does not necessarily mean that your blood alcohol level was above .08. While a BAC of .08 or above is always grounds for a DUI charge, you can be charged with a DUI simply for being deemed “substantially incapable” of operating a vehicle. That’s something that’s up to the judgment of the officer arresting you.
But while it’s important for motorists to know that it may be easier than you think to earn a DUI charge, it is also vital that you are aware of the many different ways that you can get these charges dismissed if you have a capable attorney on your side.
Facing a DUI?
DUI charges come with some extremely serious consequences in Colorado, especially for repeat offenders or individuals with criminal records. These consequences include jail time, hefty fines, and the suspension or revocation of your license. In addition, certain DUI offenders in Colorado may be required to install a bulky, invasive, and costly ignition interlock device on their vehicles, which will prevent them from driving if their BAC exceeds a certain level.
But for many people convicted of driving under the influence, the worst consequence is the stain a DUI leaves on your permanent record. You’ll have to live in the shadow of your conviction for years, forever explaining the DUI on your record and struggling to secure employment, find housing, or obtain a loan.
Luckily, though, a DUI charge does not always mean a DUI conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a knowledgeable lawyer may be able to put together a strong defense to help get your DUI charges dropped. Some possible grounds for dismissing a DUI case include:
- Officer error. Though many people consider police officers to be infallible, the fact is that they make mistakes just like everybody else. If there was an error somewhere in your arrest details, this could be grounds for dismissal.
- The infringement of your rights. Before a DUI charge can be issued, a police officer has to pull you over and determine that you appear to be inebriated. But in order for an officer to pull you over in the first place, there must be probable cause that you are doing something wrong. Then, the officer must develop reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence. If an officer failed to follow the proper legal procedures, a case may be made that your rights were infringed upon.
- Insufficient proof. If your case goes to court, the prosecution will rely heavily on evidence gathered at the scene of the crime. Often, roadside sobriety tests are not completely accurate, and if a lawyer can prove that the evidence is inadequate, a judge may have no choice but to dismiss your case.
- Problems at the checkpoint. Searches and checks that occur at checkpoints can sometimes be unlawful for a number of reasons, often because officers have infringed on a person’s Fourth Amendment right against unwarranted search and seizure. If the checkpoint practices that resulted in your arrest were illegal, your case may be dismissed.
Each DUI case is different, and your case may come with its own unique set of circumstances that could serve as grounds for dismissal during a trial. An experienced attorney with a successful track record will be able to dissect the details of your case and find potential weak points in the charges, which may wind up either lessening the penalties of your crime or allowing you to have the charges dismissed completely. With the help of a skilled attorney, you may be able to avoid life-altering consequences such as huge fines, jail time, and a stain on your record.
Fight Back Against Unfair Charges
To keep the roads safer for all Colorado citizens, it’s best for drivers to avoid DUIs entirely by not driving while impaired. Of course, accidents are not always avoidable, no matter how hard we try. In Colorado’s efforts to crack down on intoxicated driving, many overzealous law enforcement officials may end up making unjust arrests and doling out unfair charges.
If you find yourself facing unfair DUI charges, make sure to equip yourself with a practiced and skilled attorney. Call the law office of Kimberly Diego to start building your defense today.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.