A Colorado coroner recently resigned after getting a DUI, but the story is a lot stranger than it sounds. What happened?
On March 8, a 16-year-old boy was driving with three friends as passengers. He lost control of the truck, which hit an embankment and rolled over. One passenger died in the accident and the driver and the other passengers were injured.
Bent County coroner Dave Roberts was called to the scene to deal with the deceased individual. However, when he arrived there the troopers quickly suspected that he was drunk, and eventually arrested him on charges of DUI. His blood alcohol content (BAC) level was reported to be 0.087.
While there is no clear indication that he was forced to resign, his story is a reminder of the myriad serious consequences that can come with a Colorado DUI charge and conviction. Below, we’re going to review the DUI laws in our state and go over several of the potential penalties.
Understanding Colorado DUI Laws
A DUI charge applies to any individual whose BAC is 0.08 or higher. An aggravated DUI charge applies to cases where the BAC is at least 0.17. Additionally, anyone under the age of 21 who has a BAC of 0.02 to 0.05 could face underage drinking charges.
Can you simply refuse to take a BAC test? Yes.
However, Colorado has an implied consent law. This means that if you drive on highways or roads, you are agreeing to have your blood, breath, and urine tested to determine levels of controlled substances like alcohol.
If a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence of a controlled substance and you refuse to submit to testing, you can lose your driver’s license for up to one year.
This is very important to remember, because even if your BAC tests at 0.08 or higher, a skilled Colorado DUI attorney will have ways to fight your charges.
Penalties for DUI in Colorado
A conviction for DUI can result in a number of consequences.
Loss of driving privileges. You will lose driving privileges if convicted for varying amounts of time depending on the number of offenses you have incurred.
- A first offender will lose driving privileges for nine months.
- A second offender will lose driving privileges for one year.
- A third offender will lose driving privileges for two years.
IID. If you have two or more offenses, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. This device will prevent you from operating the vehicle if your BAC is above a prescribed level.
Jail. For a first offense you can get up to a year in jail. The sentences increase from there with multiple offenses.
Fines. For a first offense, you can be fined anywhere from $600 to $1,000. Just as with jail time, the fines increase with multiple offenses.
Auto insurance increase. CDOT estimates that those convicted of DUI will experience an increase of $3,600 over five years.
Assessment, education, and treatment programs. You may be required to participate in assessment, education and treatment programs for alcohol abuse, no matter how many offenses you have.
Other non-criminal consequences. Mr. Roberts resigned from his position as coroner, but it is possible that you could lose your job or professional license for a DUI, depending on what you do. Additionally, you will have a criminal record, which can make it harder to do things like find housing, get a good job, and more.
Fighting Your DUI Charges in Colorado
If you have a notice of revocation for your driver’s license, you have only seven days to request a hearing to receive a temporary driving permit. It’s essential for you to act quickly or you could face losing your driver’s license for months, even for a first time offense.
It’s important to call an experienced Colorado DUI defense attorney as soon as you face charges. We can fight to get your sentence reduced so that you only need to serve a deferred sentence. We can also try to get your driver’s license reinstated.
There are all kinds of defense strategies that could potentially work for your case. We can look for problems with the arrest procedure, the breathalyzer testing, the field sobriety test, and the blood test. There are many ways the procedure and testing can fail, and if it does, your case can be dismissed.
The sooner you contact us, the faster we can gather evidence to support your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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.