Were you or a loved one charged with driving under the influence (DUI) over the Fourth of July weekend?
You’re not the only one.
The Fourth of July itself is one of the most notorious holidays for dangerous driving, and the holiday weekend consistently sees more traffic-related fatalities and incidents of drunk driving than any other holiday weekend during the year.
To prevent traffic fatalities, law enforcement officers are typically advised to be extra vigilant, and they’re not afraid to pull over anyone they suspect has been drinking during the holiday weekend.
Along these lines, the Fourth of July weekend is also a popular time for police departments to set up sobriety checkpoints or DUI stops. These checkpoints slow traffic to a crawl and allow officers to pull over drivers based on a predetermined formula to determine if anyone has been drinking. When they suspect that someone has had alcohol, they then ask that individual to perform roadside or chemical tests.
Maybe that’s what happened to you. You caught pulled over at a checkpoint and you blew over a .08%. Now you have a DUI charge. Or maybe you refused the test – now you’re on Colorado’s Persistent Drunk Driver list because all drivers in our state are legally required to take a breath or blood test if asked.
This is a severe charge. However, there are ways you can get your case dismissed, prove your innocence, or negotiate your sentence to minimize its negative impact on your life and future.
What’s going to happen next? Below we take you through the process so you know what to expect.
Your Hearing. If you want to challenge the penalties you face for DUI, you will have to request an alcohol hearing. Once you have received notice of your license being suspended or revoked, you have one week to visit the DMV and request the hearing. You may be able to obtain a temporary permit while you wait for your hearing to commence, but you will have to turn over your license when you visit the DMV (if you haven’t turned it over already).
Consequences of DUI. It is important to know what is at stake if you have been charged with a DUI. The typical penalties for a first conviction include:
- License revocation for nine months
- $600-$1,000 fine
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to 96 hours of community service
- Required alcohol education courses
Penalties are harsher for people who have been previously convicted of DUI, and penalties vary for people under the age of 21 as well.
Ignition Interlock Device. The consequences we mentioned above are not set in stone – there are different penalties that drivers charged with DUI may experience. Some even involve options. For example, if you are facing your first DUI and want to reinstate your license sooner, you can opt for getting an ignition interlock device (IID).
IIDs are essentially a breathalyzer for your ignition. In order to start your car, you must breathe into the device to prove that you have not been drinking. To qualify, you have to be 21 years old, satisfy the requirements of license reinstatement, and have completed one month of license suspension (two months if your license was suspended for refusing a BAC test).
These devices can get you on the road faster. However, IIDs cost $1,000 and must be purchased through specific, state-approved retailers.
If you have been convicted with multiple DUIs, ignition interlock devices are required.
Plea Bargain. In our state, a plea bargain for a DUI charge may reduce your sentence to a reckless driving conviction. This is called a “wet reckless.” Consult your attorney to see how you can negotiate your sentence and reduce the charges on your record.
For more information about plea bargains, negotiated sentences, or how you can prove your innocence at an alcohol hearing, contact an experienced DUI attorney today. With the help of a knowledgeable, experienced professional, you can make sure your memories of the 4th are dominated more by the lights displays in the sky rather than the flashing lights of police cruisers.
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 2012-2016 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.