Will I Need to Install an Ignition Interlock in my car?

Denver DUI attorneyIgnition interlock devices are devices that are installed in the car to act as breathalyzers, and detect the amount of alcohol in a person’s system.

The device prevents the car from starting, if the amount of alcohol is above a preset, predetermined limit. In Colorado, certain persons who have been convicted of DUI may be required to get an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles.

Under Colorado law, if you have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and meet any of the following criteria, you can be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car.

  • If this is your first DUI conviction, and if you have been driving with a blood-alcohol content of .15 or higher, you may be required to get the device installed in your vehicle. If you meet this criterion, then you are required to have an interlock device in your car for a period of two years.
  • If this is your second conviction for DUI within a period of five years, then you are subjected to the two-year requirement. The device must be fitted in your car, and must be retained for two years before it can be removed.
  • If this is your third conviction for DUI, you will be subjected to the two-year interlock requirement too.
  • If you have been convicted of refusal to submit to an alcohol test for DUI, then you would have to get the device installed, and keep it in your car for a period of two years.

Failure to get the ignition interlock device installed in your car is punishable with a penalty. If you fail to drive a vehicle that has been equipped with an ignition interlock device, even after you have been ordered to so, or try to drive a vehicle that has not been equipped device, then you will lose your driver’s license for a period of one year. You will also be required to get the device examined by a licensed professional at least once every two months, and failure to do so will again subject you to a suspension of your driver’s license.

Any decisions related to ignition devices, eligibility and reinstatement, are made by the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles

Will I Have To Go to Prison after Being Convicted of DUI?

Denver arson attorneyOne of the questions that persons who have been arrested for DUI in Colorado have is whether they will have to go to prison after a conviction.

Obviously, that is a distressing thought, and while people may be more open to the idea of performing community service, undergoing an alcohol education program, or paying any of the other penalties that may be attached to a DUI conviction in Colorado, nobody wants to spend any time in prison at all.

The good news is that if this is the very first time that you have been convicted of DUI, then it is quite unlikely that you will have to spend any time in prison. Prison time for first-time DUI is rare in Colorado,. However, in some cases, the judge may decide to sentence a person to jail for a first-time DUI conviction. Often, in these cases however, the amount of time that you actually have to spend in prison is very low. For a first-time DUI, you may have to pay fines, undergo an alcohol education program, and undergo several hours of community service.

However, things get markedly more serious if it is your second or third or subsequent DUI conviction. The law takes a very stern view of persons who have been arrested multiple times or convicted multiple times for driving under the influence, and prison time is definitely a possibility in such cases.

Subsequent DUI convictions come with harsher penalties, and the amount of jail time that you have to spend depends on the specifics of each case. Prison time may be mandated if you have been convicted for the second DWI offense. The situation can become more serious when there is a brief time gap between the first and second offense. Broadly, if you have been convicted for a second time of DUI within five years of your first conviction, then you may have to spend time in jail.

For a third conviction, a person may be sentenced to a prison term of 60 days in jail with no hope of being substituted by electronic monitoring.

Sometimes, minimum prison terms can be substituted by electronic monitoring. However, in those cases where the law requires a mandated prison sentence, it is not possible to substitute electronic monitoring for prison time.

What Is Blood-Alcohol Concentration?

bigstock-Drinking-And-Driving-2785571One term that you will hear a lot of around the time of your arrest for DUI or in the days after is blood alcohol concentration.

Blood alcohol concentration refers to the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood. When you talk about a blood-alcohol concentration of .10%, it means that your bloodstream contains one part alcohol for every hundred milliliters of blood. In Colorado, the maximum legally permissible blood-alcohol concentration that you can have in your body while driving is .08%. When you’re out at a party having a few drinks, it is easy to forget that just a few alcoholic beverages can spike the alcohol content in your blood to dangerously high levels, causing you to fail a breathalyzer test or a chemical test.

Typically, blood-alcohol concentration levels can depend on a number of factors, including the number of standard drinks that you have had. For instance, one 12 ounce glass of regular beer could contain .5% alcohol, while a 17 – ounce glass of malt liquor, can contain 7% alcohol.

Apart from the number of alcoholic drinks that you have consumed, the blood-alcohol concentration in your body can also depend on the time period within which these drinks are consumed, your body weight, and gender. The type of food that you have consumed with your drinks can also affect your BAC level to some extent.

Be a responsible drinker, and monitor the changes in your personality, judgment, coordination and other abilities after having had a few drinks. With a blood-alcohol concentration point of between .02% and .04%, you may feel mildly relaxed, a little lightheaded, and you may find your inhibitions dropping. When the BAC reaches .05% to .07%, you may begin to develop that warm and relaxed feeling, become bolder, more outgoing, and may experience mild euphoria.

When the blood-alcohol concentration exceeds .08%, you may become aggressive and believe that you are much more sober than you really are. Your speech will begin to slur, and you may lose your sense of balance. Your judgment skills will be affected. When blood-alcohol concentration levels are at these levels, it is common to find persons becoming more sexually belligerent and aggressive, or losing their ability to appropriately judge sexual situations. These are the kind of changes that you need to look out for while drinking. If you notice these changes, it’s best to avoid getting behind the wheel.

Colorado Texting While Driving Laws

Denver criminal lawyerIf you are a Colorado motorist, you are more likely than not to have used a cell phone either for texting or having a conversation while driving at least once over the past year. However, there are traffic laws related to the use of electronic communication devices while driving, and penalties will apply if these laws are violated.

Since 2009, the State of Colorado has made it illegal for drivers below the age of 18 to use cell phones and other electronic communication devices while driving. That law went into effect on December 1, 2009 and specifically prohibits drivers below the age of 18 from using a cell phone while driving unless it is to call for help in the event of an emergency.

Under that law, motorists above the age of 18 are also not allowed to use a cell phone or mobile phone for text messaging purposes, unless they’re using the cell phone during an emergency. Those emergency situations could include calling the fire department or police department to report a fire, a traffic accident, any kind of incident where there is a serious risk of a criminal act against another person, a medical or hazardous material situation, a dangerous road hazard, or to report a person who is driving under the influence of alcohol or driving recklessly or in any other manner that affects the safety of other motorists on the road.

For an adult motorist in Colorado, the law specifically bans texting while driving and that includes not just the actual process of typing a text message, but also reading a text message. It also includes using your smartphone for other purposes. For instance, many motorists use their time behind the wheel to update their Facebook status, or their status on Twitter. Both of those activities would fall under the purview of this law. Even using e-mail services on your smartphone would be covered.

If you are caught texting while driving behind the wheel, you could be punished with a fine. Penalties can begin with $50 for a first offense, and extend to up to $100 for multiple offenses.

What makes these cell phone while driving laws even more stringent in the state of Colorado is that these are being enforced as primary enforcement laws. That means that a police officer does not need a reason to pull you over if he sees you texting at the wheel. He can pull you over for texting while driving, and does not need to pull you over for another driving infraction before he cites you for texting while driving.

Does the Officer Have to Read out My Miranda Rights during a DUI Arrest?

Denver attorneyMost Americans are very familiar with Miranda rights, thanks to TV cop shows. Those rights must be read out at the time of taking a person into custody or before interrogation. However, it is not necessary that a police officer read those rights to you when he’s taking you into custody while arresting you for DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol.

Miranda rights are typically read out while taking a person into custody and before the officer begins asking you questions or interrogating you about your involvement in the case. However, a DUI situation is completely different. In such cases, the officer will already ask you questions before he decides to take you into custody or take you to the station. Therefore, by the side of the road, or at a checkpoint where you have been asked to get out of your car and perform tests, is not really considered a custody situation, and therefore, the Miranda Rights may not apply to those cases.

However, that does not mean that you don’t have rights, and one of the most important of those is to remain silent. In other words, the police officer doesn’t have to remind you that you have the right to remain silent. Many people in a DUI arrest situation panic, and make statements that might complicate their situation further. For instance, the last thing that you want to do when you are being arrested isto confess to the police officer, that you had a few alcoholic beverages just before you began driving.

However, an exception may be made in certain cases. For instance, say that you have been arrested for DUI, and have been taken to a police station where the arresting officer proceeds to tell you that he wants to ask you a few questions. Your situation at the station could be construed as a custody situation, and therefore, your rights to remain silent kick in. At the station, you are considered as being in custody, because you have no permission to leave, and are being interrogated by a police officer.

In such a case, the officer may be required to read you your Miranda rights. However, if he fails to do so doesn’t necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed.

What You Need To Know About Domestic Violence Charges?

Denver Felony AttorneyCharges of domestic violence and are very often inked to retaliation, revenge or a divorce /child custody battle gone wrong. These charges often tend to surface during a family dispute, or when a child custody battle has become exceedingly volatile.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that the law takes a grim view of such charges. There is also a widespread public revulsion to someone who is physically violent towards an intimate partner. Any conviction of domestic violence charges could have widespread ramifications for your personal and social lives.

Many people who have been charged with domestic violence don’t take these kinds of charges seriously. However, the fact is that very often, charges of domestic violence can seriously disrupt your life, especially your personal life. Domestic violence charges can very often coincide with a temporary restraining order being taken out against you. That means that you may have to move out of your home, and may have very restricted access to your children.

Besides, charges of domestic violence can also affect your personal and professional lives. A prison sentence can become part of penalties, and you may also be asked to undergo court -mandated therapy.

Apart from revenge, retaliation, and jealousy, domestic violence charges are often also related to intoxication. A drunk person is much less likely to be in complete control over his faculties, and may make physical actions that could be construed as violence. Apart from this, domestic violence is also very often a form of self-defense. However, police officers arresting you were not at the scene when the actual violence or event occurred, and therefore, are not in a position to judge whether it was an act of self-defense.

Very often, domestic violence cases come right down to “he said, she said,“ which means that you need an experienced lawyer on your side who can help present your side of the story, so that your reputation is protected.

Domestic violence charges are even more serious, because they cannot be dropped by the person who brought the charges. If a wife brings charges against her husband for domestic violence, and later, after tempers have cooled down, wants to withdraw charges, she’s not allowed to do for. The only person who can drop the charges is the state prosecutor.

What Are Miranda Rights?

Daniel Murphy Denver atorneyIf you have been arrested, the police officers making the arrest must read out your Miranda Rights. The Miranda rights protect many essential rights, but just because an officer has not failed to read out the rights, doesn’t necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed.

It is important for every citizen in Colorado to know that there are laws that protect him even after an arrest. An arrest is not an assumption of guilt. You still have the right to the due process of law, and have the right to maintain your innocence by remaining silent.

The Miranda Rights that must be read out at the time of the arrest include the following:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything that you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to speak to an attorney.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
  • Do you understand these rights as they have been read out you?

Exercise your right to remain silent after you have been arrested, as well as your right to hire an attorney at the earliest. The right to remain silent is probably the most important right after an arrest. You don’t have to answer questions by police officers even if they are badgering you. Very often people panic, and forget the silence can be a good defense.

You will not be punished for remaining silent, and your silence will not be held against you if the case goes to trial. However, if you start making statements, those statements can, and likely will, be held against you in court as evidence. A person may panic. and make several incriminating statements that can be used against him. For instance very often, lawyers see that people start panicking, when they are in the back of a patrol car on the way to the station. They strike up a conversation with the arresting police officer, falsely believing that they can make excuses for whatever happened, or can make the police officers understand why they did what they did.

Although the failure to read out your Miranda Rights will not necessarily result in the charges against you being dismissed outright, they may affect some of the evidence. For instance, some of your responses to questions may be suppressed, and withheld from the trial, if the Miranda rights were not read out to you at the time of the arrest or being taken into custody.

Are Hit-And-Runs Treated As Traffic Offenses?

Denve DUI AttorneyTechnically, hit-and-runs fall under the category of traffic offenses in the state of Colorado. There are several driving offenses that may fall under this category, and hit-and-runs happen to be the most serious.

Depending on the type of situation involved, a person who has been charged with hit-and-run crimes could be facing jail term or other stringent penalties. Even if it is a seemingly minor offense, like a hit-and-run involving a parked car with no injuries or deaths, there could still be stringent penalties involved. For instance, if you are hit a parked car, and then drive away from the scene, you could face up to three months in prison.

However, things become dramatically more serious if the hit-and-run involved an accident that ended in fatalities or even death. In such cases, the penalties will become more serious.

  • If the hit-and-run involved a parked vehicle, and did not result in injuries, you could face up to three months in jail, be fined, and 12 points will be assigned to your record.
  • If the hit-and-run involved injuries which are not life-threatening, the prison term could extend up to one year in jail. A conviction could also lead to a fine and 12 points on your license.
  • If the hit-and-run and ended in serious injury, then you could be sentenced to up to six years in prison and be fined.
  • In the hit-and-run resulted in a fatality, the prison sentence could extend up to 12 years in prison.

Penalties may become more stringent depending on whether alcohol and drug use were factors in the accident. Broadly, even though hit-and-run offenses fall under the category of traffic offenses, they may not always be treated as such. For one thing, there’s widespread public revulsion for motorists who leave the scene of an accident. These incidents may be widely reported in the media, and there is little tolerance for a person who hits another car, and leaves the scene of an accident, knowing that the accident has probably resulted in injuries to the occupants of the other vehicle.

Fortunately it is possible to mount an aggressive defense for hit-and-run. Very often, there are no witnesses to these crimes, or even if there are witnesses, eyewitness testimony may not be completely accurate. Often, these cases go to trial, so having an experienced hit-and-run trial attorney on your side is an absolute must.

Bieber’s DUI Test Reports Find Evidence of Marijuana, Prescription Drugs

Denve DUI AttorneyJustin Bieber’s toxicology reports show that the teen singing sensation had been smoking marijuana, and was also on prescription medication for anxiety at the time of his DUI arrest recently.

The pop superstar was arrested for DUI in Miami Beach last month after police found him driving several miles above the speed limit. When police pulled him over, they found that he showed signs of alcohol intoxication, including slurred speech and a blank stare on his face.

Officers asked him to perform a sobriety test, and when he refused, he was arrested. He was arrested for driving under the influence and drag racing. He was also found to have been driving with an invalid license at the time.

At the time of the arrest, Bieber admitted to police officers that he had smoked pot, and had also taken some prescription medication just before he began driving. Samples were taken for testing, and according to the test results, he had THC and alprazolam, which is the key ingredient in antianxiety drug Xanax in his system at the time of the arrest. He tested negative for a number of other drugs, including methamphetamines, oxycodone and cocaine.

The report’s findings were released after the pop star pleaded not guilty to charges of DUI. He also faces charges of resisting arrest and driving with an expired license, and he has pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.

The stakes can seem higher when you are a celebrity figure in the public eye, who has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, in cases of DUI, the media likes to run with the story and the celeb is presumed guilty until proven innocent. The Bieber story, for example, has been splashed across the front pages, and there’s even a petition on to get him deported from this country. Bieber is a Canadian citizen, and the petition wants his visa revoked.

Bieber’s arrest is the latest in a long series of legal troubles for the 19-year old star who, as Denver DUI lawyers find very often happens with young celebrities, seems to be having some kind of personal meltdown, like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears before him. What he really needs is for people close to him to get him to take charge of his life, which seems to be spiraling out of control, and set it back on track again.

Colorado DUI Campaign Warns against Driving While Stoned

Denver DUI attorneyColorado recently became the first state in the country to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational uses. Obviously, concerns are increasing about motorists who may choose to drive after smoking marijuana, which could impair their driving abilities.

State transportation officials have announced a new DUI campaign that is designed specifically to warn motorists against driving under the influence of marijuana in Colorado. The campaign is being sponsored by federal funding of approximately $ 430,000. The announcement of the campaign coincides with the opening of the country’s first recreational marijuana retail shops in the state of Colorado.

As part of the campaign, special posters will be handed out at these marijuana retail shops. The public service campaign is being funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the campaign will also include a number of television public service announcement spots, which will begin appearing on television screens in March. Basically, these announcements warn motorists that persons who are found driving under the influence of marijuana, could face very tough penalties that are similar to those that apply to DUI.

Just because the state now has a law that allows the sale of marijuana for recreational uses, does not mean that many of the key provisions of Colorado DUI laws have changed dramatically. For instance, Denver motorists must understand that public consumption of marijuana continues to remain illegal even after the sale of medical marijuana for recreational uses became allowed under the law. Besides, having an open container of cannabis marijuana in your vehicle could also expose you to charges of DUI. Lawmakers in Colorado have already passed a law that sets a maximum permissible limit of 5 ng/mL of blood for THC which is the active ingredient in marijuana.

There continue to be concerns about the effects of marijuana on a person’s driving skills. Although there is some literature on the subject, these studies have not been able to establish a clear association between impaired driving abilities and consumption of marijuana. However, the Office of Transportation Safety believes that persons operating a car after inhaling marijuana could have their driving skills affected. Smoking marijuana is also believed to affect a person’s reaction time, which could prove devastating when he is required to react immediately to an emergency situation. The drug is also believed to affect hand -eye coordination, memory, and concentration.