What You Need to Know If You Are Arrested For DUI
Your nightmare has become reality. You chose to drive home from that party intoxicated and now you face a Colorado DUI charge. As you mitigate this process, it is important to understand how the legal system functions for this charge. It is imperative to receive legal counsel from a skilled lawyer specializing in such cases. As you navigate the process there are a total of seven steps you may potentially go through from start to finish.
What Happens When I Am Arrested?
If law enforcement has reason to believe you are driving under the influence you will be pulled over. If you are found to be intoxicated, you will receive a citation, although this does not mean you will be automatically held in jail overnight. Most of this will depend on your cooperation or resistance with the arresting officer. If you are respectful to officers, you will most likely receive better treatment.
Since you are obviously still intoxicated, you may be asking how do I get home if I’m not being held overnight? It is simple, law enforcement may allow someone you know to come to pick you up and drive you home. There is also a chance you will be sent to a detox facility. For offenders sent to a detox facility, the outcome will be expensive. After you are released you will have to visit an impound to recover your vehicle, resulting in costs to retrieve your car.
What Happens Next?
You will need to request a hearing with the DMV. Depending on the time of the chemical test that you chose, if you chose to take a test, you may have as little as 7 days to make the request.
After you have completed your part, the DMV will process your request and notify you of when your hearing will take place (generally within 60 days of the request). The DMV will also include documents such as an Express Consent packet and a copy of the police report detailing your arrest.
Next Up Arraignment
The arresting officer, at the time of the arrest, will present you with a ticket detailing the time, location, and date of your arraignment or mandatory court appearance. During this court appearance, the judge informs you of the charges against you and the potential consequences.
Be sure to attend your arraignment and any additional court appearances in correlation to your charges to avoid the issuance of a warrant for your Failure to Appear, which will complicate matters for you. If you desire to appear less frequently in court, a Colorado DUI attorney can be of assistance.
It is common for part of the court process to include a pre-trial conference which functions as a court appearance where the accused goes over case details with the district attorney. It is important to be present for each conference (generally 2-4) and have your lawyer present as discovery requests regarding evidence can be made in addition to negotiating one’s plea bargain.
Furthermore, it is important to understand the process of motions (legal arguments). A competent attorney will be an important person as he or she can present an argument in the form of a motion to either suppress or dismiss evidence relevant to your case.
If your case goes to trial, a jury will be an important part of the equation. Your case will be presented to a jury of six people for a DUI charge and 12 people in the event of a felony DUI charge. Your guilt or lack thereof rests on the jury’s verdict.
Lastly, after the trial has been completed, if you receive a guilty verdict you will be sentenced. In layman’s terms, this simply means you will face the penalties incurred for the crime based upon Colorado’s laws.