Why Hire an Attorney After a Drunk Driving Arrest in Colorado?

Stephanie Stout Jan. 22, 2015

People may benefit by hiring a lawyer after a drunk driving arrest due to their knowledge of the law, procedures and factors involved in DUI cases.

The Colorado Department of Transportation reports there are over 26,000 DUI arrests across the state every year. Especially when it is their first arrest, many drivers choose not to seek legal guidance and instead represent themselves. However, there are a number of benefits to hiring a lawyer when facing drunk driving charges, which may affect the outcome of their cases.

Understanding of the laws

Most people are aware they can be arrested for driving under the influence if they have a BAC of .08 percent or higher. The Colorado Department of Transportation points out that drivers could be arrested for driving while ability impaired, or DWAI, with a BAC level of at least 0.05 percent. The slightest impairment due to alcohol consumption or drug use may also result in DWAI charges. If drivers' BAC levels are 0.17 percent or higher, they may be labeled a persistent drunk driver and could face harsher potential penalties.

Attorneys who focus their practice on DUI defense have a thorough understanding of the laws and stay up to date on any related policy or procedural changes. They may draw on their knowledge and experience to ensure people were legally stopped and appropriately charged.

Dealing with the penalties

If convicted of drunk driving charges, people may face a range of penalties. These may include fines, jail time, a driver's license suspension, mandatory use of an ignition interlock device or compulsory participation in an alcohol treatment program. Although there are mandatory minimums and maximums that are established by state law, there is room for negotiation in the middle. DUI lawyers understand the sentencing options available to the courts and may be able to help limit the impact of these charges on their clients' lives.

Calling evidence into question

DUI arrests are often based on the observations of law enforcement officers, drivers' performance on field sobriety tests and their BAC levels. For example, the authorities may testify that a driver refused to submit to roadside testing as evidence of his or her alleged intoxication. Drunk driving attorneys know how to suggest that the driver was exercising his or her rights by refusing the tests, not attempting to hide something from law enforcement.

Legal representatives who focus their practice on DUI defense are also familiar with the factors that might affect field sobriety test performance and BAC levels. This may include suffering from certain medical conditions, consuming some foods, or the calibration and maintenance of breath test devices. They may point to these factors as evidence that the results of such tests are not always reliable, which may help them get the charges against their clients reduced or dropped altogether.

Protecting the future

Drunk driving is considered a serious offense in Colorado, and is punished severely. Therefore, people who have been charged with DUI may benefit from obtaining legal representation. An attorney may help them understand the laws as they apply to their situations, explain their options and guide them through the legal process.