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How to Get a DUI Dismissed in Colorado

How to Get a DUI Dismissed in Colorado

With DUIs, there is a strict set of procedures and protocols that law enforcement must follow. If mistakes are made, that may give rise to grounds to dismiss the case.

The dreaded flashing lights in the rear-view mirror. You’re being pulled over and you start wishing you hadn’t gotten behind the wheel…

For many people in Colorado, a DUI charge is their first (and often only) brush with the law. However, it only takes one conviction on your criminal record to impact the rest of your life. So, what do you do? How do you get a DUI dismissed in Colorado so that it doesn’t restrict future options when it comes to employment, housing, finance, and travel?

Getting a DUI dismissed may be tough but you have a chance, especially with the right legal representation to defend you.

What happens after your DUI arrest?

If you are arrested on a DUI charge in Colorado, you may be required to post a bond, or you may be released to a sober party. A date will be set for your first appearance, sometimes called an arraignment. Then you will be released and conditions may apply, such as no driving without a valid license and no consumption of alcohol or drugs.

At the first appearance/arraignment date, a judge will explain the criminal charge, the potential penalties, your constitutional rights, and you will be asked whether you’d like to retain a lawyer.

First things first: do not plead guilty or enter into a plea agreement at the first appearance/arraignment and inform the judge that you’d like a continuance to retain counsel. With legal representation, you have a chance of a better plea offer, case dismissal or acquittal at trial, regardless of the weight of evidence against you.

While this chance exists, do not try to explain yourself or what happened to the judge or prosecutor, instead request a continuance to get an attorney and then let your lawyer do the talking.

If the complaint against you is flawed, your attorney may move to dismiss the charges at the arraignment.

If you retain an attorney prior to the arraignment, your attorney may request that your appearance at the arraignment be waived and have you sign a document to enter your not guilty plea that way instead.

If the case proceeds, it enters a “discovery” phase where evidence is provided, interviews are conducted, and opportunities to get the case dismissed may arise.

What are the time limits at the beginning of the case?

When preparing your DUI defense, it is important to move quickly because there are some important early deadlines. Depending on whether you elected a blood or breath test, there is a time limit to request t an Express Consent hearing. This may be important as this is an additional chance to question the law enforcement officer(s) outside of the criminal proceedings.

The 7-day time limit for requesting an Express Consent Hearing also affects your driving privileges. If you fail to request a hearing, you will not have the option to receive a temporary license while awaiting the hearing and your license will be revoked as outlined in the Notice of Revocation. You have only 7 days from the date of your arrest or of receipt of the blood draw results to request a DMV hearing on whether your driver’s license will be revoked, so that hearing would have to be requested no later than June 8. After you request your Express Consent hearing the DMV will send you a letter called the Notice of Hearing. Your hearing will need to be set within 60 days of your request for an Express Consent hearing.

What happens if this is your first DUI?

For a first DUI offense, the penalties are more lenient than for repeat offenders but there is still the possibility of spending up to one year in jail.

With good legal representation and depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may be able to avoid jail time altogether even if you are convicted. Many first-time DUI offenders receive community service, classes, counseling, and fines.
However, the aim of any good DUI lawyer should be to have your case dismissed before it goes to trial.

How can you fight a DUI and get it dismissed?

Your lawyer will start your defense by looking for the most common reasons for DUI cases to be dismissed by the Colorado courts.
With DUIs, there is a strict set of procedures and protocols that law enforcement must follow. If mistakes are made, that may give rise to grounds to dismiss the case.

The following are some common ways to get DUI charges dismissed in Colorado:

  • Lack of sufficient grounds to stop your vehicle by police
    Colorado police must have an acceptable reason to stop your vehicle and question you, such as reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation has been committed. For instance, if you were speeding, ran a red light, were weaving, or had other violations.
  • No reason to have you performs field sobriety tests
    Police must be able to say why they asked you to do field sobriety tests, such as an admission to drinking, an odor of alcohol, difficulty in speaking or similar observations.
  • The tests performed on you were improper
    Before charging you with DUI, Colorado law enforcement will run tests to gather evidence: field sobriety tests may be used at the stopping location as well as breathalyzer tests and chemical tests later performed to confirm blood alcohol content (BAC). These must all be conducted in the right way to be lawful. Improperly administered sobriety tests, for instance, can lead to a DUI case being dismissed, as can poorly calibrated equipment or lack of certification from the officer who administered the test.
  • Witnesses are not provided
    In these cases, the prosecution is reliant upon witness testimony to prove their case. If these witnesses do not appear for constitutional motions hearing or at the trial itself, the case may not proceed. For instance, the chemist who performed the blood test may need to appear in court to secure a conviction, as will the officer(s) who were involved in your arrest.

Even if the case is not dismissed outright, the prosecution may be willing to negotiate a plea bargain if they are aware that their case is weak. This is why it’s so important to hire an experienced DUI lawyer to support you, defend your rights, and negotiate with the prosecution in your best interests.

Have you been charged with DUI in Colorado?

If you need legal assistance for a DUI charge, start with a free case evaluation with one of the DUI attorneys at Colorado Defense Group. Call (720) 594-7360 today.