Posts Tagged ‘ dui ’

How to Avoid Jail Time for DUI in Colorado

Posted on: October 8, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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Denver DUI Lawyer

One 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.

Our DUI attorneys know that these charges are serious affairs, and a DUI conviction in Denver can result in a number of penalties that will affect you for years to come. Because DUIs are taken so seriously in Denver, one of the penalties for this crime is jail time. There are a number of DUI charges that can be filed against you, depending on the severity of the offense and your prior record. For instance, if it is the first time that you have been arrested for DUI, you may have a much better chance of getting away with no jail time as part of your penalty.

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, however, 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.

Every DUI charge in Colorado comes with a minimum and a maximum prison sentence attached. You can get a part of the sentence suspended, or even the entire sentence suspended. However, this depends on the specifics of each case. It’s very important for you to understand the consequences involved, and the legal options available for you by speaking with a Denver DUI defense attorney as soon as one is arrested.

You can also apply for alternate sentencing options in Colorado. One of those options is house arrest. Typically, a first time DUI conviction in the state of Colorado can result in a jail term of at least two days. You may be required to perform community service of up to 48 hours. However, your attorney could help get the minimum jail sentence possible for you in your case, or get jail time suspended from your sentencing altogether.

Possible alternatives to jail sentences for DUI are the Home Detention program, Work-Release, Work Crew, as well as the Multiple Offender DUI Program. In the home detention program, the person must remain at home instead of jail, and will be monitored by an electronic ankle bracelet. Electronic home monitoring is also considered an alternative to time in county jail as a condition of probation. As part of the Work Release Program, you will be allowed to work during certain hours, and must remain incarcerated during the other hours. The Multiple DUI Offender program allows individuals who have been convicted at least three times of DUI, to start off with jail time, and then move on to a work release program. Speak with a Denver DUI defense attorney about the options applicable in your case.

Is It A Good Idea to Plead Guilty to a Lower DUI Charge?

Soon after you have been arrested for DUI, you are likely to feel very anxious. If this is your very first DUI, then you have no experience with how the justice system works, and you probably just want to get the entire thing over and done with. If you were arrested for DUI, speak to a Denver DUI defense attorney.

If, for instance, the prosecutor offers you a plea deal under which you plead guilty to charges of Driving While Alcohol Impaired, and in exchange, receive no jail term, you may be likely to jump at the chance. What should you do in a situation like this? You may not really want to immediately jump at a plea deal, even if it seems like an attractive offer. After all, you can avoid a jail term, and this is the one thing that most people, who are facing DUI charges, dread the most.

However, it’s also important to understand that the prosecutor probably does not have that much evidence to convict you of DUI. It’s not that easy to establish that you were legally intoxicated and driving under the influence of alcohol. You may therefore, not want to immediately accept a plea deal, assuming that you do not have any other choice.

Speak to a Denver DUI defense attorney, and go through all of your options, including any plea deal offer, before you decide to go ahead and accept any agreement. Remember, even a DWAI guilty plea will remain on your record, so it’s best not to be hasty.


A Denver DUI Lawyer Is Your Best Hope For Justice

Posted on: September 8, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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The effects of a DUI conviction are long-lasting and serious. Not only will you face jail time, fines and possibly community service or alcohol programs, but your car insurance and job will also be affected.

DUI & Insurance

If you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in any of the United States, your DUI citation will cause a major spike in your car insurance premiums. The exact severity of the impact depends on the insurer’s specific policies about DUI convictions. However, your insurer will learn about your DUI arrest, and may respond appropriately.

Auto insurance companies usually verify your driving record only once every three years or when you apply for a new policy. While every accident, ticket, and DUI may not always be reflected on your driving record, if your insurance company discovers a DUI conviction and categorizes you as a “high-risk driver,” you should shop around, since rates vary widely.

For instance, you might find that your premiums increase. In fact, it is very likely that they will after a DUI conviction appears on your record. In some cases, the insurer may even refuse to renew your policy or might, at the very least, restrict some of the provisions of your coverage.

The increased premiums could be very expensive to you. In some cases, the payments could increase to double the amount that they were before. Typically, the worse the circumstances surrounding your case, the more expensive the premiums are. Your DUI conviction will immediately make you a high-risk target that your insurer needs to watch out for.

Additionally, if your DUI arrest and conviction were also accompanied by other high-risk actions, like an accident which resulted in injuries or fatalities, or if you have a long record of unpaid traffic tickets, and other traffic offenses, you might find that your insurer is no longer as willing to look favorably on you. Because of this, your insurance policy could be cancelled, or your insurer might refuse to renew it. In fact, many big name insurance companies do not insure high-risk drivers after a DUI conviction.

If that happens, you’ll be shopping to find new insurance with the twofold disadvantage of a DUI conviction and an insurance policy cancellation on your record. Don’t let this happen to you; if you’re charged with DUI anywhere in or near Denver, consult immediately with an experienced Denver DUI lawyer.

Colorado compels a DUI offender to obtain an SR-22 from his or her car insurance company. It’s a form which tells the state that you carry liability insurance, and requires your insurer to notify the state if your car insurance is cancelled for any reason. SR-22 forms are not insurance policies, but rather evidence that you legally carry insurance. After a DUI, you could be required to carry a SR-22 for up to five years.

However, some insurers don’t offer SR-22; your policy could be cancelled or non-renewed because the company can’t provide the coverage you now require.

To summarize: a DUI conviction will radically raise your auto insurance premiums, and those premiums likely will never sink back to the sum that you pay now. That’s one reason it’s imperative to have the counsel of a knowledgeable DUI attorney if you face any DUI charge in the Denver area. While there are no guarantees in any criminal case, a good DUI lawyer will make every effort to have the charge reduced or dismissed; if your case goes to trial, an experienced DUI attorney will advocate aggressively for your acquittal. It’s your best hope for justice. Increased insurance premiums are only the beginning of the bad news if you’re convicted; fines, jail, and the loss of your driver’s license are among the potential penalties. If you face the charge in the Denver area – now or in the future – get the help you need and contact an experienced Denver DUI lawyer immediately.

DUI & Employment

There are a number of ways that a DUI conviction can impact your job. The conviction can have a devastating impact on your employment potential. If you are currently without a job, and need a car for job hunting and interviews, you will find it very difficult to get around without a car. Public transit simply may not work for you. For help after a DUI arrest, consult with a Denver DUI defense attorney.

Additionally, if you are without a without a license, you are unable to travel to your place of employment. One of the reasons why license suspensions have such a devastating economic potential for workers is the fact that many new places of work like manufacturing units are being located further and further away from the cities. That means that you need a car to get your place of work, and in the absence of a car, your ability to get to work is hampered.

Apart from license suspensions which prevent you from being able to get to work, there are a number of other ways that a DUI conviction can make it difficult to go to work, or to get a good job.

For example, some types of professional licenses like those for doctors or lawyers can require, that you disclose a DUI arrest and conviction to the licensing agency. In some cases, you may find that that you lose your professional license, as a result of the DUI conviction.

You will find it difficult to get employment as a commercial driver. Your employer may have no other choice but to fire you if your job manual or policy handbook expressly prohibits you from getting a DUI conviction while in service.

A DUI conviction will also likely show up when your potential employer conducts a criminal background screening check. Employers may not be allowed to come right out and ask if you have been arrested for DUI in the past. But they can conduct background screening checks, and if your DUI conviction comes up, then that makes it less likely that that you will land the job.

Besides, when you are convicted, you are probably likely to have to attend DUI education programs, or even spend a few days in jail. That means days lost off work and absenteeism. Your employer may not be very understanding about the fact that you are unable to come to work, because you were convicted of driving while drunk.

Speak to a DUI defense attorney in Denver about the consequences of a DUI on your professional license.


Why The Navarette Case Matters

Posted on: May 5, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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In the 1960s, Chief Justice Earl Warren presided over a Supreme Court that established and defined a number of essential constitutional rights we take for granted today. Many decisions rendered by the Warren Court involved rights of the accused, including Mapp v. Ohio (1961), Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), and Miranda v. Arizona (1966). Warren Burger replaced Earl Warren in 1969 and the Burger Court, while less dynamic than the Warren Court, did not reverse the gains of the 1960s. A reversal began with the Rehnquist Court in the 1980s and continues into the 21st century with the Roberts Court, which rendered a chilling decision in April.

Navarette v. California has dark implications for the Fourth Amendment rights of anyone driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a public thoroughfare. At issue in Navarette was a traffic stop based on an anonymous call to 911 alleging that a pickup truck driver ran another driver off the road. On that allegation alone, police officers sighted a matching truck in the vicinity and pulled over the driver for suspicion of drunk driving. Officers subsequently discovered thirty pounds of marijuana hidden in the pickup. The caller had accurately described the truck and its location; that was sufficient for a majority of the justices to determine that the police had probable cause to make the traffic stop.

However, Navarette reverses several important rulings that have safeguarded Fourth Amendment rights for many years. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled in Florida v. J.L. that an anonymous tip about a young man carrying a firearm was not sufficient to justify constitutionally a stop and search. In Alabama v. White (1990), the Court allowed a stop and search based on an anonymous tip because police corroborated that tip with their own investigation. Obviously, there was no corroboration in Navarette. 

Reaction to the Decision

Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia issued a blistering dissent to the majority opinion in Navarette v. California on April 22. A 5-to-4 Supreme Court majority held that the police had acted within constitutional boundaries. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas said that the tip phoned in to 911 (that the pickup’s driver ran another driver off the road) gave law enforcement officers sufficient probable cause to make the traffic stop. However, the arresting officer admitted that the suspect was not driving recklessly or driving while intoxicated and the anonymous tip was the only cause for the stop. Should this happen to you, and you’re arrested for DUI on the basis of an anonymous tip, get legal help promptly and speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney.

Justice Scalia joined Associate Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer in a fervent dissenting opinion, arguing that a search based exclusively on a nameless tipster’s allegation is a dangerous violation of the Fourth Amendment’s safeguard against unreasonable searches and seizures. Scalia writes that the Navarette decision cracks open the door for law enforcement officers to increasingly rely on anonymous tips in a way that will threaten and slowly reduce constitutional liberties. Scalia further argues that anonymity is highly suspicious particularly in cases like Navarette; why would a victim report a criminal act without providing identification so that he or she can testify against the suspect? If you are falsely accused of DUI, a good DUI defense attorney may be able to have such a charge completely dismissed.

The Constitution does not allow searches without probable cause even in murder investigations; it doesn’t allow such searches in drunk driving investigations either. For all practical purposes, however, the Navarette ruling simply fudges the definition of “probable cause” to include any accusation made on a whim by anyone who wants to cause anonymous trouble. The decision could mean a significant increase in DUI stops and arrests. If you’re charged with a DUI because of an anonymous tip, or for any other cause, get the legal help you need right away from an experienced DUI defense attorney.

What Does This Mean For You?

Before this ruling, police in Denver were allowed to use anonymous tips, however only to form a reasonable suspicion. In fact, almost every state in the country has a REDDI (report every drunk driver investigation) system in place, where drivers can phone in and give information about someone they suspect is driving drunk. However, prior to this ruling, these reports were not considered to be sufficient evidence to actually pull someone over. Police had to observe behaviors that led them to believe that the tip was accurate, such as a driver swerving between lanes or failing to signal turns.

The Navarette has completely eliminated the need for police to witness behavior on their own, and instead allows them to rely entirely on an anonymous tip that was phoned in against another driver.

What the ruling means for Denver motorists is that if you have a neighbor who has a beef with you, all he has to do is report anonymously to 911 that you were driving recklessly or badly, leading police officers to be on your case even if you had not been driving recklessly at all. A bad breakup between a boyfriend and girlfriend could lead to a phone call, and then a traffic stop, all out of spite.

It now will take nothing more than a quick phone call to have you pulled over on the side of the road and embarrassed in front of drivers who are passing by as you are treated like a criminal due to an anonymous threat.

If you are pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol, absolutely do not admit to drinking alcohol. You are also not required to subject to a roadside test. Refuse to take a roadside test, and take a blood-alcohol test once you have been arrested. It is in your best interest to contact Dan Murphy, an experienced and knowledgeable Denver criminal defense attorney, to defend your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. The sooner that you have a lawyer on your side, the better the outcome may be.

Teen Social Circle Can Contribute to Underage DUI

Posted on: May 2, 2014 by in Uncategorized
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underage dui

You don’t really need a study to tell you that peer pressure is a major factor influencing underage DUI, but a new study only confirms this fact. Teenagers whose social circle consists of friends who constantly drive intoxicated, may have no problem with DUI.

The study was conducted by investigators at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. They say that although their research did not yield any new results about underage DUI, and although it is a well-established fact that peer pressure does have a huge influence on teen DUI, they were surprised at the level of increase in DUI risk when a teenager had friends who frequently drove under the influence of alcohol.

The study found that teen motorists who had friends, who drove while intoxicated, were much more likely to drive intoxicated in their senior year of high school. The study doesn’t exactly provide the rate of increase, or show exactly how much more likely teenagers are likely to drive while drunk because of peer influences. However, it does confirm that teenagers, who are frequently exposed to such drunk-driving practices by their friends, are much more likely to believe that these practices are acceptable.

For parents, the results of the study are extremely pertinent. If you are the parent of a teenager who has just begun driving, you are probably very concerned about underage DUI, as you should be. Intoxicated driving, while it is on the decline among many other categories of motorists, still remains fairly high in the teen driver population. Teenagers do not fully appreciate the dangers of DUI, including not only the risks of being involved in an accident when they’re driving under the influence of alcohol, but also the possibility of a DUI conviction on their record.

In fact, some teenagers take DUI charges so lightly, that they brag about them on social media. Over the past couple of years, there have been far too many cases involving people, especially young drivers, who got into trouble after posting on Facebook about their DUI experience. For instance, in one case, an 18-year-old was arrested when he returned home after a hit-and-run accident. He had hit the car on his way back home while driving under the influence of alcohol. It was bad enough that he left the scene of the accident after hitting the car. However, when he returned home, he logged onto Facebook and posted on his page, apologizing to the owner of the other vehicle, and admitting that he had been driving under the influence. People noticed the post, contacted the police, and very soon, officers were on his doorstep. He was not arrested for DUI because it had been several hours since the incident, but he did face several charges related to the hit-and-run.

If you were arrested for DUI, don’t lose any time. Talk immediately to a Denver DUI lawyer about possible defense strategies. A Denver DUI lawyer will work to get charges against you lowered or dismissed.