SPECIAL REPORT: Mistakes Made
After Being Arrested and Released for DUI in Colorado
How to avoid the 10
biggest mistakes most people make after being arrested for DUI.
1. Not taking the matter
seriously. This is a charge that will follow you for the rest of your
life, if you are convicted. If you have three prior lifetime impaired driving convictions
anywhere in the US, you are facing a possible felony conviction. The Motor Vehicle Division will keep track of
it until you are dead. It has to make sure to take your license away from
you for two years, if you have three lifetime convictions.
2. Not hiring an attorney. The law is complex and you need competent
representation. You must raise the right defenses at the right time or you
will lose them. Facts will disappear, memories fade and witnesses vanish.
A winnable case can quickly become a loser. What should you do? You need
legal advice and fast. You want an attorney who knows how to handle your case.
3. Hiring an attorney based on the amount of the fee alone. The State has
almost unlimited resources when it comes to your case. You need to hire an
attorney and pay a fee which will allow him to put time and effort into
your case to counter the prosecution.
4. Not obtaining a temporary license and requesting a hearing at the Motor
Vehicle Department within 7 days, if your license was taken when you
failed or refused to take an alcohol test. If you do not request a
hearing, you will not be able to drive until after a hearing or for 90
days to a year. Driving during this time is a serious traffic offense,
regardless of whether you need to drive for work or personal reasons.
5. Driving after your license has been revoked. You have no right to drive
after revocation and driving then is more serious an offense than your
original charge. There are no provisions for you to drive for work or
personal reasons. After a 30 days, you may qualify for probationary license. If arrested for driving during this time, you may have to post a
$10,000 bond just to get out of jail. If convicted, you face a minimum 45
days in jail.
6. Not requesting that the officer be present at your motor vehicle
hearing. If you do not request the officer's presence, you will have to
subpoena him or waive her presence. The hearing will be based on the
officer's report only and you will not hear how the officer will testify.
Many things can be learned at this hearing by your attorney, if the
officer is present. If the officer fails to appear or justify what was
done, you get your license back.
7. Taking the District Attorney's first offer. The first offer is not a
bargain, it's just to get rid of your case with the least amount of work.
Very few cases are dismissed or reduced to a non-alcohol charge at this
stage. You do not give the judge an opportunity to rule on constitutional
challenges. You give up your right to raise these issues and make the
State prove it's case.
8. Fail to appear in Court. The Court will issue a bench warrant for your
arrest and revoke any bond. The next time you are stopped for a traffic
infraction, you will be spending some time in jail and posting a bond for
your future appearances.
9. Talk to anyone but an attorney about your case. Anything you say to
them can be used against you. When you discuss your arrest
with friends or family, you risk turning them into involuntary witnesses
against you. It is in your best interest to remember the details of your
arrest. It will help you in your defense. In any criminal case, you must
be represented by a competent defense lawyer.
You may choose a lawyer or risk the consequences
of representing yourself. By hiring an attorney immediately following
your citation, you won't miss any deadlines.
Judges won't know if they should protect your rights unless someone defends
you. For example, overworked prosecutors may use reports from
inexperienced or over-zealous police officers to over-prosecute a case.
Defense attorneys are aware of these tendencies and are trained to handle
such situations. If you ask the judge to let you be your own attorney, he
or she must allow this in most cases. But do not do this. In all DUI/DWAIs,
get a lawyer quickly. You should interview immediately after arrest if you
can (you have a 7 calendar day deadline after arrest, if you lost your
10. Think that talking to numerous attorneys will help you handle it on
your own. You need to have an attorney go to Court with you.