Read This If You've Decided Not To Hire An Attorney For Your Colorado DUI

Naturally I've been in court recently with clients. As I waited for a case to be called, I couldn't help but notice how some individuals came to court representing themselves, all of them nervous, no attorney present at all. In legal terminology they are known as pro se defendants.

Unfortunately the results were what I'd come to expect: A substantial fine, loss of driving privileges for between 3 and 12 months, second or third time offenders facing jail time. Not to mention a dramatic increase in their insurance rates for years. And maybe worst of all, a Colorado DUI conviction which would remain on their record for life.

You see, its the DA's job to do that.

It was sad, really, because with the help of an attorney experienced in Colorado DUI defense they could very possibly have avoided some of these consequences.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

  • Several of them said at their hearings "it was no big deal" or "Yes, I did it and I intended to do it, but. . . ." Such a totally detrimental--if not fatal--admission would not have been made if these defendants had a competent attorney. It proved the DA's case for him, even if the people weren't guilty of drunk driving.

  • In another case one of us was involved in as a prosecuting attorney, a young defendant lost her licence as a result of a DUI conviction resulting in too many points. She petitioned Motor Vehicles for a probationary license.

    She decided not to have representation and do it alone. Her request was denied and she also managed to make the hearing officer angry. Because of this, she did not get a license for one year.

    An experienced attorney knows what issues are explored at this type of hearing and can prepare a presentation that is convincing.

    So whats my point? She should have been granted a probationary license but wasn't, because she didn't know what to do and because she had made the hearing officer angry.

  • Finally, I know of a case in which the Defendant was arrested for a DUI in Arapahoe County. After being followed for several blocks, he was pulled over for weaving. He performed the roadside field sobriety tests and chose a breath test, with a result above a .200.

    As a pro se Defendant he had 3 or 4 pretrial discussions with the prosecutor. He had continued his case 2 or 3 times, asking permission to retain a lawyer each time. He actually did not want a lawyer as he believed he was drunk and wanted to just get the case over.

    In his first 3 pretrial discussions with the same prosecuting attorney he was offered a plea agreement of a DUI with the standard terms of probation and community service along with an agreed upon 10 day jail sentence. The Defendant did not want to go to jail and was ambivalent about accepting the offer, but nevertheless, decided not to hire a lawyer.

    On the 4th and final pretrial conference at which he appeared, there was a different prosecutor who offered the same plea agreement but with "in home detention" rather than jail. He gratefully accepted the deal.

    The fact is, if he would have not even attempted a plea agreement with the original prosecutor and just pleaded guilty straight up to the judge, he would have got 10 days "in home detention" anyway. The first Deputy DA was "jerking" him around. A Colorado DUI attorney wouldn't have let that happen.

  • We have also represented people after they have violated probation. One man managed to get a 90 day jail sentence on a first offense! We got it reduced to five days, but if he had had us on his case from the beginning, given the facts and judge in his case, he would have done no jail time at all.
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