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
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
- 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
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
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.