The DUI Process in Denver
Hard-Hitting Advocacy from Our Denver DUI Attorney
DUI, often referred to as drunk driving, is a serious criminal offense
that may result in incarceration as well as driver's license suspension
and extensive fines. Not only that, but insurance rates and other factors
often come in to play in these cases. With so much on the line, getting
arrested for drunk driving should not be taken lightly. It is important
to understand your legal rights and how you should respond following an
arrest. Make sure you consult with a
Denver DUI attorney who can effectively defend you.
Fight for your future!
Call The Law Office of Christopher H. Cessna
Attorney Christopher H. Cessna devotes his time to understanding the complexities
of DUI cases and effective defenses that can be utilized for his clients.
20 years as a DUI police officer and Deputy District Attorney, he has in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience
handling all types of DUI-related cases. He also is the only attorney
in Colorado who is a
NHTSA-certified instructor in the
administration of standardized field sobriety tests. You can rest-assured that you are receiving the highest level of legal
representation, advice, and guidance when you come to his firm!
What should I expect in a DUI arrest?
The arrest process will begin with the officer pulling a driver over for
a traffic violation or visible reckless driving. If an officer did not
have probable cause to pull a driver over, the charges may be thrown out.
Some of the most common reasons drivers are pulled over include:
- Driving too slowly
- Running a red light
- Driving without lights on
- Any other traffic violation
After pulling a driver to the side of the road, the officer will look for
signs that may indicate alcohol or drug use: slurred speech, the smell
of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, or disorientation. At this juncture, the officer
will determine whether to have the driver exit the vehicle and perform
field sobriety tests.
Field sobriety tests are a way for law enforcement to determine whether
a driver's mental and/or physical abilities are impaired due to intoxication.
These tests gauge the driver's balance, coordination and ability to
follow instructions. Depending on performance on field sobriety tests,
anything the driver says and does, and the officer's observations,
an officer can ask the individual to submit to a chemical test or may
already have "substantial evidence" to arrest them and have
them take a test at the station.
If your BAC comes back at 0.08 or above, or if you refused to submit to
a chemical test, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will initiate a
civil administrative hearing against you in an effort to revoke your driver's
license for at least 9 (nine) months.
If this action is initiated against you, you then have only seven days
to request a hearing with the DMV. It is vital that you request this hearing,
and we encourage you to do so in person at the DMV.
Until the time of your hearing, you will be given temporary driving permit
which will be extended as long a hearing is scheduled within 7 days. If
you win at the hearing and your case is dismissed, you will get your original
driver's license back.
If you lose at the hearing, your license will immediately be revoked for
nine months if it’s your first DUI per se offense and you submitted
to a breath or blood test. Second offenses result in a one year revocation. If you refused a chemical test, the revocation is one year, and may be
up to two or even three years if you have prior refusals.
Contact our criminal defense lawyer in Denver to see whether you qualify
for a Provisional Driver's License (PDL), or what many refer to as
a "Red License."
In addition to a license suspension hearing, you will also have to address
your DUI charges in criminal court. The criminal process for DUI begins with the
arraignment. The arraignment is where you’ll be advised of your rights and you
can enter your plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you retain
an attorney, this arraignment date will be vacated and a pre-trial conference
will be set usually 4 - 6 weeks after the arraignment date. At that time,
both client and attorney will appear for this pre-trial conference date.
The pre-trial conference gives your attorney a chance to discuss the case
with the district attorney (DA) who will be prosecuting the case for the
state. At the pre-trial conference, your attorney will try to negotiate
with the prosecution for a reduction or dismissal of the charges (a plea
bargain). If you're attorney does not have extensive formal training
or experience with the scientific evidence surrounding the standardized
field sobriety testing and the chemical blood or breath testing, then
you and your attorney will not have a lot of leverage in negotiations.
Many inexperienced attorneys and defendants actually believe that the fact
that they have never been in trouble before, or that they have started
taking alcohol classes will be enough to get the alcohol related charges
dismissed. They could not be more incorrect. If your attorney cannot convince
the deputy district attorney that his or her evidence is fatally flawed,
the DA will not dismiss these charges and will be ready to proceed to
trial at your next court date. This is why it is so important to hire
an attorney who truly knows the scientific evidence behind the evidence
that the government holds against you.
If you reject the offer made to you by the DA, your case will be set for
a motions hearing (or suppression hearing) and trial. You and your attorney
will almost certainly proceed to pre-trial motions. At that time the court
may decide to suppress some or all of the evidence being brought against
you. The court will only suppress evidence if your constitutional rights
were violated, or if your attorney can prove the police officer obtained
the evidence unlawfully.
If your case proceeds to trial, a judge and jury will hear testimony, and
review evidence. The jury will then listen to closing arguments from both
sides. At the end of the trial, the jury will reach a verdict to determine
if you have been found guilty or not guilty. Many people looking to hire
an attorney think that all attorneys are actually experienced trial attorneys
or litigators. This assumption could not be farther from the truth. Very
few attorneys who take DUI cases actually have any trial experience since
they have made it a habit of pleading their clients out - most often to
a drinking and driving conviction.
If you are found guilty at trial, the judge will impose a sentence, which
typically includes such penalties as fines, driver’s license suspension,
time in jail, community service, mandatory DUI school, and probation.
Denver Post estimated that a DUI conviction can cost a defendant almost $10,000.00
over the course of the probationary period.
Fight Your Charges with Strong Legal Representative
Knowledgeable and experienced in the field of DUI arrests, Attorney Christopher
Cessna can offer unbeatable representation with steadfast commitment to
ensure you receive the best possible legal outcome. As a Denver DUI defense
lawyer, he knows how to challenge any evidence made against you. If you
are looking to
expunge your DUI, we can also assess your case and offer the help you need.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, do not hesitate to
contact The Law Office of Christopher H. Cessna
to receive a free consultation.