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 today.

Attorney Christopher H. Cessna devotes his time to understanding the complexities of DUI cases and effective defenses that can be utilized for his clients. Having spent 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:

  • Swerving
  • Speeding
  • Racing
  • 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.

DMV Hearing

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."

Arraignment

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.

Pre-Trial Conference

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.

Suppression Hearing

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.

Trial

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.

Sentencing

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. The 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.