DUI Attorney in Denver, Colorado
If you are facing DUI or DWAI charges in Colorado, your freedom and future could be at stake. Our experienced DUI defense attorney at Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell understands the seriousness of drunk driving charges and is dedicated to providing dependable and compassionate legal representation to you.
Our founder of the Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell will work with you to carefully examine the facts of your DUI case and develop a strong defense strategy to minimize the potential penalties or get the charges dismissed altogether. From our office in Denver, Colorado, we represent clients facing DUI/DWAI charges throughout the Denver Metro area, including Arvada, Englewood, Aurora, Lakewood, Brighton, Highland Ranch, Castle Rock, Boulder, and Littleton.
DUI Charges in Colorado
Colorado criminal law recognizes three categories of drunk driving:
DUI. DUI stands for driving under the influence. As the name implies, you can face DUI charges for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
DWAI. DWAI stands for driving while “ability impaired.” You can face DWAI charges for driving while your driving abilities are impaired.
DUI per se. DUI per se refers to operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more.
In order to understand the difference between DUI and DWAI, it is important to define the terms “under the influence” and “ability impaired.” Under the influence means that a driver has an impairment that affects their ability to drive safely. A BAC of .08% or higher would indicate that the driver is under the influence of alcohol.
Ability impaired, on the other hand, means that the driver is slightly impaired but not under the influence. Drivers are presumed to be DWAI if their BAC is between .05% and .08%. However, do not let the definitions of DUI/DWAI charges in Colorado mislead you. In the state, you do not have to be driving to get a DUI or DWAI.
For purposes of the drunk driving law in Colorado, “driving” means exercising actual physical control over the vehicle. Thus, if you are physically in the vehicle and have the capability to operate that vehicle (e.g., sitting in the driver’s seat, the key is in the ignition, etc.), you can face criminal charges for DUI, DWAI, or DUI per se even though you were not actually driving.
Sobriety Tests and Your Rights
Many drivers in Colorado do not understand their rights when they are pulled over by police officers on suspicion of DUI/DWAI. Specifically, drivers do not understand whether or not they have a right to refuse a field sobriety test.
Whether or not people are within their rights to refuse an officer’s request to perform a sobriety test varies from one state to another. In Colorado, a police officer cannot take your driver’s license away for refusing to submit to a field sobriety test. It means that you can legally refuse a field sobriety test without any negative impact on your driver’s license.
However, if you refuse to submit to a field sobriety test, you may still get arrested and taken to a police station for chemical testing. When asked to submit to a blood test at the station, you cannot refuse because Colorado is an express consent state. It means that you gave your consent to a blood test when applying for a driver’s license in Colorado.
If your driver’s license was revoked for refusing a field sobriety test or you feel that your rights were violated while performing the test, contact a DUI attorney in Denver, Colorado, to challenge the results of the tests and defend yourself against the charges.
Possible Penalties for DUI in Colorado
Possible DUI penalties in Colorado depend on the number of prior convictions on your record. You could be sentenced to serve from a few days in jail to several years in state prison. Fines also increase with each subsequent DUI/DWAI conviction, not to mention that people convicted of drunk driving in Colorado also face suspension of a driver’s license, community service, and the requirement to install an ignition interlock device.
Unlike other states, Colorado does not set a “look-back period” for drunk driving convictions. It means that your DUI/DWAI convictions will be considered for the purposes of sentencing no matter if your previous DUIs occurred one, two, three, or 10 years ago.
Ignition Interlock Program
An ignition interlock is an electronic device installed on an offender’s motor vehicle to prohibit them from operating a vehicle after drinking alcohol. The device requires the driver to provide their breath sample before the engine will start. The engine does not start if the device detects an elevated level of alcohol concentration in the provided sample.
Colorado has an Ignition Interlock Program that requires the installation of the device for drivers convicted of DUI. According to Colorado’s Division of Motor Vehicles, the length of time the driver will be required to drive with an ignition interlock device depends on the offender’s BAC level at the time of the arrest, the number of previous drunk driving convictions on their record, and some other factors.
The DUI attorney at the Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell understands how a DUI conviction can disrupt your life. That is why we are committed to providing an aggressive and effective legal defense to people facing DUI/DWAI charges to help them avoid or minimize potential penalties.
DUI Attorney Serving Denver, Colorado
A DUI or DWAI conviction can result in harsh penalties and life-altering consequences. Our DUI attorney in Denver, Colorado, has extensive experience defending people accused of drunk driving throughout the Denver Metro area. If you are looking for dependable representation, contact the Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell. We can start working toward the best possible outcome for your DUI case immediately.