DUI Lawyer: Challenging A First Time DUI In Colorado

Challenging a First-Time DUI in Colorado: A Comprehensive Guide

A first-time DUI charge in Colorado can have serious repercussions, including fines, license suspension, and a criminal record. However, it is possible to challenge a DUI charge, and with the right legal strategy, you may reduce or even dismiss the charges.

This guide explores the various aspects of challenging a first-time DUI in Colorado, providing detailed information on legal defenses, procedural errors, and the importance of an experienced Colorado Springs DUI Lawyer on your side.

Do you need to speak to a Colorado Springs DUI Lawyer now? Call us at (719) 328-9555 or Contact Us HERE for your Free Case Review!

Understanding Colorado DUI Laws

In Colorado, a person is considered to be driving under the influence if their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. For drivers under 21, the BAC limit is 0.02%, and for commercial drivers, it is 0.04%. The state also recognizes Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), which applies to drivers with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08%. First-time DUI offenders face a variety of penalties, including:

  • License Suspension: Up to nine months.
  • Fines: Ranging from $600 to $1,000.
  • Community Service: Up to 96 hours.
  • Imprisonment: Up to one year, although jail time is often suspended or minimized for first-time offenders.
  • Alcohol Education and Treatment Programs: Mandatory participation in approved programs.

Common Defenses Against First-Time DUI Charges

Successfully challenging a first-time DUI charge involves identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and presenting compelling evidence and arguments. Common defenses include:

1. Improper Traffic Stop

To legally stop a vehicle, law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or criminal activity. If it can be demonstrated that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause, any evidence obtained during the stop may be inadmissible. This defense scrutinizes the initial reason for the traffic stop.

2. Invalid Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are used to establish probable cause for a first-time DUI arrest. However, these tests are often subjective and can be influenced by various factors such as:

  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, like neurological disorders, can affect performance on FSTs.
  • Physical Limitations: Injuries or physical disabilities can also impact a driver’s ability to perform these tests.
  • Environmental Factors: Poor lighting, uneven surfaces, or adverse weather conditions can skew test results.

An experienced attorney can challenge the reliability and administration of these tests.

3. Questionable Breathalyzer Results

Breathalyzer tests are a primary method for determining BAC, but their accuracy can be contested on several grounds:

  • Calibration Issues: Breathalyzers must be properly calibrated and maintained. Records of maintenance and calibration can be reviewed to ensure compliance.
  • Operator Error: The accuracy of breathalyzer results depends on the proper administration of the test by a trained operator.
  • Mouth Alcohol: Residual alcohol in the mouth from recent drinking, belching, or dental work can affect test results.
  • Medical Conditions: Conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can lead to falsely elevated BAC readings.

4. Blood Test Challenges

Blood tests are considered more accurate than breath tests, but they are not infallible. Defenses may include:

  • Chain of Custody Issues: The prosecution must prove that the blood sample was properly handled and not contaminated or tampered with.
  • Testing Errors: Laboratory errors, including incorrect procedures or equipment malfunction, can lead to inaccurate results.

5. Rising Blood Alcohol Defense

The rising blood alcohol defense argues that the driver’s BAC was below the legal limit while driving but increased to an illegal level by the time the test was administered. This defense hinges on the rate at which alcohol is absorbed and metabolized in the body.

6. Medical and Health Conditions

Certain medical conditions can mimic signs of intoxication or affect BAC test results. For example:

  • Diabetes: Hypoglycemia can cause symptoms similar to intoxication, such as slurred speech and unsteady gait.
  • Ketosis: Diabetic ketoacidosis or a low-carbohydrate diet can produce acetone, which may be mistaken for ethanol by breathalyzers.

Procedural Errors and Constitutional Violations For First-Time DUI

Challenging procedural errors and constitutional violations is another effective defense strategy. These can include:

1. Failure to Read Miranda Rights

If the arresting officer failed to read your Miranda rights (the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney) at the appropriate time, any self-incriminating statements made may be excluded from evidence.

2. Unlawful Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If evidence was obtained without a valid warrant or probable cause, it may be deemed inadmissible.

3. Right to Counsel

A driver has the right to consult with a Colorado Springs DUI attorney, especially if they request it during the DUI process. Denial of this right can be grounds for challenging the DUI charge.

The Role of Legal Representation

Navigating the complexities of a DUI case requires experienced legal representation. A skilled DUI attorney can:

  • Evaluate the Case: Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case.
  • Investigate Thoroughly: Gather evidence, interview witnesses, and scrutinize police reports.
  • File Pre-Trial Motions: Seek to suppress evidence or dismiss charges based on procedural errors.
  • Negotiate Plea Bargains: Negotiate with the prosecution for reduced charges or alternative sentencing.
  • Represent in Court: Provide robust defense during trials and hearings.

Your Right To Challenge A First-Time DUI

Challenging a first-time DUI in Colorado involves a thorough understanding of DUI laws, identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and presenting a strong defense. From questioning the legality of the traffic stop to disputing the accuracy of BAC tests, various defenses can be employed. Given the severe consequences of a DUI conviction, seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable DUI attorney is crucial. An experienced Colorado Springs DUI Lawyer’s expertise can significantly improve the chances of a favorable outcome, whether through dismissal, reduced charges, or alternative sentencing.

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Shimon Kohn is the attorney to call when you need the best criminal defense lawyer. I will never have enough words to express my gratitude to him for how he helped my family. He was available to answer questions honestly and reassuringly within a reasonable timeframe.
He exeplified professionalism, compassion and expertise. His professional and personal relationship with the district attorney's office is unparalleled in this community. Shimon is definitely to whom I will refer anyone and everyone who requires legal services.


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{Shimon was assigned to my cases when there were many conflicts. He became the gateway to being heard on my case. Of course I had guilt to some degree, but Shimon stood up & fought for reasonable consequence. He was thorough with organization, facts, and persistent with the DA. The respect I was given during my time of incarceration to assure I wasn’t left in the dark, is absolutely the best I’d experienced. I have, and will always recommend Shimon & his law firm for their accountability, their desire to make you feel like you’re heard/personable, attention to detail and respectable reputation! What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong, but the fairness and overall justice with Kohn Law Firm is highly recommended!

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Julian was a pleasure to meet, and work with.  What initially drew me to his counsel was his enthusiasm at working with my case, comprehensively,  and with my best interests not only in mind, but in heart as well. Like many, my financial situation was greatly impacted during 2020, and they were willing to set up amicable payment options that catered well to my specific needs at the time, which greatly helped. I would strongly recommend of course Julian,  as well as the firm as a whole,  as my experience was highly professional,  and thorough.

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We heard from Shimon through a family member and decided to go with him for our case which was a felony. He gave it to me straight and never promised a deal. the DA was being very agressive and wouldn’t lower the charges but nonetheless Shimon kept the pressure on them and we got the case dismissed! Obviously it’s not a guarantee he can do the same for anyone else but let me tell you this is the best lawyer in the springs he will fight tooth and nail and not try to feed you BS. I do not wish to ever have any more legal trouble but if we ever do find ourselves in a bind Shimon is the only lawyer we will ever need. I would highly suggest to anyone else if you want to sleep well at night hire this man! Thanks Shimon! You are definitely worth every penny!

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