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Colorado DUI Per Se in Colorado

Posted on July 26, 2023 in

DUI per se in Colorado occurs when a person is found with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.8 or higher. If you have been charged with a Colorado DUI per se, you are facing a significant impact on your license, and having a trusted, experienced criminal defense attorney is critical. Our team at the Law Offices of James L. Finegan P.C. is here to help.

What Colorado Law Says About DUI Per Se

Driving under the influence is not as simplistic of a charge as many believe. Under Colorado law, DUI per se occurs whenever a person has a BAC of 0.08 or higher while driving or within two hours of driving. There are a few more things to keep in mind.

Driving Safely with a High BAC

It is important to note that under the state’s DUI laws, a person that is driving with a high BAC but is still driving safely and acting sober may still be considered breaking the law.

Driving with a Legal BAC But Impaired

More so, if you are driving with a legal BAC but are driving impaired, it is possible to be charged with a DUI, not a DUI per se. However, this is a simple legality. Both charges carry the same penalties if proven guilty.

Driving with a BAC of .15 or Higher

If you are found to be driving a vehicle with a BAC of 0.15 or higher, then the law requires that you are labeled as a persistent drunk driver (PDD). This may mean you will be sentenced as a repeat DUI offender, which carries additional penalties and fines.

Fines and Penalties Associated with DUI Per Se

Under the state’s laws, if you are found guilty of a DUI, you will face a misdemeanor charge. Typically, this carries a penalty of 48 to 96 hours of community service.

If you are driving under the influence and convicted of a DUI per se, that could lead to the following:

  • 1st offense: Five days to up to a year in jail, a fine of $600 to $1,000, and a nine-month license suspension
  • 2nd offense: 10 days to one year in jail, a fine of $600 to $1,500, a one-year license suspension, and the installation of an ignition interlock device for an additional two years
  • 3rd offense: 60 days to one year in jail, a fine of $600 to $1,500, a two-year license suspension, and an ignition interlock device for two years following

If you are facing DUI per se, know that there are legal defenses available that could help reduce these penalties. However, these are significant charges, and the penalties, if convicted, are serious. For that reason, it is often beneficial to hire a criminal defense attorney in Colorado to help you navigate the steps forward.

What Type of Legal Defense Is Possible with DUI Per Se?

When you are facing charges like this, your first step is to have your case reviewed by a criminal defense attorney you have hired. Our legal team can help you to navigate your legal options. Then, after gathering information about your case, our legal team will work closely with you to determine what legal strategy could be best suited for the circumstances in your case. Defending any type of DUI charge is not simple and typically can be made worse if you make a mistake in what you say or do after your incident.

There are a few defenses for DUI per se that may fit some situations. Here are some examples.

  • Lack of probable cause: Did the officer have any reason to believe you were driving under the influence? If not, this may be a defense we can use to refute the charges.
  • Was the arrest legal: There are numerous steps that must occur in order for any arrest to be labeled as legal. Let us help you determine if mistakes were made in your situation.
  • There were mistakes in your chemical test: There are also very specific steps that must be taken when a DUI chemical test is administered, and failing to follow these requirements as set by the Colorado Department of Health can mean that your arrest was not legal.

In situations like this, the key goal is to gather as much information and guidance as possible so that a clear legal strategy can be developed to address your situation. The sooner you reach out to our legal team, the better.

Were You Driving Under the Influence?

The big question here is whether or not you were driving under the influence. Section 42-4-1301 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) outlines what driving under the influence is under the state’s law. In short, it means that a person driving a vehicle has consumed alcohol or has consumed some type of drug (or more than one) that has caused them to be impaired in some way. That means that it affects a person in some significant way that makes them incapable of using clear judgment, having sufficient physical control, or providing due care to the safe operation of the car or vehicle they are operating.

There are numerous components to this process, but in many situations, the court will side with a BAC test that is higher than the legal limit. That is why it is essential to focus on what that test was and what may not have happened properly in your case.

Allow Our Trusted Criminal Defense Attorneys to Help You

Understanding Colorado DUI per se is the first step to knowing what to expect if you are facing charges. Your next step is to contact the Law Offices of James L. Finegan P.C. for a free case consultation. Let our team step in and offer help to you as soon as possible. When we do, we will guide you in determining what your rights are and whether any legal defense can help to reduce or eliminate the DUI per se charges you are facing. Contact us now to schedule a consultation.