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Lakewood DUI Defense Attorney

If you were pulled over in Lakewood and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you could be facing serious criminal penalties. Protect yourself and your future by hiring an experienced Lakewood DUI defense attorney. Attorney James L. Finegan has been helping clients reduce or dismiss DUI charges since 1980. Request a free consultation today with our criminal defense attorneys at (303) 980-5511.

Why Choose Us?

A DUI conviction on an individuals record can have serious long-term consequences. Not only are their serious potential criminal penalties, fines and potential incarceration associated with a DUI in Colorado. To help minimize these potential penalties, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney with decades of legal experience can help those facing criminal penalties associated with this crime minimize or potentially dismiss the charges.

James L. Finegan P.C. has forty plus years of legal experience assisting individuals in need of criminal defense services. The firm caters every case to the unique facts and circumstances involved, and never uses a one size fits all approach. If you are facing charges relating to a DUI or DWAI in Colorado, contact an attorney to help navigate the best legal path forward.

Lakewood DUI Resources

What Is a DUI/DWAI in Colorado?

Safely and correctly operating a motor vehicle requires proper care and attention. A driver should not be physically or cognitively impaired by any intoxicating substances while driving or this could compromise his or her ability to safely control the vehicle. Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a crime that is classified in three different ways in Colorado:

  1. Driving under the influence (DUI). Driving under the influence refers to being in actual physical control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs to a degree that it affects the person’s ability to safely operate the vehicle. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for someone to get a DUI in Colorado is 0.08 percent.
  2. Driving while ability impaired (DWAI). A DWAI means that the driver has a BAC of more than 0.05 percent and less than 0.08 percent but is still impaired enough to affect his or her driving ability.
  3. DUI per se. In Colorado, a driver can receive a DUI even with a BAC of less than 0.08 percent if there is proof of impairment, such as a broken roadway rule or failed sobriety test. A DUI per se, however, means that a driver is presumed to be driving under the influence because his or her BAC is at 0.08 percent or more.

To find you guilty of driving under the influence, a prosecutor must establish that you committed the elements of this crime beyond a reasonable doubt. A Lakewood DUI defense lawyer’s job is to poke holes in the prosecutor’s case against you to establish reasonable doubt. The skill and experience of your attorney can go a long way toward achieving a positive resolution.

What Are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI in Colorado?

A DUI conviction in Colorado can lead to several different types of punishments, from driver’s license suspension to jail time. The penalties for a first-offense DUI are not as severe as a second or subsequent offense, but they can still impact your life in dramatic ways. A sentence may include:

  • Five days to one year in jail
  • Up to two years of probation
  • $600 to $1,000 in fines, plus surcharges
  • 48 to 96 hours of mandatory community service
  • Mandatory alcohol counseling or driver education
  • Ignition interlock device requirement
  • Up to nine months of driver’s license suspension or revocation
  • Up to 12 points added to your motor vehicle record

If you are convicted of two or more DUI crimes in Colorado, the penalties will increase. For a third or subsequent DUI offense, for example, you could face a minimum of 160 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500.

How Can You Defend Against a DUI Charge?

If you get arrested for an alleged DUI or DWAI in Lakewood, CO a defense strategy may be available to reduce the charges brought against you or diminish the penalties you face with a conviction. Potential defense options include:

  • You were not intoxicated
  • You were not in actual physical control of a vehicle
  • The chemical test results were inaccurate
  • Lack of evidence
  • Police misconduct or civil rights violations
  • No probable cause to conduct the traffic stop

An experienced Lakewood DUI defense attorney can analyze all of your defense options and choose the one that best fits your unique situation. The best defense strategies are custom-tailored for each unique case and client.

Should I Have Taken the Field Sobriety Test or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Test Administered by the Police?

There really is no hard-and-fast answer to whether the driver should have taken the field sobriety test at the scene of the traffic stop or the BAC test. Like so much of the law regarding DUI, the answer depends on the circumstances of your traffic stop and arrest.

Before making a DUI traffic stop in Colorado, police must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver was under the influence of alcohol. It is routine procedure to ask the driver to follow a few simple directions such as walking in a straight line or touching the tip of the nose. This is commonly referred to as the field sobriety test. The manner in which the field sobriety test is administered is critically important to the driver’s DUI defense. Failing the field sobriety test gives police enough evidence to make an arrest, but not enough for formal DUI charges. A properly administered breath or blood test will determine whether the driver’s BAC is above the legal limit of .08 percent or higher. If so, a misdemeanor DUI charge may result. If the BAC is between .05 and .08, a misdemeanor DWAI charge may result.

Police will not necessarily adequately inform the driver of the consequences of refusing to take the field sobriety test or BAC test. Most drivers assume they have no choice. Under the law, drivers do have the choice to refuse to submit to a blood or breath test; however, a refusal may result in a one-year suspension of the driver’s license. This often comes as a surprise to drivers who were not adequately informed of this consequence prior to refusing the test. The driver will have to pursue a formal process to have the driver’s license reinstated.

If you feel you are not drunk, it is best to agree to take the BAC test. Submitting to the test, however, could give the prosecutor the evidence needed to prove that the driver’s BAC was indeed .05 or above at the time the test was taken. That will mean the driver must base the legal defense on issues such as probable cause for the traffic stop; was the BAC test administered in strict accordance with the law; were the results handled and interpreted correctly; was the driver fully informed of all legal rights and other issues not directly related to your BAC evidence.

The law regarding field sobriety and BAC tests is complex and involves in-depth understanding of legal rights and police obligations. In general, whether you have taken the test or refused, you will be faced with legal consequences. An experienced, skilled DUI defense attorney can help you fight to get the best possible outcome.

Lakewood DUI defense lawyers

What if I Already Agreed to Plead Guilty?

No matter where you are in the DUI criminal process, it pays to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. You may have agreed to a prosecutor’s offer without fully understanding the implications of the conviction or the penalties involved. Perhaps you didn’t fully understand your rights. An experienced DUI attorney will work with the prosecutor to find alternatives to the harsh penalties that can result.

Will I Go to Jail for a DUI?

Colorado DUI penalties are tough. Jail can certainly be part of the final outcome. In fact, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of two days, which may be waived in lieu of an alcohol treatment program. Jail is mandatory if the driver’s BAC is .20 percent or higher or there is a prior DUI or DWAI. Prosecutors are often willing to work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer to find an outcome that will not result in jail time or result in less jail time, or other alternative punishment.

Will I Lose My Driver’s License?

Following a DUI arrest, the driver’s license may be automatically suspended. The driver has seven days to request a hearing with the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). There are options for reinstating driving privileges under certain provisions.

It is important to have experienced legal representation for the DMV hearing because it is often the best opportunity to begin laying the groundwork for an effective legal defense for the criminal charges. It may happen that the police and prosecutors are unable to demonstrate strong evidence to make the DUI criminal charges stick.

This Isn’t My First DUI – What Happens Now?

There’s no question that repeat DUI offenders are treated more harshly by prosecutors and the courts. If you have a history of a DUI or a DWAI or an out-of-state DWI conviction on your record, you may be faced with mandatory time in jail, a very heavy fine and a lengthy driver’s license suspension. It is important to have an experienced attorney who understands strategies for minimizing the effects of a repeat DUI/DWAI offense.

How Can a Lakewood DUI Attorney Help My Case?

After being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drug-related intoxication (DUID), driving while ability impaired (DWAI) or drug-related impairment (DWAID) in Colorado, it may seem as if relying on a public defender for your legal defense makes good financial sense. While public defenders provide a great service, the fact is, DUI law is a very complex field of criminal law, requiring a very technical defense.

An experienced DUI defense attorney is often able to pursue effective strategies to fight your DUI charge, based on an understanding of very narrow legal concepts, particularly when working to have the charge reduced from DUI to driving while ability impaired (DWAI) or lower.

If you have been charged with DUI in Lakewood or in a community in the Colorado Front Range region, you will be facing many important decisions about your case. Make your first decision the right one. Call Denver DUI lawyer James L. Finegan at (303) 980-5511. Work with an attorney with more than four decades of experience fighting to protect the rights and the future of people charged with DUI and related driving offenses.

An experienced DUI defense lawyer will know the prosecutor’s strategies for pursuing a conviction or plea arrangement. In addition, prosecutors know when they are working with an attorney that has knowledge and experience and are often more apt to agree to reduced charges or penalties, based on the defense lawyer’s ability to present a strong case for a jury, if the case proceeds to trial.

Even if you know you cannot deny the charges — or you have already accepted a plea agreement — it is important to hire an attorney who understands the Colorado DUI penalties. An experienced attorney knows what to expect from the judge who will be handing down the penalties. By presenting a strong case that focuses on the impact on the individual and family, penalties can often be reduced in favor of an outcome that will not have the harsh effects of jail time, lengthy driver’s license suspension or an excessive fine.

Speak to a DUI Defense Attorney in Lakewood, Colorado Today

With a lawyer defending your rights, you have the best chance of reducing or dismissing DUI charges in Lakewood. At James L. Finegan, P.C., our attorneys will work diligently to protect your rights. Find out how we can help you today during a free, confidential case evaluation.