What happens in Colorado DUI Cases in Colorado?
After on is arrested or given a summons in Colorado, people actually face two cases – a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) administrative case (regarding their driving privileges) and a criminal court case (focused on determining whether the offense was committed and, if so, what the penalties should be).
These cases are different, there are different procedures, and they have different timelines and outcomes.
The DMV DUI Administrative Case
Motorists must request a hearing with the Colorado DMV within 7 days of their DUI arrest. So for example, if you received the written Express Consent document on December 7th, then you must request the hearing in writing at DMV by December 14th. This hearing provides the people who accused of impaired driving with the opportunity to try to retain their driving privileges. It is less formal than a court hearing, and the burden of proof is lower, but in some cases it can still be important to have attorney’s representation.
- The DMV hearing must be requested within seven days of your arrest. If not you will usually lose your license automatically and the duration of the suspension will depend on whether you’ve had previous DUI convictions.
- The DMV hearing has no bearing on your criminal case. The outcome of the DMV hearing will have no impact on your criminal case. So, even if you are allowed to keep your license, you could still be sentenced to jail for a guilty verdict on your DUI or vice-versa.
- The arresting officer has the right to appear at your DMV hearing. The DMV may request that the arresting officer come to the hearing to explain his or her version of what happened. After this explanation, you have the right to question the officer and use your own evidence to show the DMV that you deserve to keep your driving privileges.
- The hearing is very informal. Compared to your criminal case, the hearing itself is very informal. But, do not let the informalities confuse you regarding the seriousness of the case. You should still have an attorney present to represent you during this administrative hearing. An attorney can help you present evidence, question the officer, and argue on your behalf. Attorneys also understand how these procedures work, and they can prepare you for the questioning – ensuring that you do not accidentally harm your chances of keeping your license.
- You can still appeal the hearing’s decision. If you do not like the outcome of your DMV hearing, you have the right to appeal within 30 days of the decision being rendered. But, you must have a valid reason for your appeal – instead of just being unsatisfied. If you feel there was a misapplication of the law or you were not given your due process, you could appeal.
The administrative hearing is conducted by the Colorado DMV. After your DUI arrest, you will receive notification for this hearing.
There are five critical things to know about this process:
- The arresting officer(s) may appear at the hearing, providing an opportunity for cross examination.
- The determination of this hearing impacts whether motorists will lose their driving privileges.
If drivers fail to request this DMV hearing within 7 days of their DUI arrest (or if the DMV official does not decide in favor of the driver), a driver’s license suspension will go into effect.
The length of this suspension will depend on various factors, including (but not limited to) whether the driver submitted to chemical testing and whether the driver has prior refusals and/or DUI convictions.
The DUI Court Case
A Colorado DUI court case will typically start with an arraignment, which may be held approximately 30 to 60 days following the charges being filed (depending on whether misdemeanor or felony charges have been filed).
During the arraignment, the person accused of drunk driving will be notified of the charges filed against him or her, as well as his or her rights.
People who are represented by a lawyer may not have to appear at the arraignment. Following the arraignment, there is generally a(n):
- Pretrial meeting, where the defense meets with the prosecution to discuss the case. This can be a time when both sides discuss possibilities for plea deals.
- Additional hearing(s), which may occur if either party files motions to suppress evidence (for example)
- Trial, which will involve both sides presenting their evidence to a jury
- Sentencing, which will occur if the trial ends in a conviction or a plea deal is accepted before the end of the trial.
Keep in mind that the above is a general overview. For specifics pertaining to your case and situation, contact an experienced Broomfield DUI attorney at The Datz Law Firm.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that, after a DUI arrest in Colorado, there can be a lot at stake – and there can be a lot to do in order to resolve both of the cases you face. Having an experienced DUI lawyer on your side, protecting your rights and aggressively defending you, can be the key to favorable resolutions – and to putting both cases behind you.
Contact a Broomfield DUI Attorney at The Datz Law Firm
Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI in Colorado? If so, a Broomfield DUI attorney at The Datz Law Firm is ready to provide you with superior defense representation.
To schedule an initial consultation with one of our lawyers and find out more about your best DUI defense options, call our firm at (720) 256-2404, or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Muhaisen & Muhaisen, LLC. or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction