DUI charges are complicated and expensive. Many clients tell us that it feels like the government makes it so on purpose. If you do not believe us, just go to the DMV for customer service. DUI’s involve the DMV. There are essentially 7 sets of rules for a DUI at the DMV. The most common is a first offense DUI with a breath or blood test under 0.150, so this blog is about that scenario. You will quickly realize that it is a lot to understand. Please contact one of our two lawyers to discuss your unique situation but for now, get ready for a lengthy explanation.
A DUI is one of the rare circumstances where criminal proceedings have a separate but concurrent proceeding with a governmental agency, the DMV. The DMV is outside the local judicial system. These dual legal proceedings, between the DMV and the judicial court system, make many people charged with a DUI feel very confused about what consequences they face. There is a lot of overlap. We will try to keep the DMV consequences separate and distinct from the criminal consequences.
Often this confusion causes people to make small errors that can affect their license for extended periods. The DMV is typically even more rigid (think to take your license) than the judicial system when it comes to bureaucratic technicalities, like having the correct paperwork filled out, having it filled out the way they want it filled out, or denying your license for failing to timely submit your request. That is why it is important to have experienced legal counsel to help wade through the dual processes.
Factors that Determine the Consequences of a DUI Charge and Prosecution
There are various types of DUI charges. The results of the testing (breath test, blood test, or refusal results) will determine the severity of the charge (DUI v. DWAI see other blogs). There are many different factors that will decide how long someone’s driver’s license could be revoked. The most common example is a person who gets their first-time violation for driving with a breath or blood alcohol content of more than 0.08 and below 0.150.
This will likely result in a 9-month revocation of that person’s driver’s license. The alcohol content (breath or blood) results from the test are one of the biggest factors in the way someone is charged. For example, if a person has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or more, they are presumed by law to be a high blood alcohol content offender. If you, or your loved one, are below a 0.08 you may be charged with a DWAI criminally but you may avoid DMV consequences.
Many factors besides the number of substances impairing one’s ability to drive can affect how a DUI is charged. Police need probable cause to pull anyone over before administering any of the tests associated with a DUI. The traffic stops that lead to the eventual DUI charge can be caused by anything: speeding, swerving, cutting someone off, lane violations, or even hitting a curb. The court could impose other traffic violations additional to the DUI charge itself if the person made a traffic violation. Another related factor is if the person is under the legal drinking age, which also could heavily factor into how that individual is charged since the individual is not allowed to legally consume alcohol.
Revocation of License as a DMV Consequence
The revocation of an individual’s license stays in effect until they complete the reinstatement process. If the individual is 21 or older at the time of the violation, they are a Colorado resident and have no other driving restraints or prior DUIs, these types of factors can mitigate (or lessen) the consequences of a DUI charge.
The individual charged may be able to reinstate after one month of revocation if they install an Ignition Interlock Device in every vehicle that the individual owns or regularly drives. If the individual has a blood alcohol content (BAC) below 0.15, the individual completes the early reinstatement process and drives only an interlock vehicle with no violations, then they may be eligible for an unrestricted license after 4 consecutive months of compliance.
If you get a DUI, then you must go through reinstatement to get your driver’s license back. The reinstatement requirements are:
- 1. Provide an SR-22 from your insurance company and maintain it for 9 months following reinstatement (4 months if you have 4 consecutive months of interlock compliance, but 3 years if you have had a prior alcohol violation or was involved in an accident)
- 2. Complete a Certification (Form DR2598)
- 3. Complete an Application for Reinstatement (DR2870)
- 4. Mail the SR-22, Certification, and Application for reinstatement along with your check or money order for $95 to address the provided application.
However, there are a reinstatement process most eligible individuals can go through after completing all the reinstatement requirements. This process is called early reinstatement. If you are eligible for early reinstatement, this will allow you to have your license revoked for only one month with an 8-month interlock period. The requirements for early reinstatement are:
- 5. Complete all reinstatement requirements 1-4 (listed above)
- 6. Have an interlock installed in every vehicle you either own or may drive.
- 7. Include the notarized Restricted License Ignition Interlock Agreement Affidavit (DR2058)
- 8. Include a signed copy of each Interlock lease agreement and each Installation Certificate.
In addition to the reinstatement requirements, if someone has a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.15 or more, they:
- 9. MUST complete ALL reinstatement requirements 1-8 (listed above)
- 10. Enroll in and complete the Level 2 Alcohol Education and Therapy (Include affidavit of enrollment (DR2643)
- 11. Carry an Interlock restricted license for at least 2 years following reinstatement.
Recent Legislative Mandates
The reduction of the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) on a chemical test from 0.17 to 0.15 designates you as a Persistent Drunk Driver
The refusal of a chemical test at traffic stops on or after 01/01/14 will now result in a Persistent Drunk Driver designation
If you have refused a chemical test before 01/01/14 and were previously ineligible to reinstate early with Interlock, you may now either finish serving the remainder of your revocation and reinstate with full driving privileges or serve at least two months and apply for early reinstatement with Interlock for one year. You are not eligible for Financial Assistance in this case.
If you have multiple alcohol violations or refusals on your record, the wait time for early reinstatement with Interlock has been reduced to one or two months, respectively. If you have multiple alcohol violations and have installed the Interlock device (Initial installation) on or after 01/01/14, you may be eligible for Financial Assistance. This assistance is based upon your Federal Adjusted Gross Income (FAGI)
When an Experienced Colorado DUI Attorney Matters
If you or a loved one is charged with a DUI, you need the best of the best when it comes to Colorado DUI attorneys. M. Colin Bresee and Gregory Huckaby are the experienced Colorado DUI attorneys you need. You can contact us at our 24-hour hotline, 303-625-9386.
The two lawyers will offer free consultations and payment plans so you can have your case handled by the Colorado DUI attorneys you deserve. Mr. Bresee and Mr. Huckaby will not only meet with you and represent you in court, but they will help you understand the severity of your charge and assist you most efficiently throughout your unique case.