The Colorado Legislature has made several important changes to the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) laws as they related to the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These new laws go into effect on January 01, 2014. The changes allow clients to get their driving privileges reinstated earlier in some case. As a experienced Colorado DUI Attorney, I have already contacted and assisted multiple former clients with their early reinstatement applications.
The 4 key changes are the following:
1. Challenge legality of contact: Currently, we cannot contest the legality of the contact at a DMV express consent hearing. It is frustrating that we have won DUI cases in Court but still lose the DMV hearing. If the officer had no lawful reason to contact you (ex. racial profiling, false statements by officer) then all the subsequent evidence illegally obtained must be suppressed. The DMV did not allow us to argue this and law enforcement would get away with this any you would lose your driving privilege. The Legislature is restoring your rights.
2. A 2 Year interlock requirement for 1st offense 0.150 or greater: Currently the law only requires a 1st offense 0.170 or greater to have a 2 year ignition interlock. The new law simply lowers the limit. Some have argued that this is a pure money grab by the State and was done at the urging of the Insurance Lobby (you will of course need SR-22 high risk and high $ insurance). It will clearly cost you MORE money. It is worth noting that is is now a crime to text and drive as ANY distraction is an unacceptable risk. Driving down the road while a machine beeps at you and you have to fumble around and physically take a breath test is apparently not a distraction. My clients have suggested that the fact that the State makes money off of this requirement is merely a coincidence.
3. A 1st offense Refusal can reinstate early: Currently if you refuse to take a breath or a blood test after the Colorado Express Consent Law has been given to you, you will lose your license for a 1 year period. You shall not obtain a probationary license and you shall not get early reinstatement. Under the new law, you can now obtain early reinstatement and get your driving privilege reinstated after just 2 months. This opportunity will however cost you more money because you will have to have agree to have an ignition interlock installed in their vehicle for 2 years. Lengthy SR-22 will also be required.
4. DUI criminal conviction points suspension consecutive not concurrent: It is often difficult for most people to grasp that you have two separate matters from a single DUI episode. You will have the Criminal Court case (jail/community service/alcohol evaluation and classes/probation/monitored sobriety/fines/costs/Points on Your DMV Record) AND a DMV case (losing your privilege to drive/reinstatement/SR-22/ignition interlock). Adults only have 12 points on their license. In the criminal case, if you enter a plea or are convicted of a DUI you obtain 12 points on your license). A DWAI is an 8 point violation. Currently when the points get reported to DMV you will lose your driving privilege for a points suspension. The point suspension will run concurrently (at the same time) with the loss of your driving privilege from the DMV case. The new law states that these suspensions will run CONSECUTIVELY (one after the other). This will be a real problem for many and will likely require an additional period of years of ignition interlock after you have completed the first period of interlock. Stay tuned to see how the enforcement will be handled by the DMV!
Sadly most experienced criminal defense attorneys do not continue to assist their clients long after the case is over. Some people think they hired the best Colorado DUI Lawyer, seeing them as the 1st ranked DUI Lawyer on Google and assume they have an aggressive DUI Lawyer that will provide five-star Colorado DUI lawyer services. They do not. I receive multiple calls from other lawyers clients asking for help when their lawyer is too busy. Let us know if you need assistance with your DMV DUI matters, even if your case is over. It is great when we can help someone get reinstated when they think they have no options!