It is a mistake to drink and drive in our society. If you’ve made that mistake, the State will make you pay…both literally and figuratively. The State needs money and you will be treated as the ATM machine. The question is: could you have made decision that could help you avoid a conviction on your DUI? We cannot go back in time and change the fact that you made a mistake, were arrested, booked, bonded and given a summons to appear in Court. Attached are 5 things that may help you avoid a Colorado DUI criminal conviction. We cannot guarantee you that you will win your criminal case but knowing this information may help you avoid or mitigate a DUI case. Here are a few insider tricks that an experienced criminal defense attorney will want to know in preparation for any DUI trial.
1. Say nothing and do not admit or deny that you were drinking.
If law enforcement says to you, “I smell the odor of alcohol, how much have you had to drink tonight?” do not answer. Just say that you are exercising your 5th, 6th and 4th Amendment Rights (hard to remember, but say it IN THAT ORDER – call me to explain). So many people say that they just had “two beers” or “a couple drinks.” You are admitting to drinking and driving to the person who has to collect this evidence to use against you. Do not answer. It is not your job to prosecute yourself. That is what they are asking you to do. It’s simply not a good idea if you want to try and fight your DUI in Court.
2. Be polite to the police.
It goes without saying that the police will usually treat you just as bad as you treat them. Obviously, as in every profession, we can find exceptions to this rule and some police are just mean. Being co-operative not combative with the police will only make it easier to deal with the Judge and the Prosecutor. Remember that in some cases the Judge, the Prosecutor and the Police all get their paycheck from the same place. You and I are not members of that club. Just like you, they may seem to go out of their way to be protective of one of their own at the expense of a stranger. That stranger is you!
3. Do NOT do Roadsides.
Many people are stunned to learn that Voluntary Roadsides are considered statements under the 5th Amendment and NOT a search and seizure under the 4th Amendment. Just like in #1 above, do not make any statements. The roadsides are voluntary and in most cases it only hurts you to make these voluntary statements against yourself. You’ll be nervous and feel like how you do on these tests will decide your future. It is only human to not do well under the pressure and stress of these tests. We regret to inform you that if they never told you that these tests were voluntary, law enforcement will usually write in their report that they explained and you agreed to perform the voluntary tests. I am sorry to tell you this, but we hear this almost every day. As a prosecutor, Mr. Bresee graduated from the Rocky Mountain Institute for Traffic Safety under the State Roadside training program. He is certified with the same degree and training manual that is accepted in Colorado. It was stated by our instructor that, “If you ask someone to get out of the car to do roadsides, you should have already made the decision that you are going to arrest them for a DUI. This is just icing on the cake to convict them.” This is another reason that experience matters when considering an attorney for a Colorado DUI case.
4. Refuse the breath test
The officer will read to you the Colorado express consent law. You will feel like you have to take a breath or a blood test when you are told that a refusal of a breath or a blood test will result in a 1 year loss of driving privileges. If you refuse, you will likely lose your license for 1 year. However, a restricted license for violating the express consent law is not something that you are guaranteed; it may depend upon your circumstances. Furthermore, if this is not your first offense, the DMV will likely take your license for 1 year anyway. The issue here is the Criminal Court case, NOT your privilege to drive as these two interests may contradict each other. When I was a prosecutor, it usually made it easier to convict you when you took a test.
5. Speak to an experienced attorney QUICKLY.
In the past, we have used witness interviews, surveillance film, photographs, accident re-constructionists, experts, dispatch tapes and logs to win cases. The problem is that much of this evidence will NOT be preserved unless you have an attorney that knows what they are doing and is able to act quickly. When it is gone, it is too late.
If you did not do everything above, relax. In most cases there are things that we can still do regardless what evidence the State of Colorado has against you. Every Colorado DUI/DWAI case I see is unique. If you ever need me, I’m here to help.