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Sep 05

By H. Michael Steinberg – Colorado DUI – DWAI – DUID Lawyer

Colorado DUI Lawyer On The 2014 – DUI Law Changes – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – 2014 saw major changes to Colorado’s DUI laws. Changes that are having far and wide consequences for those convicted under Colorado’s DUI – DWAI – DUID criminal justice system.

This article is intended to help persons impacted by those laws understand them and use them to their advantage or minimize their potential damage to their driving privilege.

The Good – Changes To Colorado DMV Rules and Regs For Convictions – Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) and Driving While Under The Influence of Drugs (DUID)

The Right To Challenge The Constitutionality Of An Illegal Stop

The Colorado State Legislature restored the most important right an individual has to fight the DMV’s attempt to take away the right to drive… the legality of the initial basis for stopping a citizen in their car. The right to be left alone – to proceed on your way without unlawful interference from the police where there is no evidence of wrongdoing. Having been taken away by the Court of Appeals it has now been restored by the state legislature.

What the Colorado Courts took away in the People v. Francen case. The new legislation – found at C.R.S. 42-2-126(8)(h) & 42-2-228, gives back – now a driver can fight the most important issue there typically is in a DMV hearing – did the police make a LAWFUL STOP?

To legally stop an automobile in Colorado, (known as an investigatory stop) a police officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” that a driver is committing or has committed a crime.

The One Year Loss Of License For Refusing To Take The Test – Cut To 2 Months With Ignition Interlock Program

For as long as I can recall – the most harmful DMV regulation was the one year NO DRIVING suspension for refusing to take a breath or a blood test under Colorado’s Express Consent Law.

Under the old law there was no possibility of a probationary license or early reinstatement.

After January 1, 2014 – the loss of your right to drive – (at least with an interlock device on your vehicle) – has been cut to 2 months. The downside? You must agree to have the ignition interlock installed in your vehicle for 2 years. For most – that cost is well worth it. Once again even with multiple alcohol violations or BAC test refusals on your driving history, the wait time for early reinstatement with the Interlock device has been reduced to two months,

After an Interlock device is installed on your car – it requires you to blow a breath sample into the device which prevents the car from starting or continuing to function (you must repeatedly blow into this thing while driving) if the device detects an elevated alcohol concentration level.

A Second Colorado DUI With A “Per Se” Blood Alcohol Level Of .08 or Greater

Under the new 2014 Colorado DMV Laws early reinstatement period for a second and/or subsequent per se alcohol revocation for a BAC of 0.08 or greater – a driver may reinstate early with an ignition interlock restricted license after only 1 month of no driving.

The Bad Changes To Colorado DMV Rules and Regs – Convictions Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) and Driving While Under The Influence of Drugs (DUID)

Persistent Drunk Driving Laws Toughened

Before the enactment of these new laws – effective January 1, 2014 – the BAC level for a finding of being a “Persistent Drunk Driver” was lowered from .170 to .150.r For a first offense with a Blood Alcohol Level of .150 – there is now a 2 Year interlock requirement after the 30 days “no driving” period.

Refusal Cases (those who refuse to take a breath, blood, or urine test following an arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence) are also now “classified” as a persistent drunk drivers.

Persistent drunk drivers must also provide proof of the completion of a drug and – or alcohol rehabilitation.

Remember – DMV’s “administrative penalties” are IN ADDITION to the criminal court sanctions that Colorado drivers face when sentenced for DUI – DWAI – DUID convictions, – this includes fines, possible jail time, public service hours – fines and costs.

The Ugly – Changes To Colorado DMV Rules and Regs – Convictions Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) and Driving While Under The Influence of Drugs (DUID)

Suspension For Points To Run Consecutive – NOT Concurrent To A Suspension For Per Se ( BAC Based) – Or -Suspension for Refusals

There are often two suspensions in Colorado DUI Cases. On the one hand the possible suspensions that come before the criminal court case and are solely DMV based such as the suspension that results from having too much alcohol in your blood stream (.08 or greater) called the “Per Se Suspension” or the suspension tha results from a refusal to take a breath or blood test. The other suspension FOLLOWS a DUI criminal conviction and is the result of the 12 points that DMV assesses after they learn of the court based conviction.

The Ugly is this latter suspension which used to run parallel to (at the same time as) the first DMV based suspension. Now – following the passage of the new 204 changes – this suspension must run “consecutive not concurrent” to the first suspension.

DUI cases involve two completely separate matters that arise from a single crime. Not only are you required to perform the court ordered punishments:

  • possible jail
  • community service hours
  • an alcohol evaluation and treatment classes
  • probation meetings
  • monitored sobriety
  • MADD Panel (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)
  • and fines and costs

BUT – Points added to your driving hisory can result in the lost of your privilege to drive requiring another year of suspension for the added points.

Remember – Reinstating Your Colorado Driver’s License Is NOT Automatic

Reinstatement of Your Colorado Driver’s License

Remember – because many forget this – after you have been suspended and the suspension time has run – your driver’s license is NOT automatically renewed. You must re-apply for your license to be reinstated.

Proof of insurance (the SR-22) and payment of reinstatement fees and possible other requirements such as retaking the driving test – may all be necessary to get your driver’s license back.

I have written another article on this subject – please follow this LINK

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR : H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at – A Denver Colorado DUI – DWAI- DUID Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.

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