Mistakes Made After Being Arrested and
Released for DUI in Colorado:
How to avoid the 10 biggest mistakes most people make after being arrested
1. Not taking the matter seriously. This is a charge that will follow you
for the rest of your life, if you are convicted. The Motor Vehicle Division will
keep track of it until you are dead. It has to make sure to take your license
away from you for two years, if you have three lifetime convictions.
The additional insurance
charges alone could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. If your your license is
taken away, you have to prepay for an SR-22 endorsement to your policy. Your
insurance company must notify the Division in advance, if you do not maintain
your insurance. It will also raise your rates based on your conviction.
2. Not hiring an attorney. The law is complex and you need competent
representation. You must raise the right defenses at the right time or you will
lose them. Facts will disappear, memories fade and witnesses vanish. A winable
case can quickly become a loser. What should you do? You need legal advice and
fast. You want an attorney who
knows how to handle your case.
3. Hiring an attorney based on the amount of the fee alone. The State has
almost unlimited resources when it comes to your case. You need to hire an
attorney and pay a fee which will allow him to put time and effort into your
case to counter the prosecution.
Attorneys must earn enough in the time they spend on your case in order to keep
their doors open and make a living wage. If you go too low, your attorney will
not be able to put in the time necessary to protect you.
Look for a reasonable,
predictable fee, not the lowest.
4. Not obtaining a temporary license and
requesting a hearing at the Motor Vehicle Department within 7 days, if your license was taken when
you failed or refused to take an alcohol test. If you do not request a
hearing, you will not be able to drive until after a hearing or for 90 days to a
year. Driving during this time is a serious traffic offense, regardless of
whether you need to drive for work or personal reasons.
5. Driving after your license has been revoked. You have no right to
drive after revocation and
driving then is more serious an offense than your original charge. There are
no provisions for you to drive for work or personal reasons. After a 30 days,
you may qualify for probationary license. If arrested for driving during this
time, you may have to post a $10,000 bond just to get out of jail. If convicted,
you face a minimum 45 days in jail.
6. Not requesting that the officer be present at your motor vehicle hearing.
If you do not
request the officer's presence, you will have to
subpoena him or waive her
presence. The hearing will be based on the officer's report only and you will
not hear how the officer will testify. Many things can be learned at this
hearing by your attorney, if the officer is present. If the officer fails to
appear or justify what was done, you get your license back.
7. Taking the District Attorney's first offer. The first offer is not a
bargain, it's just to get rid of your case with the least amount of work. Very
few cases are dismissed or reduced to a non-alcohol charge at this stage. You do
not give the judge an opportunity to rule on constitutional challenges. You give
up your right to raise these issues and to
make the State
prove it's case.
8. Fail to appear in Court. The Court will issue a bench warrant for your
arrest and revoke any bond. The next time you are stopped for a traffic
infraction, you will be spending some time in jail and posting a bond for your
9. Talk to anyone but an attorney about your case. Anything you say to
them can be used against you. When you discuss your arrest with cell
mates, friends or
family, you risk turning them into involuntary witnesses against you. It is in
your best interest to remember the details of your arrest. It will help you in
your defense. In any criminal case, you must be represented by a competent
You may choose a lawyer or risk the consequences of representing yourself. By
hiring an attorney immediately following your citation, you won't miss any
deadlines. Judges won't know if they should
your rights unless someone defends you. For example, overworked prosecutors
may use reports from inexperienced or over-zealous police officers to
over-prosecute a case.
Defense attorneys are aware of these tendencies and are trained to handle such
situations. If you ask the judge to let you be your own attorney, he or she must
allow this in most cases. But do not do this. In all DUI/DWAIs, get a lawyer
quickly. You should interview immediately after arrest if you can (you have a 7
calendar day deadline after arrest, if you lost your license).
10. Think that talking to numerous attorneys will help you handle it on your
own. You need to have an attorney go to Court with you.