Most Coloradans will have a basic knowledge of what it means to be arrested for driving under the influence. In general, they will realize that it is often linked to driving after drinking, being stopped by law enforcement, checked to see the blood-alcohol content (BAC) and arrested if the level surpasses 0.08%. However, there are certain areas of nuance that may be confusing and could greatly impact the case as they prepare for a defense.
One type of DUI arrest is called DUI per se. Understanding the law for this kind of DUI is critical for an effective defense. With DUI per se, the BAC is still 0.08%, but the charges can be made if the person drove a vehicle within two hours of the test. This may open the door for a defense saying that the driver did not reach the level of 0.08% until after he or she stopped driving. The person might show that alcohol was consumed in the interim between having driven and having been tested.
This offense is a misdemeanor. However, it can rise to a Class 4 felony if the person has been convicted three or more times in the past with different incidents. This can include DUI, DUI per se, driving while ability impaired (DWAI) and other DUI convictions or combinations. During the prosecution, the driver will have the right to show evidence – direct and circumstantial – so the difference between the test results and other facts in the case may indicate that the test was inaccurate or there was a defect. Testimony can be provided to bolster the defense case and can include the driver not showing the signs of being under the influence.
It might sound unusual for a person who was not driving at the time to be arrested and charged with DUI, but DUI per se allows for it. The test is needed for a DUI per se, therefore there could be ways to lodge a defense based on that and be acquitted. To avoid the potential penalties like a driver’s license suspension, fines and jail time, legal assistance may be essential. Consulting with a law firm experienced in DUI cases could help.