Those charged with drunk driving in Colorado will face both an administrative and criminal process. Failure to properly defend against both can result in the loss of your driver’s license and other administrative sanctions, even if you beat the criminal case.
A Denver drunk driving defense attorney should represent defendants in both processes. In many ways, the administrative hearing is more difficult to win because the state faces a lower burden of proof - preponderance of the evidence (which means more likely than not), compared to the higher burden of beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard used in criminal cases.
There are both criminal penalties (fines, imprisonment, and required public service) and administrative penalties for drunk driving. Courts impose criminal penalties, and the Colorado Department of Revenue imposes the administrative penalties. Colorado DUI laws are found in sections 42-2-125, 42-2-126, 42-2-127, and 42-4-1307, Colorado Revised Statutes:
DUI Administrative Penalties:
BAC of .08 or higher
FIrst offense: 9-month license suspension
Second offense: 12-month license suspension
Third offense: 24-month license suspension
DUI conviction: 9-month license suspension (12 points)
DWAI conviction: No suspension (8 points)
In an administrative hearing, the state must still prove that you were in physical control of a motor vehicle with an illegal blood-alcohol limit. However, hearings are not automatic. Defendants have a very narrow window during which they can request a hearing.
Those who took a breath test, or those who refused a test, have just 7 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing. For those who do not request a hearing, the driver’s license suspension automatically begins after the seventh day. Those who took a blood test have 10 days after a letter was sent notifying them of their test results. If the defendant does not request the hearing, then the license suspension begins after the 10th day.
As a veteran Denver administrative hearing attorney, James Colgan knows defendants are always best served by forcing the state to prove its case during both the administrative and criminal processes. Those who lose the administrative hearing, may also appeal, giving them yet another chance to win their case, which they forfeit automatically if they fail to request the initial hearing in a timely manner.
The administrative hearing also gives your DUI defense attorney a thorough first look at the state’s case, which can be valuable when it comes to preparing to defend you against the criminal charges in court. Even if you lose the administrative hearing, you have lost nothing more you would have lost automatically had you not contested the charge, while providing your attorney with a trial run through the evidence and potential arguments and defenses that may make the difference when it comes to winning the criminal case.
James Colgan is a veteran drunk driving defense attorney who represents clients throughout the Denver metro area, including Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Lakewood, Thornton, Westminster, Berkley, Brighton, Broomfield, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Columbine, Commerce City, Englewood, Federal Heights, Golden, Greenwood Village, Ken Caryl, Littleton, Lone Tree, Northglenn, Parker, Sherrelwood, The Pinery, Welby and Wheat Ridge.
Call the Law Office of James Colgan at 720-909-6425 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.