Colorado traffic laws cover everything from parking tickets to driving while intoxicated. In addition to traffic police, who give you a ticket directly, Colorado uses cameras to capture moving violations, like speeding and running red lights, and these tickets arrive by mail.
In general, if you receive a ticket for an infraction, it’s a civil offense. You can pay the fine—usually by mail—or contest the violation. If you contest the infraction, you have to appear in traffic court, though you may receive a plea deal.
If you opt to appear in court, consider hiring an experienced traffic ticket attorney. Your attorney can request a hearing, manage the discovery process, negotiate with the prosecutor, and, if necessary, represent you in court.
Colorado uses a points system for traffic violations. If you earn too many points within a designated period, your license could be suspended for up to a year.
If you already have points and you receive a ticket with enough points to put you at risk of suspension, contact a traffic ticket attorney. The team at the Law Offices of James Colgan has experience negotiating for reduction or dismissal of charges.
If you choose to contest your ticket, you will have to appear in traffic court. The prosecutor will most likely offer you a plea deal, which will allow you to plead guilty to a lesser charge, with a reduction of the fine or points.
You are not obligated to accept the plea deal and can choose to go to court instead. You’ll receive a trial date at this first appearance, usually for about six weeks later.
If you do not pay the traffic fine or appear in court on the appointed date, the court will issue an arrest warrant against you. If you are arrested for a traffic violation, contact a traffic ticket attorney for assistance.
A blood alcohol level over .08% is grounds to charge you with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. If this is your first DUI, it is a misdemeanor under Colorado’s criminal code. If you have three or more DUI convictions already, your fourth and subsequent DUI charges will count as felonies.
Penalties for a DUI conviction include license suspension according to the points system, community service, alcohol treatment, and jail time. Each subsequent conviction leads to more significant penalties, including longer jail time.
You can defend yourself against a DUI charge, even if your blood alcohol level is above the lowest limit. With all of the elements required to prove a DUI—age, blood alcohol content, driver identification, etc.—a DUI attorney can make a difference in the outcome of your case, from the charge itself to the punishment you receive.
Do not attempt to fight a DUI charge without a skilled DUI attorney, especially if it is not your first time being charged with DUI. The Law Offices of James Colgan have the experience and knowledge to navigate the Colorado traffic court system. Contact us today at 1(720) 909-6425 to schedule a consultation.
Driving under the influence is among the most common serious charges citizens face in the courtroom. More than 20,000 Colorado motorists are charged each year with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) by alcohol or drugs.
Colorado impairment laws are somewhat unique in that they specifically outlaw impairment below the nationwide threshold of .08 and attempt to codify a threshold for driving under the influence of marijuana. As a result, the associated fines and court costs are a leading driver of municipal court revenue in most towns throughout the Denver metro area.
Unfortunately, too many motorists fail to take the legal consequences seriously, particularly when charged with DWAI or with a first offense. Experienced drunk driving defense attorneys know these charges are easier to beat (or win a reduction), while failure to mount a proper defense can result in more serious consequences for a future conviction.
Colorado applies both administrative and criminal penalties to DWAI and DUI offenses. While motorists never plan to get arrested for a first offense, let alone a subsequent violation, few understand the easiest way to get stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence is to have a previous conviction on your driving record.
Nor do you have to test over the nationwide legal limit of .08 to face a conviction that will count as a first offense. For those with a BAC exceeding 0.05 (but less than 0.08) there is a permissible inference that your ability to operate a vehicle was impaired by the consumption of alcohol (DWAI).
If the defendant's BAC is 0.08 or more, there is a permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol (DUI). A person may be classified as a persistent drunk driver and subject to greater penalties if the test shows a blood alcohol level of at least 0.15.
Legalization of marijuana in Colorado has led law enforcement to attempt to quantify what constitutes driving under the influence of marijuana.
If a defendant's blood contains 5 nanograms or more of delta-9 THC (the active substance in some marijuana products) per milliliter in whole blood, there is a permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence. This raises a whole host of legal issues. Chronic users may have higher base blood levels and different people metabolize marijuana at different rates, although even for fast metabolizers and casual users the drug usually remains in the system for a week or longer.
The law presumes that every driver has consented to take a blood, breath, saliva, or urine test when requested to do so by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that the person is DUI or DWAI. Refusal to take the test is both admissible in court and a basis for revocation of a driver's license.
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 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:
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)
Up to $500
5 days - 1 yr
Up to $1000
10 days - 1 yr
Up to $1500
60 days - 1 yr
Up to 1500
2-6 years (3yrs parole)
In addition, persons who violate the state's drunk driving laws may have to pay court costs, penalty surcharges of up to $500 to help pay for programs to address persistent drunk drivers, surcharges to benefit the crime victim compensation fund, fees to reinstate a driver's license after suspension or revocation, and other fees, charges, and penalties.
Our DUI defense lawyers in Denver know the average drunk driving conviction costs a defendant more than $10,000, including drastic increases in insurance premiums for years after an offense. Seeking the advice of an experienced law firm is the best move you can make if you are charged.
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.