DUI Cases May be Pending for Years

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In 2009, Sandra Jacobsen was reportedly driving 85 miles an hour with a blood alcohol content (BAC) approximately twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent and allegedly caused an accident that killed two women riding in the back of a taxi cab. Jacobson did not stop at the scene of the accident and instead continued on to the airport. Now, more than five years later, Jacobson’s DUI case is still not fully settled.

In 2010, Jacobson went to trial and a jury convicted her of the following offenses:

  •         DUI;
  •         Assault;
  •         Vehicular homicide; and
  •         Leaving the scene of an accident.

She received a sentence that including 36 years in Colorado state prison. Jacobson’s attorney continued to work on her appeal and now the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that Jacobson should have a new trial. The appellate court found that the trial judge had failed to properly question whether the jurors had seen news reports regarding prior convictions—including a prior DUI—on Jacobson’s criminal record. Now, Jacobson and her attorney are heading back into court to go through the trial process all over again with a new jury, hoping to limit or eliminate the charges and sentence she faces.

Jacobson’s case is only one example of how a DUI case can linger for years following an arrest, accident, or other incident. Cases may be long-lasting for many different reasons. First, the prosecutor does not have to immediately issue charges for DUI under state law. A prosecutor has 18 months from the date of your arrest or your suspected DUI to formally issue charges. So you may live for up to 18 months wondering whether you will face charges or not.

Next, criminal cases go through various stages. First, you will be arraigned and then you may have to appear in court for numerous hearings before your case is settled. During this time, your attorney will review police reports, interview witnesses, and gather other evidence that may be useful in plea bargaining. This is called discovery.

If you choose to go to trial, you may have to wait a while for a trial date to be firmly set. While a DUI trial is not often a long affair, every trial is different and some cases may have much more evidence to present than others. In addition, your attorney may have to file and argue various motions in front of the court, which may require more court appearances.

Finally, after a guilty verdict at trial, there are ways to appeal your case. A quality attorney should pursue an appeal just as zealously as they represented you in court. In your appeal, your DUI defense lawyer may argue that your constitutional rights were somehow violated during your trial. If the court does grant a new trial, you will have to go through this process all over again.

Because DUI cases can last a long time, you always want to make sure you have a DUI defense lawyer who will stay by your side for the long haul. Call the Tiftickjian Law Firm for help with your Denver DUI case today.

Photo Credit: Zach Dischner via Compfight cc

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