For you to be convicted of a DUI, it is not enough that a police officer believes that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The State of Colorado must demonstrate that your behavior and condition meet several criteria. What factors does Colorado have the burden of proof to show?
You Were Operating a Vehicle
Obviously, to get a DUI, it is not enough that you are drunk; you must also have been operating a vehicle. Drunk driving, however, is not the only way that someone can be slapped with DUI charges. That is to say, cars, trucks and motorcycles are not the only vehicles that count for a DUI charge. Denver police have also begun cracking down on drunk bicycling, and Colorado state law also supports penalties for intoxicated individuals who bike. Since the statute does not limit the operating to motor vehicles, it is possible that the operation of virtually any vehicle while intoxicated could open you up to the possibility of getting a DUI or DWAI. In addition to bicycles, it is possible that snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, golf carts and even riding lawn mowers could be considered vehicles under Colorado statute.
You Had Consumed Alcohol (and/or Drugs)
The State of Colorado will have to be able to show that you consumed alcohol and/or drugs before or while you were operating the vehicle. They may require a breathalyzer test in order to demonstrate this. Of course, it is not enough for you to have just consumed some drugs or alcohol; you must have consumed too much to be able to operate the vehicle safely.
Your Ability to Operate the Vehicle was Impaired Due to the Alcohol or Drugs
Alcohol affects everyone differently, so one person may be able to drive safely after consuming five drinks in an evening, while another person might not be able to operate a vehicle safely after only two drinks. Therefore, blood alcohol content is used as an objective measure to establish alcohol impairment. A blood alcohol content reading above .08 opens you up to getting a DUI, and anything between .05 and .08 means that you could receive a DWAI, which stands for driving while ability impaired and which typically has slightly lower penalties than a DUI.
Colorado DUI laws continue to change, particularly with the recent passing of a DUI felony law in Colorado and changes to the legality of marijuana possession in the state. As a result of all of these changes, and because judges typically have some discretion in sentencing individuals charged with DUIs, it is important to have a team of experienced DUI attorneys on your side. The Denver attorneys at Colorado’s Tiftickjian Law Firm are experienced in defending individuals accused of a DUI or other crimes and are dedicated to protecting your rights. To schedule your free case evaluation with one of our DUI attorneys, call the Tiftickjian Law Firm today at (303) DUI-5280.