A “drunk driving” charge, (DUI or DWAI), can negatively impact a person’s life in many ways and for many years to come. Penalties for drunk driving have stiffened substantially in Colorado – a DUI or DWAI may cost you your driver’s license, result in jail time, community service, alcohol programs, and fines. That’s why our lawyers focus on individual client needs and the specific circumstances of each case, using all the knowledge and resources at our disposal to ensure the most advantageous results. Most cases settle before trial, but our willingness to take cases to trial – when appropriate – can assist us in reaching more favorable outcomes.

If you have been charged with a DUI or DWAI in Colorado, there are two separate and distinct actions that are likely pending against you:

Driver’s License – DMV Hearing

If you took a breath test for blood alcohol content (BAC), and the result was over .08, or if you refused to take the chemical test required by law, the police officer that arrested you probably took your driver’s license (unless you took a blood test, in which case you will receive the results at a later date) – even if it was from a state other than Colorado – and gave you a form entitled “Notice of Revocation.” A close reading of this form will advise you of two things:

You were likely given a “temporary permit” allowing you to drive for seven (7) days after your license was taken from you.

During that seven day period, you must request a hearing with the DMV on the revocation of your license. If you do not request a hearing, your license will be revoked, effective on the eight day, and you will not be allowed to drive in Colorado for a period of time, the length of which depends on the reason for the revocation.

It is important to contact a lawyer to get advice before you request the hearing with the DMV. You must decide before you request the hearing whether you want the police officer that arrested you to be present at the DMV hearing. That decision is an important tactical decision and may greatly impact the outcome of the hearing. Whether to have the officer present at the hearing is best decided after reviewing the police officer’s report of your arrest. You can obtain the report by going to the police agency that arrested you and making a request for the report. Most police agencies have those available within a day or two of the arrest. Then one of our lawyers can meet with you, review the report, and advise you on this important issue.

If you took a blood alcohol content (BAC) test, the result will not typically be available for at least a couple of weeks, but if the result is over .08 you will receive a letter from the DMV indicating that on a specific date they will revoke your license unless you request a hearing on that revocation. When you request the hearing, you may have to surrender your driver’s license (even if it was issued by a state other than Colorado).

The DMV hearing must be held within sixty (60) days of your request, and you will typically be allowed to continue driving until the hearing is held. An attorney experienced in handling these hearings, like those at Miller & Harrison LLC, is your best chance to avoid losing your license.

Details of License Revocation

If this is your first “drunk driving” offense in Colorado, and you took a blood or breath test with a result of over .08, then you are facing a loss of your driver’s license for nine (9) months. You can choose to reinstate your ability to drive after one month of no driving by attaching an “Interlock” device to your ignition (which requires you to blow into it prior to starting your car). In addition to the Interlock, you must file an application for reinstatement, pay a $95 fee, prove you have insurance (via an SR22 form from your insure for three (3) years), and provide a certificate about your alcohol usage.

Beginning January 1, 2014, if a driver is found to have “refused” to submit to a chemical test, the driver’s license can be revoked for one year, but after 2 months of no driving there is an option to reinstate the license early with an “Interlock Restricted” license. The driver cannot drive a car without an Interlock device for two (2) years.

Also, a driver with a blood or breath alcohol level measured at over .15 will be required to have an Interlock device on any car they drive for two years after they reinstate their license.

Second and subsequent license revocations are for longer periods, ranging from one full year to five years depending on your prior record.