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Can the Police Search Your Car? Your Denver Criminal Lawyer Explains Your Rights


January 17, 2018

When getting pulled over by the police, you may feel nervous. This is normal and it is important to stay calm. You have rights and do not have to consent to all questions you are asked. Be prepared and know your rights. The best way to learn is through your local Denver criminal lawyer, who understands the ins and outs of the law. From learning what to do if you get pulled over, and what you are legally bound to do, to working with a lawyer, use this as your guide to be prepared.

How to Handle Getting Pulled Over

A police officer will pull you over if they see a reason to do so. Police are not allowed to pull you over just to see your license. It could be anything from speeding to little-known traffic laws in Colorado that you may be breaking.

Upon seeing the flashing lights in your rearview window, remain calm and follow these steps:
  • When Getting Pulled Over: Use your turn signal and slowly pull to the side of the road. As you wait for the officer to approach your window, get your license, insurance card and registration ready. Put it in the passenger seat or have it in hand to provide to the officer.
  • How to Interact with the Officer: While you know you are not a threat, it is important to be respectful. Roll down your window and have your hands on the steering wheel when the officer approaches your car. If it is dark out, turn on your interior lights so the officer can see better. Be polite and courteous as they greet you.

Know Your Rights

Once the officer has reviewed your information, they will begin to ask you questions such as “Have you been drinking tonight?” or “How much alcohol have you consumed?” These are questions you do not have to answer. Decline and say something along the lines of “I decline to answer,” or “I am going to remain silent.”

Next, they may ask to look through your car. You do not have to consent to a search. It is your right to tell the officer you do not consent to having your vehicle searched. They may also ask you to perform a field sobriety test. It is your right to decline this as well.

If they have probable cause and think you are driving while intoxicated, there is the “Expressed Consent Law” which you will need to submit a blood or breath test. You can still refuse to do so, but it will lead to a one-year suspension on your license. Learn how to handle your next steps by reviewing the FAQ: criminal and DUI defense.  It is important to note that in the context of a Colorado DUI investigation, you must answer whether you will submit to a blood or breath test and you DO NOT have the right to consult with a lawyer before doing so.

At this point, the police officer may detain you as they try to resolve the situation. This is not a punishment for remaining silent, but normal procedure. You are still legally allowed to remain silent and ask to speak with your lawyer. Do not say anything until you speak with your lawyer.

Working with a Lawyer

Your lawyer will handle your next steps. Continue to decline to answer without an attorney present. Your attorney will handle everything. The best thing you can do to be prepared is to have your attorneys phone number saved in your contacts.

Be prepared and have the Law Office of John L. Buckley, 303-501-1800, saved in your phone. Our office will help you with your case.
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Sobriety Tests You May Have to Perform Explained by Your Denver Criminal Lawyer


January 10, 2018

If you are pulled over or involved in an accident in Colorado, and a police officer feels they have seen signs you are inebriated or under the influence of drugs, you may asked to take a few field sobriety tests. These will allegedly help them determine if you have anything in your system. It is important for you to know that you do not have to perform the tests. They are voluntary. There are three that are used in the state of Colorado. It is important to know what they are, but even more important to consult with a Denver DUI defense lawyer before undergoing tests or giving details to the police.

HGN “Eye” Test

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, known as the “HGN” exam, is a technique police use to see if there is a correlation with eye movement and your sobriety level. For inebriated individuals, there can be an involuntary movement of the eyes when looking to the side. An officer will pull out a small light or some other stimulus and will ask you to follow it with your eyes. The police officer will watch for jerking and rapid movements at different angles. During their observation, they will watch slow movement to the side, look for movement when holding the eye on the outer edge, and how it handles at a 45-degree angle.

Walk and Turn

One of the most common of tests, the “walk and turn” test, is used by officers to watch your movements. They will take you to an area and ask you to simply walk in a straight line. There is often not anything to walk along, leaving it up to you to determine what the straight line is. During this, you will walk heel to toe. They will look to see if you can keep your balance, how you handle walking, the steps you take, and where your arms fall. Throughout all of this, the officer will also be talking to you and providing you with instruction. They will look to see how you handle multitasking the test and their verbal commands. It can be difficult for even the unimpaired.

Standing on One Leg

Police officers may also ask a person suspected of being under the influence to complete a “one-leg stand” test. This is where a person will stand on one leg, having the other just six inches above the ground with a pointed toe—all the while maintaining good balance. If you have balance issues, can’t keep your foot up for the 30-second test, or use your arms to assist you, they may think you are under the influence.

It is important to know that field sobriety tests are not always accurate, and it is important to ask to speak to a lawyer before performing anything. The law enforcement community is still seeking a reliable DUI test for marijuana.  It is important to remember that no matter what, always ask for counsel. and never agree to cooperate with a voluntary test.  If you find yourself in this situation, the Law Office of John L. Buckley will help you every step of the way. Learn about the benefits of hiring a Denver criminal defense attorney when dealing with a DUI—and keep us in your phone. You never know when you will need our services, so add in 303-501-1800 today.
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The Benefits of Hiring a Denver Criminal Defense Attorney When Dealing with a DUI


January 4, 2018

Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans find themselves with one of the most dreaded charges that a driver can face--a DUI. While it may seem like the end of the world, with the help of a Denver criminal defense attorney, your case will be handled by an experienced professional--helping to shorten the time spent, lessen the amount of money you spend and dispense valuable advice that you otherwise might not have known.

Time

Your time is valuable, don’t waste precious minutes reeling from the charge or trying to tackle the problem by yourself. Continuing with a DUI trial without an experienced criminal defense attorney can end up prolonging the proceedings; especially if your learning all the nuances associated with handling a DUI defense. Many times during trial, defendants must attend regular court appearances. If you have hired an attorney, then they can attend some proceedings in your place--saving you the hassle of having to miss work or re-evaluate your schedule.

Not only can a DUI lawyer help with reducing the amount of time spent in the short term, they can also help you in the long term as well. An experienced DUI attorney has the knowledge and skills to access your case, and in some cases reduce license suspension time, your sentence, or even help negotiate a lesser charge.

Money

By helping to shorten the length of time your case is active, your lawyer can reduce the amount you spend on court costs in the process. On average lawyers can help reduce court costs by up to $2,000. That as well as the fact that hiring a lawyer makes it three times more likely that your DUI charge will be reduced will help you save money in the long run. For those who have been convicted of a DUI, they can expect their insurance costs to rise significantly; around $830 a year. Reduced DUI charges saves on average $1,460 on insurance costs over a three year period.

Knowledge

Experienced DUI attorneys know the legal system in their area, and are familiar with proceedings, prosecutors and judges. This knowledge is invaluable for those who are in the midst of defending their DUI case. Your lawyer may be able to reduce your charge simply by knowing who is more lenient or open to negotiation, especially for first time offenders who were not involved in an accident, speeding or had a low BAC.

With a process that can take up to six months to resolve, you’ll need the experience a dedicated DUI attorney can provide. They can advise on how to deal with social media, handling interaction with law enforcement or prosecutors, and even provide a sense of comfort in such a difficult time.

A DUI charge is best faced head-on by an experienced and skilled professional as quickly as possible. For an aggressive Denver criminal defense attorney that will work with you to ensure you don’t waste more time and money on dealing with a DUI charge, contact the law office of John L. Buckley today at (303) 501-1800.
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4 Ways DUI Defendants Could Hurt Their Criminal Defense in Denver


December 20, 2017

DUI defendants are often eager to prove their innocence so they can avoid the consequences of being convicted of this crime. But unfortunately, many DUI defendants unintentionally hurt their criminal defense in Denver by saying or doing the wrong thing. Here are some of the ways you could inadvertently hurt your case:

Talking About the Case on Social Media

Any good criminal defense attorney will tell you that it’s best to stay off of social media until your case has been resolved. If a friend or family member asks you a question about the case on social media, don’t respond to it. Don’t comment on your innocence, the progress in the case, or your defense strategy. Anything that you say on social media can be taken out of context and used against you in court, so it’s best to stay silent.

Missing A Court Date

It’s important to keep track of when you are supposed to appear in court. If you are late to a hearing—or you miss one completely—this could hurt your case. The judge presiding over your case will assume that you are not taking the legal proceedings seriously. Plus, missing a court date could result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest. This means you could end up back behind bars until your trial is over.  Don’t complicate your case by making this mistake. Set reminders in your phone so you don’t forget when you are expected to make an appearance in court. Read these tips for your first court appearance.

Stay Out of Trouble

Your criminal defense attorney will need to show the jury that you are a law-abiding citizen who has been falsely accused of committing a crime. But, it can be hard to make a jury believe this if you are arrested for another crime before your DUI case has come to a conclusion. For example, let’s say you are on trial for driving under the influence and you are arrested for drug possession one night while you are out with your friends. The fact that you were arrested while you are on trial for committing another crime could change how the judge thinks of you.

Omitting Important Details

The attorney that you hire needs to know every detail about your case. If you leave out important details, this could affect the attorney’s ability to do his job. For example, did you fail to mention that the arresting police officer illegally searched your vehicle when he pulled you over? Did the police officer fail to read your rights before questioning you at the police station? Your attorney needs to know all of these details so he can poke holes in the prosecutor’s case. Even if you think a detail is insignificant, it may be important to your attorney.  

If you are ever charged with DUI in the Denver area, get in touch with the Law Office of John Buckley as soon as possible. John L. Buckley will work tirelessly to fight the charges that have been filed against you. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible after an arrest to schedule a legal consultation regarding your DUI case.
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Denver Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Commercial Drivers Charged With DUI


December 13, 2017

Most drivers have a standard driver’s license, however anyone who drives a commercial vehicle for work must get a commercial driver’s license. Commercial drivers follow many of the same rules of the road that other drivers do. However, there is one law that has a different set of rules for commercial drivers. Here’s what commercial drivers need to know about driving under the influence according to a top Denver criminal defense attorney:

The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Legal Limit

The legal limit in most cases is 0.08%, which means a driver who has a BAC above this level is considered intoxicated. However, the legal limit is significantly lower for drivers that have a commercial driver’s license. Anyone who is a commercial driver can be taken into custody and charged with DUI if their BAC is above a 0.04%. It doesn’t take much alcohol to raise your BAC level to a 0.04%, which is why commercial drivers must be incredibly cautious.

DUI Consequences For Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers, just like other drivers, face consequences for driving while intoxicated. But the consequences are different, and some may say more serious, for commercial drivers.

Commercial drivers will lose their commercial driver’s license for one year after their first DUI conviction. Without this license, commercial drivers are unable to operate tractor-trailers, flatbeds, school buses, city buses, box trucks, and other commercial vehicles. Since this is how commercial drivers make a living, losing their license will significantly impact their ability to earn money.

If a commercial driver was transporting hazardous material at the time of his arrest, his driver’s license can be revoked for a period of three years, even if this is the first DUI on his record.

The consequences are even more serious for commercial drivers who are convicted of two DUIs. A commercial driver who is convicted of a second DUI offense will permanently lose his commercial driver’s license. This is true even if the driver was in his own vehicle, not a commercial vehicle, at the time he was arrested.

In addition to losing their license, commercial drivers face the same other criminal consequences that other drivers face if they are convicted of DUI, including jail time, probation, community service, and fines. What are the Colorado DUI laws?

Fighting For Driving Privileges

All drivers—including commercial drivers—have the right to fight for their driving privileges immediately after a DUI arrest. Drivers must schedule a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within seven days following their arrest. If they present a convincing case during this hearing, they may be able to hold onto their driving privileges so they can continue to make a living.

If you are a commercial driver and have been charged with driving under the influence, get in touch with the Law Office of John Buckley as soon as possible. John L. Buckley will work tirelessly to protect your driving privileges and your rights. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible after an arrest to schedule a legal consultation regarding your DUI case.
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