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Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains Open Containers and How to Transport Alcohol Safely

July 11, 2018

Summer is the season of barbecues, outdoor parties, and music festivals. All those events mean the temptation to enjoy your favorite beverage or recreational marijuana product will be great. While it’s fine to enjoy yourself at the event or party, it’s important that you understand Colorado’s open container laws. While an infraction won’t leave you searching for an experienced Denver criminal lawyer, it can result in fines and traffic violations that leave a derogatory mark on your license. Here’s what you need to know about the open container laws and what you can do to ensure that you’re transporting alcohol and marijuana safely this summer.

What Classifies as an Open Container

When it comes to alcohol, any open bottle, package, or can of alcohol counts as an open container, even if it’s been resealed. Any beverage with 0.5 percent alcohol by volume is subject to the open container law. This includes all non-alcoholic and full-strength beer, hard liquor like whiskey and vodka, wine, and even some kombucha beverages just to name a few.
If you’re transporting dry marijuana or edibles, the open container definition is similar, but a bit different. If the container is open or the protective seal is broken on the container, it is said to be an open container under the law. However, there are a few requirements that must be satisfied in order for you to be charged with a violation. The container must be open, the marijuana must be partially removed from the container, and there must be visible evidence that the marijuana was consumed in the car. If the police cannot prove that you consumed marijuana, whether by smoking or eating the product, in the vehicle, you are not in violation of the open container law. Keep in mind, if you test positive for marijuana or are exhibiting signs of being high behind the wheel, you may still be arrested for driving under the influence.

How You Can Safely Transport Open Containers

Though driving with an open container is illegal, that doesn’t mean you have to waste what’s left of your delicious beverage. It just means you have to be cautious about how you transport the leftovers home. Instead of driving with the container inside the car, put it in the trunk. This shows police that you have no way of accessing the product on the road. If you can’t access the alcohol or pot, you can’t imbibe while you drive. If you have a truck and lack an enclosed trunk, putting the products in the truck bed will still count as properly storing an open container. To reduce damage while transporting the containers, consider bringing a padded cooler bag with you if you suspect that you’ll have leftover beverages.
Stay safe this summer and take the time to properly transport open containers whether you’re coming home from a party or bringing back a delicious bottle of wine after a wonderful dinner. If you find yourself charged with a DUI, don’t hesitate to contact the team at The Law Office of John L. Buckley and schedule a free consultation.

Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Talks About License Revocation After DUI

July 4, 2018

If you are driving after you have been drinking and you get pulled over, you will get arrested for DUI, or driving under the influence. (Don’t miss our recent blog post on what you should do if you have been arrested.) If you have received a DUI, you will lose your driver’s license for a specified period of time. Obviously, this is a concern because it will impact your ability to get yourself to and from work. Your Denver criminal defense lawyer John L. Buckley will work hard to protect your rights and get you back on track after a license revocation.

Here are answers to some of your questions about losing your license in the state of Colorado.

In What Situations Will My Driver’s License Be Revoked?

You can expect your license to be revoked for the following offenses:
● Driving under the influence
● Driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more (or .04 percent or more for commercial license)
● Driving under the influence of drugs
● Driving under the influence of marijuana
● Underage drinking and driving
● Refusing a chemical test
● Accumulating too many points on your Colorado driving record

For How Long Will I Lose My License?

This will depend on the specific charge you are facing and whether you are a first-time or a repeat offender. The minimum time you can expect to lose your license for a first-time offense is nine months. You’ll lose your license for a year for a second violation and for two years for a third or subsequent violation. You will also receive 12 points on your driving record.

When you drive in Colorado, you have essentially given consent to take a blood test or breathalyzer test if you are pulled over for driving under the influence. If you refuse to take these tests, you will automatically lose your driver’s license. You will lose it for a year for the first violation, two years for the second violation, and three years for a third or subsequent violation.

If you get pulled over while you are operating a commercial vehicle, the ramifications are even more serious: You’ll lose your license for a year for the first offense (or three years if your truck contains hazardous materials). If you get a second DUI or if you refuse a chemical test, you’ll lose your commercial license forever.

You can find out the specific process for reinstating your license at the Colorado Department of Revenue website. Give us a call if you have more questions.

If you have made a mistake and have been charged with a crime that has resulted in revocation of your driver’s license, it doesn’t have to ruin your life. Do not try to navigate this complex legal process by yourself. Regardless of how serious the charges, our experienced staff will help you prepare the best defense for your case. Everyone deserves fair and reliable representation from an expert such as those at the Law Office of John L. Buckley, PC. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. 


Denver Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Whether Underage Drinking Is Ever Okay

June 27, 2018

In Colorado, the legal age for drinking alcoholic beverages is 21. You might wonder if it is ever okay for someone under that age to drink alcohol? It might surprise you to know that there are two answers to this question: no and yes. Read on to find out what a Denver criminal defense attorney has to say about underage drinking.

Instances in Which an Underage Person Can Consume Alcohol

Called an “affirmative defense,” there are specific situations in which a person under the age of 21 in Colorado can drink or possess alcohol. It’s interesting to note that Colorado’s five exceptions are the second highest in the country. Only New Jersey is higher, with six exceptions. Other states have fewer, with Idaho coming in at zero exceptions.

Let’s take a look what these situations are.

#1—An underage person can have a drink if he or she is with a parent or guardian on private property. An example of this would be having a small glass of wine with a holiday dinner. This is acceptable—and the child must not get behind the wheel to drive afterward. (There are insurance ramifications associated with underage drinking if a minor is caught driving under the influence. This recent blog post goes into more details.)
#2—An underage person is allowed to eat food that has alcohol in it, such as a cake that is baked with bourbon in it. Medical reasons are also included with this exception.
#3—An underage person can taste alcohol for education purposes, such as a 20-year-old training in the restaurant industry. However, he or she is expected to spit it out afterward.
#4—An underage person can drink alcohol for religious purposes, such as taking communion at church. This is protected under the 1st Amendment.
#5—An underage person who has been drinking but acts as a “good Samaritan” on behalf of another person who has been drinking is protected from legal consequences. The purpose of this is to prevent concern about legal ramifications if one person calls to get help for another person.

Penalties for Underage Drinking

If none of these exceptions applies, an underage drinker will face charges for underage drinking. If convicted, first-time offenders will be fined or have to receive treatment for substance abuse—or both. They may also lose their driver’s license for 90 days.
If you want more information on drinking laws in the state of Colorado, here is a list of frequently asked questions from the state’s official site.
If you or your child has been arrested for underage drinking, be sure to hire an experienced attorney. At the Law Office of John L. Buckley, we will fight on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome. We understand this can happen, and we do not believe that a single mistake should ruin a teenager’s future. Regardless of the charges you are facing, we can help you prepare the best defense. Everyone deserves fair and reliable representation from an expert such as those at the Law Office of John L. Buckley, PC. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.  


What to Expect in an Arraignment When Working With a Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

June 20, 2018

When you’re caught driving under the influence, you likely know to expect a roadside sobriety test and a ride in the back seat of a police car. However, for many people, what happens after the booking seems like a complete mystery. You’ve heard the term “arraignment” and know that you have to attend the meeting, but, if you’re like most first-time offenders, you have no idea what to expect when you’re in the courtroom. Your trusted Denver criminal lawyer explains just what an arraignment is and what you can expect from your first appearance before a judge.

What Is an Arraignment?

An arraignment is a defendant’s first court appearance after being charged with a crime. During the appearance, they’ll be informed of the charges against them. If you were arrested for a DUI, the court will explain the charges against you in detail. They’ll also provide you and your attorney with copies of any blood alcohol level tests, your driving record obtained from the DMV, and a copy of your existing criminal record, if you have one. This gives your legal representation a chance to put together a case on your behalf. The more information they have about the charges against you, the better prepared they’ll be.

The arraignment does not have to occur immediately after the incident. Depending on how busy the court is, the arraignment may not occur until several weeks after your initial arrest. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to wait behind bars the entire time. In fact, most individuals charged with a DUI will be released to wait for their arraignment appointment at home, allowing you to go back to work and live your life as normally as possible. Keep in mind that you may still have to surrender your driver’s license until your hearing is over and the final verdict is rendered.

What Happens at The Arraignment

Like most court proceedings, arraignments follow a relatively set process. First, you’ll be advised of your rights under the constitution. These include the right to a fair trial, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to have an attorney represent your interests and argue your case. Once you understand your rights, the judge will explain the case against you, going over each charge thoroughly so you understand precisely what you’re facing.

Once you understand the charges, you’ll be asked to enter a plea—your attorney will advise you on what plea is best for your situation. If you do not settle the case during the arraignment, the court will establish a time for a pre-trial hearing where your attorney will be able to argue your case. The judge will then explain the conditions of your release, set bail if an amount needs to be set, and set a date for a future hearing. If you’re released from custody, all you need to do is cooperate with your attorney and wait for your next hearing.  

Arraignments can seem intimidating, but with help from a dedicated criminal defense attorney, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. If you’re facing DUI charges, don’t wait. Contact the Law Office of John L. Buckley today and schedule a free consultation.

Denver DUI Attorney Offers Tips on Avoiding a DUI This Summer

June 13, 2018

Summertime is almost here, and so are the summer parties, barbecues, and festivals. There is plenty of opportunity for drinking—and that means the police will be out in full force, looking for drivers who are operating their vehicles while under the influence. These tips from a Denver DUI attorney will help ensure you are not one of these drivers.

Make a Plan Ahead of Time

If you’ve had a few drinks, you might start making bad decisions so it’s a good idea to have your plan in place before you get started. If you are meeting with a group of people, make sure one person has agreed to be the designated driver. (At many events, the designated driver can even drink soft drinks for free.) You can plan to call a cab. Or you can use a driving service such as Uber or Lyft. If the party is taking place at someone’s house, you can bring your overnight bag and plan to stay the night. You can even turn your keys in to the host at the beginning of the evening to ensure you don’t decide to drive home when you shouldn’t.

Go Out Near Your Home

If there are bars and restaurants near where you live, go there—and walk. This will keep you off the roads and still give you an enjoyable time out. If you meet others who have driven, plan for them to stay at your house. Have fresh sheets ready for the couch or pull out the blow-up mattress to keep everyone safe.

Use Public Transportation

Often big events are held in downtown areas or other popular places that have access to public transportation. The Light Rail or bus is a sure bet that you’ll stay off the road, keeping you and others safe.

Driving under the influence puts your life at risk as well as the lives of others on the road. You can also count on it costing you a lot of money because your insurance rates are likely to go way up. Read An In-Depth Look at How DUIs Affect Your Insurance Costs in Each State to get specifics.

If you make a bad decision about getting behind the wheel after you have been drinking and you get pulled over, you might wonder if you need a Denver DUI attorney or not. You are putting your entire future at risk by not hiring an attorney after a DUI, so don’t follow one bad decision with another.

People make mistakes, and if you are one of them and find yourself charged with a DUI, do not try to navigate the legal system alone. At the Law Office of John L. Buckley, we will fight on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome. Regardless of the charges you are facing, we can help you prepare the best defense. Everyone deserves fair and reliable representation from an expert such as those at the Law Office of John L. Buckley, PC. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.