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4 Reasons to Hire a Denver Criminal Lawyer for Your Upcoming DUI Trial

October 31, 2018

Facing any criminal charge is a stressful experience, but knowing that you’re going to have to head to trial is enough to make most people nervous. While you’re free to represent yourself in court, doing so can be more challenging than you might expect. Hiring an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney is the best way to handle your upcoming case. If you’ve been debating whether or not you should represent yourself or allow the court to appoint legal representation for you, here are a few reasons to consider hiring a DUI attorney instead.

Court-Appointed Representation May Not Focus their practice on DUIs

Court-appointed attorneys are typically considered legal generalists. This means they’re familiar with the legal system and the charges against you, but they do not focus on defending against DUIs. While some will be perfectly capable of representing your best interests, others may not be equipped to advocate for you. This can result in higher penalties, potentially unfair punishments, or stricter-than-necessary sentencing. An experienced DUI attorney may be able to get your fines reduced or argue for a lesser sentence. 

DUI Attorneys Are Familiar with Sobriety Testing

Roadside sobriety tests are not always accurate and an experienced attorney knows this. They’ll be able to look at the tests you underwent and argue on your behalf, especially if the results were out of proportion or entirely inaccurate. They’ll even have access to expert witnesses to explain why the tests were not the best way to judge what happened on the road. If you were to represent yourself, it would be far more difficult to prove any errors in testing. John Buckley is certified in administering roadside sobriety tests and certified to teach police officers how to do so.

They Have Experience in the Courtroom 

Court proceedings are confusing if you’ve never experienced a trial before. This confusion, combined with the nerves of speaking to a judge, can make it difficult to represent yourself properly. Experienced DUI attorneys have countless hours of courtroom experience. This means they won’t get flustered when the judge poses a question, they’ll understand the complicated legal jargon, and be able to explain each step of the proceedings to you easily. 

Attorneys Understand How Charges Impact Your Record

If you’re like most people, you probably aren’t sure how the charges against you will impact your record in the long run. Google® is a great resource, but it’s no substitute for explanations from an experienced attorney. They understand the nuances of each charge, punishment, and fine and can explain to you precisely how they’ll impact your future. Without an attorney to guide you through the process, you may be surprised with unexpected consequences of the DUI charge. 

You’re Going Up Against Legal Professionals

When you represent yourself, you’re going up against a team of experienced legal professionals that know the laws and regulations like the backs of their hands. They’re prepared to sentence you to whatever they deem fair and appropriate. This can make it difficult to argue on your own behalf without getting caught up in the technicalities of the legal system. An experienced attorney will be just as prepared as the court.

Looking for a DUI attorney to represent you in an upcoming trial or case? Contact The Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. and schedule a free consultation today. Our team is happy to come to you, wherever you’re located in the Denver-metro area. 

Denver Criminal Lawyer Answers Common Questions About Breathalyzer Tests

October 24, 2018

Getting pulled over for a suspected DUI can be stressful. While there are several roadside sobriety tests the authorities might ask you to undergo at a traffic stop, none is more common than the Breathalyzer test. This test has a reputation for being both inaccurate and incredibly popular and if you’ve never been pulled over before, you may have several questions about the test. Your trusted Denver criminal defense attorney shares some of the most frequently asked questions about the Breathalyzer test and what you can expect during a routine DUI traffic stop. 

What does the breathalyzer test really check?

The Breathalyzer test, in theory, tests for alcohol on your breath. As you drink, your body metabolizes the alcohol, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be measured accurately. The thought is, if you’ve been drinking before you get behind the wheel, the test will pick up the concentration of alcohol in your bloodstream as you exhale, not just what’s on your breath.  

Is the test accurate?

The most accurate form of blood alcohol testing is done by taking a blood sample. The breathalyzer test can be fooled or measured inaccurately by many household substances like mouthwash and even some chewing gum. A single sip of alcohol can be enough to trigger a false reading, making the test less reliable.

Can I be arrested for a positive breathalyzer test?

The breathalyzer test is used by law enforcement to act as probable cause in possible DUI cases. It’s not admissible in court, but it does give them enough evidence to justify taking you into custody. Keep in mind that most courts rely on the BAC levels found through blood tests and more formal breathalyzer tests done at the police station rather than a roadside breathalyzer check. 

Can I refuse to take the test?

You can. However, depending on the other observations the officer has made of your behavior (erratic driving, slurred speech, poor balance, etc) they may have enough evidence to arrest you without the result of the roadside breath test.  

Is there any way to beat the test?

It seems like there’s a new method to help people beat the breathalyzer test popping up out of the woodwork. Almost as soon as they pop up, they’re debunked. Just because the test is not the most accurate method to measure BAC doesn’t mean it can be fooled. In truth, there’s no way to completely fool the test. If you’ve been drinking, you’ll test positive with the breathalyzer. To borrow a phrase from the 80s movie "Wargames"... "The only winning move is not to play."  Simply decline to participate in taking the roadside breath test.

If you’re facing DUI charges after a failed roadside breathalyzer test, contact the legal team at The Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. We’ll help you prepare a defense and get you ready for everything the legal system can throw your way. Schedule a consultation today and let our team help you manage and navigate the legal system so you’ll never have to be on your own. Contact us online or call (303) 501-1800 to discuss your case today.

Denver Criminal Lawyer Answers Common Questions About DUI Convictions

October 17, 2018

Getting a DUI is serious, but if it’s your first conviction, you likely have a few questions about what the charges mean. An experienced Denver criminal defense attorney will help you represent your case in court, but it’s still important that you understand the charges, what they mean, and what a conviction could do to your personal life. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about DUI charges. 

What does it take to earn a DUI in Colorado?

In Colorado, the two most common causes of a DUI conviction come from alcohol and marijuana use. Drivers pulled over who exhibit any signs of being high behind the wheel who then have THC levels of 5 nanograms or more in their systems as shown by a blood test, can be charged with a DUI. For drivers under the influence of alcohol, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent is enough to result in a criminal charge. Keep in mind that DUIs can arise from any drug or substance that alters your ability to drive.

What if I got a DUI due to prescription drugs?

Even if you were given a prescription, you can still be charged with a DUI. If your ability to drive is diminished by the drugs or you’re found to be over the legal limit when you’re pulled over, the state is permitted to charge you with a DUI. 

Can I lose my license if I’m convicted?

A successful DUI conviction can lead to the suspension of your license, an increase in auto insurance premiums, and hefty fines. The length of license suspension will depend on the severity of the charges against you and the number of offenses on your record. As a condition of having your license reinstated, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device that tests your breath for alcohol anytime you get behind the wheel. 

I know I’m guilty. Do I really need an attorney?

It’s always a good idea to work with an experienced attorney if you’re facing DUI charges, even if you plan on pleading guilty. Attorneys understand the legal system and may be able to help negotiate a lower sentence or fine. Even if you think you don’t need an attorney, schedule a consultation. They’ll be able to advise you on the best way to navigate the legal system, give insight into what to expect during your trial, and prepare you to present your case to the court. 

Is there any way to beat a DUI charge?

With DUIs, the best way to beat a charge is not to get one in the first place. If you’re out with friends and feel like driving might not be the best idea, don’t get behind the wheel. Grab a ride from a friend, call a cab, or use a ride-share app to make sure you get home safely. Just let the staff at the bar or restaurant know that you need to leave your car. They’d rather have you pick it up the next day than drive drunk or tipsy.  However, if you have been charged, an experienced DUI defense attorney will explore all of the evidence against you and offer the best opportunity to defend against the charges.

Have you been charged with a DUI? Contact The Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. and schedule a free consultation with our legal team. 


Denver Criminal Lawyer Explains Bail For DUI Charges

October 10, 2018

When you think about setting bail, the first thing that comes to mind is likely facing a tough criminal charge. After all, unless you’re facing charges for something extreme like robbery or assault, a bail amount probably won’t be set, right? The truth is, it all depends on the severity of your DUI, the way you responded during the arrest, and whether or not anyone else was injured while you were under the influence. Though an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney will be able to help you present your case, it’s up to you to understand and navigate the bail process. 

Bail Can be Set for DUI Charges

Though bail is far more common for criminal charges like robbery or assault, they can be set for DUI cases. However, in order for a judge to set bail, the charges against you must be severe enough that you’re not released pending trial. Remember, posting bail is meant to help you get out of jail until the court can hear your case. If you’re not being held prior to your trial, there’s no need for the judge to set bail in the first place.

What Circumstances Would Result in Bail Being Set?

For first-time offenders where the arrest went smoothly and no one was injured, bail not even need to be set. Often, the court system accepts what’s called a personal recognizance bond which allows you to promise the justice system that you’ll appear in court on time. These are accepted in lieu of money.

However, for individuals with an extensive criminal record, repeat DUI offenders, or drivers that injured or killed another person while behind the wheel, bail will likely be set anywhere between $500 and $50,000. The more criminal activity you have on your record, the higher the amount will be. Similarly, if driving under the influence resulted in injury to another party or extensive property damage, the court will likely set a high bail amount if the judge decides to set bail at all.

Bail is Not a Legal Right

It’s entirely up to the court to decide if the charges against you warrant setting bail in the first place. If the judge determines that you’re a flight risk or that the DUI was so severe that you represent a danger to the community, they’re free to hold you in jail until your appointed court date. Keep in mind that you are legally entitled to an attorney and the court cannot bar them from meeting with you to discuss the charges you’re facing. If you’re refused bail, your defense attorney will be able to visit with you in jail to go over the case and help you prepare your statement. 

Whether you post bail or wait for your court date in jail, it’s important to have a good attorney to represent your case. Contact The Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. and schedule a free consultation with our legal team. We’ll give you the undivided attention you deserve, whether it’s your first offense or your fifth. Call (303) 501-1800 to schedule an appointment.

Understanding Pre-Employment Criminal Background Checks with an Experienced Denver Criminal Lawyer

October 3, 2018

Being convicted of a crime has far-reaching effects on your life, well beyond spending time behind bars. Not only does it inconvenience your family, but it also makes finding a job after your conviction far more difficult. Many employers conduct background checks prior to hiring employees, and even if your Denver criminal defense attorney reduced the severity of the charges against you, you could still face a certain amount of discrimination during the job hunt. Before you apply for your first job after a conviction, it’s important that you understand your rights. Here’s what you need to know about pre-employment criminal background checks.

Employers Are Allowed to Ask About Your Record

On most applications, you’ll see a question asking if you’ve been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Though not necessarily a guarantee that you’ll get passed over for the job, it can influence an employer’s decision to hire you. However, it’s in your best interest to be honest about your record. If the employer asks for a criminal background check, your record will come up anyway.  

If the case has been sealed, you’re free to respond to their questions as though the conviction never happened. Sealed cases will not show up on your record and the employer does not need to know what happened, unless you want to explain it to them. 

You Have to Give Them Permission 

Before any employer can run any kind of background check, they must notify you of the check in writing. They cannot perform the background check until you sign and date the request. Doing so would be a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Though you’re free not to give permission for the check, doing so could disqualify you from consideration for the position. 

The Employer Cannot Legally Discriminate Based on a Record

Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee because they have a criminal record. However, though the law may say one thing, employers often do another. Unfortunately, a record could cause an employer to immediately think of you as irresponsible, untrustworthy, or other such association. Even if they do not believe they’re actively discriminating against you, the charges could lead them to favor another applicant. If you believe you’re being discriminated against, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and file a complaint. 

When in Doubt, be Honest 

Though a criminal background check cannot be run without your consent, it’s still best to be honest with your prospective employer. If, after the background check, they ask about your record in an interview, state the facts. Explain what happened, what you were charged with, and answer their questions as honestly as possible. Just make sure to stand up for yourself—you’ve changed even if your record hasn’t and you deserve another chance to better yourself. 

If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t take the risk of letting the Public Defender represent your case. Schedule a consultation with The Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. Our team understands that mistakes happen and we’ll make sure your case is represented fairly.