DUI & Criminal Defense Blog

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Denver Criminal Defense Attorney Explains What to Expect With an Out-of-State DUI

March 28, 2018

Colorado is one of the most beautiful places in the country. With so much scenery to take in and so many craft breweries and distilleries opening along the Front Range, it’s no wonder that people flock to the state year after year on vacation. However, if you’re like many out of state travelers, the altitude can catch you off-guard, leaving you feeling the effects of the alcohol after only a few drinks. All too often, this unexpected buzz leads to DUIs and out-of-state charges you’ll need to navigate through. Though all states have certain similarities in how they handle DUIs, the laws in Colorado will no doubt be different than those in your home state. Your trusted Denver criminal lawyer explains what you can expect if you’re charged with a DUI while on vacation.

Out-of-State Does Not Give You Leeway

When you’re visiting any state, not just Colorado, you’re expected to abide by the local laws and regulations. If you’re found to be in violation of any local laws while you’re on vacation, you can be charged for the crimes you committed. For example, if a Denver resident traveled to your home state with marijuana that was legally purchased in Colorado, they could be arrested for possession at a bare minimum and charged according to the local regulations. If you’re caught drinking and driving in Colorado, you’ll be arrested and charged according to Colorado law.

What Happens If You’re Arrested

Unfortunately, the legal system does not relax its requirements just because you’re on vacation. If you’re arrested, you’ll be expected to attend all court hearings in Colorado when they’re scheduled. Your case will not likely be remanded to your home state nor will you be allowed to respond to hearings remotely. When you’re placed in custody, the arresting officer will file a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles who will then suspend your license until your court date. Typically, this suspension only applies in Colorado, but if you miss your court hearing, the suspension could become permanent, impacting your ability to drive in your home state.

Once you attend your court date, the judge’s decision will be shared with the Department of Motor Vehicles as well as your local law enforcement organization at home. If your license is suspended in Colorado due to a conviction, it’s likely that your local government enforce the punishment.

Your best bet to navigating an out-of-state DUI charge while visiting Colorado is to hire a local Denver-based attorney to help you mount a defense. Denver attorneys have an intimate understanding of the Colorado legal system and will be better equipped to help you argue your case. Though you may have a trusted attorney in your home state, they are often only able to practice law in the state where they passed the bar.  By all means, ask them for advice and let them guide you through the process of reinstating your license and your good name once you get home, but let a Denver attorney handle your case while you’re on vacation.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI while visiting Colorado, contact the Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. Our experienced team is here to help.  

Denver Criminal Defense Attorney Explains Parked DUIs

March 21, 2018

As a responsible driver, you understand that getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol is more than just a safety hazard—it’s illegal. However, after a night on the town, asking a friend for a ride home or finding calling a cab may be impractical or far too expensive to justify. This leaves many people with one option and one alone: sleep it off in their car. Though most people associate DUI charges with reckless driving under the influence, you don’t have to be behind the wheel to be charged with a DUI in Colorado. The criminal defense lawyer Denver residents rely on explains how.

What Earns You a DUI

In the state of Colorado, you don’t need to be driving in order to earn a DUI. In fact, simply sleeping in your car after a night of heavy drinking can be enough to earn you a DUI charge. The Colorado Revised Statutes specify that individuals must be in control of the vehicle in order to be charged with a DUI. The definition of “in control” is a bit confusing. Under the state’s current regulations, anyone found sleeping it off in their vehicle could potentially be found guilty of a DUI, even if the car is still parked in the parking lot outside the bar.

What Cops Look For

Keep in mind that most cops are not out to bust sleeping drivers wanting to avoid driving under the influence. However, there are a few things they look for when deciding if an arrest is required. When investigating the scene, officers will consider
  • Where the car was parked
  • Whether the driver is behind the wheel or in the back seat
  • If the keys are in the ignition
  • If the engine is running
  • The ease with which the car could be moved
These are not hard and fast rules, by any means, but merely serve as a guideline for law enforcement. If you’re asleep behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition, the police have no way of knowing whether or not you moved the car while inebriated. However, if you’re asleep in the backseat with the keys in your pocket, you’ll have a better chance of proving that you were not in control of the vehicle at the time.

What Happens If You’re Caught?

If you’re caught sleeping it off, the most important thing you can do is stay calm. The police may administer a roadside sobriety test, breathalyzer, or other sobriety check to determine whether or not you’re under the influence. If they take you into custody, call your attorney immediately. The sooner they learn of your predicament, the sooner they can start mounting your defense. Remember, you were doing the right thing by staying off the roads and a DUI conviction earned because you were sleeping in your car is one that should always be fought.

If you’re facing charges for a DUI simply because you decided to sleep in your car rather than chance a drive home, contact the Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. today. Our experienced team will work to prove that you’re a responsible driver and not just another statistic.

Denver Criminal Lawyer Explains Why Biking Drunk is Enough to Earn a DUI

March 14, 2018

Colorado is an incredibly bike-friendly state and many Denver residents rely on this two-wheeled vehicle to get around every day. While it may be tempting to use your bike to get home after a night out with friends, you can still end up getting a DUI while riding rather than driving. Your trusted Denver criminal defense attorney wants to help you better understand the intricacies of getting a biking DUI.

Legally, a Bike is a Vehicle

Under Colorado law, a bicycle is technically a vehicle and thus subject to the same rules and regulations as cars. This means you can’t run stop signs, must ride on the right side of the road, and should obey all traffic laws, including riding sober.

You Can Still Do Harm According to the Law

While biking may seem like a safer choice to help you get home from the bar, it’s still a risky decision. After all, you’re riding on public roadways and bikeways, so you’re not the only person at risk in a collision. Though biking on a designated path will doubtless put fewer people in danger, you could still end up injuring an oncoming cyclist or pedestrian, forcing them to seek medical attention. This hazard alone is enough reason for the police to charge you with a DUI.

What Happens if You Get pulled Over

Believe it or not, Denver does have its own bike cop division. These individuals frequently patrol the streets for infractions, but are known to take to the bike paths in search of lawbreakers. They can and will pull you over if you’re weaving along the path or appear to be losing control over your bike. Once you’re pulled over, they’ll administer the same breathalyzer test they’d use if you were behind the wheel of a car. Remember, the legal limit for adults in Colorado is 0.08%. If you’re found biking over this limit, you can be charged with a DUI.

Marijuana Rules Apply

Just as you can’t drive under the influence of marijuana, you can’t bike after smoking either. You’ll still be found to be inebriated and could end up making questionable choices that influence other bikers and drivers. While most people that bike while high tend to behave better than those that ride under the influence of alcohol, the law does not discriminate.

Is Biking on the Road Worse?

While biking under the influence on a major roadway is more dangerous, the legal penalties will likely be the same as biking on a designated path. The risks are there and if you’re pulled over, you may end up getting charged with a DUI.

Regardless of your mode of transportation, a DUI can happen. If you’ve been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, whether you were behind the wheel or on your bike, contact the Law Office of John L. Buckley, PC. Our dedicated staff understands that biking under the influence means you were trying to make a responsible decision and we’ll work tirelessly to mount a great defense in court. Call (303) 501-1800 today.

Denver Criminal Lawyer Explains How to Tell if Your Rights Were Upheld or Violated at Your Arrest

March 7, 2018

When you’re arrested, whether it’s for a DUI or another offense entirely, it’s easy to lose focus on the rights you’re entitled to. However, every law enforcement officer is required to offer the same rights to every citizen in their custody from the moment you’re arrested to the final hearing in your case. Your Denver criminal defense attorney wants to help you understand what to look for to determine if your rights have been violated at any time during your custody. Here are a few things you should look for when assessing how you were treated and whether or not your rights were upheld.

You Were Read Your Rights

During every arrest, whether it’s for a major crime or minor infraction, the officers are legally required to read you the Miranda Rights if they intend to question you. These rights let you know what you’re entitled to while you’re in their custody. If the officer fails to read you your rights, they can face disciplinary and legal action. 

You Were Allowed to Stay Silent

One of the most important parts of the Miranda Rights relates to your ability to remain silent during questioning without your attorney. This helps you avoid incriminating yourself during the preliminary investigation and prevents law enforcement from demanding that you answer a question without legal counsel present. If they asked you to speak without your attorney or otherwise forced an answer from you, your rights have been violated.

Law Enforcement Offered You an Attorney

If the police do not offer you an attorney or give you the chance to contact an attorney of your choice prior to questioning, they’ve violated your rights. Once you do have access to an attorney, make sure to explain what happened so they’re aware of the full situation and the abuse of power exhibited by the police.

Questioning Stopped Until Your Attorney Arrived

Police are allowed to ask you questions until you ask for your attorney. Once you do, their questioning should stop until your attorney is present and can advise you on how best to answer without incriminating yourself. If the police continue to question you without your attorney present, your rights have been violated. This applies even if you initially answer their questions and decide to ask for a criminal defense attorney at a later time.

You Were Treated Fairly

Unfortunately, officers are increasingly treating those they arrest unfairly, often resulting in physical and emotional abuse of those they’re supposed to protect. If an officer has treated you unfairly at any point during your arrest and detention, it’s important to tell your attorney immediately. This behavior is both reprehensible and a violation of the regulations set forth by the justice system.

Law Enforcement Told You About Your Charges

Officers need a reason to hold you and without making that reason explicitly clear, they cannot continue to hold you in jail. At the time of your arrest and booking, the officers should inform you of why you’re being arrested and the charges you may be facing. Keep in mind that these charges may change as the investigation continues. If the cops are holding you without telling you the specific charges you’re facing, your rights have been violated.
If you’ve been arrested, contact the Law Office of John L. Buckley as soon as possible. We will help you mount a defense against your charges and mitigate the severity of the sentence you may be facing. Call (303) 501-1800 now.

Denver Criminal Lawyer Explains Drivers’ License Suspensions

February 28, 2018

Whether you’ve had a few drinks or are stone-cold sober, getting stopped at a DUI checkpoint is always stressful. While the government will still need to prove that you’re guilty of driving under the influence, there’s always a chance that your license will be suspended pending your formal hearing. If you’ve never faced this challenge, you may not know what to expect and your Denver DUI defense attorney wants to make sure you’re prepared. Here’s what you can expect when your driver's’ license is suspended through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

What Qualifies You for Suspension

If you drive under the influence, the Department of Revenue, the branch responsible for overseeing drivers’ licenses in Colorado, will suspend your license when your blood alcohol content tests over the state’s limit. However, if you refuse to allow the officers to administer a blood alcohol test, your license may also be revoked, whether you were driving under the influence or not.

In the state of Colorado, a DUI is not the only way you can end up with a suspended license. In fact, if you have a history of driving infractions like speeding tickets, accidents, and even parking infractions that result in points on your license, you may end up having your license revoked. For adults over 21 years old, 12 points in 12 months or 18 in 24 months will earn you a suspension.

What to Do If You Have a Suspension

When the suspension is announced, the Department of Revenue will specify how long you’ll be without your license, pending your hearing. During this time, you will not be permitted to drive and if you’re caught behind the wheel, you could be facing much more severe punishment. Once the suspension is up, you’ll be eligible to petition for a license reinstatement, letting you get back behind the wheel legally.

If you’ve earned a point-related suspension or refused the blood alcohol test, you may need to take the driving test again before you can start the license reinstatement process. After an alcohol-related infraction, you’ll need to speak with the Department of Revenue to discuss the specific requirements for your case. The DMV may place certain restrictions on the license pending review of your case, such as installing a breathalyzer ignition switch, preventing the vehicle from starting if you’re inebriated.

Does It Have to Be Done In Person?

Though all driving and written tests do need to be performed in person at your local DMV, paying the reinstatement fees and filling out much of the relevant paperwork can be done online. Once everything has been processed and all reinstatement fees are paid, you’ll be able to get back behind the wheel.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI or other criminal offense, contact the Law Office of John L. Buckley, PC before speaking with the police. I’ll help you mount a strong defense and give you the fair representation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation now and get ahead before legal proceedings begin.