Home DUI

Top DUI Attorneys in Grand Junction

What You Need to Know About DUI, DWAI, or DUID in Colorado

Being charged with a DUI (driving under the influence), DWAI (driving while ability impaired), or DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) in Colorado is serious. If you’re convicted, you may lose your driving privileges, owe substantial fines, have to spend time in jail, and suffer lasting damage to your reputation. If you’ve been arrested for impaired driving, immediately contact an experienced DUI defense attorney.

A skilled attorney can get your charges dismissed or reduced, or work to get your sentence reduced. If you’ve been charged with impaired driving in the Grand Junction area, Peters & Nolan, LLC, can help. For over 20 years, Andrew J. Peters and Andrew J. Nolan have helped people in the Western Slope who find themselves in tricky legal situations. Call (970) 243-4357 for a free case evaluation today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is a DUI?

Answer: DUI is defined as “driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to a degree that the person is substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.” You can be charged with a DUI in the state of Colorado if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a .08 or greater. A DUI is a misdemeanor offense.

Question: What is a DWAI?

Answer: DWAI is defined as “driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to the slightest degree so that the person is less able than the person ordinarily would have been, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.” You can be charged with a DWAI in the state of Colorado if your BAC is at least .02 but not more than .05.

Question: What is a DUID?

Answer: DUID is defined as driving when “you have consumed one or more drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs; and the drugs and/or alcohol make you substantially incapable, either mentally and/or physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the operation of a vehicle.” There are three types of DUID in Colorado: under the influence of marijuana, under the influence of prescription drugs, and under the influence of illegal drugs. For marijuana, you are considered under the influence if you have five nanograms (one billionth of a gram) of THC (the active chemical in marijuana) in your blood. As for prescription drugs and illegal drugs, what qualifies as under the influence is rather hazy, and is usually up to the arresting officer’s discretion.

Question: What is Express Consent?

Answer: By operating a motor vehicle in the State of Colorado, you are automatically giving "express consent" or granting permission to take a chemical test by breath, blood, or urine to measure your blood alcohol content, if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both.

Question: If I’m asked to perform a roadside sobriety test, should I comply?

Answer: No. Roadside sobriety tests in Colorado are voluntary. There is no requirement that you must submit to one. In fact, the roadside test are very subjective; and while they offer you the chance to show law enforcement that you are not under the influence, the reality is that they can hurt you more than help you.

Question: The officer had me take a "PBT" (portable breath test) - does that count as my chemical test?

Answer: No. Typically, if you consent to a blood test it will be administered at the local hospital; if you consented to a breath test, it will be done at a law enforcement facility. Portable breath tests are inaccurate and do not satisfy the requirements of the Express Consent chemical test.

Question: What happens if I refuse to take a breath, urine, or blood test?

Answer: At the time of your arrest, the police officer will serve with you an "Express Consent Affidavit and Notice of Revocation.” This form will indicate that you have seven days to request a hearing through the DMV. If you do not request a hearing, your driver’s license will be revoked on the eighth day.

Question: What happens if I elect to take a blood test?

Answer: If you elected to take a blood test and the results were over 0.08 BAC, the DMV will mail you a notice giving you a 10-day timeframe from the date of the letter to request a hearing. If you do not request a hearing in that timeframe, your driver’s license will be revoked. It should be noted that the letter the DMV sends to you will be mailed to whatever address is on your driver’s license.

In every DUI or DUID case, you actually have two separate cases. One case is the criminal case that will be handled in county court and the other case is an administrative hearing case that is handled by the Department of Revenue. Let’s take a look.

The Criminal Case

For most DUIs in Mesa County, Colorado, you will be served with and asked to sign a "Summons and Complaint" and released to a sober party rather than being booked into jail. However, in other counties in Colorado, you will be booked into jail and have to bond out. On the "Summons and Complaint," your first court appearance date and time will be listed. The first court appearance for your criminal case is called an arraignment. That is where you will be advised of your rights and what you are being charged with.

In some cases, if you have retained an attorney, your appearance may be waived, and you will not need to be present. If you have not retained an attorney, you will need to be present at that court appearance or you could be charged for a failure to appear.

You have a few options at that initial court appearance—you can plead not guilty to the charges and ask that the matter be set for trial; you can plead guilty to the charges; or you can ask for a continuance to allow time to seek counsel and another court date will be given to you. Needless to say, we recommend you get counsel. Right away.

The Department of Revenue Administrative Case

The administrative case is handled by the Colorado DMV and requires that you request a hearing. At that hearing, the fate of your driving privilege will be decided. The DMV has the authority to suspend or revoke your driving privileges even if you haven’t yet been convicted of a DUI or DUID in court!

To request a DMV hearing, you will need to take the "Express Consent Affidavit and Notice of Revocation" along with your driver’s license (if still in your possession) to your local Department of Revenue Office. For a list of locations, please click here. Once you have requested a hearing, you will receive a temporary driving permit that will allow you to drive for 60 days or until the date of your administrative hearing. Notice of the administrative hearing will be mailed to you. You may also request a hearing in writing, but it must be received within seven days. We do not recommend doing this due to how long snail mail can take.

At the administrative hearing, your case will be heard by a Hearings Officer. It is the Hearings Officer who will decide whether to dismiss the case or order a revocation of your driving privileges. The administrative hearings for the DMV can be difficult to win, but it is possible to win them with the right representation. Here’s what’s at stake in your DMV hearing.

DMV Summary of Actions for Arrests on or After January 2014

These are the standards for adults, anyone 21 years old and above. Remember, for each one, additional forms will be needed to reinstate your driver's license. Contact the Colorado DMV directly if you want more information.

  • 1st DUI with BAC .08-.149
    Mandatory no-driver period: 1 month
    Total revocation period: 9 months
    Early reinstatement after the 1st month of the mandatory no-drive period
    Will be required to have ignition interlock for a minimum of 8 months. For 1st DUI offenses, interlock removal may be possible after 4 consecutive months of driving with interlock.
  • 1st DUI with BAC higher than .150
    Mandatory no-drive period: 1 month
    Total revocation period: 9 months
    Early reinstatement after the 1st month of the mandatory no-drive period
    Will be required to have ignition interlock for 2 years
  • 2nd DUI with a BAC higher than .08 Mandatory no-drive period: 2 months
    Total revocation period: 2 years
    Early reinstatement after the 1st month of the mandatory no-drive period
    Will be required to have ignition interlock for 2 years
  • 3rd DUI with a BAC higher than .08
    Mandatory no-drive period: 2 months
    Total revocation period: 3 years
    Early reinstatement after the 1st month of the mandatory no-drive period
    Will be required to have ignition interlock for 3 years
  • 1st DUI with Refusal
    Mandatory no-drive period: 2 months
    Total revocation period: 1 year
    Early reinstatement after the 2nd month of the mandatory no-drive period
    Will be required to have ignition interlock for 2 years
  • 2nd DUI with Refusal
    Mandatory no-drive period: 2 months
    Total revocation period: 2 years
    Early reinstatement after the 2nd month of the mandatory no-drive period
    Will be required to have ignition interlock for 2 years
  • 3rd DUI with Refusal
    Mandatory no-drive period: 2 months
    Total revocation period: 3 year
    Early reinstatement after the 2nd month of the mandatory no-drive period
    Will be required to have ignition interlock for 3 years

Contact a Top DUI Defense Attorney Who Knows the Western Slope

If you’ve been arrested for driving while impaired, the next steps you take are critical. Your first step should be talking to an attorney who has lots of experience in handling drunk driving cases.

Well, our team at Peters & Nolan, LLC, has been representing clients charged with DUIs, DWAIs, and DUIDs for over two decades. Together, we handle more DUI defenses than probably the entire State Bar of Colorado. We’ll put our knowledge and experience to work in your defense.

Call our Grand Junction office at (970) 243-4357 for a free consultation today.

Additional Information

Contact us today for a Free Consultation

Call Peters & Nolan, LLC at 970-243-HELP (4357) or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.

About Us

Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.

After a Traumatic Event,
Every Moment Counts.

Contact Peters & Nolan, LLC, for tenacious
and compassionate representation