| Read Time: 5 minutes | DUI Defense

Colorado DUI Laws: Fines and Penalties

Learn What You Need to Know If You Face a DUI in Colorado Facing a DUI in Colorado could lead to grave consequences. Colorado DUI laws are some of the toughest in the nation. Thus, you will need the assistance of a highly skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer.  If police arrested you in Colorado Springs, you should not wait to contact a DUI lawyer who has a proven track record of successfully defending DUI cases. Austin M. Lux was a prosecutor. Now he is an award-winning Colorado Springs DUI defense attorney. Austin focuses his practice on defending people charged with a Colorado DUI, among other criminal offenses. You can rely on Austin’s experience and extensive knowledge of Colorado DUI laws to help avoid the harsh consequences of a mistake. Colorado DUI Penalties Under Colorado DUI law, a person can be convicted of DUI if they operate a motor vehicle when  Their ability to drive safely is substantially impaired by either drugs or alcohol, or  They have a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or greater. Driving under the influence (DUI), driving with your ability impaired (DWAI), and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) are crimes that fall under this same law. Penalty for First DUI in Colorado A first DUI charge in Colorado is a misdemeanor. The penalty for a first DUI conviction in Colorado is surprisingly harsh. After a conviction for a first DUI in Colorado, if you took a breath test or chemical test that gave a result of 0.08 or greater, you face: Between five days and one year in jail; A fine not to exceed $1,000; Compulsory license revocation of up to nine months; Community service obligation up to 96 hours; and Alcohol education classes. The judge could put you on probation to ensure that you satisfy all the requirements following a first DUI conviction. Mandatory Jail Time for a DUI First Offense Prosecutors can seek an enhanced penalty against a person facing DUI charges in Colorado for many reasons. Enhanced penalties often include mandatory jail time, along with other sanctions. The prosecution could seek an enhanced penalty if you have a breath or chemical test resulting in a BAC of 0.20 or greater. In that case, the judge must sentence you to at least 10 days in jail. The judge has the discretion to grant you a work release or serve your sentence on home confinement while wearing a GPS ankle bracelet. The Difference Between DUI Per Se and DWAI DUI per se refers to providing a chemical test result or a breath test result of 0.08 or higher. DWAI is a charge that can be based solely on the observations of the police officer. To support a conviction for DWAI, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused drove when the person’s ability to do so safely was impaired. This can be done even without the results of a chemical test or if the chemical test results fall between 0.051 and 0.079 BAC. The penalties for a DWAI conviction are less severe than a conviction for DUI per se. The potential sentence for a conviction of DWAI includes: Two days to 180 days in jail; A fine not to exceed $500; 48 hours of community service; and Eight points against your driver license. The judge has the authority to place you on probation for a conviction of DWAI as well.  The reduced penalties for DWAI are not necessarily an incentive to refuse the breathalyzer because of Colorado’s express consent law. Express Consent Law in Colorado You should be aware that Colorado has an express consent law. Therefore, any person who drives in Colorado agrees to take a chemical test if a police officer believes that the driver is under the influence.  Refusing to take the chemical test has consequences. First, Colorado law allows the prosecution to use the chemical test refusal as evidence of guilt at your trial. Essentially, the prosecution gets to argue to the jury that you refused the breath or other chemical test because you knew you had a BAC of 0.08 or above. That is compelling evidence. Secondly, the Colorado DMV will suspend your license for one year for refusing the breath test and may consider you to be a persistent drunk driver (PDD). You have the opportunity to reinstate your license if you take alcohol education classes and agree to use an ignition interlock device for up to two years. Colorado law imposes these sanctions against you even if the jury finds you not guilty after trial. These are administrative penalties and work in conjunction with any criminal penalties imposed. You have the right to appeal the DMV’s decision to suspend your license for refusing to take a breath test. You must file that appeal within seven days of your DUI arrest. Missing that deadline means you lose your right to appeal. Second DUI in Colorado If police charge you with a DUI second offense, then you are facing potentially more severe repercussions. However, the length of time between your first and second offenses may determine whether the judge treats you as a first-time offender. If you have a second DUI in Colorado, the judge could treat you as a first-time offender if your prior conviction was at least 10 years prior. You should be aware that all convictions for DUI outside of Colorado count toward a second offense DUI. The first and second DUI penalties are similar. For a DUI second offense, which is a misdemeanor, you face up to: A minimum of 10 days in jail, with a maximum of one year; A fine between $600 and $1,500; License suspension for at least one year; At least 48 hours of community service, up to 120 hours; Two years of probation; Level II alcohol education; and Possible installation of an ignition interlocking device. The judge can also order you to enter into a treatment program for alcohol addiction for a second DUI in Colorado. Third Offense...

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| Read Time: 6 minutes | Criminal Defense

Colorado Sentencing Guidelines: Overview and Penalties

Former Colorado Prosecutor Explains Colorado Sentencing Guidelines If police in Colorado charge you with a criminal offense, you are probably concerned about the punishment you could receive if you are convicted. You may worry that a judge could sentence you to jail or prison, levy excessive fines, and impose probation. However, you should remember that a judge can only impose a sentence based on Colorado sentencing guidelines after a conviction.  Having an experienced criminal defense attorney fight to protect your rights is the first step in maintaining your innocence and preserving your freedom. As an experienced former prosecutor, Austin Lux now works for you. Austin understands Colorado sentencing guidelines and can help limit your exposure to Colorado’s harsh criminal penalties. Criminal Sentencing in Colorado Colorado uses a four-tiered sentencing structure for its criminal offenses. Like all states and the federal government, Colorado has felonies and misdemeanors. Additionally, Colorado classifies some minor offenses as petty misdemeanors. Finally, municipal ordinance violations and infractions comprise the fourth category of criminal offenses in Colorado. City and town governments enact ordinances or by-laws that are enforceable only within the particular municipality. Each criminal statute and municipal ordinance defines the severity of the offense. Also, the individual laws will specify whether the crime belongs to a particular class of offense. The class structure used by the Colorado sentencing guidelines sets the parameters for minimum and maximum punishments allowed for the specific offense. Colorado Misdemeanor Offenses The Colorado sentencing guidelines arrange misdemeanors into four general categories. They are Class I, Class II, Class III, and uncategorized. Additionally, Colorado treats some misdemeanors, such as DUI and minor drug offenses, differently from other misdemeanor offenses. Colorado drug laws rank crimes as misdemeanors and felonies but use a different classification system to signify the severity of the charge.  Colorado’s misdemeanor offense statute also sets forth the maximum fine the law allows a judge to impose. Additionally, the statute requires that every person who goes to jail for any misdemeanor offense must serve their time at the county jail rather than in the state prison system. Class I Misdemeanors in Colorado Class I misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor offenses under Colorado sentencing guidelines. After a conviction for a Class I misdemeanor, the potential jail sentence is between six and 18 months in the county jail. The court may impose a fine between $500 and $5,000 as well. Class II Misdemeanors in Colorado Class II misdemeanor charges carry a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail with a minimum of three months of incarceration. Additionally, fines for Class II misdemeanors range from $250 to $1,000. Class III Misdemeanors in Colorado Class III misdemeanor charges carry a maximum jail sentence of six months along with a potential fine ranging from $50 to $750.  Punishment for Uncategorized Misdemeanors Colorado sentencing guidelines do not specify punishments for uncategorized misdemeanors. Generally speaking, any misdemeanor that the legislature did not classify or for which it did not specify a range of sentences carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail. The court may impose a fine of no more than $1,000 as well. Drug Misdemeanor Offenses Colorado sentencing guidelines specify that drug offenses should have different penalties than other misdemeanor offenses. Colorado law refers to drug misdemeanors by level. Anyone convicted of a Level 1 drug misdemeanor faces a sentence from six to 18 months in jail. The potential fines range from $500 to $5,000.  Level 2 drug misdemeanors are less serious than Level 1. A conviction for a Level 2 drug misdemeanor could result in a jail term not to exceed 364 days, along with fines up to $750. Recent changes in the law decreased the potential penalties for Level 1 and Level 2 drug misdemeanors. For a Level 1 misdemeanor committed after March 1, 2020, the jail term is capped at 180 days. The court can impose two years of probation and issue fines as well. Similarly, a conviction for a Level 2 drug misdemeanor carries a 120-day maximum sentence along with one year of probation. The possible maximum penalties increase with third and subsequent convictions for misdemeanor drug crimes. Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses and Petty Crimes Traffic offenses and petty misdemeanors are less serious offenses, generally. Class I traffic misdemeanors carry a possible jail term between 10 days and one year, with fines of $300 to $1,000. Class 2 traffic misdemeanors can result in 10 to 90 days in jail, with fines ranging from $150 to $300.  DUI and DWAI are also misdemeanors unless the person has had four or more offenses. These crimes have their own sentencing structure.  A petty offense in Colorado carries possible jail time. Class I petty misdemeanors have jail sentences capped at six months, along with a maximum fine of $500. The penalties for Class II petty misdemeanors are less severe than Class I petty offenses.  Judges enjoy broad discretion when sentencing people convicted of misdemeanor crimes. Probation instead of incarceration is an option in many circumstances, especially if the person charged has no previous offenses or a few minor offenses on their record. Additionally, a judge could accept a deferred adjudication instead of a guilty finding for misdemeanor crimes. Deferred adjudication is advantageous to most people because the procedure allows them to keep convictions off their record. Colorado Felony Sentencing Guidelines Convictions for all felonies in Colorado require the offender to serve their sentence in the state prison. Judges can place offenders on probation and assess fines as well for felony convictions. As with misdemeanors, the severity of the crime dictates the potential prison time. Statutes in Colorado often break down the severity of offense into degrees. Assault is a typical example of how degrees of a crime dictate the presumptive sentence a court may impose. Colorado law separates assault into first, second, and third degrees. The seriousness of each assault determines the degree of offense and the class of felony. It’s essential to seek expert legal help from an experienced criminal defense attorney in Colorado if you face any charges, especially felonies. A...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Marijuana Cultivation Defense

Colorado’s Marijuana Cultivation Laws (Everything You Need to Know)

Most Colorado citizens are well aware of the legalization of marijuana in their state. With the implementation of legalization came general public service information regarding the use of recreational marijuana. However, the knowledge often stops there. There remains ample confusion regarding cultivation regulation. Here is everything you need to know relating to Colorado marijuana cultivation laws. Legalization Passed by ballot initiative in 2012, Amendment 64 legalized the private consumption of marijuana in Colorado, and the state officially added it to the state’s constitution on December 10, 2012. Following the passing of this Amendment came regulations regarding many things, including marijuana cultivation. Here is where some of these laws stand now. Home Grown Marijuana Cultivation in Colorado Coloradans can grow marijuana in their homes for personal use. The Colorado government provides some relatively clear information regarding colorado marijuana cultivation laws for those growing at home. The specifics citizens should keep in mind include that: Coloradans can grow marijuana in their homes for personal use; Up to six plants are allowed per Colorado resident over age 21, with as many as three plants flowering at one time;  All residences are limited to a maximum of 12 plants unless certain requirements are met (local laws can vary); and  Marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area that can’t be viewed openly—this means the plants can’t be outside. The above is a good starting point to grasp home growing cultivation basics. However, counties and municipalities can pass stricter laws. Also, the rules are different for medical marijuana users. If a person is concerned about where they stand regarding existing or future compliance with cultivation regulations, they should contact a Colorado attorney with experience in marijuana cultivation crimes. When law enforcement charges a person with a violation of homegrown Colorado marijuana cultivation laws, they should urgently reach out to a cultivation defense firm.  Facility Marijuana Cultivation in Colorado Colorado marijuana cultivation laws for facilities have additional considerations. These laws involve: An application to be a facility,  The government granting the applicant a license, and Fees for both the application and license.  Based on the number of marijuana plants the facility intends to cultivate, the government will assign the Colorado recreational marijuana cultivation facility a tier of licensure. These tiers are as follows:  Tier 1 (1-1,800 plants), Tier 2 (1,801-3,600 plants),  Tier 3 (3,601-6,000 plants), Tier 4 (6,001-10,200 plants), and Tier 5 (10,201-13,800 plants). Costs for the application and licensure in total can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The license application fee for growers, processors, and dispensaries is per facility and per license type. To stay compliant with the law, facilities must remain current with yearly renewals.  As with home growing situations, the rules are different for medical marijuana facility cultivation. Colorado Government’s General Stance on Cultivation The standard rules from OSHA and state laws that regulate businesses apply to marijuana cultivation facilities. In many ways, people consider Colorado a reasonably progressive state regarding marijuana cultivation laws. For home growers, the Colorado government actively suggests that people grow with care. Some of their advice includes that home growers: Only use carbon dioxide generators that are safe for indoor use; Wear personal protective equipment when using pesticides; and Make sure a licensed electrician installs all lights and other equipment to prevent fire hazards.  However, do not take these helpful hints to indicate that Colorado is lenient regarding the violations of marijuana cultivation laws. Just how serious are they in this regard? Those who are growing marijuana in their home or at a facility, especially if they fear being in trouble with the law, have a reason for concern. Consequences of Violating Colorado Marijuana Cultivation Laws There is no penalty in Colorado for persons who privately cultivate marijuana within the legal limits. But if one violates those limits, tough laws regarding drug felony penalties may address the consequences. Based on the amount one has above the legal limit and other factors (such as whether the person has prior convictions), one may face: A mandatory court appearance, Punishment of up to 2 years of imprisonment, and  A fine of up to $100,000, For cultivation in a facility, there are additional considerations. These include that: Marijuana sales by unlicensed entities are broadly subject to criminal penalties;  The state regulates retail sales of cannabis by state-licensed entities to those over the age of 21;  The Department of Revenue also regulates the retail marijuana industry; and Criminal statutes provide punishments for those who violate facility cultivation laws. Therefore, when facilities violate Colorado marijuana cultivation laws, the penalties may well surpass those of home growers and may come from various agencies and judicial jurisdictions. Some Colorado criminal lawyers may have an idea of penalties for violations and how to defend against charges. However, given the complexity of Colorado marijuana cultivation laws, Coloradans who believe they need legal help in this arena need to reach out to a top-notch law firm with experience. A Word of Caution: Minors and Colorado Marijuana Cultivation Laws As with all states, Colorado has numerous laws to protect juveniles from abuse and neglect and lead them away from delinquency. Those cultivating marijuana need to understand that there are special considerations regarding minors and cultivating marijuana in homes and facilities. Specifically: At homes with residents under 21, any marijuana grow area must be enclosed and locked in a separate space that minors can’t access; At homes without residents under 21, home growers must take extra precautions to make sure any visiting youth don’t have access to marijuana plants; and The sale, transfer, or dispensing of marijuana to a minor carries hefty penalties. The law also drives the point home by adding that those working in a facility cultivating marijuana must be age 21 or older. The endpoint is this: If you are cultivating marijuana in the home or a facility, make sure there is no connection to or access available for minors under the age of 21. When you believe that you may be in violation of Colorado marijuana cultivation laws, the time to act is immediate. You...

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | News

Update on COVID-19

El Paso and Teller County courts are still open and but are now operating on an emergency basis. Courthouse visitors have been restricted and many cases are now being rescheduled, although questions about specific court appearances should be directed to the division the case is assigned to. Division phone numbers can be accessed here. Jurors are still ordered to honor their summons but may submit a postponement request if they are experiencing symptoms or are at risk for serious illness. The Colorado Supreme Court has ordered that certain cases and court proceedings may not be suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include: Petitions for temporary civil protection orders and pennanent protection order hearings; Petitions for temporary emergency risk protection orders and hearings on emergency risk protection orders; Crim.P. Rule 5 advisement for incarcerated persons and the initial setting of bail; Revocation hearings on complaints to revoke probation involving an incarcerated defendant; Proceedings necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants including bond-related matters and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals; Detention hearings for juvenile delinquency cases; Shelter hearings in dependency and neglect cases or other juvenile proceedings; Petitions for appointment of an emergency guardian and/or special conservator; Hearings on motions to restrict parenting time and parental abduction prevention; and Emergency mental health proceedings. You can view the Chief Judge’s order in its entirety by clicking here.

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