Driving While Ability Impaired in Denver Colorado

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Navigating Charges of Driving While Ability Impaired

This page is designed to get rid of the clutter in handling Driving While Ability Impaired, so that you can focus on the details that matter in your case. Remember that this page is for informational purposes only. If you would like to speak with a Denver CO Criminal Defense Attorney to address your legal issues, call 303-586-1731.

Navigating Your Criminal Case

Laying the Groundwork for your Case

Get OrganizedAs soon as you are charged with a crime, you will need to take care of some details to get your case moving in the right direction. These foundational things include interviewing lawyers, hiring one, and beginning to prepare your case with the lawyer. Here are some useful articles on

Once you get through those introductory tasks, you will be ready to move onto the interesting parts of preparing your case.

So let’s get started!

Get to know the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Case

After you have hired a Denver CO Criminal Defense Attorney, you will need to sit down with him to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  To begin this process, you should think about what the prosecutor will attempt to show in order to say that you are guilty. This will allow you to get a better idea of how you can attack the prosecutor’s case and build your own case. So to begin, you should understand that the prosecutor will need to prove certain things beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty.  These things are called “elements”.

The jury will be notified of the elements through a set of instructions called “Jury Instructions.” The Jury Instructions are a set of instructions crafted by your attorney and the prosecutor that will provide the law to the jury that they must use when deciding your case. Your Denver CO Criminal Defense Attorney will mold the jury instructions to your case, adding facts that are specific to the case and omitting unnecessary parts of the instructions.

Please find the model jury instruction for Driving While Ability Impaired below. These will be adapted by your Denver CO Attorney for your case.

The elements of driving while ability impaired are: 1. That the defendant, 2. in the state of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged, 3. drove a vehicle, 4. while his ability to operate a vehicle was impaired by [alcohol][drugs][a combination of drugs and alcohol], 5. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number ______.] After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has proven each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty of driving while ability impaired. After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has failed to prove any one or more of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty of driving while ability impaired. NOTES ON USE When this instruction is used, the instruction on inferences to be drawn from evidence of blood alcohol must also be given if evidence of chemical analysis is presented. The instructions defining “while ability impaired” and ?vehicle? must also be given.

To begin the process of analyzing your case, think about your case from the perspective of the prosecutor.  Think about the facts that the prosecutor will have to prove to establish each element. Next, sit down with your Denver CO Criminal Defense Attorney and talk about some of the legal ways that you can use to counter the prosecutor’s evidence.  Talk to your attorney about whether he thinks any of the prosecutor’s evidence can be kept out of court.  For example, if you were illegally searched, your attorney may be able to keep the things that were found, as a result of that illegal search, out of court.  Additionally, talk to your attorney about whether you have any defenses to Driving While Ability Impaired.

Consider Outside Factors that can Influence Your Case

Outside Factors that can Influence Your CaseYour Denver CO Judge and Jury will form opinions well before they hear the evidence in your case.  You should try to understand these opinions before you decide whether to go to trial or take a plea so that you can better assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  Additionally, if you decide to go to trial, you can use these factors to help identify a jury that is appropriate for your case.

Crime Trends in Denver Colorado:

Trends play an important role in the way a community perceives a crime. For example, if the charges you are facing are occurring more and more often in the community, then the community may have a growing interest in pursuing those crimes.

For a Criminal Defense Attorney, a rising crime rate may signal the need to argue for different types of penalties. For example, if the prosecutor has consistently asked for jail for your charges, it may be beneficial for your attorney to use crime trends to show the prosecutor that there is a need for alternative jail sentences (such as rehab, probation, or other options). You should always talk to your criminal defense attorney to decide what the best strategy will be for your case and whether recent statistics can be used to help you.

Below you will find crime statistics for crimes similar to yours, occurring in Denver . You should also consider statistics for the County of Denver.

Crime: Driving Under the Influence

Arrests:

On a broader scale, you should consider the number of arrests for charges similar to yours and all of the types of crimes that a court typically sees.  This broader overview of the criminal activity in your area will give you more insight into the issues that the court is dealing with and what the main problems in the community are. If you can talk about issues that are important to the judge and the community in a way that shows your awareness for those issues and your desire not to be part of the problem, then you can put yourself in a better negotiating position with the prosecutor and the judge.

Crime Arrests
All Offenses 10241
Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter 35
Forcible Rape 93
Robbery 339
Aggravated Assault 972
Burglary 681
Larceny-Theft 874
Motor Vehicle Theft 367
Arson 11
Other Assaults 1095
Forgery and Counterfeiting 110
Fraud 128
Embezzlement 24
Stolen Property; Buying, Receiving, Possessing 58
Vandalism 438
Weapons; Carrying, Possessing, etc. 217
Prostitution and Commercialized Vice 14
Sex Offense (except forcible rape and prostitution) 158
Drug Abuse Violations -Total 1570
     Sale-Manufacturing-Total 518
     Possession-SubTotal 1052
Gambling 2
Offenses Against the Family and Children 171
Driving Under the Influence 3
Liquor Laws 10
Drunkenness 0
Disorderly Conduct 41
Vagrancy 5
All Other Offenses (except traffic) 1169
Suspicion 0
Curfew and Loitering Law Violations 39
Runaways 1617
Violent Crime Index 1439
Property Crime Index 1933

Population and Race in Denver Cases

Listed below is data dealing with the percentage of each racial group that appears in Denver and the percentage that the racial group appears in Court. When looking at racial data, you should compare your situation to the expectations that these statistics create in Denver .

For example, if your race is seen less frequently in the criminal justice system than it is seen outside the criminal justice system, this could have an effect on your case. Likewise, if your race is seen more often in the criminal justice system than it is seen outside the criminal justice system, this could have an effect on your case.

You should talk to your Denver CO Criminal Defense Attorney about how the racial trends in your county could effect your case. Racial trends can be used to your advantage depending on how citizens of Denver perceive race and the stereotypes of your community. It is important to have a discussion with your Denver CO Criminal Defense Attorney about how racial perceptions and stereotypes can help or hurt your case.

Denver  County Colorado Population Demographics by Race Denver Police Dept County Colorado Arrest Demographics by Race

  White Black AINA API
Percentage of Race in the Population 68.9% 10.2% 1.4% 3.5%
Percentage of Crimes by Race 69.93% 28.4% 0.76% 0.92%

Education

When preparing your case for trial, you should be aware of the life experiences and educational background of your potential jurors. The way that your arguments are presented to the jury may depend on the life experiences and educational background of the jury. You should have a discussion with your Colorado Criminal Lawyer about the types of arguments that you should make in your county and the way that your evidence should be presented to make sure it reaches the jury in the best light possible.

High School Graduates College Graduates
84.0% 40.1%

How Driving While Ability Impaired in Denver is portrayed in the News

When you are preparing your case, it is always a good practice to know about recent news that is similar to your case. Recent news will inevitably have an influence on your jury. If your type of crime is being portrayed often, and in a negative light, this is an issue that will have to be overcome during jury selection. Likewise, if the crime is not being portrayed often, or is being portrayed in a positive light, you can use this to your advantage. Always talk to your criminal defense attorney about how recent news could effect your case.

Here is how your crime is currently being portrayed in the media. This information comes from Google News for Driving While Ability Impaired in Denver Colorado.


Think like a Judge

Denver Judges

In a criminal case, the Judge plays a monumental role in ensuring that you receive a fair trial. Judicial tendencies can have negative and positive impacts on your Colorado Criminal Case. In order to better understand judicial tendencies and inform the citizens of Colorado, the State of Colorado conducts surveys on each Judge to see how the population perceives its Judges. These surveys are available to the public. You should take the time to talk to your Colorado Criminal Lawyer about your judge in particular and how his tendencies have effected previous cases so that you can prepare your arguments accordingly.

If you are interested in seeing how your Judge performed in his or her last survey, click on your Judge from the list below.

Judges in Judicial DISTRICT 2

The Honorable Aleene Ortiz-White
The Honorable Alfred C. Harrell
The Honorable Andre L. Rudolph
The Honorable Andrew S. Armatas
The Honorable Anne Mansfield
The Honorable Claudia J. Jordan
The Honorable Doris E. Burd
The Honorable John M. Marcucci
The Honorable John Madden
The Honorable Larry J. Naves
The Honorable Martin F. Egelhoff
The Honorable Robert B. Crew
The Honorable Robert L. McGahey, Jr.
The Honorable Robert S. Hyatt
The Honorable Sheila Ann Rappaport
The Honorable Brian Whitney
The Honorable C. Jean Stewart
The Honorable David B. Woods
The Honorable Donna J. Schmalberger
The Honorable Edward D. Bronfin
The Honorable Herbert L. Stern, III
The Honorable Michael A. Martinez
The Honorable Norman D. Haglund
The Honorable William D. Robbins
The Honorable William W. Hood, III
The Honorable Brian T. Campbell
The Honorable Clarisse Gonzales
The Honorable James B. Breese
The Honorable Johnny C. Barajas
The Honorable Larry L. Bohning
The Honorable Mary Celeste
The Honorable Raymond Satter


Statute for 42 – 4 – 1301 – Driving While Ability Impaired

StatuteBefore you decide whether you have a strong or weak case, you should also take the time to look at the language of the crime that you have been charged with. 

42-4-1301. Driving under the influence – driving while impaired – driving with excessive alcoholic content – definitions – penalties

(1) (a) It is a misdemeanor for any person who is under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, to drive a motor vehicle or vehicle.

(b) It is a misdemeanor for any person who is impaired by alcohol or by one or more drugs, or by a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, to drive a motor vehicle or vehicle.

(c) It is a misdemeanor for any person who is an habitual user of any controlled substance defined in section 18-18-102 (5), C.R.S., to drive a motor vehicle, vehicle, or low-power scooter in this state.

(d) For the purposes of this subsection (1), one or more drugs shall mean all substances defined as a drug in section 27-80-203 (13), C.R.S., and all controlled substances defined in section 18-18-102 (5), C.R.S., and glue-sniffing, aerosol inhalation, and the inhalation of any other toxic vapor or vapors.

(e) The fact that any person charged with a violation of this subsection (1) is or has been entitled to use one or more drugs under the laws of this state, including, but not limited to, the medical use of marijuana pursuant to section 18-18-406.3, C.R.S., shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this subsection (1).

(f) “Driving under the influence” means 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.

(g) “Driving while ability impaired” means 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.

(h) Pursuant to section 16-2-106, C.R.S., in charging the offense of DUI, it shall be sufficient to describe the offense charged as “drove a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both”.

(i) Pursuant to section 16-2-106, C.R.S., in charging the offense of DWAI, it shall be sufficient to describe the offense charged as “drove a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs or both”.

(2) (a) It is a misdemeanor for any person to drive a motor vehicle or vehicle when the person’s BAC is 0.08 or more at the time of driving or within two hours after driving. During a trial, if the state’s evidence raises the issue, or if a defendant presents some credible evidence, that the defendant consumed alcohol between the time that the defendant stopped driving and the time that testing occurred, such issue shall be an affirmative defense, and the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the minimum 0.08 blood or breath alcohol content required in this paragraph (a) was reached as a result of alcohol consumed by the defendant before the defendant stopped driving.

(a.5) (I) It is a class A traffic infraction for any person under twenty-one years of age to drive a motor vehicle or vehicle when the person’s BAC, as shown by analysis of the person’s breath, is at least 0.02 but not more than 0.05 at the time of driving or within two hours after driving. The court, upon sentencing a defendant pursuant to this subparagraph (I), may, in addition to any penalty imposed under a class A traffic infraction, order that the defendant perform up to twenty-four hours of useful public service, subject to the conditions and restrictions of section 18-1.3-507, C.R.S., and may further order that the defendant submit to and complete an alcohol evaluation or assessment, an alcohol education program, or an alcohol treatment program at such defendant’s own expense.

(II) A second or subsequent violation of this paragraph (a.5) shall be a class 2 traffic misdemeanor.

(b) In any prosecution for the offense of DUI per se, the defendant shall be entitled to offer direct and circumstantial evidence to show that there is a disparity between what the tests show and other facts so that the trier of fact could infer that the tests were in some way defective or inaccurate. Such evidence may include testimony of nonexpert witnesses relating to the absence of any or all of the common symptoms or signs of intoxication for the purpose of impeachment of the accuracy of the analysis of the person’s blood or breath.

(c) Pursuant to section 16-2-106, C.R.S., in charging the offense of DUI per se, it shall be sufficient to describe the offense charged as “drove a vehicle with excessive alcohol content”.

(3) The offenses described in subsections (1) and (2) of this section are strict liability offenses.

(4) No court shall accept a plea of guilty to a non-alcohol-related or non-drug-related traffic offense or guilty to the offense of UDD from a person charged with DUI, DUI per se, or habitual user; except that the court may accept a plea of guilty to a non-alcohol-related or non-drug-related traffic offense or to UDD upon a good faith representation by the prosecuting attorney that the attorney could not establish a prima facie case if the defendant were brought to trial on the original alcohol-related or drug-related offense.

(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1-408, C.R.S., during a trial of any person accused of both DUI and DUI per se, the court shall not require the prosecution to elect between the two violations. The court or a jury may consider and convict the person of either DUI or DWAI, or DUI per se, or both DUI and DUI per se, or both DWAI and DUI per se. If the person is convicted of more than one violation, the sentences imposed shall run concurrently.

(6) (a) In any prosecution for DUI or DWAI, the defendant’s BAC at the time of the commission of the alleged offense or within a reasonable time thereafter gives rise to the following presumptions or inferences:

(I) If at such time the defendant’s BAC was 0.05 or less, it shall be presumed that the defendant was not under the influence of alcohol and that the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle or vehicle was not impaired by the consumption of alcohol.

(II) If at such time the defendant’s BAC was in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08, such fact gives rise to the permissible inference that the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle or vehicle was impaired by the consumption of alcohol, and such fact may also be considered with other competent evidence in determining whether or not the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

(III) If at such time the defendant’s BAC was 0.08 or more, such fact gives rise to the permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

(b) The limitations of this subsection (6) shall not be construed as limiting the introduction, reception, or consideration of any other competent evidence bearing upon the question of whether or not the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or whether or not the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle or vehicle was impaired by the consumption of alcohol.

(c) In all actions, suits, and judicial proceedings in any court of this state concerning alcohol-related or drug-related traffic offenses, the court shall take judicial notice of methods of testing a person’s alcohol or drug level and of the design and operation of devices, as certified by the department of public health and environment, for testing a person’s blood, breath, saliva, or urine to determine such person’s alcohol or drug level. The department of public health and environment may, by rule, determine that, because of the reliability of the results from certain devices, the collection or preservation of a second sample of a person’s blood, saliva, or urine or the collection and preservation of a delayed breath alcohol specimen is not required. This paragraph (c) shall not prevent the necessity of establishing during a trial that the testing devices used were working properly and that such testing devices were properly operated. Nothing in this paragraph (c) shall preclude a defendant from offering evidence concerning the accuracy of testing devices.

(d) If a person refuses to take or to complete, or to cooperate with the completing of, any test or tests as provided in section 42-4-1301.1 and such person subsequently stands trial for DUI or DWAI, the refusal to take or to complete, or to cooperate with the completing of, any test or tests shall be admissible into evidence at the trial, and a person may not claim the privilege against self-incrimination with regard to admission of refusal to take or to complete, or to cooperate with the completing of, any test or tests.

(e) Involuntary blood test – admissibility. Evidence acquired through an involuntary blood test pursuant to section 42-4-1301.1 (3) shall be admissible in any prosecution for DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, habitual user, or UDD, and in any prosecution for criminally negligent homicide pursuant to section 18-3-105, C.R.S., vehicular homicide pursuant to section 18-3-106 (1) (b), C.R.S., assault in the third degree pursuant to section 18-3-204, C.R.S., or vehicular assault pursuant to section 18-3-205 (1) (b), C.R.S.

(f) Chemical test – admissibility. Strict compliance with the rules and regulations prescribed by the department of public health and environment shall not be a prerequisite to the admissibility of test results at trial unless the court finds that the extent of noncompliance with a board of health rule has so impaired the validity and reliability of the testing method and the test results as to render the evidence inadmissible. In all other circumstances, failure to strictly comply with such rules and regulations shall only be considered in the weight to be given to the test results and not to the admissibility of such test results.

(g) It shall not be a prerequisite to the admissibility of test results at trial that the prosecution present testimony concerning the composition of any kit used to obtain blood, urine, saliva, or breath specimens. A sufficient evidentiary foundation concerning the compliance of such kits with the rules and regulations of the department of public health and environment shall be established by the introduction of a copy of the manufacturer’s or supplier’s certificate of compliance with such rules and regulations if such certificate specifies the contents, sterility, chemical makeup, and amounts of chemicals contained in such kit.

(h) In any trial for a violation of this section, the testimony of a law enforcement officer that he or she witnessed the taking of a blood specimen by a person who the law enforcement officer reasonably believed was authorized to withdraw blood specimens shall be sufficient evidence that such person was so authorized, and testimony from the person who obtained the blood specimens concerning such person’s authorization to obtain blood specimens shall not be a prerequisite to the admissibility of test results concerning the blood specimens obtained.

(i) (I) Following the lawful contact with a person who has been driving a motor vehicle or vehicle and when a law enforcement officer reasonably suspects that a person was driving a motor vehicle or vehicle while under the influence of or while impaired by alcohol, the law enforcement officer may conduct a preliminary screening test using a device approved by the executive director of the department of public health and environment after first advising the driver that the driver may either refuse or agree to provide a sample of the driver’s breath for such preliminary test; except that, if the driver is under twenty-one years of age, the law enforcement officer may, after providing such advisement to the person, conduct such preliminary screening test if the officer reasonably suspects that the person has consumed any alcohol.

(II) The results of this preliminary screening test may be used by a law enforcement officer in determining whether probable cause exists to believe such person was driving a motor vehicle or vehicle in violation of this section and whether to administer a test pursuant to section 42-4-1301.1 (2).

(III) Neither the results of such preliminary screening test nor the fact that the person refused such test shall be used in any court action except in a hearing outside of the presence of a jury, when such hearing is held to determine if a law enforcement officer had probable cause to believe that the driver committed a violation of this section. The results of such preliminary screening test shall be made available to the driver or the driver’s attorney on request.

(7) Repealed.

(8) A second or subsequent violation of this section committed by a person under eighteen years of age may be filed in juvenile court.

Case Law

When you look at the Statute, you may have questions about definitions of certain words or how the Denver Court will interpret certain phrases.  To answer these questions, Criminal Defense Attorney turn to "case law."  That is, lawyer’s look at previous cases to determine how these words and phrases should be defined and interpreted. The best way to locate caselaw for free is to go to google scholar and search for legal opinions involving your charges from Colorado courts. Remember to talk to your attorney about any issues in your case and how the lawyer believes that the issues should be handled.


Colorado Penalties for Driving While Ability Impaired

Penalties

The charge of Driving While Ability Impaired, is categorized as a:

See §42-4-1301, C.R.S. for penalties

Click here to find out how much jail time is associated with this penalty.

Important Notes:

Don’t Forget about Immigration:

If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to ask your attorney whether your charges will trigger deportation if you are found guilty or plea to the charge.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Written by

Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca