Recently, a Larimer County deputy clerk was pulled over on suspected drinking and driving. The deputy clerk — a former Fort Collins city councilman — has not yet pled to the charge in court but has already given the city notice of his resignation. When asked about the incident, he simply stated, “Stuff happens,” but otherwise remained quiet about the situation.
The city official’s nearly-immediate resignation, however, demonstrates the gravity of a driving under the influence offense. A DUI in Colorado results when a driver has a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. A test is used to determine if a driver is over this limit. Refusal of the test is admissible in court as evidence of drunkenness and may be used as a basis to revoke the person’s driver’s license. Greater penalties in Colorado are enforced if a driver has a BAC of 0.17 percent or higher.
The penalties for drinking and driving add up quickly. Criminal penalties can include fines, imprisonment and public service, while court-imposed penalties might involve suspension of the driver’s license or restrictions on driving privileges. These penalties increase every subsequent time a person is caught behind the wheel after drinking. The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates that a DUI can cost $8,866. On top of that, drivers convicted of a DUI will pay significantly higher car insurance premiums for at least three years, and they may still be considered high-risk drivers for several after that.
As the deputy clerk in Fort Collins can attest, there are other penalties to be besides those that are imposed by the court system. Reputations are on the line when people get a DUI. Especially for those in positions of power, a DUI can often surface in the media and shed a bad light on the person accused. No one should have to face a situation like this on his or her own.
The importance of a good defense
Because of the many different kinds and the severity of the punishments, it is crucial that anyone charged with a DUI offense obtain the help of a Colorado criminal defense lawyer. These lawyers understand that the people charged with a DUI are ordinary people who might have simply made a mistake — or were even possibly falsely accused. They sympathize with the situation and will work vigorously to defend every client and protect their rights. A DUI can make an impact on the rest of a person’s life, especially for someone in the public eye, but an experienced attorney can help mitigate the damage and move forward.