Commercial DUI Lawyers in Colorado Springs
Helping You Reduce or Remove the Penalties You Are Facing
Every driver is expected to operate a motor vehicle while they are sober and clear-headed. But commercial driver’s license holders are held to an even higher standard. Because commercial driver’s license holders often operate large vehicles like 18-wheelers, big rigs, and tractor-trailers, they are expected to operate at an even lower legal limit than passenger vehicle drivers. Unfortunately, getting charged with a DUI as a CDL license holder can have severe consequences on your job prospects and other aspects of your life. Losing your driving privileges, getting your license suspended, paying fines, and spending time in jail are just some of the ways you could be penalized for driving under the influence.
If you are a commercial driver’s license holder and are facing DUI charges, hiring a criminal defense attorney is the best way to protect yourself and your commercial driving privileges. At Joyner Law, our team has years of experience assisting CDL license holders to fight their DUI charges and maintain their right to drive and work. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced lawyers. Call today for a free case evaluation at 719-294-0566.
How Does Colorado Define a Commercial DUI?
Under Colorado law, a commercial DUI offense is defined as anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04 or more. If the individual is younger than 21 years old, they can be charged with a commercial DUI if they are operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .02 or higher. It’s important to note that passenger vehicle drivers are charged with a DUI offense if they are operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher. Commercial driver’s license holders are held to a higher standard because of the potentially dangerous nature of driving a commercial vehicle.
Under Colorado law, any commercial drivers with a commercial license have automatically consented to specific tests being performed while they are on the road, like a blood test or a breath test, to determine their blood alcohol levels. Anyone who refuses these tests can face an automatic license suspension and a removal of driving privileges. In most cases, CDL holders will be unable to drive a commercial vehicle for up to one year after refusing a test. If you are facing DUI charges or penalties after refusing a blood alcohol content test, contact a Colorado Springs DUI attorney for assistance immediately.
How is Blood Alcohol Testing Done?
Blood alcohol testing is the process of measuring the amount of alcohol in someone’s blood. Typically, these tests are done before a DUI arrest to prove that an individual was driving over the legal limit. There are three major ways that blood alcohol testing is performed.
Those tests include:
- Breath tests. A breath test, also called a breathalyzer test, is administered in the field, typically by a police officer. An individual will blow into a breathalyzer machine, which will detect the amount of alcohol in someone’s blood. Then, the screen will give out a reading to inform officers of the driver’s blood alcohol content.
- Field sobriety tests. Police officers will sometimes ask individuals to perform certain tasks to gauge their level of intoxication. These tests often involve walking in a straight line or standing on one leg and balancing. They may also include following an object with just the eyes.
- Blood tests. A blood test is often required after a DUI arrest. Blood tests are done by taking a blood sample from an individual and sending it to a lab for testing. Lab technicians will then test the blood sample and measure the amount of alcohol in the driver’s blood.
If you are suspected of DUI in Colorado, you may be asked to perform one or all of these tests. If collected correctly, any test results can be used as evidence against you if your case goes to trial. It is important to note that you have the right to refuse a breath test or field sobriety tests, although certain consequences may apply.
What Are the Potential Penalties for a Commercial DUI?
Commercial driver’s license holders face many of the same DUI penalties as passenger vehicle drivers. However, a commercial driver may also face federal penalties in addition to state penalties.
The penalties for a DUI conviction will vary depending on your circumstances, but generally, they are as follows:
- First offense: Up to one year in jail time, a fine of up to $1,000, and a nine-month license suspension. You may also be required to do community service.
- Second offense: Up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,500, and a one-year revocation of your license. You may also be required to do community service.
Any subsequent DUI convictions can carry penalties like added jail time and additional fines. Three or more DUI convictions are often charged as a felony, and those convictions can carry up to six years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000, and three years of parole.
CDL DUI offenders may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. An ignition interlock device is a device that tests your blood alcohol content before you can start your vehicle and randomly throughout your trip. In most cases, an ignition interlock device will be used for two years after your license is reinstated.
If you are convicted of a DUI offense, you will not be able to drive a commercial vehicle for up to one year. If you refuse a breathalyzer test, the same penalty applies. If you were transporting hazardous materials, you would not be able to drive a commercial vehicle for three years. A second DUI conviction or refusal of a breathalyzer test means an automatic lifetime revocation of your CDL license. If you are convicted of three or more DUIs in a seven-year period, you will be labeled a habitual offender and have your license revoked for five years without being eligible for the ignition interlock program.
Can a Commercial Driver’s License be Reinstated?
Even if you have had your commercial driver’s license revoked for life, you may still be able to get it reinstated. In most cases, you will be required to complete state-approved drug and alcohol education classes or a rehabilitation program. This will depend upon the specific circumstances of your case and how many DUI convictions you have within a particular period of time.
You may also have to abide by other rules, like completing community service or checking in with a probation officer on a regular basis. If you are interested in reinstating your commercial driver’s license, contact an experienced attorney on our team for more information. We can petition the court to request a reinstatement of your license so you can continue working in your field.
What Does a Commercial DUI Attorney Do?
If you are facing a DUI arrest or DUI charges, it is in your best interest to contact a DUI lawyer immediately. The sooner a member of our team reviews your case, the sooner we can begin building your DUI defense. There are many things a DUI lawyer from our law firm can do for you.
A commercial DUI attorney on our team can do the following:
- Represent you at a DMV hearing
- Question witnesses and the legitimacy of evidence presented
- Gather evidence on your behalf
- Negotiate with prosecutors to reach a plea bargain
- Represent you before a judge and present evidence in your defense
Additionally, our team members will answer any questions you may have and walk you through the entire legal process. Handling any legal matter, especially a DUI defense, can be difficult without a legal background. If you are fighting a commercial driver DUI, contact our team today for assistance.
What Are the Most Common Defenses Against a Commercial DUI?
In some DUI cases, there is the potential to get the charges thrown out entirely. A good defense strategy may also be able to reduce the penalties you may be facing. While your specific legal defense will depend on the circumstances of your arrest and charges, there are some common defense strategies our team may use.
The most common defenses for a commercial DUI include:
Lack of Probable Cause
Before an officer pulls a driver over, they must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place. This could mean swerving, excessive braking, or speeding. If an officer did not have probable cause, there is a chance that your DUI arrest may be invalid, and the entire case could be thrown out. Our team can use witness testimony and other evidence to argue a lack of probable cause.
Prosecutors have the burden of proof and must provide evidence of driving under the influence over the legal limit. If there is a lack of evidence in your case, our team can argue that prosecutors do not have enough evidence to move forward to trial. If a judge agrees, they may dismiss the case before it has even started.
Faulty Breathalyzer Machine
Breathalyzers are commonly used to check the blood alcohol content of a driver. However, breathalyzers must be used correctly to give accurate results. If an untrained officer misused the device or the machine was faulty, there is a chance that your breathalyzer test results could be inadmissible.
Incorrect Field Sobriety Test Procedures
Field sobriety tests are often used before a commercial DUI arrest. These tests can include the one-leg stand and the walk-and-turn test. Officers must administer these tests correctly, giving defendants time to complete the tests to the best of their ability. If an officer used these tests incorrectly, our team can argue that the results should not be allowed in court.
Mishandling of a Blood Test
In many cases, you will be required to submit to a blood test after a DUI arrest. This test calculates your blood alcohol content and must be administered by a trained technician. If the technician did the test improperly or your sample was not stored correctly, a defense attorney on our team can argue that the criminal charges are invalid.
Violation of Miranda Rights
Before interrogating an individual, police officers are required to read you your Miranda Rights, informing you of your right to remain silent and to an attorney. If an officer fails to read you your rights after an arrest, our team can argue that anything you said to law enforcement is inadmissible in court.
What Are the Signs of Intoxicated Driving Officers Look For?
If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, officers must have reasonable suspicion that you are committing a crime. In the case of DUI offenses, officers will look for signs of intoxication.
The main signs of drunk driving that officers will look for include:
- Excessive braking
- Reckless driving
If you exhibit any of these behaviors, you could be pulled over. Once you stop your vehicle, officers will look for other signs of inebriation, like slurred speech, glassy eyes, or the smell of alcohol. They may also look into your vehicle for items like empty alcohol bottles or drug paraphernalia.
However, these signs can have other explanations besides inebriation. Certain medical conditions, allergies, and even fatigue can mimic the symptoms of intoxication, leading to unnecessary DUI charges. If you believe that your charges are unfair or incorrect, contact our law firm today for assistance.
How Can a DUI Lawyer Help?
If you are a commercial driver’s license holder, getting a DUI conviction can impact your job in severe ways. Penalties like jail time, fines, and the revocation of your license could mean that you are unable to work, either temporarily or for life. The best thing you can do to protect your livelihood and driving privileges when facing DUI charges is to hire a defense attorney to advocate for you. While it may be tempting to represent yourself or hire an inexperienced lawyer, your freedom and your ability to work could be on the line. You need an experienced legal team in your corner, ready and willing to fight for your best interests.
At Joyner Law, our years of experience have given us the knowledge and the know-how to defend your case. We can help you navigate the legal system and gather evidence on your behalf, either negotiating with prosecutors to reach a plea deal or representing you in a trial before a judge. As a CDL driver, you understand the importance of keeping your driver’s license and being able to work. Let our team protect your rights and help you keep your driving privileges. For a free consultation, call our office today at 719-294-0566.