How to Use the “No Driving Defense” in Colorado DUI Cases
If you’ve been charged with a DUI for drinking, you may be able to challenge the lab results in court. And there are also effective legal strategies for challenging driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) charges in Colorado.
When a police officer pulls you over and charges you with DUI, it’s clear that you were driving the vehicle. What if you are legally intoxicated, but the officer never actually sees you driving?
If a police officer encounters you in or near your car, you may be charged with DUI. But this is a legal grey area in Colorado, and there are a number of factors that will be taken into consideration to determine whether you are guilty. In these cases, a robust legal defense is required for protecting your driving record and maintaining your freedom.
You Can Be Charged with a DUI Even When Your Aren’t Driving
You can be charged with a DUI in Colorado, even when the arresting officer doesn’t ever see you driving. If there is enough evidence to suggest that you might have driven recently, or you had the intent to drive, the police may use circumstantial evidence to convict you.
Pulling over to the side of the road to “sleep it off” may seem like the responsible thing to do when you’ve had too much to drink. But you could still be charged with DUI. You can also be charged with DUI when you’re close to or inside your car in a parking lot.
You may assume that the question of whether or not a person is driving a car is cut and dried. But thanks to legal precedents in Colorado, this is actually a complex legal matter. This may sound hard to believe, but someone who is found sleeping or passed out behind the wheel of a car that’s not running may be found guilty of DUI, especially if the keys are in the ignition.
Factors that may be used by police to charge you with a DUI include:
- Where the vehicle was found
- If the engine was running
- Statements made by the driver
- Where you were seated in the vehicle
- If the keys were in the ignition
- How the car was parked
- If your seat belt was fastened
- Eyewitness accounts
- How many people were inside the vehicle
- Any factor suggesting you had been driving or were preparing to drive
Challenging a “No Driving” DUI
In a Colorado DUI case, a driver is defined as the person who is in actual physical control of the vehicle. That’s why a skilled lawyer may be able to get your charges dropped if the police officer didn’t see you drive.
It’s important to remember that you can be charged for DUI anywhere in Colorado, on a private road, on private property, or in a parking lot. And the Colorado Supreme Court has provided a very loose definition of “actual physical control.”
If you have been charged with a DUI when the police never actually saw you drive the vehicle, your attorney may employ the following arguments in your defense:
- The vehicle is totally inoperable.
- You had a valid reason for being in the car.
- There’s evidence that someone else was driving the car.
- You were inside the car for warmth or safety.
- Someone else in the car switched places with you.
- Police mishandled or misread your BAC test.
- Your rights were violated by the arresting officers.
Were You Charged with DUI?
DUI penalties are pretty strict in Colorado. Your license will be suspended, and you could receive up to 2 years in jail for a misdemeanor conviction and 6 to 12 years in prison for a felony conviction.
When you’re facing DUI charges, choosing the right Colorado Springs drunk driving defense attorney really matters. Timothy R. Bussey has been helping clients get DUI charges dropped or reduced for over two decades. He’s earned the ACS Forensic Lawyer-Scientist Designation in the state of Colorado, he’s a certified NHTSA Field Sobriety Test Instructor, and he’s certified in Forensic Chromatography.
Contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. to schedule a FREE consultation today by calling (719) 475-2555.