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What Does Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Mean in Colorado?

By Timothy Bussey on May 10, 2016

I often ask potential clients, and sometimes even other attorneys who call me to ask DUI related questions, what does driving under the influence mean in Colorado? This question will usually lead to a confused look, and the person responds by stating something like, “It means you drove drunk.” Usually, I’ll then ask, what does it mean to drive drunk? This question almost always receives an even more confused response.

Colorado Revised Statute, 42-4-1301(1)(f) states: “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.

I then try and break it down a little more simply. The prosecution must prove to a judge or a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you drove under the influence. This first means that a person drove a motor vehicle. Colorado Revised Statute, 42-2-102 states that a “Driver” is defined as every person, including a minor driver under the age of twenty-one years, who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.

In addition, the statute provides that a person must consume 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. This is a long definition, but important for a person who has been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Colorado.

Notice that the word drunk is not used in the statute. The prosecution must show more than that a person had consumed alcohol or drugs and was a bad driver. The prosecution must show that the alcohol, drugs, or combination of alcohol and drugs affected the person to a degree that the person was substantially incapable, either mentally, physically, or both of exercising clear judgment, sufficient physical control or due care when operating a vehicle.

Contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. Today

Officer’s observations and opinions can be challenged. Chemical tests results can be challenged. If you or a close friend or family member has been charged with a DUI contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. for experienced and aggressive representation. Timothy Bussey has been practicing law since 1991. He is a former active duty judge advocate and a former Colorado prosecutor in El Paso County and Teller County. He is much requested presenter at DUI conferences based upon his knowledge, experience, and results. You may contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 475-2555.

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