Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense under any circumstances. This crime is treated even more harshly under the law when it occurs in a school zone. DUI in a school zone means harsher penalties upon conviction. Colorado law states that any person who commits a moving traffic violation in a school zone is subject to increased penalties, at CO Rev Stat § 42-4-615. Penalties for DUI are severe, even when it does not occur in a school zone. They may include up to a year in jail, fines of up to $1,000, up to 96 hours of community service, and driver’s license suspension for up to nine months.
How Is a Colorado School Zone Defined for Moving Violation Purposes?
The statute defines school zones, for purposes of the section that imposes increased penalties for moving violations. A school zone is an area that is designated as a school zone with appropriate signs posted indicating that surcharges and penalties will be doubled. It is up to the state or the local government with jurisdiction over placing traffic signs and control devices in the school zone area to make that designation. Section 42-4-615 does not apply if penalties and surcharges have already been doubled because the violation also occurred within a highway work zone.
What Are the Possible Defense Strategies Against Charges of DUI/DWI in a School Zone?
Not being aware you are in a school zone is not a defense against the charges. Neither can it be used as a defense if school was not in session at the time or there were no children actually present. Depending on the circumstances of your case, as a defense, your DUI lawyer may be able to discredit observations made by the police officer who arrested you – for example, lack of coordination, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol on your breath. This can be accomplished by presenting evidence of possible bias on the part of the officer or revealing flaws in the officer’s recollection of the events of the incident.
Other DUI defenses that could be successful include:
- No probable cause for a traffic stop
- Breathalyzer test inaccuracies
- Ketosis, resulting from an Atkins, Paleo, or Keto diet, or a health condition such as diabetes
- Improper field sobriety testing
- No probable cause for blood testing
- Inaccurate DUI blood test
- Rising blood alcohol (BAC increased from the time you were driving to the time chemical testing was done)
- Inconsistent results from independent blood testing
- Miranda rights violations
- Other explanations for physical symptoms of intoxication
- Other reasons for driving errors
- Your driving was not impaired
How Can a Colorado Springs DUI Lawyer Help?
If you have been charged with DUI in a school zone, or under any circumstances, it is in your best interests to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Your greatest chance of obtaining the best possible outcome in your case is to have an experienced DUI defense lawyer representing you. A knowledgeable attorney can search for every flaw in the prosecution’s case against you and raise every defense possible to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Why Choose Us?
Timothy Bussey is the only attorney in Colorado with the ACS Forensic Lawyer-Scientist designation. He has been certified to maintain and operate the Intoxilyzer 5000, as an NHTSA field sobriety test instructor, and in forensic chromatography – a technology used to test blood samples in DUI cases. With more than two decades as a Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney, he has the experience, resources, and connections to provide the defense you need if you have been charged with DUI/DWI in a school zone. Call us at (719) 401-0585.