From Our Perspective: DUI Charge Acquittal: How a Safe Choice Led to an Arrest

Ryan Robertson
By: Ryan Robertson
PublishedDec 20, 2023
3 minute read

Robinson & Henry’s knowledgeable attorneys give their professional insight in “From Our Perspective” where we take a closer look at successful outcomes achieved by our attorneys. We’ll also share our legal expertise on other cases and legal issues in Colorado.

In this episode, Robinson & Henry Criminal Defense Partner Ryan Robertson discusses how he obtained justice for a client wrongfully charged with DUI.

Our client’s night of socializing took an unexpected turn when he was charged with a  DUI. After having some drinks, our client decided to opt for the responsible route and sleep in his car instead of driving home. Police discovered our client asleep in his car and ultimately arrested him for DUI. 

Facing mandatory jail time, probation and hefty fines, he turned to Ryan for help. Thanks to Ryan’s skilled defense, our client was able to breathe a sigh of relief and move on from what could have been a life-altering experience. 

This client’s story underscores the power a strong defense attorney has when facing off with our criminal justice system.

Past results afford no guarantee of future results; each matter is different and must be judged on its own merits. Facts are those of an actual Robinson & Henry litigation case. 

Question: Ryan, thank you for joining me today. Tell me more about our client and the difficult situation that they were in.

Ryan: The client had been drinking throughout that night. There was a big sporting event going on. He had been working all day, was hanging out with a few friends. And so he had a few drinks, got behind the wheel of a car, decided that he wasn’t feeling totally great. He pulled off into a residential neighborhood, stopped driving, but had the car on still because it was a pretty cold night. It might have been the first cold night of the year, so to speak. He was leaving it on so the heat could still run, but he fell asleep in his car.

Question: How did the law enforcement approach the client and what was their interaction like?

Ryan: One deputy saw the client asleep in the car, radioed another deputy, and they both contacted him from there. They actually never saw any bad driving from him. They just saw it more as a suspicious person.

Question: At that point, did the law enforcement require the client to take a blood draw or a breathalyzer?

Ryan: Law enforcement went through their standard investigation, essentially went through, tried to see if he would do standardized field tests, he didn’t. Unfortunately, the client did end up electing to do a blood test. And that blood test actually showed that his BAC (blood alcohol content) was above a .2.

Question: At that point, what were the penalties that the client was facing with this DUI?

Ryan: He was facing a mandatory ten day jail sentence. In Colorado, if you have a .2 BAC or above it’s mandatory jail. He was also facing probation, a significant amount of fines of probably going to be ultimately above $2,000, having to do community service and alcohol treatment classes for the better part of a year.

Question: This went to trial, what were the legal arguments that you used to challenge the DUI charge?

Ryan: It was twofold. One, the prosecution did not bring in one of the responding officers. We were able to really attack that by showing essentially that the jury wasn’t getting all of the evidence. And if the jury isn’t getting all the evidence because the state’s electing not to show them all the evidence, then why should the jury give the state everything that the state is asking for? But also the fact that there was no proof of bad driving. You know, obviously, when you’re talking about driving under the influence, it’s a nuanced distinction. But one of the major things is that you have to be operating the motor vehicle. The state couldn’t show that the client was ever actually driving, just that he was simply behind the wheel, asleep. The jury actually took that argument very well and actually acquitted our client of all counts.

Question: If someone finds themselves facing a DUI charge, why should they be seeking legal advice and not try to handle it on their own?

Ryan: You know, ultimately, in the end, there are collateral consequences that people just do not think of. For instance, it’s a DUI. It’s no big deal. This client was facing a mandatory jail sentence. He could have lost his job, could have lost his license, could have lost his kids, depending on what was going on. There’s just simply too much at stake to kind of go on a whim. Right? 

If you’re going to be wanting a catered dinner, you’re not going to probably do it yourself. You’re going to want a good chef who’s going to put that catered dinner together for you. If you’re going to be going to surgery with a broken leg or something like that, you’re not going to put your broken leg together. You’re going to trust the doctor to do it. Right? Same thing with a lawyer. You’re going to want the best to help you get your life back together.

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