Survive a DUI Charge: A How-To Guide

Ryan Robertson
By: Ryan Robertson
PublishedNov 8, 2023
19 minute read

We understand that being charged with a DUI or DWAI is an overwhelming time. Whether this is your first criminal charge or you’re already familiar with the system, there’s a lot at stake: your record, your reputation, your career, and even your freedom. Our firm developed this guide to help prepare you for the stressful days and weeks ahead.

This article covers many facets of the DUI process, from understanding your charges to developing a strong defense. You’ll soon have to make some important decisions, and we hope this guide will get you to a place where you feel confident enough to make the best decisions based on your unique case and personal needs.

Bottom Line

A DUI conviction cannot later be sealed or expunged from your record under Colorado law at this time. For that reason alone, it’s important to hire a criminal defense attorney with DUI experience.

Table of Contents

The DUI Experience

The process of getting a DUI is fairly universal, but everyone’s experience will be a little different. Generally, it goes something like this:

Initial Encounter with Police

Traffic Stops & DUI Checkpoints

A DUI usually begins with flashing red and blue lights in the review mirror or up ahead on the road. You stop the car, and the officer asks for:

  • your driver license
  • the car’s registration
  • proof of insurance

If the police officer suspects you are impaired, they will ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests.

The Roadside Sobriety Test

This test consists of a variety of instructions and maneuvers, like walking and turning, standing on one leg, etc. There are two things to know about this test:

  1. It is designed to make you fail.
  2. It is voluntary.

Field sobriety tests are “divided attention tests,” which means the police officer wants to see if you can remember their instructions and if you can physically perform the maneuvers.

“About 95% of the time, once you’re out of that vehicle under suspicion of DUI, unless you’re going to blow zeros, they’re probably going to make an arrest.” ~ Criminal Defense Attorney
Preliminary Alcohol Screening

The preliminary alcohol screening, or PAS, is the handheld breath test that police officers use to measure blood alcohol content during the initial stop. This test is optional.


You can decline field sobriety tests, and that information cannot be shared with a jury.

When You Might Be Arrested

If you decline the test, the officer may arrest you if there’s probable cause you are intoxicated, for example, slurred speech.

The Citation for Drunk Driving

Will You Go to Jail?

You don’t have to spend the night in jail to be charged with a DUI. Police actually have a few options about what happens to you after you’re cited. Police may:

  1. Release you to a sober party.
  2. Let you sober up at a detox center.
  3. Book you into jail.

If you’re released to a friend or private facility, you’ll get a DUI ticket that tells you when and where you’re required to be in court.

What It’s Like to be Arrested

If police decide to arrest you, they’ll likely pat you down, place you in handcuffs, put you in the back of a police cruiser, and take you to the local detention center where you’ll be booked into the system. Police will also tow your vehicle.

The arresting officer should recite your Miranda warning at that time. Before you are questioned by police, you should have been notified of your constitutional right to remain silent before you are questioned while in their custody.

How to Invoke Your 5th Amendment Right

You must verbalize to police that you are asserting your right to remain silent. You can say something like:

  • I want to talk to a lawyer.
  • I will not answer any questions.

If you are arrested, you should always have a lawyer with you before making any statements to police.

The Booking Process

The booking process creates a record of your arrest. Typically, it involves:

  • A mugshot is taken to get identifying information, including your height.
  • Fingerprints are obtained. They may be put through a database to link you to other cases
  • A background check is performed using your personal information.

If you’re booked, you will also be searched for weapons and drugs, and police will take your belongings, like your phone, purse, or wallet.

You’ll be placed in a holding cell until you can post bond.

The Evidentiary Breath or Blood Test

After you’re arrested, police will ask you to take an evidentiary test to measure your blood alcohol content.

If you refuse the evidentiary test, your license will be suspended. How long it is suspended depends on whether you’ve previously refused to submit to a chemical test for DUI, and, if you have, how many times you’ve said no. We will take a closer look at suspensions in later chapters.

Understanding Your Charges

What’s the Difference Between DUI, DUI per se & DWAI?

DUI (driving under the influence) means you are unable to safely drive due to the alcohol or drugs in your blood.
DUI per se is when your blood alcohol content, or BAC, is at or above .08 while driving or within two hours of driving.
DWAI (driving while ability impaired) means that the alcohol or drugs you consumed affect you to the slightest degree.

Here’s what the court presumes about you at the time of your alleged DUI/DWAI based on your blood alcohol content (BAC):

  • BAC .05 or less – You were not under the influence of alcohol and your ability to drive was not impaired by alcohol.
  • BAC .05 – .08 – You were impaired by alcohol, but other evidence will help determine whether you were “under the influence” of alcohol.
  • BAC .08 or more – You were under the influence of alcohol.

NOTE: Presumptions do not stop the prosecution from using other evidence to try to prove you were impaired or under the influence of alcohol.

Misdemeanor or Felony DUI

A DUI is a misdemeanor if you have had no more than two previous DUI convictions. A DUI becomes a felony charge if you’ve had three or more prior DUI convictions.

Underage Drinking & Driving – UDD

Teens and young adults can face adult DUI charges depending on their BAC.

  • .02 – .05 BAC (first) – Class A Traffic Infraction
  • .02 – .05 BAC (2 or more) – Class 2 Traffic Misdemeanor
  • .05 – .08 BAC – DWAI Charges
  • .08 and higher – DUI Charges

Commercial Driver License DUI

Excess BAC CDL – Individuals who drive a commercial vehicle face a lower blood alcohol content threshold. A BAC of .04 or higher while operating a commercial vehicle will trigger serious consequences.

Marijuana DUI

Currently, five nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, TCH, per milliliter in whole blood can result in a DUI.

DUI Penalties

A Range of Penalties

The penalties for a DUI in Colorado include mandatory jail time, probation and community service, and fines.

Like other crimes, the penalty for a felony DUI will be harsher than if you’re facing a misdemeanor charge. Another factor affecting DUI penalties is the number of prior DUI convictions.

What Counts as a Prior Conviction?

If you got a DUI somewhere else, like Ohio, it will count as a prior conviction in Colorado. Also, if you got a DUI while vacationing in, say, the U.S. Virgin Islands, that counts, too, because it’s a U.S. territory.

To recap, DUI/DWAI convictions in any U.S. state or territory are considered prior convictions.

A Look at the Penalties

Misdemeanor Penalties Snapshot
DWAI – First Offense
  • 2 – 180 days in jail
  • $200 – $500 fine
  • 24 – 48 hrs. community service
  • up to 2 yrs. probation
  • Attend victim impact panel
DUI/DUI per se – First Offense
  • 5 days – 1 year in jail
  • $600 – $1000 fine
  • 48 – 96 hrs. community service
  • up to 2 yrs. probation
  • Attend victim impact panel
DWAI, DUI, DUI per se – Second Offense
  • 10 days – 1 year in jail
  • $600 – $1500 fine
  • 48 – 120 hrs. community service
  • 2 yrs. minimum probation
  • Attend victim impact panel
DWAI, DUI, DUI per se – Third Offense
  • 60 days – 1 year in jail
  • $600 – $1500 fine
  • 48 – 120 hrs. community service
  • 2 yrs. minimum probation
  • Attend victim impact panel

Note About Probation: It can involve conditions such as alcohol and/or drug monitoring and completing alcohol and drug treatment. We will delve into what it’s like to be on probation later in this article.

Felony Penalties Snapshot
DUI with Probation & No Alternate Sentence
  • 90 – 180 days in jail
  • $2000 – $500,000 fine
  • 48 – 120 hrs. community service
  • various probation conditions
DUI with Probation & Work, Education or Treatment Release
  • 90 – 180 days in jail
  • $2000 – $500,000 fine
  • 48 – 120 hrs. community service
  • various probation conditions
DUI Department of Corrections
  • 2 – 6 years in prison
  • $2000 – $500,000 fine
  • 3 years parole

Note About Felony Penalties: The court can consider a 2-6 year community corrections sentence in lieu of prison. The sentence does not carry any parole. There are 30 community corrections residential facilities in Colorado. Individuals in community corrections are supervised and receive treatment, but they have some access to the community with restrictions.

A Closer Look at the Legal Penalties

Courts have more discretion when imposing sentences for misdemeanor DUIs. For instance, state law calls for each misdemeanor DUI sentence to include jail time. However, if the person’s BAC is less than .20, the court can suspend jail time as long as certain conditions are met, like completing an alcohol program.

In the 2010s, Colorado began to crack down on drunk and drugged driving. In 2010, new legislation took effect that increased the likelihood of jail time.

In 2015, the state enacted its first felony DUI statute, and in 2017, another law imposed mandatory minimum penalties for felony DUIs.

Felony DUI probation must include having served at least some jail time, fulfilling community service, and completing a Level II treatment and education program.

DUI Education & Treatment Programs

Colorado has two levels of alcohol and drug education programs. Level I is a short-term education program, while Level II is a long-term treatment that consists of educational and therapeutic programs. Let’s take a look at the requirements for each program.

Level I Education Program
  • For first-time DUI offenders
  • 12 hrs. of DUI education to be completed over 3 or more days in a classroom or group setting.
Level II Education Program
  • For 1+ DUIs, first high BAC, or refusal
  • 24 hrs. of DUI education to be completed over 3 months in a classroom or group setting.
Level II Therapy Program

Follows education program. Duration depends on the perceived severity of the alcohol problem.

Track A
1st time DUI BAC .12-.169
42 hrs. therapy over the course of 21 weeks
Track B
1st time DUI BAC above .17
68 hrs. therapy over the course of over 34 weeks
Track C
1 or more DUIs BAC below .17
68 hrs. therapy over the course of 34 weeks
Track D
1 or more DUIs BAC above .17
86 hrs. therapy over the course of 43 weeks
Higher Track
Advised with a clinical reason regardless of BAC level.

Losing Your License & Getting it Back

Administrative Penalties for DUI

The administrative side of your DUI deals with matters like your driver’s license, ignition interlock systems, and insurance matters.

Losing the Privilege to Drive

While losing the right to drive may seem like a criminal punishment. However, this is a consequence that is overseen and controlled by the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles.

When Do I Lose My License?

The DMV will suspend your driver’s license within seven days of receiving proof that you had a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.

Your license will also be suspended if you are arrested on suspicion of DUI and you refuse a chemical test.

A suspension is the temporary loss of your driving privileges.

A revocation voids your driver’s license, and it cannot be reissued.

If your driving privileges are reinstated, you have to get a new license. That involves retaking the state’s written and road skills tests.

Your license can be revoked if you refuse chemical BAC testing, such as an evidentiary breath test or blood draw.

Commercial Driver’s License holders risk longer revocation periods and even a lifetime cancellation or denial of a CDL depending on the circumstances.


Fighting the License Suspension

You can request a hearing with the Colorado DMV to contest a suspension within 7 days of your arrest or your receiving notice of license suspension.

We strongly encourage you to have an attorney with you at this hearing who can offer a solid argument for why your license should not be suspended or revoked.

Early Reinstatement With a Car Breath Tester

Some people convicted of DUIs in Colorado may apply for restricted driving immediately. Here’s who cannot:

  • If you refused a post-arrest evidentiary breath or blood test, you must wait two months to apply for conditional driving.
  • People under 21 are ineligible and require a one-year revocation period; two years for a BAC test refusal.
Ignition Interlock Devices

In order to apply for conditional driving rights, you must agree to install an ignition interlock device (IID), or car breathalyzer, in your vehicle — at your expense.

This device has to remain in your car for the remainder of your suspension, and you must blow into it every time you want to drive. Your car will not start if the IID detects alcohol.

The Cost of an IID

The cost of an ignition interlock device varies by vendor, and you have to use a Colorado-approved IID vendor.

You’ll have to pay the vendor to install the device, and then there’s a monthly charge to lease the equipment.

Here’s a real-world cost example:
  • Installation fee starts at $99
  • Monthly rental fee starts at $75

Costs vary depending on the vendor, the type of vehicle you own, obviously, prices are subject to change.

Proof You are Maintaining Insurance

If your license is revoked, you’ll have to maintain what’s called an SR-22 insurance form. Essentially, it’s an agreement between you and the DMV that your insurance policy will be current during the revocation period or while you’re allowed to drive with an ignition interlock device.

If you don’t have an SR-22 form on file with the DMV or you drop your insurance, you risk even more license-related restrictions.

How a DUI Affects Insurance

If you get convicted of a DUI, your car insurance company may very well classify you as a “high-risk” driver. This can mean a large increase in your insurance costs.

Policy Cancellations & Loss of Perks

You may have a difficult time finding affordable insurance if your carrier drops you. You also risk losing special rewards since you won’t be considered a “safe driver.”

Probation & Suspended Sentences

Can I Get Probation or a Suspended Sentence?

A lot of clients ask if it’s possible to get probation instead of going to jail. For some of them, the answer will be yes.

Colorado law calls for mandatory minimum jail sentences for some DUI convictions.

Let’s explore when probation or a suspended sentence is possible.

First DWAI, DUI, DUI per se

If this is the first time you’re facing a DUI with a BAC below .2, there’s no mandatory minimum.

The court will order you to take alcohol and drug treatment/evaluation, and you’ll get some probation.

  • undergo pre- and post-sentence alcohol and drug evaluations
  • complete a Level I or Level II education or treatment program

You’ll still have to pay a fine and complete the community service and probationary period — up to 2 years.

If your BAC was .20 or higher, the mandatory minimum jail time cannot be suspended.

Two or More DWAIs, DUIs, DUIs per se

If you’ve had a previous DUI conviction, then you’ll spend at least the mandatory minimum days in jail.

Also, along with the mandatory minimum, Colorado courts must order an additional year in jail, but that year is suspended if two years of probation is successfully completed. That includes finishing the Level II courses.

What It’s Like to be on Probation

Probation is not a walk in the park. The restrictions are intense. Probation varies from case to case.

Here are some probationary conditions you could potentially face:
  • Do not break any laws
  • Don’t leave Colorado without approval
  • Tell the court if you move
  • Expect your probation officer to visit you anywhere during reasonable hours
  • Always be employed, looking for work, or enrolled in vocational classes
  • You cannot possess a gun
  • You cannot use alcohol or drugs
  • Complete alcohol and drug testing
The court can also impose the following discretionary probation conditions:
  • Continuous alcohol and drug monitoring
  • More alcohol and drug education and treatment

Probation Violations Consequences

If a probation violation occurs, you are not automatically sent to jail. The prosecution must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the violation occurred – unless it’s a new offense.

If it is proven that you broke any conditions of your probation, the court will revoke it. From there, a few things can happen:
  • re-sentenced with the same terms and conditions
  • re-sentenced with different terms and conditions, plus jail time
  • probation is be revoked and jail time ordered
  • revoke probation and close your case

Jail time for a probation violation cannot exceed one year.

Ending Your Probation Early

Individuals on probation have a right to ask the court to reduce their probationary terms and conditions if they have a good reason.

A common reason to make this request is you’ve met all of the conditions of the probation, such as completing the educational classes and community service.

A hearing isn’t required to ask for a probation reduction. However, the prosecutor and probation officer may object to ending the probation early and request a hearing.

How a DUI Can Affect Your Job

A DUI conviction will have an impact on every corner of your life, including your livelihood. Colorado workers are “at-will,” which means their employers can fire them for a DUI regardless of the individual’s position.

Work Schedule

Limited driving privileges can wreak havoc on your job, especially if you’re only allowed to drive during certain hours. Your employer may be unwilling to revise your schedule.

Professional Reputation

While Colorado has tried to help individuals get jobs after being convicted of a crime with its so-called Ban the Box law, private employers can still ask about criminal convictions after the initial interview.

Some employers, like gun stores and government agencies, can ask you immediately if you have a criminal history.

Licensing Issues & Terminations

You’re at risk of losing your job due to the at-will relationship between Colorado workers and employers. Some risk losing their professional licenses or authorizations:

  • Attorneys
  • Commercial drivers
  • Doctors
  • Military members
  • Nurses
  • Pilots
  • Private workers with security clearance

Commercial Drivers & DUIs

If you make a living driving a commercial truck, then you are probably aware of the harsh penalties and lack of chances you get before you lose your CDL for life. Let’s explore what happens to your CDL if you’re convicted of a DUI and when it can be reinstated.

License Restrictions & Bans

If you make a living driving a commercial truck, then you are probably aware of the harsh penalties and lack of chances you get before you lose your CDL for life.

Under federal regulations, CDL holders will be out of work for one year for a first-time DUI or test refusal whether they were driving a big rig or their personal car.

The penalty increases to a three-year license loss if the driver is hauling hazardous materials.

Subsequent DUIs and test refusals can result in a lifetime ban from holding a commercial driver license.

Reinstatement After Lifetime Ban

Federal regulations allow states to restore a commercial driver’s license to someone who has been disqualified for life if they meet their following criteria:

  • 10 years have passed since the ban
  • the driver voluntarily entered into and successfully completed a state-approved rehab program

A commercial driver with a reinstated license who is later convicted of another DUI or testing refusal will lose their CDL again and be disqualified for life from having it reinstated.

DUI Repercussions You Haven’t Thought Of

• It may be difficult to impossible to rent a car.
• You could lose the privilege of driving company vehicles.
• Life and health insurance companies may charge you more for policies.
• Increased scrutiny and limitations could be placed on your travel.
• Canada could deny your entry for business or vacation.
• You cannot own a firearm if you’re convicted of felony DUI.

Plead Guilty or Fight It?

Fight first. Hire a criminal defense attorney to investigate every aspect of your DUI experience, from your initial interaction with the police officer and your arrest to your evidentiary chemical test (if you took one) and everything in between.

Only when your attorney has a complete picture of the evidence and your criminal history can she or he advise you whether to take up your DUI in court or try to negotiate a plea deal.

Other factors that affect whether to plead guilty or fight are:
  • prior or subsequent DUIs
  • a high BAC reading
  • concerns about a permanent criminal record

Building Your Defense

Mistakes Made by the Police

Probable Cause

In order for a police officer to pull you over they have to have “probable cause” that you have broken, or are about to break, the law. If the officer does not have a valid reason for the stop, then the evidence they obtained during and after the stop cannot be used against you.

Roadside Tests
There are a variety of roadside tests police offers ask people to perform to try to determine if they’re impaired:
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
  • Walk-and Turn
  • One-Leg Stand
  • Alphabet or Counting
  • Finger-to-Nose
Your attorney will look for reasons why you may not have performed to the best of your ability on the roadside tests. A few examples:
  • What was the weather during testing? Was it raining? Was there snow on the ground?
  • Do you have a medical condition that inhibited your test performance?
  • Did the police officer properly administer the tests?

Errors in Breath Tests


The makers of breath tests and the law enforcement officials who use them boast about their reliability. However, there are a number of factors that can affect the results. Let’s explore some of them.

Exposure to Chemicals

The machine that Colorado police officers use, the Intoxilyzer ® 9000, is supposed to produce an invalid test if it detects a chemical interferent, like acetone.

However, if the machine is not properly working, falsely inflated results can mean the difference between a DUI and a DWAI or a wrongful charge altogether.

Improper Calibration

The Intoxilyzer ® 9000 must be adjusted before it is used in order to produce the most accurate reading.

The machine can give false results if it is not properly calibrated.

Cell Phone & Radio Interference

Was there a police radio on in the background during your breath test? Did anyone around you take a cell phone call when you took the test? If so, it’s possible that radio frequency interfered with your results.

Counterpoint, The Journal of Science and the Law found that the I-9000 detection system is not very sensitive. And journal’s study actually produced false-negative and false-positive readings without the breath test machine indicating there was any radio frequency interference.

Residual/Mouth Alcohol

Common foods, medicines, and oral hygiene products can leave residual alcohol in your mouth, and it can alter DUI tests. Everyday items can leave behind residual alcohol in your mouth, including:

  • Mouthwash
  • Cough syrup
  • Breath spray
  • Chewing gum
  • Menthol smokeless tobacco
  • Some asthma inhalers
  • White breads
Mouth Alcohol & Medical Ailments

Do you have gastroesophageal reflux disease or diabetes? If so, it’s possible that your breath test results were artificially inflated due to residual alcohol on your breath.

Diabetics can have exponentially higher acetone, and GERD can cause undigested alcohol to regurgitate into the mouth.

Mouth Alcohol & High-Protein Diets

If you eat a lot of protein and very few carbs, then your body can use fat for fuel. When that happens, your body produces acetone, and some of that acetone escapes your body through your mouth as isopropyl alcohol.

The I-9000 detects ethanol, but isopropyl alcohol can interfere with the test.

Administration Errors

If police don’t follow protocol when giving the breathalyzer test, it, obviously, can result in bad results.

For instance, police need to ensure that you have not consumed any alcohol for 15 – 20 minutes before administering the test. If you drank alcohol shortly before the test, then your results can be skewed.

Errors in Blood Tests

Some criminal defense attorneys recommend that people opt for the blood test over the breath test if they’re accused of DUI because blood tends to be more accurate than breath. However, problems can arise if the blood sample is not properly handled.

Chain of Custody Problems

Chain of custody problems involve the handling of your blood sample. For instance, let’s say your blood sample was handed off to another technician who then misnumbered it. Is the prosecution using your blood sample or someone else’s as evidence against you?

If the court allows the sample to be admitted as evidence, your attorney will use the mix up to create doubt with the jury.

Problems in the Lab

Blood samples must be properly preserved and refrigerated in order to slow its decomposition. Blood ferments when it breaks down, which means alcohol will be present in it.

It’s imperative that the correct and appropriate amount of preservative is added to your blood and that it’s properly stored. Otherwise, the integrity of your blood test is questionable.

Other Testing Issues

Increasing BAC levels – The alcohol in your system may have increased between the time you were driving and when you were tested.

Inconsistent test results – Discrepancies between tests can weaken the case against you.

Body temperature – A higher-than-normal temperature can produce inaccurate BAC results.

5 Reasons to Hire a DUI Attorney

1. Legal Expertise
You have a better chance of getting your case dismissed when you hire an attorney. We’ll make sure your rights are protected and every legal avenue is explored to your advantage.
2. Reduced Penalties
The goal is to get your charges dropped. If that isn’t possible, your attorney will negotiate to reduce the charges and penalties, such as a DWAI instead of a DUI and a reduced license suspension.
3. Evidence Examination
Your attorney will review all the evidence, including police body-worn camera footage, chemical test results, and police documents. He or she will challenge discrepancies and errors for you.
4. Advocacy in Court
Criminal defense attorneys are trial attorneys who know the local prosecutors, judges, and courts. They have your best interests at hearings and work to get you a fair trial and outcome.
5. Peace of Mind
A DUI charge is emotionally draining. You can breathe a little easier when you have a team of attorneys and legal professionals working to protect your rights and minimize the impact on your life.

The DUI Court Process

The Summons & Complaint

The summons and complaint are prepared by the prosecution. The summons tells you when, where, and what time you must appear in court to file your answer to the complaint.

The complaint outlines the nature of the charges against you.

You must be provided the summons and complaint before or during your arraignment.

First Appearance & Arraignment

Generally, your first appearance and arraignment happen at the same time if you’ve been charged with a DUI.

During your arraignment, you’ll be informed of the charges and be required to enter a plea: guilty or not guilty. If this is your first, second, or third DUI charge, your attorney can go to the arraignment on your behalf.

Negotiating a Plea Deal

Most DUI cases are resolved through plea negotiation. At this stage of the process, the criminal defense attorney works with the prosecutor to reach a settlement of your final charges and sentence.

It should be noted that your attorney cannot plea down a DUI charge to a non-alcohol offense unless the prosecutor can show the court there is not enough evidence to pursue the alcohol charge.

Finding & Disclosing Evidence

Pre-trial discovery is designed to allow each side to gather all the relevant information it needs to prosecute or defend a charge.

If the prosecutor is not freely sharing its discovery, your attorney may file a motion seeking additional information.

Suppressing Evidence

At this time, your attorney may file motions to suppress – or leave out – certain evidence at trial. For example, your attorney might challenge the initial stop by the police officer. If the court finds the initial stop was unconstitutional, then the evidence collected during and after that stop must be suppressed.

Jury Selection

If your case makes it this far, you’ll face either six (misdemeanors) or 12 (felonies) jurors, plus alternates.

Each side plays a role in selecting and striking jurors.


The following events are the basic elements of a trial, but this is not an exhaustive list of procedures:

Opening Statements

Trials begin with opening statements. In Colorado, the prosecution does not have to make an opening statement, and the defense may wait to give its opening statement until the prosecution concludes its case.

The opening statement introduces the jury to the case and what your attorney expects the evidence to show.

Witness Testimony

The prosecution presents its case first. Your attorney may object to questions the prosecutor asks witnesses. The defense will also have the opportunity to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses.

Your Right to Testify

When it’s the defense’s turn to present its case, you will be advised of your right to testify. You have the constitutional right to decline to testify. The jury will be instructed to not infer your guilt if you choose not to take the stand.

Jury Receives Its Instructions

Once all of the evidence has been presented, the judge will read to the jury the instructions for its deliberation.

These guidelines include the laws they will apply to the evidence and facts of the case.

Closing Arguments

The prosecution and the defense are each entitled to give a closing argument to the jury. The prosecutor may offer a rebuttal once the defense finishes its closing argument.

Deliberations & The Verdict

Once the case goes to the jury, jurors may raise questions about their instructions or ask to review evidence, such as police bodycam footage.

When a verdict is reached, the defendant and their attorney stand as the court reads it aloud.

A Deadlocked Jury

If after every effort the jury cannot reach a verdict, a mistrial will be declared. A retrial will be set.


If you are convicted at trial, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled.

At sentencing, the court will hear any evidence and arguments from both sides. Victims are allowed to provide impact statements, and the defendant may offer a statement prior to sentencing.

Maintain Control & Reduce Your Stress

Most people don’t ever think they will be charged with a crime in their lifetime, so when it happens, it’s important to find ways to handle the intense emotions and thoughts that come with this process.

You’re already on the right track by thinking about getting an attorney, if you haven’t already hired one. Having a legal team on your side will considerably reduce your fears in the coming days, weeks, and even months ahead. Here are some other tips to keep a positive outlook and maintain control of your life during this time:

Find Purpose – Focus on your greatest responsibilities. Take care of your family, pay the bills, and go to work. Maintaining these commitments will give you purpose.

Maintain Perspective – A DUI charge does not have to define your life. Spend time with your loved ones, take part in things you enjoy, and strive to be grateful.

Make a Plan B – The goal is to beat your DUI, but prepare as if you won’t. For example, figure out how you’ll get to work or pick up your kids if you can’t drive. Determine how you’ll meet financial obligations if you’re in jail. Solving these issues early can limit stress.

Stay Informed – It’s easy to let our thoughts spiral into worst-case scenarios during uncertain times. Educating yourself about the DUI process and keeping in touch with your legal team for updates can reduce your anxiety.

Practice Self-Care – Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Remove unnecessary stress from your life, such as social media and negative individuals.

Schedule a Case Assessment

At Robinson & Henry, you don’t just hire a lawyer, you hire a team. Our Criminal Defense Team will work tirelessly and aggressively to get your DUI charges dismissed. If that’s not possible, our attorneys will negotiate to achieve the best possible outcome so you can begin to move forward. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment. 

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