DUI Court Process

DUI Court Process

Below is information for the DUI Court Process that will help explain what follows a DUI Arrest. The use of the pronoun “he” in this description refers to both male and female.

The Arresting Officer

Any highway patrol officer, sheriff or his duly commissioned deputies may arrest a suspect for DUI. Also any police officer in any incorporated municipality. In addition, any officer of a state supported institution of higher learning campus police force on campus property. Furthermore, any security officer appointed and commissioned pursuant to a Water Supply District, in their area. Finally a Park Ranger on federal property, Military Police on military bases, and Marshals in their counties.

The DUI Arrest

The arresting officer issues the person arrested a traffic citation or summons and complaint. This citation is a multi-copy form, and the person arrested should be provided with a copy. The arresting officer presents the original citation to the city or justice court in the city or county where the arrest took place. The arresting officer swears that the arrested person/defendant committed the DUI, and the court clerk takes the sworn citation to begin the case

The arresting officer accuses the defendant of DUI and places them in a city or county jail to await trial. A bond releases the defendant from jail to come back and attend an arraignment. Also the arresting officer may release the defendant on the summons and complaint.

The Court Process

An arraignment is the first court appearance for a DUI. The person accused of a DUI and/or his attorney appears before the court to answer the charges filed against the defendant.  The judge should explain to the defendant that he has the right to counsel. The court will appoint a public defender when the defendant cannot afford counsel. The court will have the defendant sign a “waiver of rights” form that will become part of the record. The judge can make a finding of guilty and furthermore sentence the defendant according to the penalties set forth under  Section 42-4-1301, and in this web site under DUI statutes. This includes jail terms, fines, community service, state assignments and attend Alcohol Education Classes (AEC).

The court clerk will then send an abstract of the conviction entered by the judge to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV office enters the conviction into the defendant’s driving record. The DMV may then send notice to the defendant of his license suspension and requirements for license reinstatement which are, proof of SR-22 insurance, completion of the license suspension period, and a reinstatement fee.  Should the accused person enter a plea of not guilty, then the court clerk will set the case for trial.

The DUI Trial

The DUI trial is held before either a judge or jury at the discretion of the judge. If the trial is a jury, then six (6)  persons will hear the case. At the trial, the arresting officer and any other witnesses for the prosecution, will present the case for the State of Colorado. The defendant has the right not to testify. At the close of the trial, the jury (or judge at bench trial)  will decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty. Should the jury find the defendant guilty, the judge will sentence them according to the penalties set forth under §Section 42-4-1301, and in this web site. A not guilty finding by the jury releases the defendant.

The Verdict

The jury hears the case and renders a verdict of guilty or not guilty. The jury may be unable to decide and will report this to the court. Upon a finding of guilty, the judge can declare the defendant to be guilty and sentence him according to the penalties set forth under § Section 42-4-1301, and in this web site. Should the defendant be found not guilty, the judge can release him. Should the jury be unable to decide either guilty or not guilty, then the judge can declare a mistrial and the defendant can be retried for the DUI.

The Appeal

The defendant in county court for a DUI may, under certain circumstances, appeal the conviction to the District Court for a new trial. In order to appeal, the defendant must file a notice of appeal to the higher court, and in addition with an appeal bond to ensure their appearance. The appeal is governed by the appellate rules of court. In addition, the appeal is completed by legal briefs and arguments from the county court trial.

* This section is a brief description of the DUI court process for Colorado. For a more detail explanation Please call Shipp Law 970-927-2255

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