In a previous blog post, we discussed DUIDs in Colorado, specifically detailing the steps that responding officers in the state take to identify residents who may be operating their vehicles while impaired by more than one substance. However, the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) report we cited also provided information about how these cases are ruled. This data gives accused drivers information that they can use to better understand the potential outcome of their case.
According to the NHTSA, the statute for DUI-alcohol and DUID is not separate. As a result, impairment, whether by alcohol, drugs or both, is treated similarly from a legal standpoint from the sentencing to the rehabilitation programs that may be mandated by the courts.
The NHTSA report concluded that, though results differed depending on the number of prior offenses the driver had, a large number of cases were successfully pled down. This lead the drivers to ultimately be convicted of a DWAI or a "Baby DUI," a charge with fewer points typically used for underage drivers that allows those convicted to get their license back more quickly.
"All DUI cases go to the State court, and offenders and defense prosecutors are not allowed to plea down to a non-alcohol offense," the report stated. "The courts benefit tremendously from pled down cases, as this allows cases to move quickly through the system."
And, while it admitted data is scarce because DUID statistics aren't separated from DUIs, the NHTSA did indicate that these rulings were the end result of a majority of cases. However, this doesn't mean that accused drivers shouldn't look to obtain the services of a Colorado law firm that specializes in defending clients dealing with Colorado drunk driving laws.
Armed with the expertise of these professionals, drivers can present a defense that could allow them to lessen or reduce their charges in a court of law.