Category Archives: Traffic issues

Dash camera – Protects evidence & truth

Dash Camera – Will protect the truth

Having a dash camera may be the only credible way to protect you after something bad happens. Going to trial with a video that proves what happened is often the difference between winning and losing. Why is that that it seems
Almost Everyone in Russia Has a Dash Cam? Because crazy things happen, and a video recording is the best way to prove the truth.

Dash camera is unobtrusive

They cost very little compared to the damage waiting to happen, or the deductible of your insurance, if you are found to be at fault. I have had a couple brands that have died after a few months, but my Rexing V1 has lasted for almost a year now, is easy to configure, and takes HD video and good audio. This model costs about $100, plus a 32gig sd-card for an additional $20. It uses an adhesive strip to affix to your windshield. This avoid the suction cup method, which often fails in hot temperatures.

If installed correctly, they are unobtrusive and are not distracting at all. Set to “loop” the recordings, you can set them, and forget them.

Dash camera does not interfere with visibility

Value of having a dash camera

The provable facts are often why a case goes to trial or not. Going to trial often depends on whether a car stopped at a stopped at a stop sign, was changing lanes, or if the other car caused the dangerous situation.

Since the recorder has a microphone, it will record inside your own car. When I change lanes, I have gotten in the habit of saying, “clear,” to have some evidence on the record of having checked the next lane.

A video of what happened is your best protection if you did not do anything wrong. Make sure to keep the best chance of being able to prove what happened

Traffic Trial: Crucial Preparation

Many people who have a traffic trial are not prepared, and lose. Preparation is key to the best chance of winning your traffic trial. Proper witnesses and evidence are crucial to being able to present a winning case. Traffic accidents are on the rise. You are more likely to need to fight your charges now more than ever.

Traffic Trials: Prepare to win
Traffic Trials: Prepare to win

Theory of Defense in a Traffic Trial

Going to traffic trial without a theory of why you should win is a mistake. So, starting with the charging statute and following through the police officer’s report and body camera recordings, you should know how the state intends to convict you. From there, you need to know what you intend to prove in theory. Then, you need to plan what witnesses and evidence you will need to prove that theory.

Traffic trial: Photographs can help your theory of defense
Traffic trial: Photographs can help your theory of defense

 

Witnesses in a Traffic Trial

First, create your theory of defense. Then, you will need to subpoena the necessary witnesses to prove the facts that support your theory of defense. Hearsay evidence is generally not admissible. So, people cannot write statements instead of showing up to testify. They will need to appear, sear/affirm to tell the truth, and testify. Traffic trials that involve accidents will often require a traffic reconstruction expert to refute the police officer’s conclusions. These experts usually cost $3000 or more for trial testimony. These witnesses often perform a full investigation of the scene, take measurements, photographs, etc.

Evidence in a Traffic Trial

Usually, testimony is not enough to win. Evidence will need to corroborate some facts, such as photographs of the scene, measurements, traffic patterns, etc. Evidence will almost always need to be introduced through a witness who can testify to the authenticity and relevance of the evidence.

Use of a conviction in civil case

Many people involved in accidents are worried about their civil liability to the other party’s involved in the accident. Generally, the fact of a conviction in the criminal/traffic case cannot be used to prove liability. CRS 42-4-1713 “[N]o record of the conviction of any person for any violation of this article shall be admissible as evidence in any court in any civil action.” However, restitution issues and personal injury may require you to go to trial to attempt to shield yourself from liability.

Preparation is key to success in any traffic trial. Experience in trials is also crucial. Your traffic trial may involve a jury. An experienced defense attorney can help you prepare and win.

Driving Under Restraint (DUR) in Colorado

Driving Under Restraint (DUR) in Colorado

What is Driving Under Restraint?

Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) will revoke/restrain your drivers license for many reasons. Your license can be for too many points (12 points within 12 months -OR- 18 points within 24 months). Your license can revoked for a DUI conviction, or a habitual traffic offender (HTO) determination by the department. Your license can also be suspended for failure to pay court fines under an order of judicial warrant (OJW), or failure to pay an auto-insurance claim for damages.

But, I never got notice of the revocation!

If you were charged with DUI and the officer took your license (after a breath test or refusal), you had seven days to request a hearing. This is written in the “expressed consent” form the officer was supposed to give you after taking your license. If you did not request a hearing, your license was suspended after those seven days.

If your license was suspended for points, an outstanding auto-insurance claim, or an unpaid court fine, Colorado law allows that notice can be proven by a first class letter by the department to the last address the defendant gives the department. Many people move without notifying the department of revenue. Many people in the middle of a divorce do not get their mail. The department likely sent you the notice that your future-ex-spouse did not forward to you.

Can I take my Driving Under Restraint case to trial?

Colorado’s Driving Under Restraint (DUR) law requires notice of his suspension. The law also allows that notice can be proven by a first class letter by the department to the last address the defendant gives the department. The DA will use that inference to prove that he had notice of the revocation. His lawyer will have to challenge that notice, and will likely need something more than the defendant’s statement of “I never got it.” That’s why these cases rarely go to trial, because the DA has an easy paper case to prove. He would need a bold lawyer with a decent case to have a sense of confidence in defending a DUR case to a jury.

However, consult with a lawyer, because these charges carry up to a six-month jail sentence. If your license was suspended for a DUI or alcohol-related offense, the law requires a minimum 30-day jail sentence for a first offense, and 90-days of jail for a second offense.

Reinstating my license

Sometimes, getting your license reinstated is the best way to make your case better. At Solomon Law, we will always get your driving record to investigate what you need to do get your license back. We want to get you driving legally.

DUI Breath Test, Blood test, or Refusal?

DUI Breath Test, Blood test, or Refusal?

DUI Breath Test, Blood Test, or Refuse all tests?
DUI Breath Test, Blood Test, or Refuse all tests?

An officer begins a DUI investigation on you. He asks you how much have you had to drink. He asks you to perform roadside sobriety tests. Then he arrests you for DUI. He is required to give you a “express consent” advisory where you must choose a dui breath test or a blood test. You have a very short time to decide.

DUI Blood Test

The officer will take you to detox or the jail where a medical professional, usually a nurse or EMT, will draw two vials of blood from your arm. Either the police crime lab or a private lab will conduct a test on the blood they receive and give the police the results.

If the result is 0.08 or above, the police will forward that result to the Department of Revenue (DMV) which will send you a suspension letter that will be effective one week later. You have a right to a suspension hearing and SHOULD REQUEST A HEARING IN WRITING WITHIN 7 days. See the Department of Revenue site for more information.

Unlike a DUI breath test, a second sample exists for independent testing. We will be sending the second vial to another lab for verification that the two vials of blood came from the same person, and that the result is similar to the vial tested by the crime lab. Some of the ways we attempt to get your case dismissed or reduced include blood draw problems, lab errors, blood storage problems, chain of evidence problems, etc.

If the suspension is sustained, and you have a Colorado drivers license, you will be eligible for a restricted license with interlock after 30 days of no driving.

Call a lawyer for help with what to do next. Solomon Law represents many, many DUI charges and can help you decide what is best for you in your case.

DUI Breath Test

The officer will take you to jail or detox and have you wait for 20 minutes while he completes paperwork. This 20 minute observation period is required in a DUI breath test to ensure you did not burp, vomit, belch, drink more alcohol, etc. The officer will have you blow into a mouthpiece two times and the machine will record the lower of the two results.

Currently in Colorado, no facility exists to make an independent test of your DUI breath test. What the machine says will be the only test result in your case. Some of the ways we attempt to get your case dismissed or reduced include problems with the machine, problems with the certification process of the facility to conduct breath tests, etc. We are able to aggressively attack the ability of Colorado to use the Intoxilyer-9000 results of the DUI breath test in your case.

If the result of you DUI breath test is 0.08 or above, the police officer will immediately issue you an “express consent” notice of revocation, and forward it to the Department of Revenue (DMV). This notice of suspension is effective within 7 days. You have a right to a suspension hearing and SHOULD REQUEST A HEARING IN WRITING WITHIN 7 days. See the Department of Revenue site for more information.

Call a lawyer for help with what to do next. Solomon Law represents many, many DUI charges involving a DUI breath test and can help you decide what is best for you in your case.

Refusal

If you refuse any chemical testing of your blood or breath, this will be used against you at trial. The officer will be able to testify to the things he saw, smelled, and heard you say. However, the state’s case is usually weaker without a level of your blood or breath alcohol.

The police officer will issue you an “express consent” notice of revocation for the refusal. He will forward it to the Department of Revenue (DMV). This notice of suspension is effective within 7 days. You have a right to a refusal suspension hearing. You SHOULD REQUEST A HEARING IN WRITING WITHIN 7 days. If the suspension is sustained, and you have a Colorado drivers license, you will be eligible for a restricted license with interlock after 60 days of no driving.

Call a lawyer for help with what to do next. Solomon Law represents many, many DUI charges and can help you decide what is best for you in your case.

Advice

Call a lawyer for help with what to do next. Solomon Law represents many, many DUI charges and can help you decide what is best for you in your case.

 

DUI Minimum Jail Sentences

DUI Minimum Jail Sentences

DUI and DWAI cases in Colorado require DUI minimum jail sentences in many cases. When trying to understand when these minimum jail sentences apply, two facts are the main factors to know about your case. First, if the new case is an alcohol based DUI, what was the alleged blood alcohol content? Second, do you have any prior lifetime DUI/DWAI convictions?

DUI Minimum Jail Sentences in Colorado
Let Mark Solomon help with your DUI – don’t go to court without alone

 

Blood Alcohol Content and DUI Minimum Jail Sentences

In Colorado, DUI Minimum Jail Sentences apply when the blood alcohol is “high” according to statute: 0.20 or higher. If the BAC is 0.20 or higher on a first offense, the law requires a person to be sentenced to at least 10 days in jail. However, if the person is working at the time, a good chance exists that those 10 days of jail can be served on in-home-detention with an ankle monitor. In home detention allows a person to go to work and medical appointments, but nowhere else. Courts can also allow a person to spend those days serving a DUI minimum jail sentence on work-release, where the person spends nights at the jail, but is allowed to leave for the day to work. The determination of whether a person is allowed either of these two alternative sentences is up to the judge. Having a good DUI defense attorney may make the difference in spending time in jail or being allowed one of these sentences that allows you to keep your job.

Prior convictions and DUI Minimum Jail Sentences

Any prior lifetime alcohol or drug driving conviction is considered a “prior offense” in Colorado, with no time cutoffs at all. So, a 20 year old DUI conviction would trigger a DUI minimum jail sentence in Colorado if charged with a new DUI/DWAI offense.

SECOND OFFENSE DUI MINIMUM JAIL SENTENCES

A second offense requires a 10 day minimum jail sentence. If the prior offense is more than five years old, the law allows alternative sentencing like in a first offense with a high blood alcohol content. The law requires a person to be sentenced to at least 10 days in jail. However, if the person is working at the time, a good chance exists that those 10 days of jail can be served on in-home-detention with an ankle monitor. In home detention allows a person to go to work and medical appointments, but nowhere else. Courts can also allow a person to spend those days serving a DUI minimum jail sentence on work-release, where the person spends nights at the jail, but is allowed to leave for the day to work. The determination of whether a person is allowed either of these two alternative sentences is up to the judge. Having a good DUI defense attorney may make the difference in spending time in jail or being allowed one of these sentences that allows you to keep your job.

However, if the prior offense is within five years of the new charge, the 10 day minimum jail sentence must be served in jail, as 10 consecutive days without any time off for good behavior.

THIRD OR MORE OFFENSE DUI MINIMUM JAIL SENTENCES

A third offense requires a 60 day minimum jail sentence. However, many judges and prosecutors will want far more jail time under a plea agreement or if you are convicted at trial. Once a person has is facing his fourth conviction, he should expect the judge to sentence him to the full 365 days in jail. Time off for good behavior does not apply to the first 60 days of such a jail sentence and must be served as consecutive days in jail.

This is why many people decide to go to trial when facing a DUI charge with three or more prior DUI convictions. The minimum jail sentence is enough to cause a person to lose their job and possibly their home, so trial becomes the only way to have a chance of keeping the DUI case from starting their life over when they are released from jail.

Traffic ticket: Should I go to trial or take a plea offer?

Traffic ticket: Should I go to trial or take a plea offer?

“I got a traffic ticket. Help me. The officer says I did something that I did not do. In an accident, the other driver claims that I ran a light, skidded into them, or was on my phone – they are lying. What should I do?”

Traffic tickets can be very emotional triggers for honest people because they come face-to-face with either (1) people who are not being honest or (2) people who honestly believe their facts and are wrong. In either case, when you are given a traffic ticket, you become a defendant. Defendants in traffic tickets have rights to go to trial to force the government to prove them guilty of the charges.

Deciding whether to go to trial in traffic cases can be difficult because the only source of facts in the case are often either police officers or participants in the accident. As such, the defense team has less than perfect certainty as to what facts will arise in the trial. These cases are usually “he said” “she said” disputes where the judge or jury have to decide who to believe.

Often traffic tickets result in fines of less than $500, and attorney fees can be many times that, especially when a jury trial is involved. Rarely does going to trial with a lawyer make good financial sense when dealing with a good driving history and no civil liability.

On the other hand, in accident cases, if the accident’s liability is being attributed to you, and either or both parties are uninsured, admitting criminal liability in the case will subject you to paying restitution to the other party, regardless of the civil case’s outcome. As such, consulting with a personal injury lawyer or your insurance will often be the deciding factor in whether to accept a plea offer or go to trial.