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DUI Legal Process in Colorado

In Colorado the DUI process is a five-step procedure that commences once the criminal case is filed by the State. The steps in the procedure are the following: (1) Arraignment, (2) Pretrial, (3) Motion Hearings, (4) Trial, (5) Appeal.

Arraignment is the first court appearance of an individual who has been arrested for DUI/DWAI. During this stage, a judge will read the charges, discuss the potential penalties and the individual will enter a plea. If  a guilty plea is entered a sentence will be imposed, otherwise the case will proceed to pretrial. If you fail to appear for this date or any others, the judge will order a Failure to Appear Warrant in your name.

The pretrial DUI process is essentially a negotiation stage in which an individual’s attorney; discusses the facts of the case, discovery needs, and negotiates a plea bargain. “If a plea agreement is achieved, it will be formally entered on the record. If a plea agreement is not reached, the case will be set for trial.”

The third stage of the DUI process is the Motion Hearings and is essentially comprised of legal arguments. In this stage an individual’s attorney makes legal arguments to the judge if he contests the admissibility of certain evidence. “The judge’s decision is always made in the light most favorable to the prosecution.”

The fourth stage of the DUI process in Colorado is the trial, which could be either a jury or a bench trial. If it is a jury trial, “a judge will preside, resolving issues of law and instructing a panel of jurors who will decide the issues of fact” If it is a bench trial, “the judge will act as both judge and jury, determining issues of law as well as issues of fact.” “If at the end of the trial a verdict of guilty is reached, the case will proceed through the sentencing process. Sentences will follow the Colorado DUI penalties guidelines. If the verdict returned is not guilty, then the case and all charges will be dismissed.”

If an individual receives a guilty verdict, the appeal stage of the Colorado DUI Process will commence. In this stage higher courts will review the case if a written request for an appeal is made in a timely manner.

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