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Greeley Criminal Law Blog

The difference between reckless and careless driving

With so many ways you can commit a traffic violation, it can be hard to understand what charges you face when the police give you a ticket or arrest you. Broad terms that cover a number of illegal driving behaviors can make things even more confusing.

For example, you have probably heard of reckless driving, but do you know what that entails? Are you aware of careless driving as well and how it is different from reckless driving? They are not the same and do not come with the same penalties, so knowing the difference is the first step in building a strong defense.

A quick guide to the differences between DUI and DWAI

Two different alcohol-related driving crimes exist in the state of Colorado: driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while ability is impaired (DWAI). This can be confusing since DUI is the more popular acronym. You might wonder how they differ and what will happen if you get charged with either for the first time. 

DUIs and DWAIs mostly differ based on the level of blood alcohol content (BAC). Below is an overview of the laws about these offenses and what penalties you might face for them. 

3 mistakes you should never make when you are drunk

Drinking can be a fun way to unwind and relax. If you are careful and keep your behavior under control, it is typically harmless, but alcohol has a way of lowering the inhibitions that usually keep your actions in check. While you may enjoy acting a bit rowdy, there are certain actions you should avoid at all costs if you have been drinking at all. Failure to do so can result in legal and criminal consequences.

According to the National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime, 5.3 million adults with criminal convictions admitted to drinking at the time of their offense. Rather than becoming a contributor to this statistics, be wise and ensure that you do not make any of the following mistakes.

Questions about marijuana and driving in Colorado

While you might think Colorado is completely relaxed when it comes to marijuana, think again. Despite the fact it is legal to smoke recreationally, you should still not drive while you are high. Taking this risk could result in law enforcement pulling you over and you receiving a conviction of driving under the influence. If you are planning on smoking marijuana and you need transportation after, make sure you get a sober ride.

But what exactly are the laws surrounding driving and marijuana use? Can you drive with marijuana in your car? Read below for the answers to these questions and more.

Avoid these mistakes when dealing with the police

You consider yourself a law-abiding person; you have certainly never broken the law on purpose. So, when police officers stop your car and accuse you of DUI, you may not know the right way to act.

People unfamiliar with the criminal system may have a disadvantage when suddenly facing charges. Avoiding some common errors people make during and after their DUI stops can help your attorney build a stronger defense for you.

Important parts of choosing a designated driver

If you are heading out for a night of partying with your friends, the first steps to an enjoyable evening happen long before you head out the door. You may be old enough to toss a few back and let loose, but you are never old enough to drive while under the influence.

Choosing a designated driver is first and foremost about keeping everyone on the road safe, but it is also about keeping your record clear. A criminal charge or conviction for DUI can directly affect your future. We have a few tips to help you when you are picking out a designated driver, as studies show that many DDs end up driving under the influence anyway.

How to avoid a second DUI charge

Your first DUI was a stupid mistake. Maybe you did not think your blood alcohol level was that high, or maybe you thought you waited long enough after drinking before getting behind the wheel. Whatever the reason for your DUI, it is in the past.

However, it can be a learning experience and a motivation not to face DUI charges a second time. And as repeat offenders receive harsher penalties, you want to do whatever you can to avoid getting yourself into that situation again.

Did a sobriety checkpoint give you a reality check?

Newspapers, radio stations and social media inform the public when police have planned a sobriety checkpoint in the area. In addition, as you approach the checkpoint, signs usually warn you of a checkpoint ahead. Usually, they occur around a holiday or special event when people are likely to be celebrating.

Because law enforcement does not keep the use of checkpoints secret, studies show that they reduce drunk driving accidents and that 82 percent of the general population approves of their use. Despite the fact that police arrest less than 1 percent of drivers stopped at DUI checkpoints, the procedure continues to be an efficient, cost-effective tool for preventing drunk driving. Nevertheless, you were not likely singing the praises of sobriety checkpoints when police pulled you over recently.

Don't be fooled: Field sobriety tests are often unreliable

Once a police officer initiates a traffic stop, the law allows for a limited investigation. If the officer suspects you of driving under the influence, he or she might require you to participate in field sobriety tests. These tests supposedly establish probable cause to arrest you. Unfortunately, their reliability remains in question. An officer might express confidence in their use, but don't be fooled. Challenging them becomes a top priority in your defense.

The reliability of standardized field sobriety tests comes into question on a routine basis. Even the three tests considered most reliable -- the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test and the one leg stand test -- have flaws. The margin for error in these and other field sobriety tests remains far too high for them to adequately support a conviction for DUI.

Were you charged with aggravated DUI?

There have probably been many Fridays where you spent most of your time at work looking forward to evenings and weekends ahead with friends. There's nothing quite like kicking back and enjoying a nice relaxing night out after a week of long hours and hard work. Perhaps your plans sometimes include taking in a movie or going to one of Colorado's fabulous nightspots. Good food, music and special friends can add up to an evening you won't soon forget.

Of course, there's always a possibility things won't go as planned; police pulling you over for DUI would definitely be one example. To avoid such problems, it's obviously best not to consume alcohol if you plan to operate a motor vehicle at some point during your night on the town. Knowing the specific DUI laws for this state can also help you make informed decisions.

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