If the police arrest you for DUI and you have a gun on you or in the car, you could be in serious trouble. The State of Colorado outlaws carrying a firearm while intoxicated. That means you could be sent to jail if convicted. Additionally, you could lose many other valuable rights and privileges all because you had a gun on you while having a couple of drinks.
When police arrest you in Colorado, you need a knowledgeable, aggressive, and intelligent Colorado DUI defense charges lawyer like Mark S. Rubenstein to fight for you.
What Does it Mean to Be Charged With DUI With a Concealed Weapon?
Colorado law prohibits the use of weapons in an inherently dangerous manner. For instance, pointing a gun at another while not acting in self-defense qualifies as a crime under the prohibited use of weapons statute. The act of pointing a firearm at someone without justification is inherently dangerous. Furthermore, this act could qualify as the crime of assault with a deadly weapon if the victim believed they were about to be shot.
Having a firearm in your possession while intoxicated qualifies as an inherently dangerous activity. While the overwhelming majority of people who carry firearms make sure they do so safely, adding alcohol to the mix can reduce a person’s vigilance. And relaxing firearms safety standards to any degree is a recipe for disaster.
A conviction for prohibited use of a weapon is a class two misdemeanor. A class two misdemeanor conviction could send you to jail for three to 12 months. The judge could also issue a fine of up to $1,000. There are no minimum-mandatory sentencing requirements for class 2 misdemeanors. As a result, the judge could put you on probation instead of sending you to jail.
The police may arrest you for the charge of prohibited use of a firearm if you have a concealed carry permit. If you don’t, you could face other firearms-related crimes. These crimes carry dire consequences that could send you to prison for a long period of time.
An Arrest for DUI with a Concealed Weapon Could Lead to Severe Consequences
In the typical first offense DUI case, a Colorado judge might not throw you in jail. The judge has other options that include sentencing you to:
- Two years of probation;
- Fines between $600 and $1,000 along with court costs;
- Community service hours;
- Alcohol or drug education classes; and
- Suspension of your driver’s license for at least nine months.
Those are the typical sanctions. However, they are not mandatory. The judge could send you to jail for as little as five days to as much as one year. These penalties are the same for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. You face the more severe punishment if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater.
You need to know that the judge has the discretion to penalize you for DUI and the prohibited use of a weapon separately. The sentencing judge has the discretion to order you to jail for the maximum penalty on each charge. However, judges often give concurrent sentences for different crimes arising out of the same incident.
But keep in mind that concurrent sentencing is not a requirement. Instead, the judge could order that you serve your sentences consecutively, meaning one after the other.
Collateral Consequences of DUI with a Concealed Weapon
Revocation of your concealed carry permit is one of the biggest penalties Colorado law can impose on you. You were able to get a concealed carry permit in the first place because you qualified. One of the qualifications for obtaining a concealed carry permit is that you do not exhibit substance abuse issues. Picking up a DUI charge does not make you an alcoholic, but it could lead the permitting authorities to question your fitness to carry a concealed weapon.
Getting your concealed carry permit also means you demonstrated experience and competency with a firearm. Competency includes firearm safety. The permitting authorities might determine you lack the competence to carry a firearm concealed if police charged you with prohibited use of a firearm.
You also face a host of problems that every person convicted of a crime has to endure. You could lose your job, have trouble finding a job, experience family problems stemming from your arrest, in addition to other consequences.
What Defenses Do I Have If I Was Arrested for DUI with a Concealed Weapon?
An experienced Colorado criminal charges legal practitioner will explain that every criminal case is different. Even though people face charges for the same crime, their defenses might not be the same. Understanding the facts of your unique case is the best way to determine which defenses might work.
You may be able to assert pre-trial and trial defenses depending on the situation.
You may be able to file a motion to suppress evidence seized before trial. If you believe the police stopped you without justification or they searched you or your car without any reason, then you have a chance to knock out some or all of the evidence before trial.
Persuading a judge to suppress evidence means that the prosecution cannot use that evidence against you at trial. And if enough of the prosecution’s evidence is tossed, it might mean that the state cannot prosecute you at all.
Trial strategies will also vary depending on the prosecutor’s evidence. You could defend the case by arguing that you were impaired but not intoxicated or drunk. If successful, you could get a reduced sentence for driving while ability impaired (which has lesser penalties) and beat the prohibited use of a weapon charge.
The prosecutor also has to prove that you had possession of the firearm. Possession is not always easy to prove. A savvy criminal charges defense attorney knows how to argue that the gun belonged to someone else if it was not on your person. Just because you own the car does not mean that you had possession of the firearm. For instance, a passenger could have put it under the driver’s seat, in the glovebox, or stuck it in the trunk.
Let Us Fight for You
You have come to the right place if you’ve recently asked yourself, What happens if I was arrested for DUI with a concealed weapon? With offices conveniently located throughout Colorado, I am in a position to help you fight almost anywhere in the state. I offer free consultations. So contact the law firm Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C. right now at 970-704-0888 to discuss how I can use my 30-plus years of criminal defense experience to help you.