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DUI court processing in Colorado


Any motorist arrested for a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWAI (driving while ability is impaired) offense in Colorado will have two cases filed. One case is a criminal case which is filed by the State and the second case is an administrative civil case initiated by the Department of Revenue.

Colorado DUI process – The first stages


If you have been arrested for a DUI or DWAI your Colorado DUI case will start with a complaint. A complaint basically accuses a person of a criminal violation. The citation of which statutory offense, your name, a description of the offense, the date and the location of where the alleged offense occurred must all be stated on the complaint.


A summons will require that a CO DUI offender appears in court to answer to the complaint filed.


Arraignment is the first court appearance which follows your DUI or DWAI arrest in Colorado. At this time you or your attorney will have to appear before a judge who will read the charges that have been filed against you. Then you will be asked to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty. If you choose to plead guilty, a sentence will be imposed, on the other hand if you plead not guilty, your case will proceed to the Pre-Trial Conference.

Pre-Trial Conference in a Colorado DUI process

Colorado DUI pre-trial conference is where you or your attorney gets an opportunity to speak with the prosecutor regarding the possibility of a plea bargain. You can choose to plead guilty to a lesser charge or penalty in exchange for your waiver of your Constitutional right to trial. If there is a plea bargain, it will be entered on record otherwise the case will be set for trial.

Motion Hearings

If your attorney wishes to contest the admissibility of certain evidence, he or she will file a motion to suppress. At this time the judge will take testimony and hear arguments regarding what is in the motion.

Colorado DUI trials

Anyone charged with a DUI in Colorado is entitled to a trial. The type of trial you have should be first discussed thoroughly with your attorney to determine which of the two trials is best for your Colorado DUI offense. The two types of trials are listed below:

  1. Jury trials – In Colorado DUI jury trial case, a judge will preside and a panel of jurors gets to decide the facts.
  2. Bench trials – On the other hand in Colorado DUI bench trial case there is no jury. The judge takes the role of both judge and jury.

At the end of the trial if a verdict of guilty is reached, the case will then go on to the sentencing phase, which follows the Colorado DUI penalties guidelines.

However, if the verdict is not guilty, the case and all charges will be dismissed.


If a verdict of guilty is reached in a Colorado DUI trial, you will have a right to appeal to higher courts for review which has to be made in a timely manner and in writing. Failure to do so in the time prescribe will result in the “waiver” of the person’s right for review.

This is a brief overview of the DUI court processing in The State of Colorado. For more indebt information pertaining to your specific Colorado DUI trial, please seek the advice of your attorney handling your case.

DALA Staff Writer
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