A place for random musings by attorney, entrepreneur, pet-lover, real estate broker, celiac, native Coloradoan, and solo law practitioner Justie Nicol, founder of Nicol Law Offices, LLC, a boutique law firm in Colorado's Front Range offering help with criminal defense and landlord-tenant legal issues.
So many of my cases involve ordinary folks who have made simple mistakes. In other words, my clients usually aren’t career criminals. Most of them have successful careers, family they care for, and great plans for the future. It’s amazing, though, how one run-in with the law can derail someone’s entire life. This is especially true with DUI/DWAI cases, given how common they are. Given that today is not far removed from St. Patrick's Day, I generally also see a spike in these types of cases over the next few weeks.
A good attorney not only knows about the law and what a client is facing from a legal standpoint but also the impacts that a case can have on all aspects of a client’s life (including not getting that desired invite to next year's St. Paddy's party). Read on to learn about some often-forgotten consequences of getting a DUI/DWAI and to garner a few tips from a friendly Colorado criminal defense lawyer.
Current & Future Employment
Whether it’s a matter of personal preference or absolute
need, many people drive themselves to and from work every day.This essential logistical consideration
quickly becomes a problem when a DUI/DWAI results in a license revocation.Public transportation isn’t always convenient,
carpooling options aren’t always readily available, and ride-sharing services
and taxis can get expensive (for some, prohibitively so).And what might be a winnable case in criminal
court might not translate to good odds in front of the DMV, which means you
could walk away from a DUI/DWAI conviction but still lose your license.
The situation is further complicated for people whose
employment depends on their ability to legally operate a motor vehicle.Commercial truck drivers and restaurant
delivery drivers can face an uphill battle keeping or finding employment after
a DUI/DWAI.And in deciding whether to
retain or hire you, an employer might even consider the possibility that the need to drive will arise in the course of your
duties.A lifetime ban on reinstating a
CDL is a real possibility in some circumstances.
Gossip at the
Watercooler & Social Stigmas
Close friends and caring family members won’t view or treat
you differently after a DUI/DWAI arrest (aside from doubling down on their
support and helping you get treatment).But let’s be honest, how many people do we engage with in the course of
any given day who fall into that category?Based on my experience with my DUI/DWAI clients, I’d suggest few.Very, very few.
People talk and word travels fast among some communities and
social circles.My clients often work
hard to keep the lid on the charge, but it only takes one person (who tells
another person who tells another person who group chats it to your entire
alumni class).Once the cat is out of
the bag, there’s little you can do.
For many clients, secrecy can lead to disastrous
consequences.My advice is to be up
front about charges you are facing but not to talk about the case too
much.Judges also are impressed with
clients who have ‘owned up’ to their situation by informing employers, friends,
and family about their case.Drawing on
a bigger support system is never a bad thing, especially since most DUI/DWAI
cases end up with a lengthy period of probation from one to two years.
A Hit to the Old Pocketbook
It will come as little surprise (to even those who haven’t
had a DUI/DWAI) that these cases have serious financial implications.Depending on the severity of the offense, on
top of the criminal fines, you may face costs stemming from probation expenses,
alcohol treatment classes, sobriety testing and monitoring, interlock device
installation and upkeep, and auto insurance rate hikes.The financial consequences can be staggering,
especially considering the concurrent employment consequences and possible job
loss that clients are facing.
Most high-paid attorneys only work for high-paying
clients.However, many of us solo/small
firm attorneys keep our overhead low by not having staff and running
digital/paperless offices.Nicol Law
Offices, LLC is one such firm.I accept
reasonable payment plans, take all major credit cards, and go to court for you
after only a small down payment.And I
offer student/veteran discounts on all my services.What’s more, I charge a flat fee for DUI/DWAI
representation and DMV Hearing representation, too.You know exactly what this Colorado DUI
attorney will cost you up front!And those
billboards that tell you even a first-time DUI will cost $10K? Well, they’re not far off, all things
considered, but a good lawyer will help you keep your costs significantly below
Lost Liberty is
a Real Risk
Last—but definitely not least—DUI/DWAI convictions can be
accompanied by jail time, especially if you were involved in an accident, had a
high BAC at the time of arrest, and/or have prior alcohol- or drug-related
convictions.Incarceration is the
ultimate consequence and jail time will likely exacerbate any already stressful
employment, social, or financial hardships resulting from the DUI/DWAI.
Any Colorado attorney can likely advise you about the
mandatory minimum jail for your type of case. But a good
Colorado criminal defense lawyer can also advocate for alternative type
sentences, such as work release, in-home detention, and even sobriety court
programs.These types of jail sentences
could mean you keep your job with use of PTO, you don’t suffer huge financial
consequences, and you keep your freedom!
Clients, Different Consequences: No Two DUI/DWAI Cases are the Same
The most important thing to remember is that no DUI/DWAI
client or case is the same.And doing
what’s right in the courtroom may not always translate to what’s right for a
particular client.For example, a client
in the metro area is much better positioned to navigate the loss of their
license than a client in rural Colorado, where there are no taxis, Uber is an
imaginary word, and having a valid license is the only way to get to work, the
grocery store, and the kids’ school.
Rural DUI cases are therefore much more likely to result in
a favorable plea deal, but here’s the kicker: DAs are less likely to give plea
deals in stringent, rural counties, because they know they have the client
between a rock and a hard place.A good case
to take to trial might never see the light of day in rural Colorado, as a
result.How many attorneys know this? Fewer than you might imagine.
The Consequences are
too Great, Don’t Do Your DUI/DWAI Alone
Having an attorney who understands the variable nature of Colorado
DUI/DWAI cases, the potential consequences, and how these consequences may
impact individual clients is important.I have years of experience handling these cases at the DA’s office and many
more defending them for hard-working Coloradoans.If you are facing a DUI/DWAI charge, I’ll
work with you to minimize the negative consequences and keep your life on
track.Let Justie get Justice for You!