If my charge was written as a first offense DUI and then when I go to court they find out that I had one in another state before can they change my charge to a second offense?
Yes, most definitely. The officer on the scene has no idea if it is your first or your tenth, because of not having immediate access to all of the other jurisdictions. What is more is that if you plead guilty to it as a first offense and the alcohol evaluator with Probation finds that you have priors, the judge will be totally ticked off and either have you withdraw your plea or sentence you accordingly (taking into consideration that the judge will think that you were dishonest with him or her by NOT divulging the prior). You definitely need an attorney. I recommend David Foley or Clinton Black in Colorado Springs as great DUI attorneys.
Yes. That is called "Amending the Charge" and the District Attorney can do that. The District Attorney also has to prove that conviction and it is not up to you to say anything about it to confirm it. Please make sure you contact a DUI Attorney to help you with your case as there are things a good DUI attorney can advise you on for a second offense. Also, in general you want someone who knows what they are looking for to review all of the evidence in your case to assess the strength or weakness of the government's case against you and any defenses you may have.
Although I agree with the previous comments, I would state the charge has not been changed. A person charged with DUI is charged with violating Section 42-4-1301 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The charging document, summons and complaint, makes no mention nor does it require a notation as to whether this DUI was a first or a second. Rather if you are convicted, or if you plead guilty, then the statute provides for different levels of sentencing depending on the number of priors, if any.
The term "prior conviction" includes priors from states other than Colorado. Thus if you have a prior alcohol related traffic plea in another state, you may be subject to mandatory jail and probation. Given the serious nature of your situation, please speak with a quality DUI attorney, who is familiar with El Paso County, prior to entering into a plea.
I wish you the best of luck.
Yes, they can amend the charge. There is mandatory jail time if you are convicted of s second or subsequent driving under the influence or impaired offense. However, more information is needed to evaluate the case. Your charge in another state may not be down as a conviction if you received a favorable plea offer.
Absolutely, they can and will change the charge if they find the prior. In fact if you plead as a first and then go to probation they will run a full background check. If they find the second, they will send you back to court to be resentenced. Many times the Judge will punish people worse for not being honest. Dealing with how to get the best result in these cases is tricky. I would consult with an attorney to make sure you don’t get yourself into deeper issues.
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