Tag Archives: DUI

Wedding Shuttle Driver Gets DUI in Aspen

The below is from the Aspen Daily News. Not good.

Wedding shuttle driver arrested for DUI

A shuttle driver working for Snow Limo taking 15 passengers who had attended a wedding at the Pine Creek Cookhouse on Saturday was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Ken Maupin, 53, of Aspen was arrested at 12:31 a.m. on Sunday in the parking lot of the Aspen Chapel by sheriff deputy Bruce Benjamin. According to deputy Jesse Steindler, the passengers sensed that he was allegedly intoxicated. After they witnessed him allegedly speeding, weaving, swerving and driving off the road, they asked him if he was intoxicated. Passengers told police that Maupin’s speech was slurred. They ordered him to stop the bus, which he did, Steindler said. One of the passengers drove the van, with Maupin in it, down Castle Creek Road and eventually called 911 once they were in cell service range. One of the passengers said she saw an empty bottle of alcohol on the driver’s seat, which Maupin allegedly grabbed and tried to leave the scene when they arrived at the church parking lot, but passengers detained him until police arrived, according to Steindler. A passenger reportedly recorded Maupin exiting the bus with her cell phone. No further details were available Sunday evening.


What You Should Do if Arrested

When not in trial, criminal defense attorneys spend much of their time trying to mitigate the damage done by a client during their arrest. I frequently see criminal suspects carelessly try to explain their side of the story and unknowingly shoot themselves in the foot.

What should a person do if they are accused of a crime? I’ve modified the list below from the American Bar Association:

Photo credit: Visualize Us
Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil
  • Try to remember witness names. Find out their phone numbers, addresses, and other contact information. If you can’t remember their names, try to remember someone’s name who may know them. For example, if you know they are the bouncer at the bar, find out from another person their name and contact information.
  • Remain silent. Remain Silent. Period. The only thing you can accomplish by talking about your arrest is to hurt your case. You have no obligation to speak with the police. The police may try to trick you and will sound like they are your buddies. Do not speak with the police or anyone else. Ask to speak with a criminal defense attorney.
  • Be polite and respectful towards the police but be firm, do not speak.
  • Contact your attorney or ask for one immediately. If the police insist on speaking with you, reaffirm your desire to speak with your criminal defense attorney.
  • Try to remember the badge numbers of any officers you are involved with, as well as their patrol car number(s) and which police agency they are from. Many times there are multiple police agencies responding to a call. For example, there is a difference between the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and the Avon Police Department.
  • Make sure that your attorney is present for any lineups or testing (such as drawing a blood sample). Demand that your attorney be present.
  • If you are injured, be sure to take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible and get medical attention at once. Make sure to go into detail with the medical staff about the type of injury and cause of injury, including names.

Colorado Felony DUI Bill

A proposed legislative bill to make repeat DUIs in Colorado died yesterday in a Senate committee. I wrote about the proposal here at RKV Law. For more information on the political gamesmanship that led to the bill failing to make it out of the Senate committee, read the Denver Post’s blog post on the subject here.

As it stands, the maximum penalty for a DUI conviction in Colorado is 1 year in jail. Despite the setback for proponents of harsher penalties for Colorado DUIs, a person facing DUI charges should nevertheless seek legal assistance from a skilled DUI defense attorney. This point is especially important for those accused of drunk driving in Aspen, Glenwood Springs or Vail because of the reliance on vehicles for transportation in the mountains.

Aspen Crime Rates Drop

Both Aspen newspapers are running stories on the overall drop in the number of police arrests. It appears that the report is based on numbers from only the Aspen Police Department. One would assume that the Pitkin County Sheriff’s stats would be fairly similar.

Of note is the drop of Aspen DUI arrests to a 10-year low. It will be interesting to compare all these numbers in a couple years to truly see the impact (or lack thereof) of Amendment 64 in legalizing marijuana.

The Aspen Times article is here.

The Aspen Daily News story is here.

The X Factor for X Games Aspen

The X Games started last night in Aspen. There will be plenty of news on ESPN and the local Aspen papers about the results. What will likely be glossed over, however, are the stories of attendees who get in trouble while they’re here in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Aspen Ice Sign

On one hand, recreational marijuana has changed the legal landscape for those visiting Aspen this year. Undoubtedly, many will flock to the local pot shops as part of the burgeoning marijuana tourism industry. The Aspen Daily News is running a story today about the TSA seizing 36 ounces of marijuana edibles at the airport. It’s a sexy story because it’s new; we typically associate drug busts at airports with Pablo Escobar, cocaine, guns and violent drug lords. One could argue that the new X factor for X Games Aspen is weed.

On the other hand, Aspen law enforcement officers will likely be dealing with incidents related to a different X factor at this year’s X Games: alcohol. Last year there were 114,500 fans at the Winter X Games. Hotels in Aspen will be at max capacity.  Although RFTA is responsive to the demand for transportation down-valley to Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, a number of people will make a poor decision and get behind the wheel after drinking too much. Aspen DUI lawyers will be called to represent those arrested for drinking and driving. I’ve written about DUIs before. It is legal to drink and drive in Colorado – it is a matter of degree. The amount of alcohol consumed, as well as the time between drinks, will be X factors for Aspen DUIs.

In addition to DUIs, there will likely be an increase in assaults in Aspen. Arguments that otherwise would be brushed off by sober people will lead to physical fights and a night in the Pitkin County Jail. Husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, and friends out for a fun night will step over the edge into the criminal world because they’ve had a bit too much to drink. Their judgment will be clouded. They will make a costly mistake. If that mistake involves two people who are or used to be in a romantic relationship, they’ll have to navigate the tricky implications attached to domestic violence. Again, the X factor will likely be alcohol.

Aspen locals will tell you that a disproportionate number of attendees at the Winter X Games are teenagers. Getting away from mom and dad for a party weekend is a right of passage. However, picking up a MIP in Aspen can have significant consequences down the road for college and driving plans. Those charged with a MIP should consult with an Aspen lawyer on the collateral damage from picking up a ticket for underage drinking. Unlike Aspen DUIs or assaults, the amount of alcohol will not be a X factor for a MIP – it is a strict liability offense in Colorado. If a person is under the age of 21, they cannot legally drink alcohol unless a specific exception exists. Officers will request a minor to submit to a portable breath test (PBT) for alcohol.

The Winter X Games is a shot in the arm for the local economy. There is cause for celebrating the extension of the X Games remaining in Aspen through 2019. However, the X factor determining whether a fan visiting Aspen will have a great time watching amazing athletic feats versus spending time in jail and going to court will likely pivot on alcohol. Be safe out there. Be smart. Please drink in moderation. Otherwise you may be calling an Aspen lawyer like me to get you out of a criminal case.

DUI, Divorce and Marijuana Laws in 2014

Welcome to 2014. New laws are now in effect for Aspen DUIs and Vail DUIs, especially how those cases are handled with the Colorado DMV. Read more here.

In addition, those filing for divorce must aware that Colorado now has a significantly different law on how maintenance/alimony is analyzed in 2014 and beyond. Make sure your Aspen divorce lawyer knows about the change. To see more about the amendments, click here.

Finally, as has been widely reported in the news, recreational marijuana is now perfectly legal in Colorado. By all accounts, the transition went smoothly. There are no retail marijuana stores currently open in Garfield County or Aspen. They are coming, though.  Contrary to other mountain communities, both Vail and Eagle County are holding off on allowing recreational marijuana for now.

We are in the midst of Aspen’s prime tourism season. It will be interesting to see the effect of “marijuana tourism” in Aspen next year.

New Colorado DUI Laws for 2014

Starting  Jan 1 next week, several new laws  go into effect for DUIs in Colorado. First, a driver will be able to challenge the basis for a police officer’s stop at a DMV hearing. I’ve written before about DMV hearings, but have yet to cover a terrible case – Francen v. Colo. Dept. of Revenue – from July 2012 for those accused of drunk driving.

In Francen, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that the legality of the police officer’s initial stop was irrelevant for determining whether a driver’s license should be suspended. As a result, a driver had little hope other than an officer skipping a DMV hearing in keeping their license.

The new law, C.R.S. 42-2-126(8)(h) & 42-2-228, overrules Francen and allows a driver to contest the validity of the initial stop. Among DUI lawyers, the law is called the “Francen Fix.” An example of the Francen Fix can be seen with a previous DUI case I worked on. My client still lost her license at the DMV hearing even though the criminal case was completely dismissed when I persuaded the Eagle County Judge that there was no “reasonable suspicion” for the Basalt Police officer to pull her over. The Francen Fix would have likely resulted in my client keeping her license.

The second change coming in 2014 is the “Interlock Bill.” Offered as House Bill 13-1240 and signed by Governor Hickenlooper at the end of May, the Interlock Bill gives some hope to those that refuse a chemical test when arrested for drunk driving. I’ve already covered Colorado’s Expressed Consent and authority for revoking a driver’s license.

As it stands today, a person that refuses a chemical test when arrested for their first DUI will lose their license for a year. There is no opportunity for a driver who refuses to get a probationary or restricted license. Draconian, I know. However, the new Interlock Bill  offers some breathing room in 2014 because a first-time refusal will allow a driver to apply for reinstatement after two months of no driving. The early reinstatement comes with a catch: the driver will have to install and use an interlock device for 2 years following reinstatement. These drivers are designated by Colorado law as “persistent drunk drivers.”

The Interlock Bill, which amends C.R.S. 42-2-132.5, also provides that a separate suspension for a conviction of DUI will run concurrent to a suspension for a refusal. A refusal and DUI each may result in revocation of a driver’s license. Previously, those suspensions would run consecutive, or stacked on top of one another. A driver that refused and was also convicted of DUI faced the prospect of a 2-year suspension. In 2014 and beyond, that same driver will likely be facing a 1-year revocation with the option to reinstate early using an ignition interlock device.

Finally, the Interlock Bill  lowers the bar for “persistent drunk drivers” who take a blood or breath test as part of a DUI. In 2013, a driver with a BAC over .170 is tagged as a persistent drunk driver and required to have an ignition interlock  device to drive for  2 years. Starting next week, a driver with a BAC of .150 will face that same penalty.

We’re in the midst of the holiday season. In the hoopla of celebrating, people make mistakes. If you’re accused of drunk driving and looking for an Aspen DUI attorney or a Vail DUI attorney, make sure they are familiar with the new changes to Colorado law.

Vail Daily Article on October DUIs

The Vail Daily recently published an article on DUIs in October and used a case study from a tragic alcohol-related death in Breckenridge. The problem is that the article’s “lead” is confusing and simply wrong. There was not a jump in DUIs in October this year as is suggested in the article. The number of fatalities from Colorado DUIs actually dropped dramatically from October 2012 to this year.

However, despite the misleading introduction, the article raises some important points about DUIs in Aspen and Vail. First, there is a culture of partying and pushing the envelope in all aspects of life, including drinking and driving, in resort communities. The DA for 5th JD, Bruce Brown, disclosed that there were 1,250 alcohol-related driving offenses in the counties of Eagle (Vail), Summit (Breckenridge), Lake (Leadville), and Clear Creek (Georgetown).

Second, DUIs are expensive. The article states that fines could reach up to $10,270. While I have yet to see a fine that high, there is no doubt that a DUI will be more than a cab ride home. In addition to fines, the Colorado DMV requires a person install an Interlock device on their vehicle in most circumstances following an arrest for DUI. Typically those devices cost approximately $75/month.

Finally, one mistake can change everything. As the defendant featured in the article, Maverick Bain, said at his sentencing, “No one ever thinks this [killing your friend from a DUI] can happen to them.” Now Bain has 4 years in prison to think about how and what he did.