DUI Sentencing CLE

We had the privilege of presenting at a CLE this week.  CLE stands for Continuing Legal Education.  Attorneys are required to complete 45 Continuing Legal Education hours every 3 years in order to keep their law license up to date.

The Colorado Criminal Defense Bar gave us the opportunity to present on DUI sentencing. Specifically, we talked about the possible penalties for a DUI, the plea bargaining and sentencing practices of different jurisdictions and an attorney’s ethical obligations to a client. Part of effective representation is presenting a compelling sentencing argument.

Colorado’s criminal code has a statute that addresses the purpose of sentencing.  The statute is to be used by judges when deciding the appropriate sentence.  Some of the factors to consider are more general in nature, such as treating similarly situated people the same and deterring others from committing the crime.  Other factors are more specific to the individual, such as rehabilitation and individual deterrence.

It is not only important for your attorney to know what type of information is persuasive at sentencing, but also for your attorney to know what type of information is persuasive to the particular judge hearing your case.  While all judges are to apply the law, the law allows for great discretion when imposing a sentence. The sentencing statute factors are somewhat general in nature and the sentencing statute does not require that each factor be given equal weight.

Finally, once a sentence is imposed, it is also important for your attorney to know details about how different jurisdictions handle different issues.  For example, if there is a jail sentence, do you earn good time? How much good time? Are there any special programs you can participate in to reduce a jail sentence? If you complete your probation requirements early, can your probation be terminated early?

Thank you to the CCDB for the opportunity to present.  We hope the presentation was helpful for those who attended and we hope this information is helpful to anyone not in attendance.