A Client Focused Firm Request Consultation
Prohibited Use of a Firearm

Driving Under the Influence with a Gun in Colorado

By: Lain A. Lawrence - DUI Defense Attorney Sept. 6, 2023

Most driving under the influence cases are the result of a failure to plan. Planning is important, and a defendant that does not have a plan when drinking will likely result in a DUI. It is in these cases that a defendant will require the skills of a DUI defense attorney.

There are certain factors that can aggravate a driving under the influence case. An aggravating factor will make a defendant’s case worse. Typical aggravating factors involve high blood alcohol concentration, accidents, or driving with children.

Another common aggravator is having a gun or weapon in the vehicle. This can result in a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm. A second charge closely associates the unlawful possession of a firearm with the driving under the influence charge.

What is Driving Under the Influence under Colorado Law?

To discuss driving under the influence and unlawful possession of a firearm, you must first comprehend the definition of drunk driving. DUI is the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence. Alcohol or drug use causes intoxication. The defendant must be substantial9 incapable of safely operating their motor vehicle. 

Operation of a motor vehicle includes driving while ability is impaired. This is the operation of a motor vehicle while a defendant is impaired to the slightest degree. 

A DUI is driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. A DWAI is having a blood alcohol concentration above a .05. The BAC will come from a breath tests and blood tests.

Operation of motor vehicle includes being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. This is being able to quickly exercise control over the vehicle.

What is drunk with a gun?

Drunk with a gun is a common term used to describe the crime of prohibited use of a firearm. Prohibited use of a firearm is defined at Colorado Revised Statute 18-12-106. 

A firearm is any handgun, revolver or automatic. It is also a rifle or shotgun. A gun is a tool that can shoot bullets or other explosives. 

Prohibiting and considering the misuse of firearms includes aiming a gun at someone unlawfully or shooting it recklessly. If a defendant is drunk with a firearm, they can also face charges for prohibited use.

The statute does not define drunk, unlike DUI. Driving under the influence has a legal limit. However, the legislature did not provide any guidance for prohibited use of firearms. 

Defendants often face charges of driving while impaired and prohibited use of a firearm. This inconsistency occurs because driving with impaired ability constitutes operating a vehicle while impaired, even to the slightest degree. Impaired does not equal drunk. It is always best to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer to fully understand your circumstances.

What is the punishment for prohibited use of a firearm?

Prohibited use of a firearm is a class 1 misdemeanor. This means a judge can impose a jail sentence of up to one year. A defendant can also fine a defendant up to $1,000. A defendant may be placed on probation. 

A defendant facing this type of charge and a DUI will also face punishment for alcohol driving infraction. The punishments for DUI’s and alcohol related driving offenses can be found at C.R.S § 42-4-1307.

A DUI in the State of Colorado is considered an unclassified misdemeanor. The Colorado DUI Penalties depends on a variety of factors. The maximum possible jail sentence is 1 year and a fine from $600-$1,000. A defendant is also required to complete 48-96 hours of community service.

A first time DUI has a minimum 5 day jail sentence, but the jail can be suspended upon the successful completion of an alcohol and substance abuse class. However, a DUI involving a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) above a .20 has a mandatory 10 days of jail. In addition to jail, a defendant will also be placed on probation. The typical length of probation for a first offense is one year.

The standard requirements of probation for a DUI are to complete an alcohol and substances abuse class, complete a MADD Victim Impact Panel, complete community service, and submit the monitored sobriety. If you are convicted of DWAI first offense, you could go to jail for six months or be fined $500.

A second DUI or DWAI requires at least 10 days in jail but could result in up to one year. If the previous drunk driving offense happened more than five years ago, the person may serve their jail sentence at home. A third offense carries a mandatory minimum 60 days jail sentence with a maximum of one year.

The mandatory minimum 60 days are not eligible for in-home detention. If someone gets a second DUI, they have to be on probation for two years. If they complete probation successfully, the court will also suspend one more year of jail time.

It is important to remember that the mandatory minimum sentences are the lowest the Court can impose on a defendant. Repeat offenses have required minimum punishments, but the court considers other factors to decide the suitable sentence.

It is not unusual for judges to impose jail sentences higher than the mandatory minimum. You can take actions to help reduce the potential for jail. To better understand your situation, request a free consultation today.

Prohibit use of a Firearm will Aggravate a DUI

Adding a gun to any criminal activity will make the criminal charges worse. District attorneys and judges will want to impose criminal sanctions above and beyond the mandatory minimum. There are mitigating factors that are important as well.

The level of cooperation the defendat had on the scene is important. The location of the firearm will also impact the case. If a defendant has a gun in their hand, it is a lot worse than a gun located in a carrying case in the back seat. 

The prohibited use of a firearm will also result in the loss of the firearm. Colorado law requires any gun used during a crime to be forfeited. It can also impact a defendant’s ability to own firearms while on probation or have a concealed carry permit. 

It is always important to speak with a DUI lawyer to understand what facts help you and hurt you. 

Consult a DUI Defense Attorney if you face charges for prohibited use of a firearm. 

A DUI weapon case can seriously impact a defendant. It may seem simple and straight forward, but this kind of case can be complicated. Criminal defense and DUI law is not easy to understand. It is important to speak with an Aurora DUI defense lawyer that understands the complexities of a DUI case.

The law surrounding actual physical control is complex. The Lawrence Law Firm understands the cases surrounding this topic and monitors any change in the law.   

Our firm routinely handles DUI case. We are ready, willing, and able to provide you the representation you deserve. We offer free consultations and flexible payment plans. Our goal is to provide aggressive representation to anyone who needs it, while no sacrificing any defendants because of budget.

Our defense lawyer routinely represents clients in Arapahoe, Denver, Adams, Jefferson, and any metro case. Our firm offers appointments afterhours or on the weekends.

Request a consultation from our Denver DUI Attorney today. We can help and give legal advice to anyone facing DUI charges in the Denver Are.