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Despite inaccurate test, Colorado driver's DUI sentence remains

Taking away a person's driving privileges might not be as severe as sending him to prison, but the legal consequence is still significant. Most people don't drive so they can just cruise and enjoy the road; they need to get someplace or transport someone to a necessary destination.

The sentence of suspending a person's driver's license should be taken seriously -- and challenged if a defendant has any doubts regarding the credibility of the suspension. A father of a special-needs child was charged with DUI in Colorado and sentenced based on the results of a blood alcohol test that was inaccurate. He challenged the severity of his conviction and sentencing.

We have written about the serious issue regarding botched BAC tests in Colorado and how an estimated 1,700 blood tests tied to DUI cases in the state needed to be retested. The defendant in this case looked at that problem and had his blood retested due to the doubts. Initially, the defendant was charged, convicted and sentenced based on a level of 0.179. That level puts a Colorado DUI defendant in the position of facing a stiffer charge and sentence.

A retest of this defendant's blood came back to prove that the driver had been legally drunk at the time of his arrest, but it also proved that his level was not as high as initially thought due to the faulty test. Based on that evidence, the defendant appealed to a judge to try to get his sentencing modified.

Even though the new evidence might support the lesser sentence, the court didn't agree to lessen the sentence. Why? According to Aspen Daily News, the judge didn't see the original sentencing as significantly different in a way that would harm the defendant. The sentencing requires him to lose his license for a month and then have an ignition interlock device in his vehicle for two years. If the sentence had been modified, the ignition interlock device would have been required for eight months.

The defendant regrets the temporary loss of his license because that sentence doesn't just affect him. He has a child with special needs whom he drives to and from her necessary appointments. That point, while it might evoke sympathy from the court, didn't change the fact that either blood test result found in this case would lead to the temporary loss of the defendant's license.

Source: Aspen Daily News, "Man loses DUI testing appeal," Chad Abraham, June 26, 2012

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