DUI and Possession of a Firearm
If you’re stopped for DUI in Colorado and the police officer observes, or searches and finds, a firearm in your vehicle, chances are that you will also be charged with “prohibited use of weapons” a/k/a “drunk with a gun”. In violation CRS 18-12-106. This charge is a serious charge that carries with it potential jail time and potential collateral consequences associated with a weapons violation.
Under the law, it doesn’t matter if the firearm was loaded or unloaded. And it seems that the police won’t care where in the vehicle the firearm was found. If it’s in the vehicle, regardless of the reason or location, the police will likely charge the offense.
Fortunately for the defendant driver, there are many factors to argue to fight the charge, and the case is not as easy to prove as a prosecutor might think. Firstly, the prosecutor has to prove that the driver was “under the influence”, in other words “intoxicated” or “drunk”. The charge won’t stick with a Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) conviction. The prosecutor has to show intoxication, rather than just impairment.
Secondly, the terms “possession” is very subjective. A skilled defense attorney will argue for a jury instruction that is best suited for the defendant. People v. Garcia, 595 P.2d 228 (Colo. 1979) is the leading case regarding “possession”.
The Garcia Court found the following factors which could be considered to determine if a firearm was in a person’s actual or physical control: 1) the proximity of the defendant to the firearm; 2) the ordinary place of storage of the firearm; 3) the defendant’s awareness of the presence of the firearm; 4) locks or other physical impediments which preclude ready access to the firearm.
If you’ve been charged with DUI and possession of a firearm while intoxicated, it’s important to get professional help right away by an attorney that can comprehensively defend this type of charge. Attorney Monte Robbins has experience in defending charges of DUI and possession of a firearm. Call today for a free case evaluation at 303-355-5148 or 970-301-5541.