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Colorado DUI Laws

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Colorado DUI Laws: Everything You Need to Know in 2021

Your License Will Be AUTOMATICALLY Suspended in 7 Days. You NEED to Act Fast.

If you have been arrested for DUI, there is still hope. Colorado DUI laws are strict, but they are not impossible to navigate. Don’t give up on yourself or your future. It is important to have a full understanding of your situation in order to find an opportunity to get the outcome you are looking for — it is almost always possible. 

 

 

 

 

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Colorado DUI Laws

In order to understand Colorado DUI laws, it is important to know how Colorado defines the terms involved.

Under the Influence

According to Colorado DUI law, a person is “under the influence” if they are significantly impaired (due to drugs or alcohol or both) in a way that would hinder them from operating a vehicle safely.

Ability Impaired

“Ability impaired” is considered to be a lower level of impairment than “under the influence” – generally this means that they are just slightly impaired and thus unable to safely operate a vehicle.

Driving a Vehicle

Even though the words “drive” “driving” or “drove” are commonly used when talking about Colorado DUI laws, the car does not have to actually be moving for there to be possible DUI charges. The person charged just needs to have been in physical control of the vehicle, whether it was moving or not. People have been convicted of DUI even when their car was turned off!

DUI

DUI stands for driving under the influence. This could mean drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two.

DWAI

DWAI stands for driving while ability impaired. Again, this could mean drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two, but the level of impairment for a DWAI is lower than that of a DUI.

DUI Per Se

DUI Per Se means driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. Per se is different from DUI because even if you are driving perfectly, and not appearing to be impaired, Colorado has set a legal BAC limit of .08, and if you exceed that you are breaking the law.

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Here are some of the Colorado DUI Laws and associated penalties you need to understand:

First DUI

In Colorado, a first DUI is usually a misdemeanor (depending on the various factors in the arrest). The possible penalties for a first-time DUI in Colorado include:

  • $600 – $1,000 in fines
  • 9-month license suspension
  • 12 points on your license
  • 48-96 hours of community service
  • Jail time from 5 days to a year
  • Probation – either unsupervised or supervised by a probation officer

Second DUI

In Colorado, a second DUI is also usually a misdemeanor. The possible penalties for a second DUI in Colorado include:

  • $600 – $1,500 in fines
  • 1-year license suspension
  • 2-years of having an ignition interlock device
  • 12 points on your license
  • 48-120 hours of community service
  • Jail time from 10 days to a year
  • Probation usually supervised by a probation officer

Third DUI

In Colorado, a third DUI is also usually a misdemeanor. The possible penalties for a third DUI in Colorado include:

  • $600 – $1,500 in fines
  • 2-year license suspension
  • 2-years of having an ignition interlock device
  • 12 points on your license
  • 48-120 hours of community service
  • Jail time from 60 days to a year
  • Probation usually supervised by a probation officer

Fourth and Subsequent DUI

In Colorado, a fourth (or subsequent) DUI is usually a felony. The possible penalties for a fourth or subsequent DUI in Colorado include:

  • $2,000 – $500,000 in fines
  • 2-6 years in a state prison with a 3-year parole
  • Alternative to prison: Lengthy probation usually supervised by a probation officer with anywhere from 90 days – 2 years of jail before probation begins

DWAI

In Colorado, a first DWAI (driving while ability impaired)  is usually a misdemeanor (depending on the various factors in the arrest). The possible penalties for a first-time DWAI in Colorado include:

  • $200 – $500 in fines
  • 8 points on your license
  • 24-48 hours of community service
  • Jail time from 2 – 180 days
  • Probation – either unsupervised or supervised by a probation officer

Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or
    Summons
    01

    Arrest or
    Summons

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing
    02

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of
    Charges
    03

    Advisement of
    Charges

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)
    04

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing
    05

    Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment
    06

    Arraignment

    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing
    07

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness
    Conference
    08

    Pretrial Readiness
    Conference

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial
    09

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing
    Date
    10

    Sentencing
    Date

    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

What is the sentence for misdemeanors in Colorado?

  • Class 1

  • 6 to 18 months in county jail, and/or
  • $500 to $5,000 in fines
  • For extraordinary risk class 1 misdemeanors, the maximum jail sentence is 24 months.
  • For 3rd-degree assault (CRS 18-3-204), the maximum sentence can be 48 months if the victim was on duty as a:
    • Peace officer,
    • Emergency medical provider,
    • Firefighter, or
    • Mental health professional at the Department of Human Services.
  • Class 2

  • 3 to 12 months in county jail, and/or
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines
  • Class 3

  • Up to 6 months of county jail, and/or
  • $50 to $750 in fines2

What are Colorado felony penalties?

  • Class 1

  • Life imprisonment
  • No Colorado crime carries the death penalty.
  • Class 2

  • 8 – 24 years in Colorado State Prison, and/or
  • $5,000 – $1,000,000
  • 5 years of mandatory parole if the offense is a crime of violence. Otherwise, 3 years of mandatory parole.
  • Class 3

  • 4 – 12 years in prison, and/or
  • $3,000 – $750,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 3 felonies, the maximum sentence is 16 years in prison.
  • Class 4

  • 2 – 6 years in prison, and/or
  • $2,000 – $500,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 4 felonies, the maximum sentence is 8 years in prison.
  • Class 5

  • 1 – 3 years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 2 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 5 felonies, the maximum sentence is 4 years in prison.
  • Class 6

  • 1 – 18 months years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 1 year of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 6 felonies, the maximum sentence is 2 years in prison.

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At Right Law Group, we understand the stress you are under. Our Criminal Defense Law Firm is here to guide you down the right path to your legal challenge. Whether you are facing your first DUI, a drug charge, need a restraining order, or are facing another type of criminal charge, our firm is committed to your well-being and protecting your rights the right way.

Is there mandatory jail time for a DUI in Colorado?

Jail time is not a mandatory requirement for first time DUI convictions in Colorado, though it is always a possible penalty, but it is mandatory for 2nd time or higher DUI convictions. For all DUI convictions in Colorado, depending on the circumstances of the particular case, there is a possibility of jail time anywhere from 5 days up to 6 years.

What are the penalties for DUI in Colorado?

The penalties for DUI in Colorado depend on a few different factors. Mostly, the penalties depend on the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver, and if they have any previous DUI convictions. DUI penalties can include jail time, fees, license revocation, required ignition interlock device, community service, probation, and in the more severe cases prison time.

Is a DUI a felony in Colorado?

Most DUI charges in colorado are actually misdemeanors. Some DUI charges, however, are felonies. The most common DUI felonies in Colorado are due to it being the driver’s fourth or more DUI, or if there were significant bodily injuries or death involved.

Experienced DUI Lawyer

Should I hire a Colorado Springs DUI lawyer?

You should contact a Colorado Springs DUI lawyer immediately if you have been arrested or charged with DUI. In Colorado, you only have seven days to request an administrative hearing otherwise your license will be automatically suspended. You will want to have an experienced DUI lawyer or your side to help you navigate these complicated Colorado DUI laws.

We understand that mistakes happen. When they do, you need an experienced Colorado Springs DUI lawyer to defend you. We can analyze your circumstances and prepare a proper defense. We know the Colorado DUI laws as well as the judges and prosecutors and will strive to get your most favorable outcome.

If you are unsure of what steps to take, and how to best navigate the Colorado DUI laws, contact Right Law Group today for a free case evaluation. You may be able to keep your license. Call us now to get help. An experienced Colorado Springs DUI lawyer can help get you through this. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.