What Happens To First Time DUI Offenders in Colorado?
There are two categories for a DUI charge in the state of Colorado, where an offender maybe charged with the standard DUI or with a DWAI which is driving while impaired. Colorado Driving law is divided into two, the Criminal Reprimand which dictates possible jail sentencing for a DUI conviction, alcohol classes, cost and community service and the Civil Drivers Licensing laws which details parameters for the revocation of driving licensure. Once arrested, the offender must make an appeal with the DMV and schedule an administrative hearing within the first seven days or expunge their rights and gain an automatic suspension for 90 days.
DUI convictions in the state of Colorado will accrue the convicted defendant of anywhere from $300 to $1500, but after settlement of court appointed fees, fines, attorneys fees and miscellaneous will cost an average of at least $8000. Prison sentencing is a requisite for all convictions where a Judge can appoint a minimum of five days to one year of prison time, where a normal DUI conviction will serve 10 days. Driving license is suspended for one year after a conviction with a court mandated community service order of up to 96 hours.
First time offenders are often recommended to attend alcohol education classes to minimize sentencing, depending on a BAC evaluation. The defendant must shoulder the $525 enrollment cost and is a 24 hour program on a course of 12 weeks, alcohol rehabilitation programs will normally last 21 weeks up to 13 months. If you were convicted of a DUI charge on a BAC evaluation of .20% or higher, you can expect jail time with a mandatory 10 days of a minimum of 90 days to one year imprisonment. 120 hours of community service is also ordered with a fine of up to $1500 withstanding court costs and personal injury settlements with a one year driving license suspension.
Under 21 DUI in Colorado
The BAC conviction for Offenders less than 21 years of age is .02% on a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer. All Minor offenses for DUI charges are treated with the same degree as adult criminal and administrative charges.
Felony DUI Colorado
Many DUI offenders experience the harsh reality that they may confront more than a misdemeanor charge for their crime. The first DUI is typically charged as a misdemeanor; however, certain circumstances may be covered that could categorize the charge as a felony. If the driver has a second, third, or fourth DUI offense, the DUI may be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony in Colorado. Regardless of whether an offender was charged with a felony or misdemeanor or a, there will be harsh penalties for the crime at hand due to the risks of driving while intoxicated. Felony offenses, for example, can lead to a year or more in prison, whereas a misdemeanor offense can result in up to a year in jail, though it is likely to be much less time.
How can someone tell if they will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for a DUI? Depending on the particulars of the case, Colorado handles these laws differently. Here are some examples of those situations:
Blood Alcohol Level
Was the offender’s blood alcohol concentration higher than the legal limit? This is one example of how a misdemeanor can become a felony. In most states, a BAC of.08% is the minimum level required to be charged with DUI. If an offender’s BAC was.16 or higher, they could face a felony charge.
Was the drunk driver involved in an accident that resulted in the death or injury of another driver or person? If you are involved in a car accident while under the influence of alcohol, you will not always be charged with a felony. However, if someone is injured as a result of your reckless behavior, the crime may be classified as a felony. It usually doesn’t matter who was injured. A felony could be committed by either the passenger or the drunk driver himself or herself.
Previous DUI Convictions
Was there evidence of previous DUI convictions not long before the other DUI charge? If this is evident, a habitual offender will frequently face felony DUI charges. A state may choose to classify a DUI as a felony if the driver has been convicted of three or more DUIs in a short period of time; however, some states may be stricter with these rules at their discretion. In some states, a judge may rule that 2 DUIs within 10 years are sufficient grounds for a DUI or felony charge.
Evidence of a Child in the Vehicle: Other people in the car at the time of the DUI could also result in a felony. This is especially true if a child or children were present in the vehicle. This includes anyone under the age of 16 who is riding with you while you are driving while intoxicated.
Driving with Suspended License
When a driver’s license is suspended for another offense, the driver is not legally allowed to drive until their rights are restored. This is why, if an offender is apprehended driving under the influence while his or her license is suspended, the DUI may be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony offense.
Get DUI Help: Repeat Offenses for DUI Arrests
Multiple DUI convictions leave an indelible mark on your criminal record. A conviction for DUI has long term effects with employment and governmental records and affects sentencing and fines for future DUI offenses. There are grave consequences for a DUI charge both criminally and administratively in the state of Colorado.
Since the State of Colorado practices a looking window the following will be taken into consideration before declaring the formal charge for your recent DUI arrest:
- Outstanding conviction records pertaining to DUI arrests for a prescribed history
- The arresting circumstances for previous arrests and conviction for DUI
- Aggravating circumstances relative to previous arrest for DUI
- The BAC level for each conviction as well as previously recommended sentencing.
Colorado assigns a bearing to prevalent conviction and arrest records with DUI; you will end up with higher penalties and extended incarceration if you are convicted of DUI multiple times. BAC level results from previous court rulings and will influence your sentence and more so if you were convicted with a result in the “extremely intoxicated” classification.
For specific cases of reckless driving, the installation of ignition interlock devices to all your vehicles is court-ordered. The court will most definitely require random drug testing and enforced completion of an alcohol treatment program in an accredited facility as part of your sentencing and is not paid by the state.
Repeat offenders, be subject to heavier criminal and administrative penalties and are discretionary to the judgment of the court and may not be clearly stated in this document because each case is affected by a different circumstance and degree of DUI arrest. As more mitigating circumstances and repeat offenses are presented, the sentencing becomes more unhindered.
The punishment for repeat DUI offenders who cause community property damage and even worse accidents which lead to bodily harm and fatality will be subject to the highest form of prosecution claim and will sentence defendants to stern criminal charges – Felony DUI which have a broader sentencing definition.
Hire an experienced Colorado DUI Attorney
The most important aspect of your defense is hiring a law firm that has a deep understanding of the DUI laws that govern conviction, plea bargaining, appeal and sentencing for Colorado. For experienced Colorado DUI lawyers or drunken driving defense attorneys, go to the right Colorado DUI attorney that has a profound understanding of DUI laws in Colorado and gain a reliable drunk driving defense, the first consultation is completely confidential and will be free of charge.