Being arrested for a DUI harbors serious consequences if you’re found guilty. You may spend many years paying for it in one way or another.
Driving under the influence, or DUI, is one of the most common criminal offenses in the U.S. Even if your record is otherwise clean, an arrest for this offense can turn your world upside-down.
Indeed, a DUI conviction in Colorado can impact your life in both short-term and long-term losses, but that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. Here’s how you can come back.
DUI Laws in Colorado
If you are convicted of a DUI in Colorado, you can face several ramifications.
If it’s your first DUI, you may spend up to 12 months in jail and pay fines as much as $1,000. You may be obligated to complete 96 hours of community service. Some convictions also require probation for as long as two years.
However, with each DUI offense, the penalties increase. A second offense can result in up to two years in jail, fines of $1,500, 120 hours of community service, and as much as four years on probation.
Three or more offenses will match those consequences but add driver’s license suspension for up to two years.
If you have 3 prior alcohol-related driving convictions, any future offense will be charged as a felony.
Every alcohol offense will also require 24 hours of alcohol education, and alcohol therapy.
If you are labeled a persistent drunk driver, an ignition interlock system may be installed in your vehicle upon license reinstatement.
Other Consequences of a DUI in Colorado
License loss or jail time hit you after a DUI conviction almost immediately, but other consequences may plague your life for much longer.
One is the fact that you now have a visible criminal record in background checks. Any time you apply for a new job, your misdemeanor or felony convictions show up – including DUIs.
A criminal record hinders more than employment, too. Financial aid for college or even college acceptance may be blocked.
It can also impact housing applications. You could be refused by landlords, or you may find your neighborhood and residential options limited.
Aside from the initial background check hurdle, you can suffer consequences from a DUI conviction even after you’ve secured a job. Court dates and jail sentences may force you to take time off work. Any required community service hours may also conflict with your work schedule.
You also face the hardship of license revocation. Suddenly, you can’t drive to work – and if you were employed as a driver, that position must end. Your employer may or may not give you another chance later.
Finally, insurance companies see drivers convicted of DUIs as high risk. They charge these drivers much higher insurance rates than those without a conviction. Some insurance companies may even terminate your current policy.
What You Can Do
These serious consequences may feel like a wreck in the wake of a DUI conviction, but positives can arise from it.
For many people, DUIs serve as a wake-up call regarding alcohol use or abuse. Often, you will undergo alcohol assessment and counseling, which can help shed light on how drinking negatively impacts your life. It’s a chance to get real help.
You should make a commitment to stay sober and understand your alcohol use. Investigate the motivations for your choices that have led to such serious legal consequences.
Support groups abound to stop drinking and stay sober. You should explore your options in that regard. Create a community that will help you maintain healthier habits and prevent future offenses.
Therapy is also a highly recommended option for many people with DUI convictions on their record. One-on-one therapy proves helpful for anyone, and especially those who may need help exploring a problem with alcohol abuse.
If you’ve been charged with DUI, you might feel very upset about the legal problems incurred.
But it’s important to look on the bright side. You have the chance to start fresh now. Take steps so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.