Caught Driving Drunk in Colorado Over the Holidays?

The holidays are a special time of the year, but they’re also a time where law enforcement tends to crack down on crimes such as drinking and driving.

This year, holiday enforcement of DUI laws was upped to help curb those drinking and driving while impaired. The Colorado Department of Transportation teamed up with the Colorado State Patrol as well as other agencies to help stop DUIs in Colorado during the holidays.

If you got caught up in this DUI enforcement, then chances are you’re going to have a rocky road ahead. The state takes DUIs very seriously and the penalties can be steep. Here’s what you need to know to help you navigate this charge.

DUI Charges in Colorado

When you are caught driving under the influence (DUI) in Colorado, it means you were found to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both.

You are considered to be under the influence if your ability to operate the vehicle safely is substantially impaired. Also, a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more is considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol.

Penalties for DUI in Colorado

In Colorado, the penalty associated with a DUI conviction depends in part on how many prior DUI convictions you’ve had. There are generally four groups of DUI offenders. Read more about each below.

First-time DUI Offenders

For a first offense, it’s generally a misdemeanor that can result in up to one year in jail and fines of $1,000. Your driver’s license can also be revoked for as long as nine months as well as up to 96 hours of community service.

Even if it’s your first offense, you may face steeper penalties if your blood alcohol content is above 0.15 percent. At this level, you may be labeled as a persistent drunk driver in Colorado, which will carry with it the same sentence as a repeat DUI offender.  Also, if your blood alcohol content is above .20, there is a mandatory jail sentence even if it is your first offense.

Getting a Second DUI

When you are arrested and have had a previous DUI in any state including this one, then you can face a number of elevated penalties such as:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fines up to $1,500
  • Up to 120 hours of community service
  • The suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year
  • After license reinstatement, you must have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for two years
  • Mandatory jail sentence

Third DUI Convictions Mean Mandatory Jail Time

A DUI offense that results in a third conviction translates to a number of penalties including:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to $1,500 in fines
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for as many as two years
  • Up to 120 hours of community service
  • Ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for up to two years
  • Mandatory jail sentence

It’s important to note that jail time is mandatory on a third offense. You may also be subject to administrative costs for DUIs in Colorado, such as:

  • Alcohol education classes
  • Court costs
  • 12 points added to your driving record with the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles

Three or More Convictions is a Felony DUI

In Colorado, you commit a class 4 felony when you have three or more DUI convictions in any state. That can result in penalties of:

  • Up to six years in state prison
  • Up to $500,000 in fines
  • Three years of mandatory parole

Colorado Springs DUI Lawyer

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Colorado, it can have a lasting impact on your life both in and out of the state. That’s why it’s important to know your rights and make sure you understand the process.

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.