Get a Colorado DUI over New Year’s? You’re Not Alone…

New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration, and many people choose to pair that celebration with the consumption of alcohol. As adults, you can celebrate any way that you wish, but when you choose to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel of a vehicle to drive it, then you’re veering into territory that can land you in legal trouble.

Colorado takes drinking and driving very seriously. That’s why our state increased DUI enforcement for New Year’s celebrations this year. If you were someone caught up in the net of drinking and driving enforcement on New Year’s, you’re certainly not alone. But it’s in your best interest now to understand what these types of charges mean and how to defend against them.

Here’s what you need to know about Colorado DUIs, the penalties that can be faced, and what you can do to defend yourself in court.

What Is a DUI?

In Colorado, a DUI is an abbreviation for driving under the influence. It occurs when someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol operates a motor vehicle and is impaired while doing so.

The legal limit for blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent, but you can even get charged if you are determined to be impaired and your blood alcohol content is not that high.

What Are the Penalties for DUI in Colorado?

The penalties for DUIs in Colorado depend upon how many previous DUI convictions you’ve had:

First DUI

A first DUI is a misdemeanor charge that can land you in jail for up to 12 months and make you responsible for $1,000 in fines. You may also be assigned up to 96 hours of community service and have your driver’s license suspended for up to nine months.

Second DUI

Another misdemeanor that can result in up to 12 months in jail, a second offense increases the fines up to $1,500 and increases community service hours up to 120. You can also lose your license for up to 12 months and be required to install an ignition interlock system on your vehicle for up to two years after your license is reinstated.

Third DUI

A third DUI is a misdemeanor as well, with the same fines and jail time possible as a second offense and the same number of community service hours as well. The difference is that you can lose your license for up to two years and be required to have an ignition interlock device on your car for an additional two years after license reinstatement.

Fourth DUI or More

For a fourth DUI and anything beyond that, you’re looking at charges for a Class 4 felony. This can result in up to six years in prison and fines of as much as $500,000.

It’s worth noting that even if it’s your first offense, a blood alcohol level of 0.15 percent or higher can get you labeled as a persistent drunk driver. That can land you the same sentence as those who are repeat DUI offenders.

Additionally, there are quite a few expenses beyond the fines mentioned above. Just one example? If you are required to have one installed, you will be the one paying for your ignition interlock device. Then there are costs related to increased insurance premiums and so on. All told, the cost of a DUI in Colorado is incredibly steep.

Can You Defend Against a CO DUI?

Can You Defend Against a CO DUI?

You can mount a robust defense against DUI charges. What strategy you use depends on the specifics of your case, but in general, an attorney will ensure that the police follow all protocols when testing and arresting you. If evidence was mishandled or something wasn’t done right, then that can be grounds to have the charges against you dismissed.


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.