Penalties for DUI in Colorado

Even one DUI conviction can have a profound impact on your life. With each subsequent offense, the Colorado DUI penalties are harsher, and the consequences to your life can be even more devastating. In Colorado, the court system deals with drunk and drugged driving by increasing the penalties for each offense as a way of discouraging future offenses.

To understand the seriousness of this crime, you need to know that a DUI is considered a lifetime offense in the state of Colorado. Your DUI record will never be sealed or expunged. Therefore, the penalties reflect the high level of significance this charge carries.

From losing your driver’s license for a long period of time to incarceration to monetary fines – the penalties for a DUI can be extreme. To minimize the damage to your reputation and to your life, you need a DUI defense attorney who has experience in this area of the law and can create a personalized strategy for fighting the charges against you.

Contact the dedicated Colorado Springs DUI lawyers at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC for trusted legal advice. We’re available 24/7, and your first consultation is free and confidential.

Penalties for First DUI in Colorado

Driving under the influence (DUI) in the state of Colorado is a serious offense – even if it’s your first offense. You will be faced with strict penalties, some of which are mandatory. A conviction will also follow you for life. Penalties for a first DUI include:

  • Misdemeanor charge
  • 9-month license suspension
  • 12 points added to your driving record
  • 5 days to 1 year in jail
  • $600 to $1,000 fine
  • 48 to 96 hours community service

You may also have to use an ignition interlock device for 8 months and pay court costs. If there was property damage, that may fall on you as well.

Penalties for Second DUI in Colorado

If you are facing a second DUI charge, no matter how long ago your first offense was, you could get the following punishments:

  • Misdemeanor charge
  • 12-month license suspension
  • 12 points added to your driving record for DUI
  • 10 days to 1 year in jail
  • $600 to $1,500 fine
  • 48 hours to 120 hours of public service

You may also be required to get an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, pay court costs, pay victim restitution, and complete other related fees and penalties if convicted of a second DUI in Colorado.

Penalties for Third DUI in Colorado

If you are convicted of a third DUI in Colorado, your penalties will skyrocket. That’s why you need to hire a powerhouse Colorado defense lawyer to fight against the following penalties:

  • Misdemeanor charge
  • 24-month license suspension
  • 12 points added to your driving record for DUI
  • 60 days to 1 year in jail
  • $600 to $1,500 fine
  • 48 hours to 120 hours of public service

Remember, there’s no “lookback” period under Colorado DUI laws. This means you could suffer these penalties for a third DUI regardless of how long ago your second DUI was. Keep in mind that you may be required to participate in a drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment program at your own expense.

Penalties for Fourth DUI in Colorado

A fourth DUI arrest will result in felony charges. Having a felony conviction on your record could seriously damage your reputation and livelihood. This is why you must get a proven attorney to help you fight your charges and avoid a felony DUI conviction. If convicted of a fourth DUI offense in Colorado, you are looking at the following repercussions:

  • Class 4 felony charge
  • 24-month license suspension
  • 12 points added to your driving record for DUI
  • 2 to 6 years in prison
  • 3 years of parole
  • 48 hours to 120 hours of public service

If you have prior DUI convictions, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. There are many opportunities to fight even with a prior conviction, and your attorney will want to begin investigating your case immediately.

Penalties for DWAI in Colorado

DWAI stands for “driving while ability impaired,” and the stakes for this charge are also high. The penalties are only slightly less harsh than the penalties for a DUI (driving under the influence). The BAC (blood alcohol content) for a DWAI is greater than 0.05 but less than 0.08. For a driver under age 21, the BAC limit is 0.02.

Penalties for a DWAI may include:

  • 2 to 180 days in jail for a first DWAI, but the 2-day minimum may be suspended if the offender completes a substance abuse treatment program
  • $200 to $500 in fines, plus court costs and surcharges
  • 24 to 48 hours of community service for a first offense, along with a $120 fee
  • 8 points added to your driving record for DWAI
  • A fourth DWAI adds a felony charge to your record and incurs 2 to 6 years of jail time

Can You Get a DUI Under 21?

Although it is illegal to drink under the age of 21 in the U.S., many people under 21 get their hands on alcohol through friends and family. As such, they are just as likely to incur DUI charges in Colorado as drivers who are 21 and over. With this in mind, let’s examine the penalties that drivers under 21 could face for multiple DUI charges. These punishments only apply if the BAC was between 0.02 and 0.05:

  • Class A traffic infraction for a first offense, or Class 2 traffic misdemeanor charge for subsequent offenses
  • 3-month license suspension for a first offense
  • 4 points added to your driving record
  • 10 to 90 days in jail for second and subsequent offenses
  • $15 to $100 fines for a first offense, $150 to $300 fines for subsequent offenses
  • Up to 24 hours of public service

What Happens If You Refuse a Breath or Blood Test?

Colorado has an “express consent law” in place. This means that you must comply with breath, blood, or chemical testing if you are arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI).

Prior to being arrested, or if you are not arrested, you do not have to take a breathalyzer if it is asked of you, and your refusal cannot be used against you. If you refuse a breathalyzer after arrest, though, you may face the following penalties:

  • 1st offense: loss of license for 12 months
  • 2nd offense: loss of license for 24 months
  • 3rd offense: loss of license for 36 months

Additionally, you will be required to use an ignition interlock device for two years following the reinstatement of your driver’s license. You will also have to provide an Affidavit of Enrollment in a Level II Alcohol/Education program. In some cases, you may have to get SR22 insurance, which is an insurance policy rider that guarantees you will maintain insurance for a certain period of time.

If you are under the age of 21, you must agree to a breathalyzer test under any circumstances, according to Colorado DUI laws.

What Is the Cost of a DUI?

There are fines for a first DUI, a second DUI, and a third DUI. Financial penalties for DUI in Colorado include:

  • First DUI: $600 to $1,000
  • Second DUI: $600 to $1,500
  • Third DUI: $600 to $1,500

If someone was injured, you may also face the costs associated with a personal injury lawsuit brought by the injured party. 

Is a DUI on Your Record Forever?

Yes, because of Colorado DUI laws, a DUI will follow you throughout your lifetime. The records will not be sealed and cannot be expunged. This can potentially have an impact on both your personal and your professional life.

How a Colorado Springs DUI Attorney Can Help You

When you have been arrested for a DUI, getting a top-quality criminal defense lawyer is essential. Without the right advocate by your side, an already bad situation could get much worse. You can take advantage of a free consultation to learn about the charges, the penalties, and all of the consequences you may face with a first or subsequent DUI.

At Patterson Weaver Law, LLC, our Colorado Springs DUI attorney can:

  • Review the complete details of your case, including the police report, any witness testimony, breathalyzer and field test sobriety results, and all relevant facts
  • Employ a “risk assessment approach” to your case, anticipating the risks and costs of all possible strategies and determining the best way to minimize or eliminate those risks
  • Identify all the problem areas in the prosecution’s case and devise a plan to fight the charges against you
  • Answer any questions you may have and provide you with an overview of your best- and worst-case scenarios
  • Create a defense that takes into account all aspects of your case and that offers you the best hope for minimal damage to your life and to your record

One Conviction Is One Too Many ─ Talk to a DUI Lawyer Now

Our team at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC believes that you do not deserve to undergo the destructive consequences of a second, third, or fourth DUI conviction. We understand the gravity of your situation and how high the stakes are when considering Colorado DUI penalties. You can count on us to go the extra mile to minimize the impacts of your case while fighting to clear your name.

Ready to defend your case? Contact us now for a free consultation with our Colorado Springs DUI attorney.