Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious criminal offense in Colorado. People who have been convicted of a DUI offense in the past face much more severe consequences if convicted of a second DUI in Colorado. However, you still have options to defend your rights, your freedom, and your future.
If you have been arrested for a second DUI in Colorado, turn to the seasoned criminal defense attorneys at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC for help. Our Colorado law firm will work tirelessly to argue for the charges against you to be reduced or dropped. We will advocate aggressively for the best possible result in your case.
Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Colorado Springs DUI lawyer. Our legal team is available 24/7 to help you get started on your defense.
What Are the Second DUI Penalties in Colorado?
In Colorado, criminal penalties for a DUI conviction increase based on each prior DUI conviction. Potential penalties that a Colorado court might impose for a second DUI conviction include:
- 10 days to 1 year in jail
- Up to 4 years’ probation
- $600 to $1,500 in fines
- 48 to 120 hours of community service
- 12 points on your driving record
- Driver’s license suspension for up to 1 year
- Requirement to install an ignition interlock device for up to 2 years
- Requirement to attend alcohol awareness and education programs
How Can a DUI Lawyer Help Fight a Second DUI Charge?
Colorado treats all DUI charges very seriously. You need an experienced DUI lawyer to help protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome. A DUI defense attorney can assist in your case by:
- Thoroughly investigating the underlying facts and circumstances to recover evidence for your defense, including interviewing witnesses, gathering police and medical records, and obtaining any video or audio evidence of your arrest, interrogation, or testing
- Advising you of your options, what you can expect in your case, and the potential outcomes to your charges
- Identifying the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and all potential factual or legal defenses
- Filing motions in court to suppress the state’s evidence if unreliable or obtained in violation of your rights, and to test the sufficiency of the state’s case to have your charges reduced or dismissed outright
- Assisting you with administrative proceedings with the DMV if your license is being suspended
- Negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution to help you avoid the most serious consequences of a conviction on your charges
- Advocating for your defense if going to trial represents your best option
After a DUI arrest, you should contact a lawyer immediately. The sooner a DUI defense lawyer from our firm can begin work on your case, the better off you’ll be.
Common Defenses in Second-Time DUI Cases
Factual and legal defenses you may have available to you when facing a second DUI charge in Colorado include:
- Field sobriety tests were not correctly performed, or you have physical or medical issues that prevented you from passing the test, or the tests that were performed are not sufficiently reliable to indicate intoxication.
- Breath test procedures were not properly followed, such as not performing the testing within two hours of your arrest.
- The testing equipment was not properly calibrated.
- Blood test procedures were not properly followed.
- Your blood was obtained without your consent.
- You have a medical condition that affected breath test results, such as GERD, diabetes, or auto-brewery syndrome, or you eat a high protein diet (which causes you to exhale larger amounts of isopropyl alcohol).
- Your partition ratio, or the rate at which your lung tissue absorbs alcohol from your bloodstream, differs from normal ratios.
- The police lacked probable cause to initiate a traffic stop.
- DUI checkpoint procedures were not properly followed, such as not stopping vehicles in a neutral manner (i.e., every third vehicle coming through the checkpoint).
- You did not operate a motor vehicle.
- You made incriminating statements after the police failed to read your Miranda rights, or the police violated your Miranda rights by coercing you to talk or answer questions.
- You were drugged without your knowledge.
Our experienced attorneys can review your DUI case for free and determine all potential defenses available to you. Contact Patterson Weaver Law, LLC today to get started.
Aggravating Factors in DUI Cases
Under certain circumstances, the court may be entitled or even required to impose stricter penalties for a DUI conviction. For example, potential jail time or fines may be increased, or jail time may be mandatory. Aggravating factors in DUI cases in Colorado may include:
- Having a very high blood alcohol content
- Careless or reckless driving
- Causing an accident
- Having a child as a passenger
- Driving with a suspended license or driving without a license
Is a Second DUI a Felony in Colorado?
In Colorado, a second DUI is normally charged as a misdemeanor offense. A DUI charge becomes a felony offense upon a fourth charge.
However, a second or even first DUI can be charged as a felony if the drunk driver causes an accident that results in serious bodily injury or death. Vehicular assault involving drugs or alcohol is charged as a Class 4 felony, which carries a sentence of 2 to 6 years and/or a fine of up to $500,000. Vehicular homicide involving alcohol or drugs is charged as a Class 3 felony, which carries a sentence of 4 to 12 years and/or a fine of up to $750,000.
Does a DUI in Another State Count as a Prior DUI?
A conviction for a DUI offense in any other state or U.S. territory can be counted as a prior DUI in Colorado. Examples of offenses that can be counted as a prior DUI include:
- DUI per se
- Driving while ability impaired by prescription drugs or illicit substances
- Vehicular assault involving drugs or alcohol
- Vehicular homicide involving drugs or alcohol
Unlike other states, Colorado counts all DUI convictions, no matter how long ago they occurred.
How Long Will I Lose My License After a Second DUI in Colorado?
If you are convicted of a second DUI in Colorado, your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of up to 1 year. Your license can be suspended by the DMV even before your conviction unless you request a hearing within 7 days of your arrest.
Under Colorado DUI laws, your license may also be administratively suspended after an arrest if you refuse a breath or blood test, even if you are ultimately not charged with or acquitted of DUI. In Colorado, drivers are required by law to consent to testing following arrest upon the request of the police. Although a driver can legally refuse testing, they will still be subjected to the administrative penalty of license suspension.
If your license is suspended after a second DUI in Colorado, you can petition to have your license reinstated after at least 1 month of suspension. To reinstate your license, you will need to:
- Submit an application for reinstatement to the DMV
- Pay a $95 reinstatement fee
- Obtain an SR-22 insurance surcharge from your auto insurance company
- Complete alcohol or drug education
- Install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle and keep it installed for 2 years
What Is a Persistent Drunk Driver?
A motorist who is convicted of a second DUI offense in Colorado will be designated as a “persistent drunk driver.” If you are designated as a persistent drunk driver, you will have additional obligations as part of your sentence, including:
- Completion of Level II alcohol education classes
- Installation of a mandatory ignition interlock device for at least 2 years upon reinstatement of your driver’s license
- Mandatory imposition of SR-22 insurance coverage for at least 2 years
Talk to a Colorado Springs DUI Lawyer Now
If you are facing a charge of a second DUI after a prior conviction, contact Patterson Weaver Law, LLC today for a confidential consultation with a Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer. Don’t wait to learn about your options for defending yourself and securing the most favorable outcome possible in your case. Contact us today to learn how we can help.