If you’ve been charged with a third DUI in Colorado, you likely have a number of serious concerns: How much jail time could I face? How much money will I have to pay? When will I be able to drive again?
A third DUI is a serious charge, and it’s understandable to be worried about the outcome considering your prior convictions. A third conviction could severely impact your life in a number of ways, from having to serve a lengthy sentence to having your license revoked. In addition, a Colorado DUI conviction will be on your record for life, so it could hurt you in other ways, such as by limiting your occupational or educational opportunities.
At Patterson Weaver Law, LLC, our DUI attorneys have years of experience defending the rights of clients charged with driving under the influence. We provide aggressive legal advocacy and outstanding service. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case. We are available 24/7.
What Are the Third DUI Penalties in Colorado?
In Colorado, if you have been charged with driving under the influence after two previous DUI convictions, you could be facing stiff penalties. The penalties that could be imposed if you’re convicted of a third DUI include:
- 60 days to 1 year in jail
- Driver’s license suspension for 2 years
- $600 to $1,500 in fines
- 48 to 120 hours of community service
- 12 points on your driving record
- Up to 4 years’ probation
- Requirement to attend alcohol awareness and education programs
- Requirement to install an ignition interlock device for a minimum of 2 years
If you have multiple DUI convictions on your record, talk to a trusted defense lawyer immediately after your arrest. An experienced attorney will work to fight the charges against you and minimize penalties in every way possible.
How Can a DUI Lawyer Help Fight a Third DUI Charge?
Every DUI case is different. A qualified attorney from Patterson Weaver Law, LLC will tailor a defense strategy that is specific to the details of your case. Our team will gather all the details of your arrest and develop a strategic defense aimed at having your charges minimized or dismissed. If a conviction is unavoidable, we will work to minimize the potential penalties you face.
At our Colorado Springs criminal defense law firm, we have built a team with years of experience in this specific area of the law. You can trust our seasoned DUI attorneys to:
- Meticulously investigate the circumstances of your case, such as gathering the police report and eyewitness statements and analyzing DUI testing procedures and test results
- Evaluate the prosecution’s case for inconsistencies and irregularities, identifying all potential weaknesses
- File motions to suppress evidence that may have been obtained improperly and unlawfully
- Work to minimize the administrative penalties for your DUI charge, such as a lengthy revocation of your license
- Negotiate aggressively on your behalf for a plea deal that minimizes the consequences of a conviction
- Present a strong, compelling defense if your case goes to trial
The best time to speak with a DUI attorney is immediately after an arrest. Contact us now to get started on your defense.
Common Defenses in a Third DUI Case
At Patterson Weaver Law, LLC, we know what it takes to build a strong defense for clients facing a third DUI. Here are some defenses you may have available:
- Violation of your Miranda rights – If the Miranda warning was not read to you prior to questioning, anything you said would be inadmissible in court. Police are required to read this warning to you after arrest and prior to questioning.
- Improper stop and arrest – Police can only stop you legally if there is reasonable suspicion, such as if they saw you weaving in and out of traffic. They can only arrest you if there is probable cause.
- Improper field sobriety test protocols – If the officer who pulls you over does not follow the proper steps to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, or if you have a medical condition that skews the results, the test results could be inaccurate and therefore inadmissible.
- Improper breathalyzer test – Technology does fail on occasion, and breathalyzer tests sometimes result in a false positive. This could also be caused by the officer’s failure to follow proper protocol, certain medical conditions, environmental conditions, and more.
- Improper handling of evidence – There are specific procedures that must be followed after certain evidence is collected. If the police failed to follow those procedures, that evidence may be thrown out.
- Unreliable police testimony – When you eventually go to court to defend your DUI charges, the arresting officers may be there to testify against you. Your DUI defense attorney will review all police actions to determine whether their testimony aligns with the evidence. Their testimony, along with the police report, witness testimony, and all other elements of the case, must be clearly reliable. If your attorney finds inconsistencies, your case could be dismissed.
Is a Third DUI a Felony in Colorado?
A third DUI is considered a misdemeanor in Colorado, not a felony. However, it still comes with strict penalties, such as serving a minimum of 60 days in jail and having a driver’s license suspended for 2 years. Typically, a fourth DUI conviction is considered a Class 4 felony, which may involve severe penalties including 2 to 6 years imprisonment and a 2-year license suspension.
However, even a first DUI could potentially be charged as a felony if a driver’s impairment from alcohol or drugs leads to an accident that causes serious injury or death. DUI vehicular assault is considered a Class 4 felony, which may result in 2 to 6 years in prison. DUI vehicular manslaughter is considered a Class 3 felony with potential consequences that include 4 to 12 years in prison.
What Is a “Persistent Drunk Driver?”
In Colorado, you may be designated as a “persistent drunk driver” (PDD) if you:
- Have been convicted of DUI or had your driver’s license revoked for two or more offenses
- Continued to drive after losing your driving privileges for one or more alcohol-related offenses
- Drove a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher at the time of driving or within two hours afterward
- Refused to take, complete, or cooperate with the completion of a test of your blood, breath, saliva, or urine as required by law
If you are designated as a persistent drunk driver, you will be required to:
- Install a mandatory ignition interlock device for a minimum of 2 years upon reinstatement of your driver’s license
- Complete a Level II alcohol education and treatment program
- Maintain SR-22 insurance coverage for a minimum of 2 years
Does a DUI in Another State Count as a Prior DUI?
Prior DUI convictions received in any other U.S. state will be considered when a Colorado court sentences you. So your first DUI conviction in Colorado would actually count as your second if you received a previous out-of-state DUI conviction. This means you would be facing more severe penalties.
Does a DUI from a Long Time Ago Count as a Prior DUI?
Yes, there is no limited “lookback period” in the state of Colorado. This means that a prior DUI conviction will be taken into account when your sentence is determined. However, the judges may take the length of time that has passed since the prior conviction into account. Conversely, according to Colorado’s “habitual traffic offender” law (§ 42-2-202), individuals convicted of a third DUI within 7 years may face a mandatory 5-year license revocation.
How Long Will I Lose My License After a Third DUI Offense in Colorado?
Following a third DUI conviction in Colorado, your license will be suspended for 2 years. However, you may be able to petition to get your driver’s license reinstated after a revocation period of 1 month or longer by completing strict requirements, including:
- Submitting an application for reinstatement (form DR 2870) to the DMV
- Paying the $95 reinstatement fee
- Submitting form SR-22, provided by your auto insurance company to prove you meet the state’s minimum liability insurance requirements
- Completing an alcohol or drug education and treatment program
- Installing and using an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a minimum of 2 years
A Colorado criminal defense attorney at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC can help guide you through the proper steps to complete this important task.
How Much Jail Time Could I Face for a Third DUI in Colorado?
If you’re convicted of a third DUI, you may have to serve the mandatory minimum of 60 days in prison, and you could face up to 1 year in prison. Judges take DUI charges very seriously, and they have limited discretion when it comes to sentencing. However, an attorney may be able to leverage various mitigating factors, such as length of time between convictions, to help minimize your sentence overall.
Talk to a Colorado Springs DUI Lawyer Now
At Patterson Weaver Law, LLC, we are your frontline advocates after a DUI arrest. Our DUI lawyers will work diligently to craft the best defense possible for your case. Building a strong defense takes time, so don’t hesitate to contact us today. We will treat you with the respect and compassion you deserve. We are here 24/7 to answer your questions and provide personalized legal advice.
Contact us today for a free consultation.