A first DUI conviction is a permanent mark on your criminal history, and could actually result in jail time. Most judges will not put you in jail if you have never been in trouble before, but there are some judges in Colorado that do impose incarceration for a first DUI conviction. And there are certain situations in which jail is mandatory – even for first time offenders.
The following is a chart depicting some of the penalties you may be facing if you have been charged with DUI in Colorado and have no other alcohol- or drug-related driving convictions on your criminal record:
5 days jail
1 year jail
In addition to the penalties outlined above, as a condition of your probation for a first DUI conviction, the judge can order that you maintain sobriety, abstain from consuming any alcohol or drugs or refrain from excessive use of alcohol, and that your abstinence be monitored. The judge can also order that you attend a victim impact panel coordinated by Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
With respect to the mandatory 5-day jail sentence, the judge can suspend this entire sentence and order that you undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation. Pursuant to the outcome of this evaluation, the judge will likely order you to attend alcohol or drug education classes and therapy. If you fail to complete court-ordered classes or therapy, the judge can reinstate your jail sentence.
Mandatory Jail for DUI with BAC 0.20 or more
If you were charged with DUI and the result of a breath test or blood test shows that you had a BAC of 0.20 or greater, then you face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least ten days. Although the judge cannot suspend this jail sentence, the judge may utilize sentencing alternatives, rather than require that you serve straight jail time in the county jail. Sentencing alternatives a judge may order in Colorado include in-home detention, electronic home monitoring, work release, day reporting, or weekend work programs.
There are many reasons to hire an experienced DUI defense lawyer, but many people report that their driving privilege tops the list. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could be facing driver’s license consequences in and even outside of Colorado. For a first-offense DUI, you could be facing a nine-month revocation of your driver’s license if you failed a chemical test. This revocation can be longer if a police officer alleged that you refused to take a test. You could also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for two years of more. Therefore, it is in your best interest to call an attorney that can help you navigate the complexities of the DMV, and fight for your driving privilege.