In the spring of 2015, the state of Colorado enacted a law making a fourth lifetime DUI or DWAI offense a class 4 felony, significantly enhancing the potential penalties that an offender may face. While a first, second or third DUI is not a felony offense, there are some cases in which a felony case may be brought against a driver in connection with a first, second or third DUI, particularly if he or she was the proximate cause of serious bodily injury or death to another person. Additionally, multiple convictions takes you one step closer to felony charges if you are arrested on suspicion of DUI again in the future.
A second DUI offense in Colorado is a serious legal matter.
The stakes are much higher if you have a prior alcohol-related driving offense on your criminal history and are currently charged with DUI or DWAI. If you are convicted of either a DUI or DWAI in your new case, you will receive a mandatory jail sentence. Colorado law requires it regardless of how long ago your prior offense was or what state the prior offense occurred in. Colorado does a lifetime look-back for prior offenses and if a prior conviction is found, you will be sentenced as a repeat offender.
The potential penalties you face increase significantly when you have been charged with DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI in Colorado, and your record shows a prior criminal conviction. The following table depicts the possible penalties that arise when you are facing a second offense DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI:
10 days county jail
1 year county jail
If you have a prior conviction on your record, and this prior DUI case occurred more than five years from the date of your new DUI case, then the judge may substitute sentencing alternatives for the mandatory minimum 10-days of jail and any other jail sentence imposed.
If the prior conviction stems from a DUI charge that is less than five years from the date of the new DUI allegation, then the mandatory minimum 10-day jail sentence must be served in county jail. Under certain circumstances, the judge may authorize work release for the 10 days, but no “good-time” credit toward the 10 days will be allowed. Therefore, a minimum of 10 consecutive days must be served in the county jail. Most Colorado judges impose much more than ten days on a second DUI offense, regardless of when the prior conviction occurred.
Irrespective of whether the prior conviction was within five years, the court will also impose a suspended one-year jail sentence that you may be required to serve if you fail to meet the conditions of your probation. The judge must also order an alcohol and drug evaluation, and you will be required to complete any recommended classes and therapy.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could be facing a driver’s license revocation of at least one year. You could also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in every vehicle you own and drive for at least two years and you may be required to wear a SCRAM ankle monitoring device. Additionally, a conviction for a DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI will result in a Habitual Traffic Offender strike against your driving history. Because of the significant driver’s license consequences you may be facing, be sure to contact a qualified Colorado DUI defense attorney for more information about what consequences you are facing given the circumstances of your DUI case.
Contact a DUI defense attorney today to schedule a free consultation
The lawyers of the Tiftickjian Law Firm are dedicated to protecting the legal rights accused of DUI and other crimes in and around the Denver area. To schedule a consultation with one of our DUI defense attorneys, call our office today at (303) 384-5280.
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