A court conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in Colorado will result in several legal consequences. If convicted, the court will mandate a defendant obtain a substance abuse evaluation from the county probation office. The court will defer to probation when determining the appropriate level of treatment and sobriety monitoring. In Colorado, drivers convicted of DUI, DWAI, or Underage Drinking and Driving (UDD) should expect the court to require an approved alcohol-and-drug safety education or treatment program as defined in 42-4-1301.3(3)(c)(IV), C.R.S.
The probation officer will rely on Level II Treatment Guideline Table in making recommendations and determining the appropriate level of substance abuse classes and therapy. The probation officer can recommend more, but not less.
In accordance with 2 CCR 502-1 Behavioral Health Rules, the Colorado Office of Behavioral Heath develops and enforces rules for licensed Level I and Level II DUI education and treatment programs. “Level I and Level II Education, Therapy, or Treatment” are the approved alcohol and drug safety education or treatment programs referenced above.
In addition to being court-ordered, if the Colorado DMV revokes someone’s driving privilege for a DUI conviction, the DMV will often require the driver to enroll in and complete a DUI Education and Therapy program as a term of reinstatement.
DUI education and therapy can only be completed at programs licensed by OBH to provide these services. Licensed programs must use an OBH-approved, DUI-specific curriculum in the delivery of Level I and Level II services.
What is Level I Education and when is it required?
Level I Education consists of 12 hours of DUI education over a minimum 3-day period. Not more than 4 hours can be conducted in one day. This level is conducted in a group or class. Completion of a Level I alcohol and drug education program are required when a minor driver (under the age of twenty-one) has their license/privilege revoked. A minor driver still may be required to complete Level II education or Level II education and treatment for court. Level I Education is not recommended for someone who has had more than one impaired driving offense, or one offense with a high BAC or refusal.
What is Level II Education and when is it required?
Level II education involves 24 hours of DUI education over a period of 12 weeks. It is conducted in a group setting. Class size is limited to twelve people. Level II Education can be recommended by itself or may be followed by Level II Therapy.
What is Level II Therapy?
When Level II Therapy is required, 5 to 10 months of additional therapy is usually also required. Therapy track assignment depends on whether a person has prior offenses, their BAC (or refusal to take a test) and other clinical indicators. These track recommendations are made by the alcohol/drug evaluator (probation) or in the absence of an evaluation, the DUI licensed treatment agency using the Level II Treatment Guideline Table for placement.
The following are the current Level II therapy track guidelines for impaired driving offenses as of 2023:
- Track A: A minimum of 42 hours over at least 21 weeks, usually for a first-time offender with a BAC below0.15.
- Track B: A minimum of 52 hours over at least 26 weeks, usually for a first-time offender with a BAC of 0.15 or above or refusal.
- Track C: A minimum of 68 hours over at least 34 weeks, usually for someone with a prior DWAI/DUI, and a BAC below0.15.
- Track D: A minimum of 86 hours over at least 43 weeks, usually for someone with a prior DWAI/DUI, and a BAC of 0.15 or above or refusal.
- Level II Four Plus. This Track is for Felony DUI offenders. Individuals participating in Level II Four Plus treatment are engaged for a minimum of 18 months and a minimum of 180 clinical contact hours. Although not considered traditional Level II Therapy, Level II Four Plus has been assigned a “Track F” for the purpose of probation referrals and the DMV Affidavit of Enrollment.
What if I Find a Cheaper Option Online?
The courts and DMV will only give you credit for education and therapy provided by an agency licensed by the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health. If the provider is not listed on the Behavioral Health’s list of licensed providers, you will not get credit and may have to do these again in the future.
What If I Don’t Live in Colorado?
The Colorado Office of Behavioral Heath rules and regulations require DUI education and therapy to be “face to face.” These rules now allow for virtual sessions so long as it is “face to face.” most agencies provide education and therapy sessions through ZOOM, so distance and location is no longer an issue.
Is Enrolling in DUI Classes an Admission of Guilt?
One of the first questions that clients and potential clients often ask us is, “Should I sign up for alcohol classes?” Our answer is always “yes.”
If you have been charged with DUI or DWAI, it makes sense to begin mitigation immediately. Enrolling in substance abuse classes is some of the most effective mitigation people accused of DUI in Colorado can do.
In many cases, proactively enrolling in Level II Education and Therapy classes with a state certified provider is in your best interest regardless of whether you have an attorney, plan to plead guilty, or intend on exercising your right to trial. We often discuss the need for clients to help us help them and to plan for the worst-case scenario. Enrolling in a state certified Level II Education and Therapy program can help your case in one of the following ways:
Will it Help with Plea Negotiations?
Deputy District Attorneys often want to see defendants accepting responsibility and taking steps to ensure something like this never happens again. Having the ability to show the DDA that you are proactively enrolled in classes and are taking these charges seriously can often assist us in the negotiation phase to obtain a better plea offer in your case.
If your case resolves in a plea or finding of guilt at trial, you will want to show the judge at sentencing that you are accepting responsibility and that you are being proactive to ensure that you never put yourself or anyone else in danger by driving while impaired or under the influence. Enrolling in substance abuse classes and attending a MADD Victim Impact Panel are a couple of ways that you can demonstrate your understanding of the severity of your mistake to the judge at sentencing. Remember that actions are more powerful than words or promises.
Will it Help with Early Termination of Probation?
In some cases, early termination of probation is possible if the defendant successfully completes all the required terms and conditions of the sentence and probation. In every DUI or DWAI case, successful completion of Level II Education and Therapy is a mandatory term of probation. If you want any chance of getting off probation early, you must be 100% compliant and have completed the required substance abuse classes. The sooner you start these classes, the sooner you will complete them. You will be given credit for all classes attended prior to sentencing.
Will it Help with Reinstating My Driving Privileges?
In many cases, enrolling in and completing Level II Education and Therapy classes is a mandatory requirement of driver’s license reinstatement should your license be revoked for refusing a test, having multiple alcohol-related driving convictions or revocations, or for having a BAC ≥ 0.150. If you enrolled in classes post-offense date, the DMV would give you credit for all hours completed.
Proof of enrollment in an alcohol program is not an admission of guilt and cannot be used against you at any stage of your case. Your enrollment and continued participation in alcohol-education and therapy classes will assist you in obtaining the best possible resolution to your case.