A court conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) in Colorado will result in a number of legal consequences. If convicted of any alcohol-or-drug-related driving offense in Colorado, the criminal court will often mandate that the defendant obtain a substance abuse evaluation from a substance abuse evaluator who works for the local county probation office. The court will generally defer to probation and the alcohol evaluator in determining the appropriate level of treatment both in terms of substance abuse treatment classes and sobriety monitoring. In Colorado, drivers convicted of DUI, DWAI, or UDD should expect the court to require them to complete an approved alcohol-and-drug safety education or treatment program as defined in 42-4-1301.3(3)(c)(IV), C.R.S.
The substance abuse evaluator will rely on the Level II Treatment Guideline Table in making their recommendation and determining the appropriate level of substance abuse classes to be imposed. It is important to note that the evalautor can always recommend more than the Level II Treatment Guideline Table recommends, but they can never recommend less as the Office of Behavioral Health has dictated that requiring less can never be clinically justified.
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 a driver has their driving privileges revoked by the Colorado DMV for an alcohol-or-drug-related offense like DUI, DWAI or UDD, the Colorado DMV will often mandate that the driver enroll in and complete a Level I or II DUI Education and Therapy program as a term of driving privilege reinstatement.
Level I and Level II Services 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. DUI education and therapy services must be provided in person, face-to-face.
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 calendar day. This level is typically conducted in a group or class. Completion of a Level I alcohol and drug education program is required when a minor driver has had their license/privilege revoked for one year for their first DUI, DWAI or .02 or more BAC conviction, for a violation that was received while under the age of 21. A minor driver may be required to complete Level II education or Level II education and treatment depending on the alcohol and drug evaluator’s recommendations.Level I Education is not appropriate 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 and is generally conducted in a group setting. Class size is limited to 12 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, it follows Level II Education and can range in length from 5 to 10 months, depending on the track assigned. Track assignment depends on whether a person has prior impaired driving 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 Level II therapy track guidelines for impaired driving offenses on or after 01/01/14:
- Track A: A minimum of 42 hours over at least 21 weeks, usually for a first-time offender with a BAC below 0.15;
- 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 below 0.15;
- 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.
- Track F: Also knows as 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.
- Agencies are required to conduct additional screening and assessments beyond what is normally required (cognitive functioning, traumatic brain injury, adverse childhood experiences, grief & loss, and co-occurring mental health issues). And an assessment tool specifically designed to identify co-occurring mental health issues in the DUI population must be used.
- The entire service plan and service delivery must be based on each client’s clinical assessment. As a result, it is anticipated many of the offenders enrolled in Level II Four Plus will not engage in traditional Level II Education or Level II Therapy as a component of their treatment engagement.
- Individualized service planning is conducted more frequently and is done in collaboration with the supervising probation officer a minimum of every 60 days to discuss an individual’s service plan and their progress, and make adjustments in the planned treatment activities.
Substance Abuse Treatment – Mitigation or 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 almost always “yes.” If you have been charged with driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired it makes sense in most cases to begin mitigation immediately. Enrolling in substance abuse classes is the most effective form of mitigation that defendant’s accused of DUI or DWAI in Colorado can complete.
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 or not you have an attorney, plan on taking a plea, 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:
Deputy District Attorneys often want to see defendant’s 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 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.
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 almost 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 of 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.
Reinstating Your 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. As long as you enrolled in classes post-offense date, the DMV will 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 possibly therapy classes will assist you in obtaining the best possible resolution to your case.
Contact a Denver DUI attorney today to schedule a consultation
A DUI conviction can result in significant legal penalties that can end up costing you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of your time. In addition, the social stigma associated with a DUI can hinder your ability to get a job or damage your reputation in your community. Consequently, anyone accused of drunk or drugged driving in Colorado should contact the Tiftickjian Law Firm as soon as possible to retain legal representation. In many cases, an attorney can significantly mitigate the short and long term consequences associated with a DUI case. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, please call our office today at 303-384-5280 or send us an email through our online contact form available here.