Colorado DUI Laws and Penalties


A number of the elements that work out how a court will treat a conviction for a drunken driving offense are : the actual fact pattern in your case whether there are previous DUI arrests, your alcohol level, the county in which the offense happened and how you protect or don’t protect yourself against the charges. Jail is compulsory for DUI in Colorado if you have previous alcohol related offenses.

Jail is also imperative above a certain BAC level and as of August 2013, the NTSB is pushing to lower the DUI limit from a BAC of .08 to .05. Is in-home detention a choice rather than jail in your case?colorado dui laws

If you live in another state are you able to avoid going to court? Before you choose to go without the advantage of competent attorney you really should know the solutions to these and other critical questions.

Colorado DUI law also makes provisions for criminal penalties against drivers convicted by a court of law for “driving under the effects of alcohol or drugs” or “driving while capability impaired”. Therefore , case dismissal by DMV does’t result in automated dismissal of legal charges by the county court. A The maximum penalty for a second or successive Driving While capability Diminished , “DWAI” conviction and any Driving Under the Effects of Alcohol, “DUI” conviction is a year in prison.

Courts customarily mix a jail sentence with probation after. If an individual put on probation for a driving under the influence offense violated that probation, even after a jail sentence, an extra year in prison can be added to the first sentence. Driving under the influence of drugs, “DUID” and Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs “DWAID” carry the same criminal penalties as an alcohol related DUI and DWAI.

Driver’s license results are at the existing time different for drug related offenses, because there aren’t any “per se” levels set at which one is considered muddled on drugs as there are for alcohol so there aren’t any license revocations unless there’s a conviction. DUI and a DWAI involve different degrees of intoxication. The biggest difference between the 2 charges is that a diminished driver is “less able than standard to drive safely.” A driver who is under the influence is “unable to drive safely.” Based on the variations in degree, the Colorado General Assembly has supplied for lower penalties for a first-time DWAI compared with a first time DUI as explained below. A DUI implies the driver was at or over a 0.08 blood alcohol level. Colorado DUI laws state that the court requires convincing proof the charged person had a blood ( or breath ) alcohol level over 0.08 in less than two hours of the time of driving.


Penalties for First time Colorado Drunk Driving or DWAI Offense

Whether precise “jail time” is imposed for any DUI or DWAI offense is set by the judge – unless jail is necessary by statute. The approved law was updated in 2010 to incorporate compulsory jail for most repeat offenses. Jail is compulsory though for BAC levels above 0.20. The pleasant news is that commonly judges and prosecutors will consent to probation without jail for a first offense with a low alcohol level. Although jail time is an improbable for most first offenses with alcohol levels below 0.20, fines, court costs, “alcohol education” and community service must be imposed by law in all but 1 or 2 cases. It is rare to get “diversion” or a “deferred” sentence in most counties for any alcohol related offense unless the Prosecution is faced with major issues with their case against you.

Some examples of “problems” that will help in bringing about an offer for a deferred sentence are an illegal traffic stop or not available witness. All district lawyers know that most individuals can’t or won’t pay a lawyer to battle the case to an auspicious conclusion. Therefore , they haven’t any inducement to offer you a fair plea bargain. I will think about 2 counties in the front range that offer deferred sentences for alcohol offenses, but these are only available to folks with blood alcohol levels of less than 0.07gm / 100ml. “Mothers Against Drunken Drivers” ( MADD ) uses pressure strategies against DAs and judges to hinder them from offering reasonable plea agreements. I’ve seen overbearing MADD members stand in the front of courts “scoring” how a judge sentences DUI defendant’s! In this climate of political intimidation, possibilities of a deferred or other fascinating plea agreement seem higher the closer to trial, this implies suspects must be happy to spend the money and time to go to trial so as to have the maximum prospects of getting a fascinating resolution of the case. Jail time for a first offense is at the tact of the judge allotted to your case and can range up to one year according to Colorado DUI Laws. First time offenders infrequently get jail in Colorado nevertheless, the new law ( as of July one, 2010 ) calls for at least 2 days in the slammer for a first DWAI and 5 days jail for a first DUI.

The minimums could be excused or electronic home monitoring authorized if the offender completes probation. Routinely , jail time must be served in the county where the DUI occurred nevertheless, there has been success getting approval for clients to serve jail time in other counties and even other states. If you had an accident or a high BAC – over 0.15 – then the likelihood of jail time on a first offense increases seriously. Over 0.20 BAC jail is mandatory, even for people who’ve never had a single traffic ticket before! Except in one or two cases the court will customarily impose alcohol / drug abuse treatment at the time of sentencing. Advised alcohol education and treatment for a first DUI goes from twelve hours to 86 hours.

If you’re allotted the maximum acceptable alcohol education and treatment expect to invest 110 hours of your time to completing probation.


Penalties for Second Colorado Drunk Driving or DWAI Offense

Jail is imperative upon the charge of a second driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many people accept that because their last previous offense was 20 years back they can avoid a jail sentence. The reality is that there’s no real limit on how far back the court may look in considering previous offenses for application of the compulsory sentencing rules. Citizens have spent time in jail in Denver for a second DUI offense whose first and only other DUI happened 30 years ago! Although there’s a 10 day compulsory sentence, some counties, Denver as an example, have an approach of requiring longer sentences. For instance in Denver you should expect up to forty five days on a second offense – either as jail time or a mix of jail and in home detention. For DUI arrests which happened before July one, 2010, a 5 day minimum jail term is applicable to those drivers who are convicted of DWAI and who’ve got a prior conviction for DWAI.

A driving under the influence conviction with a prior DWAI is punishable by an absolute minimum jail sentence of 6 days. After July one, 2010 all second alcohol related offenses are punishable by an absolute minimum 10 day jail sentence, with a chance of in-home detention or weekend sentences if the offense happened more than 5 years after a prior alcohol related offense. It is of no consequence whether the previous was a DUI or DWAI for the imperative ten day penalty to apply. Sadly , if the previous offense took place inside 5 years of the existing offense the court can’t permit an in-home detention or electronic ( ankle ) monitor sentence, i.e, any sentence must be served in prison. Work release is a real possibility. An extra feature of the 2010 DUI law is that repeat offenders must serve the whole minimum compulsory jail sentence. There is not any time off the sentence for good time, time served or trustee standing – 10 days jail now means you may do the entire ten days for 2nd time offenders.


Penalties for a Third Colorado DUI Offense

People charged with a 3rd or successive offense in Colorado are responsible for no less than 60 uninterrupted days in prison.

In home detention doesn’t make allowances for this class of offender.

Because previous served time is not authorized as credit toward the 60 day period, the entire sentence must be served.

Credit for pre-sentence confinement is available however. Offenders falling under this supply of the law might or might not be permitted work release. Be advised that the minimum imperative jail sentences reflect minimums only. While minimum sentences are common, most judges in the Colorado Front Range impose sentences of 2 weeks to one month on a second offense. A 3rd offense will get you anywhere from the imperative minimum 60 days up to a year in the slammer dependent on the ins and outs of your case, your criminal history and the judge’s policy – unless you fight the case with a specialized DUI lawyer and win. On a 3rd offense expect to serve at least a month in prison in most jurisdictions if your offense was before July one, 2010.

Many judges are now leaning towards longer sentences of incarceration of 9 months to one year for 3rd time offenders.


Penalties for Underage Drunk Driving

There are further penalties above and beyond those imposed on adults for underage “drunk driving”. Alcohol offenses in the adult ranges, 0.05 and above, carry the same criminal penalties as those imposed on adults. The cutoff point for alcohol related offenses for minor drivers is 0.02 BAC instead of 0.05 BAC. An alcohol driving offense of around 0.02 to 0.05 is commonly called a “baby DUI.” On the criminal side of the DUI process, a first baby DUI carries fines, points and community service. A second or successive “baby” can suffer penalties as a class two misdemeanor traffic offense i.e, up to ninety days in the slammer, fines, court costs and community service.