3rd DUI in Colorado


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  • What is the penalty for a 3rd DUI in Colorado?

  • The penalty for a 3rd DUI in Colorado will depend on the specifics of the individual arrest. Penalties will likely include jail time, fees, community service, and license suspension.
  • Is a third DUI a felony in Colorado?

  • Usually, a third DUI in Colorado is considered a misdemeanor. Depending on the specifics of your charges, you could possibly face fines, license suspension, community service, and even jail time. There are some situations (such as if someone was killed or seriously injured) where the charges could be for a felony.
  • Can you beat a 3rd DUI?

  • Yes, it is possible to be a 3rd DUI, but it will not be easy if you choose to fight the charges on your own. You should always speak with an attorney if you are facing DUI charges in Colorado. An attorney will be able to review your case from a legal standpoint and advise you on the best way to handle your case.

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Several years ago, the Colorado State Legislature enacted a law that makes a fourth DUI a felony. If you have been charged with your 3rd DUI in Colorado, you are facing steeper consequences than those you dealt with for previous convictions and you are in a situation where one more impairment-related traffic offense — even a DWAI charge — can result in a felony on your record. An experienced Denver DUI attorney can help you understand the options that are available to you.


What Happens When I Get a 3rd DUI in Colorado?

If you get a 3rd DUI in Colorado, as long as it doesn’t involve an accident that resulted in severe bodily injury or death, it will likely still be a misdemeanor charge. However, because Colorado has no “lookback period” for DUIs — that is, an amount of time after which a past conviction will be dropped off of your record. What this means is that, even if your previous two DUI convictions occurred decades ago, you will be sentenced just as severely as you would be if they occurred within the past couple of years. Additionally, Colorado courts consider impairment-related traffic infractions that you committed in other states, even if those infractions weren’t formerly referred to as DUI.

Beyond the misdemeanor and the consequences, a 3rd DUI means that you are only one infraction away from a felony DUI, which poses a risk of increased incarceration, increased fines, and a felony that will appear in background checks conducted for employment, apartment rental, college entry, and other reasons.


3rd DUI Penalties

The penalties for receiving a 3rd DUI in Colorado can include:

  • At least 60 days in county jail, with an incarceration period of up to one year. While the judge can authorize work release, you will not be eligible for “good time” credit toward your release date until you serve the minimum of 60 days. Because it is your 3rd DUI, the judge must also impose a one-year suspended sentence. What this means is that you might be permitted to remain free to complete the terms of your probation, but if you fail to complete those terms, you will be ordered to serve the year.
  • A fine of between $600 to $1,500.
  • A minimum of 48 hours of useful public service and up to 120 hours.
  • A period of probation lasting from 2-4 years.
  • Driver’s license revocation of two years or longer, depending on your driving record.

Generally, with a 3rd DUI conviction, a judge will order you to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and may order you to complete alcohol or drug treatment.

You can also potentially be required to install an interlock ignition device on all vehicles you own and drive for a minimum of two years. If you have a previous driving record with a history of traffic-related convictions, you could be deemed a Habitual Traffic Offender, which can result in the revocation of your driver’s license for up to five years.

If your license has been revoked, you can apply for an interlock-restricted license after one month of the revocation period has passed. You will be required to hold this restricted license for 2-5 years until you are eligible for an unrestricted license. When you are eligible to receive your unrestricted license, you will be required to apply for it, pay a fee, submit proof of SR22, submit proof of the completion of alcohol or drug education classes, and other requirements.

When Should I Call an Attorney for a 3rd DUI?

Should I Hire a Denver DUI Lawyer or Criminal Defense Attorney?

Because the consequences of a 3rd DUI are so severe and bring you that much closer to the penalties associated with a felony DUI, it is important for you to contact an experienced Denver DUI lawyer as soon as possible. One of the first things your attorney can attempt to do for you is fight your license suspension through a DMV hearing within 7 days after your arrest.

Your attorney will also examine the facts of your case carefully to see if there was an improper procedure that could result in evidence against you being suppressed or even having the case dismissed. Some of the issues DUI attorneys commonly look for include:

  • Improper evidence handling
  • Faulty chemical testing procedures or improperly calibrated machines
  • Errors in the administration of the chemical test or in determining the result
  • Improper arrest procedure
  • Medical issues that could cause a false positive on a field sobriety or a chemical test.

Your attorney will examine the evidence in your case, such as witness statements, arrest records, police equipment records, and vehicle records. If there are no procedural errors that could result in dismissal or suppression of evidence, your attorney can also negotiate with the prosecutor in order to reach a plea deal that can reduce the consequences you face.





Chaput Law is a top-rated Colorado law firm that focuses on DUI and Criminal Defense. We represent clients in Denver, Highlands Ranch, Littleton Colorado, and all surrounding cities in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties.

If you are looking for a Denver DUI Defense Attorney that offers aggressive defense no matter the case, look no further.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Don’t make the mistake of trying to defend yourself or pleading guilty or no contest just because you want to get this behind you. A conviction for ANY charge can have lasting consequences that you should be aware of before making any decisions.

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