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If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI in Colorado one of the most important things you can do is hire an experienced DUI defense attorney. Colorado’s DUI laws are tough, particularly if this isn’t the first time you have been arrested and you have prior DUI convictions. Read on for more information.
You should absolutely speak with a Colorado DUI lawyer right away. An attorney with experience in the laws pertaining to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs represents your best opportunity to get your charge reduced through a plea deal or even dropped as a result of improper arrest procedure or inaccurate results to a blood or breath alcohol test that you submitted to. Your lawyer can also prevent you from making a costly mistake during the arrest process, such as failing to show up for your arraignment.
Colorado’s penalties for driving under the influence are harsh even for the first offense and get even harsher with each subsequent conviction.
Your first-time DUI conviction is considered a misdemeanor offense. However, that doesn’t mean that the penalty is easy. Your first-time DUI conviction can net you up to a year in jail, along with a fine of up to $1,000. Additionally, you can be ordered to complete up to 96 hours of community service. You face a license suspension of nine months, as well as 12 points off your license and can be required to complete alcohol education courses.
If you are found to have a high level of intoxication when arrested — at least .15 percent BAC — you can be designated a persistent drunk driver, even if it is your first offense. If you receive this designation, you will be sentenced as though you have had previous DUI convictions.
Your second DUI conviction will also earn you up to a year in jail, along with up to $1,500 in fines. You can be ordered to complete up to 120 hours of community service, and have your license revoked for up to one year. You will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for up to two years after your license is reinstated, and face 12 points on your license as well as the possibility of alcohol education classes.
For your third DUI offense in a ten-year period, you will be subject to the following penalties:
A fourth or subsequent DUI in Colorado is a felony charge, for which you can be penalized by up to six years in a Colorado state prison as well as a fine of up to $500,000.
Often, those who have been charged with DUI in Colorado are able, with the assistance of an experienced attorney, to negotiate a plea bargain in which they plead guilty to the charge of Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). While DWAI convictions, like DUI convictions, result in progressively harsher penalties depending on the number of previous convictions for DWAI the individual has had in the past ten years, this misdemeanor charge usually results in milder penalties than a DUI, including: