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Colorado takes DUIs very seriously. If you have multiple prior DUI convictions in the state, you know first-hand just how harsh the consequences can be if you are found to be driving while under the influence. A felony DUI in Colorado will result in the harshest penalties that can have serious long-term consequences.
Colorado’s DUI and DWAI laws are typically misdemeanor charges, but after a third offense, the charges become a felony DUI in Colorado. The felony charge can be applied in three main circumstances:
The court will not make an exception for a driver, even if the driver has no prior convictions. A DUI is seen as a preventable incident and is one of the main focuses of law enforcement.
The Colorado Department of Transportation joined the State Patrol and local law enforcement to determine the number of DUIs between September 11 and October 28. The report found that DUI arrests fell from 1,534 to 1,398.
“While the numbers of arrests have reduced, impaired crashes remain in the top three causal factors for fatal and injury crashes in Colorado for 2020,” explains Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol.
A felony DUI is a serious crime in the state.
Prior to 2015, the state was one of the few in the country that didn’t have repeat offender laws. An increase in accidents and demand for new legislation led to the multiple DUI offense laws and the felony charge that is in place today.
Multiple DUI offenses will result in you going to court. The charges will be filed in the District Court in the county where the incident took place. The newer laws will require anyone convicted of a felony DUI in the state to serve 90 to 180 days in jail if probation is granted.
A work release program, if it is available, may be allowed.
One report from The Denver Post found that out of 635 people that were convicted, 490 served jail time and 170 served prison time.
Felony charges will require public service of 48 to 120 hours, and the individual cannot be released early from prison due to sentence reductions.
If you’re pulled over by law enforcement, you can expect a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer test to be performed. Refusing these tests can lead to one-year license revocation, and up to three years revocation if this is your third or subsequent refusal.
DUI charges are serious, and a felony DUI increases the penalties you face. You’ll face a Class 4 felony, which has significant fines and penalties. Defendants facing felony charges can expect:
A felony DUI can be assessed for three or more prior convictions of a DUI, DUI per se, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, or DWAI.
If the DUI occurred during an accident that led to vehicular homicide, you’ll face a Class 3 felony. The Class 3 felony is more severe with the following punishment:
A judge will use their own discretion when imposing a prison sentence. The judge may choose a sentence of 4 to 12 years if the defendant was already on parole, probation, or bond for a non-related felony charge.
Your attorney can help fight charges against you.
Defenses for Felony DUI Charges
An attorney will sit down and examine the charges against you. Due to the severity of a felony charge, which will remain with you for the rest of your life, it’s important to fight these charges.
A few of the defense strategies that may be imposed are:
Your attorney may also try and dispute past offenses in a four-strike case. This is a viable strategy when the defendant can argue that the past DUI offenses were either dismissed or the charges were reduced.
The attorney will try to cast doubt on the case. If evidence is inadequate, it’s possible that a conviction can’t be made. The district attorney may, in some cases, decide to lower the charges down to reckless driving, careless driving, or even dismiss the charges.
Every case is different, and it’s important to fight back against a potential felony charge to prevent a lifelong record.
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If you’ve been cited for a DUI and you fall into one of the three main circumstances wherein a felony is assessed, it’s time to call an attorney. We have extensive experience with helping defendants in DUI cases.
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.