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In Colorado, if you’re pulled over and the law enforcement officer finds out that you have a BAC of 0.08% or more, you’re likely to face DUI charges. However, if you are under 21, a BAC of as little as 0.02% can lead to underage drinking and driving (UDD) charges. Regardless of your circumstances, if you’re facing a DUI in Colorado, it’s best to work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Denver, CO who is familiar with the state laws and can walk you through what to expect and how to fight your DUI charges.

What happens during a DUI arrest?

Once you are pulled over for suspected DUI, the arresting officer may carry out a sobriety test to check your level of intoxication. Some of the tests may include a preliminary breath test on a handheld breathalyzer and the three standard field sobriety tests (FTS). These include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and the one-leg stand. 

Although an officer is allowed by law to perform these tests when making an arrest, taking the test is voluntary for a driver. That means a driver cannot be punished or charged with a crime for failing to take the test. If you have reason to believe that taking the test will incriminate you, it would be best to consult a DUI defense lawyer immediately. 

DUI vs. DWI

In Colorado, there are two levels of alcohol-related driving offenses depending on the prevailing circumstances. The first and the most serious is driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (DUI), while the second is driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs (DWI).

A person can be charged with DUI in Colorado if they have a BAC of 0.08% or 0.02% for persons under 21. On the other hand, a person may be charged with DWI if they have a BAC of up to 0.05% and if the driver’s ability to drive is in any way impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Penalties for DUI in Colorado

breathalyzer test for a DUI charge
Penalties for a DUI in Colorado include fines, jail time, community service, and license suspension.

 

In Colorado, the penalties for DUI are contingent on prior convictions. Here is a breakdown of the DUI penalties in Colorado.

First-time offender

Upon conviction, a first-time offense will carry a less severe penalty compared to a second or subsequent offense.

  • Five days to a maximum of one year in jail
  • Fines of between $600 to $1000
  • 48 hours up to a maximum of 96 hours of community service
  • 12-point demerit on the driving license 
  • Having their driver’s license suspended for a period of up to 9 months

Second and third time DUI offenses

A second DUI conviction in Colorado is also a misdemeanor. However, it carries potentially harsher penalties than the first conviction, including:

  • Fines of between $600 to $1500
  • Ten days to a maximum of one year in jail for a second offense and 60 days to 1 year in jail for a third conviction
  • Community service of between 48 to 120 hours, or 
  • 1-year license revocation if the repeat offense is within five years to the previous conviction for a second conviction and a two-year suspension for a third conviction.
  • Drivers may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed and functioning at all times when driving

Fourth DUI conviction

In Colorado, a fourth-time conviction with an alcohol-related offense is a class 4 felony that carries severe penalties, including: 

  • Fines of between $2000 and $5,000
  • Jail time of between 2 to 6 years in a Colorado state prison
  • 3-year mandatory parole
  • A two-year license suspension, or 
  • A requirement to have an ignition interlock device installed at all times while driving

Other possible consequences of a DUI conviction

The cost of a Colorado DUI conviction goes beyond the fines imposed on offenders, court charges, and legal representation fees. It is, therefore, essential to take the charges very seriously and work with a reliable DUI defense lawyer in Denver to avoid or reduce other consequences of a DUI conviction such as:

  • Higher cost of insurance premiums: If you are convicted of DUI, your car insurance premiums may go up because insurance companies view convicted drivers as riskier.
  • Difficulty finding employment: When hiring, most employers carry out a background check on potential candidates. Since a Colorado DUI conviction stays on the record for years, it may become difficult to find employment because many employers may view a DUI or DWI conviction as a red flag.

Hire an experienced Denver DUI defense lawyer today

If you find yourself facing a DUI charge in Colorado, working with an experienced DUI attorney is critical, considering the consequences of a conviction. Our skilled Denver DUI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC has over a decade of experience representing Colorado residents who have been faced with similar circumstances. Irrespective of your DUI charge circumstances, your case stands a better chance with us. Give us a call today at 303-635-6768 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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If you're facing a DUI in Colorado, learn how our Denver DUI defense attorney can help you avoid conviction or reduce the charges.

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