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What Are the Penalties for DUI in Colorado?

April 15, 2023 – David W. Foley – Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving/DUI/DWAI, Felony DUI

As Colorado Springs DUI lawyers, we know from experience that a DUI conviction in Colorado can result in life-altering consequences impacting your freedom and ability to support a family. Are you facing DUI penalties and searching online, “What are the penalties for DUI in Colorado?” In this article, we will answer that question and describe various defenses relevant to overcoming a DUI charge. However, every case is unique. Contact us at (719) 757-1182 to schedule a consultation to discuss your particular situation.

Possible Penalties for DUI in Colorado

A DUI conviction in Colorado has the potential to ruin your life. Aside from the possibility of spending time in prison and having a black mark on your permanent record, getting arrested for drunk driving could result in the following:

  • Driver’s license suspensions
  • Hefty fines
  • Higher auto insurance rates
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle
  • Difficulty getting a job or advancing in one’s career
  • Inability to own a firearm
  • Escalating consequences for future DUI offenses

It’s important to know that a felony arrest shows up on a background check, which can affect your ability to get your desired job. Felony convictions, which can occur after multiple DUI arrests, also prevent you from being able to possess a firearm, which is especially problematic for military personnel.

Escalating Consequences for Repeat DUI Convictions

A relatively new law in Colorado has sparked criticism for being unduly harsh. The law now states that if someone has three prior DUI convictions, they will be charged with a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by a prison term of two to six years.

In other words, if you are arrested for DUI four times, you could face a felony charge.

In some cases, the felony conviction could come after a third DUI if other aggravating circumstances are involved. These circumstances could include the following:

  • A pattern of arrests in a short time (a prior conviction within the past seven years)
  • Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle
  • Attempting to flee the scene

While most states classify DUI as a felony, it is typically a misdemeanor in Colorado. Don’t be fooled by the “lesser” charge if it is your first or second DUI offense. The penalties can still be incredibly harsh, making it helpful to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side.

Fighting a DUI Charge

No matter how the odds may be stacked against you, as a Colorado criminal defense lawyer, attorney David Foley and his legal team will explore numerous defenses to help you overcome the charge.

Arguing Probable Cause

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires an officer to have “probable cause” before pulling you over for suspected drunk driving. The probable cause threshold is that for an officer to pull you over for drunk driving, they must reasonably believe that the driver is impaired.

Probable cause is typically found when a driver exhibits behavior typical of impairment, such as:

  • Speeding (or driving too slowly)
  • Swerving
  • Drifting
  • Disregarding traffic signs

Even in the face of erratic driving behavior, Colorado Springs DUI lawyers can argue that there were circumstances leading to driving behavior that would not meet the threshold of probable cause. For example, extreme weather conditions could cause someone to drive differently than they otherwise would, which could defeat probable cause.

Exceptions to Probable Cause

A possible exception to being pulled over for probable cause is the DUI checkpoint, where every vehicle can be stopped and questioned. However, only drivers who seem intoxicated can be tested. Depending on the circumstances of a checkpoint stop, it could be argued that the officer did not have probable cause to issue a test or arrest you.

Further, the state’s Department of Transportation posts notices of upcoming sobriety checkpoints, which tend to coincide with holidays associated with high alcohol consumption. These holidays include Saint Patrick’s Day, Superbowl Sunday, Independence Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Examining the Field Sobriety Test

The officer may have had probable cause to arrest you, but there’s still the possibility to argue that they executed the field sobriety test improperly. If the test was unreasonably strenuous, the equipment was defective, or the officer failed to follow procedure, these factors could contribute to beating a DUI offense.

Facing a DUI Conviction? Contact The Foley Law Firm Today

Our team of former prosecutors and trial lawyers can meet with you immediately after an arrest for a suspected drunk driving charge or driving while under the influence of drugs.

We give the Colorado Springs community a helping hand, providing aggressive criminal defense and legal advice based on years of experience. Get legal help today by calling us at (719) 757-1182 to schedule a consultation.

Copyright© 2023. The Foley Law Firm. All Rights Reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

The Foley Law Firm
222 East Costilla Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
(719) 757-1182

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