4th (or More) DUI Is A Felony, According To Colorado Law

Posted on April 9, 2018

Driving under the influence, also known as a DUI, is a serious offense in Colorado. Repeat offenders now look not only at mandatory time in jail and significant fines, but possible prison time as well.

The difference between UDD, DUI and DWAI

Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while ability impaired (DWAI) differ in the alcohol content found in the blood, also known as blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Those who are under the legal age to drink will be charged with Underage Drinking and Driving (UDD) if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level from .02 to .05 percent. Adults with a BAC of .05 to .079 percent will be charged with DWAI, and those with a BAC of .08 and above will be charged with DUI. Anyone with a BAC over .20 percent will be subject to more severe penalties.

The Impact of DUIs

In a report shared by the Colorado State Patrol, in 2017 there were 4,431 total DUI citations. Of those, 11.4% or 504 crashes were fatal or caused injuries. If we were to break the latter down by days of the year, that is more that 1 each day…

Back in 2015, new legislation defined new DUI charges as a felony, if you have had three prior DUI convictions anywhere within the U.S. Believe it or not, after those changes drivers with three DUIs had to serve at least 60 days in jail but drivers with four or more DUIs did not have a mandatory jail requirement. As you can imagine, this quickly started legislative discussions about felony offenders not having to serve time in jail for DUIs.

In 2016, The Denver Post reported that “Colorado judges are handing out wildly different sentences for habitual drunken drivers convicted under a new felony DUI law, with about 1 in 12 defendants receiving no incarceration time and others getting lengthy prison sentences.”

Today, Felony Drunken Drivers Must Serve A Minimum Of 90 Days In Jail

In 2017, changes to the law came in effect to ensure that felony drunken drivers served jail time. Now, those convicted of a felony DUI must serve 90 to 180 days in county jail if a judge decides to give them jail time with no sentencing alternatives (such as work release). If a work release program is available as part of a felony offender sentence, that person is required to serve 120 days to two years in jail. Depending on the facts of the case, a felony offender may be sentenced to a 2 to 6 year Department of Corrections sentence in a Colorado prison with a minimum 3 year period of parole after the sentence is fulfilled. It is also possible to serve the (DOC) sentence in a Community Corrections facility (halfway house) if bed space is available. Here are a few additional penalties you can expect if you are a repeat DUI offender (quoted from noduicolorado.org):

  • Community service of 48 – 120 hours
  • Fines between $2000 and $5000
  • Level II alcohol and drug education and treatment
  • Minimum one year loss of Driver’s License and two years of ignition interlock
  • Minimum two years of probation

Every year hundreds of people die or are injured in car accidents, caused by drivers operating vehicles, under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The devastation impaired driving brings to Colorado families is tremendous. A few responsible choices can make a big difference in your and others’ lives. Our team at Pollart Miller LLC encourage everyone out there to be responsible and safe.

A DUI is something you don’t want to handle on your own. Contact our team as soon as possible to seek professional attorney representation. Pollart Miller LLC may be able to get the charges dismissed or lowered if the prosecutor has weaknesses in your case.