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Why You Shouldn’t Accept Your CO St. Paddy’s DUI without a Fight
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Why You Shouldn't Accept Your CO St. Paddy's DUI without a Fight

 

St. Patrick’s Day is famously known for two things: the color green, and celebratory alcohol consumption. Neither of these things is anything close to a secret, and the state of Colorado works hard to curb impaired driving around the holiday.

 

Traditionally, CDOT (Colorado Department of Transport), CSP (Colorado State Patrol), and local enforcement combine efforts in arresting impaired drivers. In 2017, their “The Heat Is On” campaign resulted in over 600 arrests on St. Patrick’s Day. This was 33% more than the arrests made in 2016.

 

If you got caught up in the sweep this year, it is absolutely vital that you fight back against your charges.

 

Why?

 

Because the penalties are severe, and charges can be beat.

 

You Should Challenge Drunk Driving Arrests in Colorado

 

Despite the commendable efforts by Colorado’s law enforcement to keep us safe, you should never take a DUI charge lying down. Colorado DUI laws are getting increasingly harsh. The punishments for a DUI may include thousands of dollars in fines, license suspension, and even jail time. To avoid these serious consequences, you need to do all you can to get your DUI charges dismissed.

 

On top of having your driver’s license suspended, a DUI or DWAI in Colorado will net you a criminal record, and the real-life costs of having a criminal record can be quite devastating.

 

There’s some good news in all this. By working with a skilled Colorado DUI lawyer, you can challenge a DUI arrest as well as a Colorado DMV license suspension.

 

There is a catch, though – you only have seven days from the time when the arrest was made to formally request a DUI defense hearing.

 

Charges Associated with a DUI Arrest in Colorado

 

As per the current Colorado drunk driving laws, two things happen when you are arrested for drunk driving:

 

  • There may be a court case against you where a variety of punishments may be issued.
  • A DMV action may be taken against you that will affect your driving privileges, including suspending your driver’s license.

 

In court, you may be charged with a DUI or a DWAI.

 

DUI means driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination thereof. A DUI charge requires proof that a person was substantially impaired such that his or her ability to operate a vehicle safely was compromised.

 

In Colorado, the term DUI is used when a person’s BAC (blood alcohol content) is 0.08% and above.

 

DWAI means driving while abilities are impaired by drugs, alcohol, or a combination thereof. Compared to DUI, DWAI is a lesser offense. One might be arrested for DWAI if their BAC is greater than 0.05% but lower than 0.08%. The charge merely requires proof of slight impairment to operate a vehicle.

 

Charges Associated with a DUI Arrest in Colorado

 

Possible DUI Penalties in Colorado

 

First DUI Offense

 

  • A jail sentence lasting between five days and one year
  • A fine of between $600 and $1,000
  • Suspension of one’s driver’s license for up to six months
  • Community service of between 48 and 96 hours

First-time offenders whose BAC is found to be 0.15% or higher will be designated as Colorado PDD (Persistently-Drunk Driver.) PDD offenders are tried and sentenced as repeat-DUI offenders.

 

Second DUI Offense

 

  • Jail term of between 10 days and one year
  • A fine of between $600 and $1,500
  • Suspension of one’s driver’s license for up to one year
  • Community service of between 48 and 120 hours
  • An ignition interlock device may be installed for up to two years after one’s license has been reinstated

 

Third DUI Offense

 

  • Jail term of between 10 days and one year
  • A fine of between $600 and $1,500
  • Suspension of one’s driver’s license for up to one year
  • Community service of between 48 and 120 hours
  • An ignition interlock device may be installed for up to two years after one’s license has been reinstated
  • Your Colorado DMV driving record gets 12 points
  • The court may order you to take mandatory alcohol education classes

 

Possible Penalties for DWAI in Colorado

 

First DWAI Offense

 

  • Jail term of between two days and 180 days
  • A fine of between $200 and $500
  • Community service of between 24 and 48 hours
  • Your Colorado DMV driving record gets eight points

 

Second DWAI offense

 

  • Jail term of between 10 days and one year (with a minimum 10-day mandatory sentence)
  • A fine of between $600 and $1,500
  • Community service of between 48 and 120 hours
  • Your Colorado DMV driving record gets eight points

 

Third DWAI offense

 

  • Jail term of between 10 days and one year (with a minimum 10-day mandatory sentence)
  • A fine of between $600 and $1,500
  • Community service of between 48 and 120 hours
  • Your Colorado DMV driving record gets eight points

 

A Colorado DUI/DWAI Might Turn into a Felony

 

Ordinarily, Colorado DUIs and DWAIs are misdemeanors. However, a DUI/DWAI may become a class 4 felony under the following circumstances:

 

  1. Three or more separate, prior DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI convictions
  2. Vehicular assault
  3. Vehicular homicide

 

Denver DWI Defense Lawyer

 

Consequences for felony DUI/DWAI may include:

  • Colorado state prison incarceration for between 2-6 years
  • A fine of between $2,000 and $5,000
  • Mandatory parole of up to three years

 

 

 

About the Author:

Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state.  She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.