Q: I am charged with Driving Under the Influence in Colorado. if I am convicted of DUI, what is the sentence?
My Denver DUI Lawyer: The sentence for a DUI or DWAI conviction can vary on many factors, including whether there are aggravated facts such as an accident or high BAC (blood alcohol content), whether you have prior convictions on your criminal record, and how successful the negotiating is between your DUI lawyer and the prosecutor handling the case for the state.
Here are the most common sentences in Colorado for a DUI or DWAI conviction.
County Jail. With a prior conviction, or in some instances on a first offense, judges impose jail time, which means that you must make arrangements for a stay in the county jail for the county where your DUI case originated. This means that if you were arrested in Clear Creek County, but reside in Texas, you must return to Colorado to serve your jail sentence. In may circumstances, the term of jail may be suspended or substituted with sentencing alternatives, such as in-home detention, electronic home monitoring, work release, day reporting, or weekend work programs. Jail is mandatory if you have a prior conviction in your lifetime for DUI, DWI, OUI, DWAI, etc., regardless of the age of the prior conviction.
Suspended Jail: The judge will also order a suspended jail sentence in addition to any county jail time imposed to assure that you will be compliant and law-abiding during your probation term. For multiple-offenders, the court must impose an additional one-year suspended jail sentence which shall be suspended upon successful completion of the probationary terms.
Probation. For a first DUI conviction, probation is not mandatory, it is almost always ordered. Monitored sobriety is commonly ordered as a condition of probation, as well as completing all of the other terms of the judge’s sentencing order and remaining law abiding during the term set by the judge.
Driver’s License Consequences. In DUI cases, even if drug-related, there are multiple scenarios in you may lose your driver’s license: (1) pursuant to a revocation hearing administered through the DMV Hearings Division, (2) subsequent to a court conviction for DWAI, DUI, or DUI per se (3) based on the accumulation of too many points assessed against your driver’s license.
Alcohol and Drug Evaluation, Recommended Education and Treatment Program. If you are sentenced for a DUI or DWAI conviction, you will have to complete at least 24 hours of alcohol education and most likely a level II therapy program mandated by the Colorado Department of Human Services, DUI Services.
Useful Public Service. The court must order at least the minimum hours of useful public service (UPS) as prescribed by statute. The term useful public service is synonymous with community service and is defined by Colorado law as “any work that is beneficial to the public and involves a minimum of direct supervision or other public cost. For a first-offense DWAI, there is a minimum 24 hours that must be imposed.
Victim-Impact Panel: a sentencing judge may order that you attend a victim’s impact panel, which will last one evening. Colorado judges in most jurisdictions order that you attend a panel sponsored by Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Ignition interlock Devices. As a practical matter, judges leave the ignition interlock requirements to the DMV as the DMV is better equipped to monitor a person’s driving under the restriction. However, a judge can order that you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle if the Department of Revenue has not already done so through your DMV case.
The penalties for DUI and DWAI in Colorado are severe. If you have been accused of drunk or drugged driving in Colorado, the assistance of a defense lawyer can help maximize the opportunities for acquittal and minimize the potential consequences listed above.