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Colorado DUI Laws: Fines and Penalties

Learn What You Need to Know If You Face a DUI in Colorado Facing a DUI in Colorado could lead to grave consequences. Colorado DUI laws are some of the toughest in the nation. Thus, you will need the assistance of a highly skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer.  If police arrested you in Colorado Springs, you should not wait to contact a DUI lawyer who has a proven track record of successfully defending DUI cases. Austin M. Lux was a prosecutor. Now he is an award-winning Colorado Springs DUI defense attorney. Austin focuses his practice on defending people charged with a Colorado DUI, among other criminal offenses. You can rely on Austin’s experience and extensive knowledge of Colorado DUI laws to help avoid the harsh consequences of a mistake. Colorado DUI Penalties Under Colorado DUI law, a person can be convicted of DUI if they operate a motor vehicle when  Their ability to drive safely is substantially impaired by either drugs or alcohol, or  They have a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or greater. Driving under the influence (DUI), driving with your ability impaired (DWAI), and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) are crimes that fall under this same law. Penalty for First DUI in Colorado A first DUI charge in Colorado is a misdemeanor. The penalty for a first DUI conviction in Colorado is surprisingly harsh. After a conviction for a first DUI in Colorado, if you took a breath test or chemical test that gave a result of 0.08 or greater, you face: Between five days and one year in jail; A fine not to exceed $1,000; Compulsory license revocation of up to nine months; Community service obligation up to 96 hours; and Alcohol education classes. The judge could put you on probation to ensure that you satisfy all the requirements following a first DUI conviction. Mandatory Jail Time for a DUI First Offense Prosecutors can seek an enhanced penalty against a person facing DUI charges in Colorado for many reasons. Enhanced penalties often include mandatory jail time, along with other sanctions. The prosecution could seek an enhanced penalty if you have a breath or chemical test resulting in a BAC of 0.20 or greater. In that case, the judge must sentence you to at least 10 days in jail. The judge has the discretion to grant you a work release or serve your sentence on home confinement while wearing a GPS ankle bracelet. The Difference Between DUI Per Se and DWAI DUI per se refers to providing a chemical test result or a breath test result of 0.08 or higher. DWAI is a charge that can be based solely on the observations of the police officer. To support a conviction for DWAI, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused drove when the person’s ability to do so safely was impaired. This can be done even without the results of a chemical test or if the chemical test results fall between 0.051 and 0.079 BAC. The penalties for a DWAI conviction are less severe than a conviction for DUI per se. The potential sentence for a conviction of DWAI includes: Two days to 180 days in jail; A fine not to exceed $500; 48 hours of community service; and Eight points against your driver license. The judge has the authority to place you on probation for a conviction of DWAI as well.  The reduced penalties for DWAI are not necessarily an incentive to refuse the breathalyzer because of Colorado’s express consent law. Express Consent Law in Colorado You should be aware that Colorado has an express consent law. Therefore, any person who drives in Colorado agrees to take a chemical test if a police officer believes that the driver is under the influence.  Refusing to take the chemical test has consequences. First, Colorado law allows the prosecution to use the chemical test refusal as evidence of guilt at your trial. Essentially, the prosecution gets to argue to the jury that you refused the breath or other chemical test because you knew you had a BAC of 0.08 or above. That is compelling evidence. Secondly, the Colorado DMV will suspend your license for one year for refusing the breath test and may consider you to be a persistent drunk driver (PDD). You have the opportunity to reinstate your license if you take alcohol education classes and agree to use an ignition interlock device for up to two years. Colorado law imposes these sanctions against you even if the jury finds you not guilty after trial. These are administrative penalties and work in conjunction with any criminal penalties imposed. You have the right to appeal the DMV’s decision to suspend your license for refusing to take a breath test. You must file that appeal within seven days of your DUI arrest. Missing that deadline means you lose your right to appeal. Second DUI in Colorado If police charge you with a DUI second offense, then you are facing potentially more severe repercussions. However, the length of time between your first and second offenses may determine whether the judge treats you as a first-time offender. If you have a second DUI in Colorado, the judge could treat you as a first-time offender if your prior conviction was at least 10 years prior. You should be aware that all convictions for DUI outside of Colorado count toward a second offense DUI. The first and second DUI penalties are similar. For a DUI second offense, which is a misdemeanor, you face up to: A minimum of 10 days in jail, with a maximum of one year; A fine between $600 and $1,500; License suspension for at least one year; At least 48 hours of community service, up to 120 hours; Two years of probation; Level II alcohol education; and Possible installation of an ignition interlocking device. The judge can also order you to enter into a treatment program for alcohol addiction for a second DUI in Colorado. Third Offense...

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