What is a Felony DUI Law in Colorado?
Most DUI cases in Colorado are filed as misdemeanors, but in some circumstances, they are filed as felonies. A DUI is charged as a felony if:
- It’s your 4th or more DUI offense
- You caused an accident that led to the injuries or death of other people
If you or your loved one have been charged with a felony DUI in Colorado, you may wonder what penalties you’ll face. Colorado’s DUI laws are strict, and knowing your risks and options is crucial. Experienced criminal defense lawyers in Colorado can evaluate your case and provide the legal guidance you need to help you fight the charges.
A Fourth DUI Offense
If you have had three previous DUI convictions in the past, a fourth conviction will be filed as a Class 4 felony even if:
- You didn’t cause any accidents, injuries, or deaths
- Many years have elapsed since the last three convictions
- The previous convictions happened in a different state
- The prior convictions were deferred sentences and were eventually dismissed
If you have a past drunk-driving-related conviction, the offense will qualify as a prior offense. The violations include DUI per se, DWAI, vehicular assault, and vehicular homicide. Consult Colorado Springs DUI lawyers to understand the implications of your case and what you can do to reduce the severity of the charges.
DUI with Bodily Injuries
If you cause an accident that leads to severe bodily injuries to another person while driving under the influence, the offense will be classified as a class 4 felony. That is regardless of whether you have any past DUI convictions. Serious injuries, in this case, can include:
- Head and spine injuries
- Severe burns
- Loss of limbs
Minor cuts and bruises would not qualify as severe injuries in this case. When your DUI offense entails bodily harm, it is known as vehicular assault. Our experienced Colorado Springs DUI attorney can fight to have the charges dropped or reduced to protect your rights and future.
DUI with Death
Under CRS 18-3-106, driving a vehicle while under the influence is a class 3 felony if it causes the death of another person in an accident. The offense is vehicular homicide and is always charged as a felony even if you have no prior DUI convictions.
Under Colorado law, vehicular homicide also happens when reckless driving causes a fatality. The penalties are less severe if no drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident.
However, the charge can be upgraded to vehicular homicide if the victim loses their life while the case is ongoing. Let aggressive DUI attorneys in Colorado Springs represent you in fighting the charges.
What Are the Penalties for DUI Offenses in Colorado?
The penalties for a felony DUI in Colorado depend on the specific charge you get convicted of:
4th DUI, DUI per se or DWAI
This is classified as a class 4 felony, and the penalties are as follows:
- $2,000 to $500,000 in fines, which could be accompanied by or issued in place of
- 2 to 6 years in Colorado State Prison with a mandatory parole period of 3 years
Under the judge’s discretion, the court may grant probation, a sentence that must include the following:
- 90 to 180 days in jail or 120 days to 2 years of jail time through an alternative-sentencing program
- 48 to 120 hours of community service
Level 2 alcohol and drug education class
DUI with Serious Bodily Injury
The offense is also a class 4 felony and attracts the following penalties:
- $2,000 to $500,000 in fines in addition to or alternative to
- 2 to 6 years of jail time and a mandatory parole period of 3 years
DUI that Causes Death
The offense is a class 3 felony with the following penalties:
- $3,000 to $750,000 in fines in addition to or alternative to:
- 4 to 12 years of jail time in addition to a parole period of 5 years
Sometimes, the judge will only impose prison time if the court determines that a prison sentence is the most suitable option. The decision often depends on the following:
- Your willingness to participate in an alcohol or drug treatment program
- If other penalties can be equally successful without posing an unacceptable risk to public safety.
Other consequences of a felony DUI include the following:
- Damage to your personal and professional relationship
- Exposure to higher insurance premiums
- Difficulty reinstating your driver’s license
- Risk of losing your ability to vote
- Risk of losing your right to own a firearm
- Risk of losing your job and seeking further employment
How Can I Defend Myself Against Felony DUI Charges?
Depending on the facts in the case, there are several ways to fight DUI charges in Colorado. Five common defenses to the charges are the following:
- The police had no probable cause to suspect a DUI or DWAI
- The police failed in the way they administered the field sobriety tests
- You had a medical condition that caused high blood alcohol content results, such as GERD
- The breath test equipment was defective or handled improperly
Experienced DUI attorneys in Colorado know how the system works and can fight to defend you in court. They can argue that you don’t have three prior convictions by showing that the charges didn’t meet the definition of a DUI or the charges were dismissed or reduced to non-DUI charges.
An Experienced DUI Lawyer Aggressively Fighting Against Your Felony DUI Charges
Like with all criminal charges, you can’t be convicted of a felony DUI unless the prosecution can prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer is your best chance to beat the charges. They can poke holes in the evidence presented against you to make the jury find you not guilty.
Our law firm has provided legal representation for DUI offenders for many years. We know how the complex system works and will try our best to fight for you. Don’t let your criminal charges beat you and ruin your future. Contact us to schedule a FREE in-depth case assessment.