DUI charges and convictions in Colorado are complex, with many terms and laws to understand. Without the help of criminal defense lawyers in Colorado, it can be overwhelming to figure out what some terms mean. One of the terms in the world of DUI cases, for example, is a DUI “washout period,” also known as “look back.”

A washout period refers to how long a previous DUI conviction can remain on your record and come back to haunt you. For example, depending on your subsequent driving convictions, the justice system can decide to consider your past DUI records in the past five, ten, or more years in determining your penalties for the current DUI offense.

What Is the DUI Washout Period in Colorado?

Colorado has no strict or specific washout or lookback period for DUI convictions. In other words, the court could look at your past DUI conviction records as far as they go back in determining your punishment for a current DUI charge. Any DUI conviction over your lifetime could be relevant in future DUI cases.

In Colorado, subsequent DUI offenses that could be associated with the same charges as first-time offenses depend on various circumstances. Here’s what you need to know:

DUI Charges Within 5 Years of Each Other

While Colorado doesn’t have an official washout period for DUIs, earning two or more drunk driving charges within five years of each other can attract more severe penalties. That means the five-year window period is crucial in DUI cases if you have a prior record.

It could attract more severe penalties, and your best defense would be to have Colorado Springs DUI lawyer by your side to help you fight the harsh punishments. They can create a strong defense strategy to avoid jail time or more expensive fines that may come into play.

Out-of-State DUIs

Prior DUIs acquired in other states may count in your Colorado DUI case for sentencing purposes. That’s especially the case if you get a DUI in a state that has adopted the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC) in the same way as Colorado. The court might look at those inter-state DUIs even if your subsequent DUI offense happened in Colorado.

Older DUI Records

Even without a washout period for Colorado DUIs, it’s crucial to note that there’s a high chance that older prior convictions will not be used against you to enhance your penalties or sentencing options. However, this only happens at the court’s discretion, and your best chance at preventing this is to have a skilled Colorado Springs DUI lawyer to defend you.

When Can a DUI Appear on My Criminal Record?

It’s crucial to understand that you can have a DUI criminal record even if you were never charged with or convicted of a drunk driving offense. Being arrested or charged and later acquitted means the case will still appear on your criminal record.

DUI charges are criminal, either as a misdemeanor or felony, so they must appear on your criminal record. Luckily, you can have the DUI charge removed from your criminal record through expungement. Consult skilled Colorado Springs DUI lawyers on how to go about expunging your DUI criminal record.

What Are the Penalties for DUI in Colorado?

The penalties you get for A DUI offense depend on the exact circumstances surrounding your case and the number of your previous convictions, if any. Prosecutors in Colorado bring charges against you in one of the following ways:

  • DUI: Operating a vehicle having consumed alcohol or other drugs that substantially impact your ability to drive safely. 
  • DUI per se: The charge refers to driving a car after consuming enough alcohol to a level that your blood alcohol content exceeds the prescribed maximum limit
  • DWAI: It refers to driving with impaired ability, and you’re presumed to be a DWAI if a chemical test shows a BAC of between 0.05% and 0.08%.

1st DUI Offense (Misdemeanor) Penalties

Upon a conviction of a first DUI offense in Colorado, you could get the following penalties:

  • Fines of between $600 and $1,000
  • Surcharges of between $100 and $500
  • Installation of ignition interlock
  • Possible 2-year probation
  • Imprisonment of between 5 days and one year
  • Suspension of driver’s license

2nd DUI Offense (Misdemeanor) Penalties

Upon conviction of a second DUI offense in Colorado, you risk getting the following penalties:

  • Fines of between $600 and $1,500
  • A surcharge of between $100 and $500
  • Possible alcohol intake monitoring
  • Alcohol and drug driving safety education or treatment program
  • Imprisonment of 10 days to 1 year
  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Ignition interlock requirement for two years after reinstatement of the license
  • Probation for two years
  • Mandatory public service for 48 to 120 hours

3rd DUI Offense (Misdemeanor) Penalties

Your third or subsequence Dui conviction in Colorado could attract the following penalties:

  • Fines of between $600 and $1,500
  • Imprisonment of between 60 days and one year
  • Revocation of your driver’s license for 24 months
  • Ignition interlock requirement for two years after license reinstatement
  • Between 48 and 120 hours of mandatory public service
  • Probation for at least two years
  • Enrollment in an alcohol and drug driving safety program
  • Possible alcohol intake monitoring

These penalties can significantly affect your reputation and inhibit your ability to get employment in the future. You also risk losing your freedom during the time of imprisonment. Your best chance at fighting the charges and avoiding the penalties is having experienced Colorado criminal defense attorneys represent you during the trial.

Colorado Defense Lawyer Helping You Fight Against Stiff DUI Charges

Your DUI penalties in Colorado can become harsher depending on your previous DUI convictions. Thus, a first offender typically faces less severe consequences than a second, third, or subsequent conviction. For example, a first-time offender usually doesn’t end up serving jail time, but a subsequent offense attracts this penalty.

Since courts in Colorado can refer to your previous DUI conviction penalties to impose penalties on current DUI charges, it would help to have experienced DUI attorneys representing you during the trial. Our aggressive and knowledgeable lawyers can provide the counsel and defense you need to protect your rights and future. Get in touch with us to schedule a FREE case assessment.