Like other states, Colorado punishes drivers more severely if they are picked up for more than one DUI.
Colorado Statute 42-4-1307 lays out the penalties the judge can impose after a conviction, which can have lifelong consequences, highlighting the importance of retaining a skilled and experienced DUI attorney as early on in the process as possible.
You will be held in the county jail for at least ten days and possibly up to a year. The 10-day minimum is mandatory; however, the court has the ability to use sentencing alternatives as spelled out in section 18-1.3-106, which can include release from jail for the following:
- Home detention
- Day reporting
- Attending school or work
Unfortunately, the court does not have discretion to employ sentencing alternatives if your first offense occurred recently—within the past five years. Exceptions are made if the sentencing alternative exists in the county and is for:
- Continuing with your job
- Continuing to attend school
- Participating in a court-ordered drug and alcohol driving safety program
Colorado law also imposes probation of at least two years if this is your second offense.
If you are convicted of a second DUI, you will need to pay $600 to $1,500 as a fine. The judge has discretion to suspend the fine.
You must also perform at least 48 hours of community service, up to 120 hours. The judge does not have the ability to suspend the minimum, so you must put in your hours if you are convicted.
Your license will be suspended for one year if this is your second violation. If you refused to take a chemical test after being stopped, then your license will be suspended for a minimum of two years.
Counting Up Prior Offenses
Colorado counts many different convictions as prior convictions. For example, any of the following will count as a prior conviction:
- Driving While Ability Impaired Colorado (DWAI)
- Driving with a revoked license
- Driving while a license was under restraint
- Vehicular assault
- Vehicular homicide
Furthermore, Colorado law considers convictions in other states, not only in Colorado. For example, if you have a DUI conviction from any of the other 49 U.S. states, they will count as a prior conviction for purposes of calculating your punishment in Colorado.
Consider these examples:
Juan has a prior DUI in Mississippi from 2016. He gets picked up in Colorado in 2018 for DUI. He has a prior DUI on his record, so he is a two-time offender in the eyes of Colorado. Also, because his initial conviction happened within 5 years, he is ineligible for sentencing alternatives during his mandatory jail sentence unless he fits an exception.
Tina has a prior conviction for driving with a revoked license from Tennessee in 2010 and a conviction for DWAI in Colorado in 2015. She is picked up for DUI in Colorado in 2018. Because she has two prior convictions, she is now a third-time offender under Colorado law, not a second-time offender. Tina will face harsher penalties.
Contact a Colorado DUI Lawyer Today
After a second DUI conviction, many people struggle to regain their footing. To give yourself the best chance of recovery, work with an experienced DUI attorney. Remember: an arrest is not a conviction, and you might have legitimate defenses you can raise.
At the office of Miller Leonard, PC, our team is well versed in DUI law. Our firm’s founder is a former state prosecutor who has handled countless DUI cases and understands how state prosecutors think. Contact us today for a free consultation.