Colorado DUI Lawyer Defending Your Rights
A first-time DUI in Colorado can lead to serious consequences, despite the fact that it is considered a misdemeanor crime in most cases. DUI charges in Colorado incur criminal and administrative penalties. You can face jail time, steep fines, and lose your driver’s license. An experienced DUI lawyer can help.
In addition to DUI charges, Colorado can charge you with DWAI, or “driving while ability impaired.” Such charges are for those who drive a vehicle after consuming alcohol and or another substance that causes impairment behind the wheel. Colorado can charge you with DWAI when you are impaired with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 but less than the national DUI standard of 0.08.
When you face DUI charges, you run the risk of harsh penalties. In Colorado, for example, you could lose your license for three months and incur 12 points against it. Reinstating your license is not always easy; you must complete an alcohol and substance abuse program and may be subjected to installing an ignition interlock device.
Criminal penalties for a Colorado DUI can carry a mandatory minimum incarceration period. For a first-time offense, the state can require the defendant to spend at least five days in jail. This period of incarceration can be extended to up to a full year. Although it is rare to face jail time for a first-time offense, it is not off the table. If a defendant’s BAC was registered at .2 or higher, the jail sentence becomes mandatory.
Fines are a common penalty when one is convicted of DUI. In Colorado, you can expect a fine of between $600 to $1000. For DWAI, you can expect fines of $200 to $500. Community service is also a common penalty.
You cannot afford to face such charges alone in court. DUI is a complex area of litigation and you would greatly benefit from a competent and aggressive criminal defense from an experienced DUI lawyer like Miller Leonard. Mr. Leonard is a former DUI prosecutor; he has taught other lawyers on the subject; he has attended specialized DUI training; he has testified before the legislature about felony DUI laws and penalties. Contact Miller Leonard, PC for a free consultation by calling 720-613-8783 today.
DWAI vs. DUI
Getting arrested for DUI in Colorado is among life’s most unpleasant experiences. Facing charges for a DUI can put you in a bind, even if no one was hurt or no accident transpired. Colorado imposes harsh penalties for DUI crimes, which usually involve the punishment of jail time, license suspension, and steep fines.
Yet, Colorado handles DUI a little differently than most states. In Colorado, in addition to a DUI charge you could automatically face charges for DWAI, or “driving while ability impaired.”
DWAI is a lesser charge than DUI and is typically applied in situations where a driver was impaired but did not meet or exceed the per se level of having a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration. The main difference between a DWAI charge and a DUI charge is in the BAC. If you take a blood or breath test and your blood alcohol concentration measures 0.08 or higher, you are charged with DUI. To be charged with DWAI you must have a BAC of 0.05 up to but less than 0.08.
To be convicted with DWAI, the State must prove that your driving was impaired. Producing a BAC of 0.05 in and of itself, with no signs of impairment, is not a crime.
Although the offense is considered a “lesser offense” than DUI, penalties for DWAI mirror those for DUI except for the first offense. For example, a first offense DUI can lead to 1 year in jail, but a first offense DWAI can lead to up to 180 days. Meanwhile, a second offense DUI and DWAI can lead to up to a year in jail. If you have been convicted of DWAI but not DUI, you may also not have your license suspended by the Colorado DMV.
For a first time DUI you can face up to $1000 penalties, but for a first-time DWAI you can face up to just $500. For the best chances of having your charges reduced or altogether dropped, you need to team up with a competent and determined DUI lawyer. Miller Leonard has defended the criminally accused for over 19 years. Call 720-613-8783 for a consultation.
Convicted first-time DUI offenders typically do not face the full force of the law when they are sentenced. However, in Colorado, if you are a repeat DUI offender you are more likely to receive jail time, as well as an increased license suspension and even higher court fees. Penalties may be even more severe if you refuse to submit to chemical tests to prove your blood alcohol content.
Second and third-time DUIs are handled firmly by the courts. If a subsequent DUI has caused bodily injury or property damage, it becomes much more likely that the charge will be elevated to a felony offense from a misdemeanor offense. A felony DUI can be punished with over a year of incarceration.
Unlike other states that consider a lookback period, Colorado makes things very straight forward. If your first DUI was thirty years ago, your first DUI since then can be considered as your second DUI. Judges are allowed to consider DUIs for as long as possible, as a DUI in this state cannot be expunged.
For a second offense DUI, your license can be suspended for a minimum of 12 months. As with a first offense, 12 points will be added to your license. Judges consider the time that has passed between your first and second DUI when deciding the length of time that your license is suspended. Your second DUI conviction in Colorado will also require you to spend a minimum of 10 days in prison. Fines usually accompany these sentences. For a second offense, you can expect fines of a minimum of $600.00 to a maximum of $1,500.00. In addition, you may have to complete 48 to 120 hours of community service.
DWAI typically accompanies drunk driving charges. Second offense DWAI can incur penalties of 10 days to a full year in jail (with a mandatory minimum of 10 days), fines of between $600.00 and $1,500.00, 48 to 120 hours of community service, and license suspension for up to a full year.
Discuss Your Criminal Defense with an Experienced Colorado DUI Lawyer
The more DUI convictions you accumulate, the harsher the penalties. Attorney Miller Leonard is a long-time DUI lawyer in Golden, Colorado with over 19 years of experience. He has practiced as both a State Prosecutor and State Defense Attorney and is currently dedicated to fighting DUI criminal charges. Call (720) 613-8783 today or contact us to schedule a free consultation.