In 2015, over 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and that 1.1 million represents just 1% of the 111 million accounts of self-reported alcohol-impaired driving among adults in the United States. Over 10,000 people lost their lives in crashes involving alcohol, 209 of these being children under the age of 14 years old. Impaired driving in Colorado is clearly a big problem.
Currently in Colorado, there’s a big difference between a third and a fourth DUI conviction. A third DUI in Colorado, unlike some states, is still a misdemeanor instead of a felony. However, in 2015, Colorado enacted a law making a fourth DUI conviction a felony. While clearly the punishments for a misdemeanor will not be as severe as the punishments for a felony, a third DUI conviction is a serious matter that gets you one step closer to that fourth conviction, which will likely result in serious prison time as well as a six-figure fine.
Colorado Third Offense DUI Penalties
Criminal statutes are intended to discourage certain behaviors, which is why the punishments get more severe with each subsequent conviction. Looking at the differences in penalties between a second- and third-offense, you’ll see that a second DUI conviction results in only ten days of jail time, whereas with a third DUI conviction, jail time jumps to a mandatory 60 consecutive days, up to one year.
When you have two previous DUI convictions on your record, the judge is unlikely to show tolerance when sentencing your third DUI offense, and you may be looking at quite a significant jail sentence with any judge who adheres to the “three strikes and you’re out” policy.
A third DUI conviction in Colorado will likely result in the following penalties:
- Up to one year in jail;
- Up to one year suspended jail sentence;
- Up to $1500 fine;
- Up to 120 hours of community service;
- Up to four years of probation;
- Up to two years driver’s license suspension
It should be noted that Colorado, unlike some states, doesn’t have a “lookback” period when it comes to DUI convictions. Whether your last DUI was 25 years ago or last year, it will still be counted as a DUI conviction, and used against you. These convictions never drop off your record and will be a matter of public record as long as you live.
There is a 60-day consecutive, mandatory minimum sentence for a third DUI conviction. This sentence can’t be shortened in any way, including time off for good behavior, but work release programs are a possibility. House arrest is not a possibility either. If you are convicted of a third DUI, you are going to jail for at least 60 days, and it’s much more likely that your judge will impose a six- to nine-month sentence.
There is also a mandatory one-year suspended sentence for a third DUI conviction. What this means is that after serving your original sentence, you will be released but will remain on probation. If you fail to adhere to all the conditions of your probation, you will be arrested again and have to return to jail to serve the suspended one-year sentence.
You’ll be required to participate in a drug and alcohol evaluation, which will result in a recommended treatment program. You will be responsible for attending and successfully completing this treatment program on your own time and at your own cost.
The fine you will pay (up to $1500) isn’t all you’re required to pay for when you’re convicted a third time. You’ll also have to pay for random drug testing and court costs, and you’ll be required to perform up to 120 hours of community service, which will mean time off work. If you do not adhere to these requirements, you will be forced to serve the one-year suspended jail sentence.
Your driver’s license will be suspended for up to two years; possibly more if you have a bad driving record to begin with. And, you’ll likely be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car for two years or more. You will have to pay for the expense of having the device installed on your car as well as the monthly rental fee for the duration of the requirement.
And finally, if you have gotten all of your previous DUI convictions within the previous seven years of your third conviction, or if you previously had two major traffic offenses, you will be labeled a “habitual traffic offender”. This will result in a five-year license revocation, an additional jail sentence of up to 18 months, an additional fine of up to $5000, and an additional one-year license suspension.
The penalties that go along with a third DUI conviction are severe and have the potential to negatively affect life as you now know it. You need an attorney with significant Colorado DUI experience, and Christian Schwaner has that experience. Contact Christian today for a free consultation at 719-577-9700 or online here.