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Colorado Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorneys

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Boulder Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorneys




A DUI arrest can be a scary experience, and can leave a lot of questions unanswered. Here are some frequently asked questions about DUI:


Question: Is DUI a felony in Colorado?

Answer: On or after August 5, 2015 a conviction for DUI, DUI per se or DWAI is a class 4 felony* if you have already have three or more lifetime convictions in Colorado or under the laws of any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, for any one of the following offenses: DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Assault, including any combination of these offenses.

* A class 4 felony carries a presumptive prison sentence of 2 to 6 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections and a presumptive fine of $2,000.00 to $500,000.00 and 3 years of mandatory parole.

Question: What are the usual penalties for a Colorado DUI first offense conviction?

Answer: Many first time DUI cases are resolved with probationary sentences, community service and alcohol/drug evaluation with recommended treatment and fines/costs. However, each case is treated uniquely with consideration to the circumstances of the case, test results, and the interplay between DMV consequences and Court penalties.

Question: What are the usual penalties for a second DUI offense conviction?

Answer: Second time DUI convictions also result in probationary sentences, community service, drug/alcohol evaluation with recommended treatment and fines/costs. However, penalties for second and subsequent offenses are always enhanced in terms of both DMV consequences and Court penalties, including jail. A careful review of your case and past history is the key to achieving the best outcome.

Question: What does hiring a DUI lawyer cost?

Answer: The answer is that the cost of hiring a lawyer is dependent upon the complexity the case. For this reason, our office offers a free initial consultation during which we’ll tell you what we project as the cost of your defense as well as explore with you the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

Question: What is an Ignition Interlock Device and will I be required to have one?

Answer: An Interlock is a device that is installed on a motor vehicle to prohibit any one from operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. It requires a breath sample before the engine will start and you are periodically required to provide breath samples while driving. If the device detects an elevated alcohol concentration level, the vehicle will not start.

Any Interlock-restricted driver who either drives a non-equipped vehicle or attempts to circumvent the proper functioning of the interlock device is subject to a license revocation with no driving for at least one year.

The Interlock device must be serviced every sixty days. An Interlock-restricted driver who fails to report for device servicing is subject to a license suspension with no driving until that driver comes back into compliance. Any driver whose interlock lease is cancelled by the provider or before the driver’s requirement is completed will be suspended until the driver enters into a new lease agreement.

If the device prevents operation of the vehicle after detecting alcohol in three of any twelve consecutive months the operator may be subject to suspension and additional time on their interlock requirement, up to one year for each set of three fails.

Under current law your driving privilege can be restricted to operating a vehicle only when equipped with an interlock device when you’ve been revoked for multiple convictions; for having driven with an excess BAC; for being an habitual traffic offender; and, for being a persistent drunk driver. Under House Bill 15-1043 a person whose privilege to drive is revoked for multiple convictions for any combination of DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI must hold an interlock-restricted license for 2 to 5 years. In addition, courts are now specifically directed by the legislature to use interlock devices as a condition of bond, probation and any alternative jail sentence, including work, education and medical release, home detention or day reporting.

Operating a vehicle after circumventing an interlock device is a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense and tampering with an approved interlock device is a class 1 misdemeanor offense.

Question: Because marijuana has been made legal in Colorado can I be charged with a DUI offense based on my use of a “legal” drug?

Answer: The fact that any person charged with a violation of Colorado’s DUI law is or has been entitled to use one or more drugs under Colorado law, including, but not limited to, the medical use of marijuana does not constitute a legal defense to a DUI charge.

Question: How does Colorado law define “drugs” for purposes of a DUI/drug offense?

Answer: Colorado law defines a drug as being anything which is recognized as a drug in the official United States pharmacopoeia, national formulary, or the official homeopathic pharmacopoeia of the United States, or a supplement thereof; or which is intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in individuals or animals; other than food, intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of individuals or animals; or which is intended for use as a component of any of the above.

Also considered a drug under Colorado’s DUI law: any controlled substance, and any inhaled glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor or vapors.

Contact a DUI Attorney Today

mertes law logo | DUI FAQContact the experienced DUI attorneys at Mertes Law today. They have been serving the Boulder, Colorado area for decades and we are committed to giving our clients the best legal defense we possibly can. Fill out the contact form on this page or call (303) 440-0123 to schedule a free consultation today.

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