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Colorado Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorneys

Free Consultation : (303) 440-0123




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.

“Larry Mertes is Exceptional”

– Katie S. –

Larry Mertes is exceptional. His legal advice, guidance, and compassion resulted in a positive legal outcome and our family healing. He is much more than a talented and educated attorney, he was a beacon of hope and a friend during our families darkest hour.

“Care, Compassion, and Professionalism”

– M. Rider –

The Mertes Law Firm handled my case with care, compassion, and the high level of professionalism. I would highly recommend Larry Mertes to anyone needing legal assistance.

“Great Representation”

– Sheryle M. –

I have had fair and great representation with this firm.

“Larry and his staff took excellent care of both my husband and I”

– Car Accident Client –

Larry and his staff took excellent care of both my husband and I. My injury was not severe but it changed both of our lives. I am not a fan of litigation so I tried to get better on my own. My treatments were costly and I continued to struggle. I had to give up many of the things that gave me pleasure. Larry made me realize that I still had rights even though I had a previous injury. I was not the same person. It was good to have Larry in my corner.

“Much needed help in my time of need!”

– Christa –

Larry Mertes and staff provided me with exceptional representation in my biggest time of need. After being rear-ended, I attempted to handle everything myself, which ended up feeling like a second job. I was in deep turmoil with paperwork, doctor bills, physical and mental pain, and confusion….and Larry Mertes and his team set up a free consultation immediately. They explained the whole process clearly, and eased my mind by handling the case. I’m extremely satisfied with their professionalism, time, dedication, and care that they showed me and my case. Someone I know recommended Larry to me and now I recommend him to you!

“I love Mertes Law”

– Nyxi –

I love Mertes Law. Not only is Larry Mertes a brilliant, thorough, experienced, knowledgeable, and well networked lawyer, he is a kind, intuitive, caring, trustworthy, and genuine person. What seemed like an unfortunate circumstance actually ended up a blessing in disguise, and meeting and hiring Mertes Law was the catalyst. I now have a greater understanding of the insurance business so I can make sure I’m taken care of. The health care professionals Larry put me in contact with matched my personal needs and I’ve retained lasting, cherished relationships, both professionally and personally. Thank you!

“A great choice in an attorney for us.”

– Anonymous –

We hired Larry to help seal the files of felony charge for my husband that had occurred several years ago. There were a lot of crazy circumstance to the original case/charges that made it seem impossible. It was difficult to do for many reasons but Larry got it done.

“The entire staff was great!”

– John –

They handled a DWI and Criminal Mischief case for us. Very patient and helpful!! The entire staff was GREAT!!!

“Great services, and excellent result, well worth the time and money!”

– Jeremy –

Larry Mertes handled my DUI case in a very professional manner. I got positive feedback from the start, as he had a lot of questions I never would have thought of when we had our initial consultation. I understood that due to the large number of cases the firm handles, I had to be patient to hear a response back. But it was always a very thorough response, and he made good suggestions. TJ Willard also assisted in my case, and helped me to win my administrative hearing by simply stating the facts and explaining that I was only sitting in the vehicle, and not actually driving it. He had helped Larry a great deal with my case and I would also recommend his services. Larry had recommended a good course of action for me to take to help my case to include gathering as much information and evidence as I could and attending alcohol classes ahead of time for my DUI charge. All of this preparation had helped put me in a good situation. He had presented an excellent argument toward the District Attorney stating that I had not intended to drive, and was merely sitting in the car staying warm to try to figure out what to do next. He also mentioned the arresting officer had no reasonable suspicion for approaching my vehicle because I had tinted windows and he could not see inside. I was also parked legally in a parking garage. The DA had later reached a plea bargaining agreement, and I plead guilty to a reckless driving offense with community service, and my DUI charge had been dismissed. Well worth the cost and peace of mind of maintaining a clean criminal record. I would strongly recommend Larry Mertes for his legal services! Thank you!

“Reduced 4 felonies to deferred misdemeanor…”

– Rob –

Larry and TJ were very adept at handling both my son and the DA in dealing with my son’s felony charges. With some sage advice to take an extra two weeks on bond, my son was able to demonstrate he was trying to get back on track, and the bond officer was able to give an excellent report. TJ was right there helping my son see what he needed to do, and encourage him to keep trying to put his best foot forward with the judge, DA, and bond officer.


– Jack –

Mr. Mertes resolved my case in a expedient and professional manner. I had multiple serious charges and he was able to reduce my felony charges down to a 1st class misdemeanor. He was very compassionate and was always available to discuss my case. From arrest to disposition was only 36 days. He should be appointed to be a judge in my opinion.

“Mertes Law Office did an outstanding job…”

– Max H. –

The Mertes Law Office did an outstanding job in analyzing each piece of my case and strategizing ways to determine whether or not I was charged fairly. Throughout dealing with me their team stayed on top of everything, made sure I was informed and updated in addition they answered all of my questions promptly. In the end I was able to keep a clean record and received the best outcome due to their recommendations. Mertes Law will not disappoint.

“Exceptional law firm and had a great experience with them!”

– Abigail A. –

Exceptional law firm and had a great experience with them! 100% recommend 🙂

“Larry represented me a few times for cases involving auto accidents and he never ceased to impress.”

– Brycen –

Larry represented me a few times for cases involving auto accidents and he never ceased to impress. He understands the system and insurance companies very well and always painted a clear picture of what the plan was. His coaching for times when I had to speak, like depositions, was always on point. He referred me to great doctors who helped me get healthy and whose reports helped aid our case. Whenever Larry was wasn’t immediately available, the staff was always eager and willing to help. Beyond being great at what he does, Larry also took interest in my personal life by getting to know me and ensuring the legal process didn’t derail everything else in my life. He cared from day 1 and it has always been appreciated.

“Mertes Law Firm has helped our family in many ways!”

– Lori –

Mertes Law Firm has helped our family in many ways! They are smart, thorough and willing to step outside the box to find solutions. In times of much stress, they can be counted on to provide information in a format that is easy to understand. I cannot recommend them enough.

“I’m so happy and grateful I chose them to help me.”

– Sara –

I’ve recently used Mertes Law and cannot be happier with their service. Both Larry and Pete made me feel welcome and helped ease my worries about possible outcomes. They always kept me in the loop and made sure I understood all of my options before I made a decision. If it wasn’t for their professional guidance, I wouldn’t have had the outcome I received. I’m so happy and grateful I chose them to help me. I would never use anyone else and highly recommend them both.

“Larry and his staff have been great resources for my family and I.”

– Michael U. –

Larry and his staff have been great resources for my family and I. Providing excellent guidance in a timely and fashionable manner. Highly recommended.

“Larry Mertes is a dedicated and experienced attorney committed to putting the needs of his clients first.”

– Leb B. –

Larry Mertes is a dedicated and experienced attorney committed to putting the needs of his clients first.

“5 stars”

– Travis L. –

5 stars

“Super smart, great to work with, outstanding results!”

– Sara –

Larry and his team were beyond great! It was such a relief to hand my legal issues over to them so that I could focus on healing after my car accident. The folks at Mertes Law worked hard on my behalf and got a great settlement. I’m very grateful for everything they’ve done. Thanks, Larry, Karen, and Mariah!


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