December 1, 2022
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you probably have many questions on your mind. This is understandable — getting caught driving under the influence, even for first-time offenders, can yield significant consequences.
Colorado is actually one of the toughest states in the nation for this offense. To help Coloradans facing a DUI charge, we answer a few of the most common questions we hear from our clients.
Remember that every DUI case is different, and that you should consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
What Are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI in Colorado?
The sentencing and penalties for a DUI in Colorado depend on whether you’ve been convicted of the same offense in the past. Aggravating factors like very high blood alcohol concentration or a child passenger can also have a further negative impact.
For a first-time DUI conviction without any aggravating factors, typically carries a handful of penalties including up to a year in jail and a thousand dollar fine.
You are also at risk of losing your driver’s license for nine months, and will likely be required to serve nearly a hundred hours of community service while attending alcohol education classes.
Those with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher upon arrest are classified as “persistent drunk drivers” regardless of prior DUI history. This triggers additional alcohol education classes and a mandatory ignition interlock device for two years.
What Does a Colorado DUI Cost?
A DUI also carries heavy financial consequences. Below is an estimate of the costs you could incur if arrested and convicted:
- Criminal fee: $800
- Detoxification fee: $455
- Chemical testing fee: $75
- Victim compensation and assistance fees: $100
- Law enforcement assistance fee: $90
- Towing fees: $150
- Jail fee: $50
- Bail fee: $150
- Court fee: $20
- Probation supervision fee: $600
- Licence reinstatement and retesting: $100
- Ignition interlock device: $1,000
- Alcohol education classes: $600
- Community service supervision fee: $50
This totals $4,200-plus. Additionally, you’ll be required to carry high-risk car insurance for several years after your license is reinstated which can be far more costly than normal.
If you were hit with a DUI charge after getting into an accident, you may also have to pay the victims for any property damage or injuries sustained as a result of your drunk driving.
Will I Lose My License After a First-Time Colorado DUI?
If you are arrested for a DUI, an officer will take possession of your driver’s licence, and issue a temporary permit that’s valid for seven days.
During this 7-day window, you’ll need to schedule a hearing with the DMV to fight the suspension of your driver’s license. Because this is a short window, you’ll need to consult an attorney as soon as possible.
If you don’t schedule your DMV hearing within seven days, your license will be automatically suspended, and should the DMV decide not to rule in your favor, you could face license suspension for nine months.
Am I Required to Submit to Testing for a DUI in Colorado?
Yes and no. There are two levels of testing for a DUI: field sobriety and chemical testing.
You are required by law to submit to chemical testing, and refusing this request can land you additional criminal consequences.
On the other hand, you are not required to submit to field sobriety testing, in which suspected drunk drivers are asked to perform tasks in order to gauge their intoxication.
In fact, we recommend against it. Field sobriety testing is woefully inaccurate, and many sober people fail. However, it can still be used as evidence against you.
If you’ve been charged with a Colorado DUI, all is not lost. You have options that could get your charges reduced, dropped or dismissed. To successfully fight back, act sooner than later to protect your driver’s license and develop the best possible defense strategy.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.