In 2015, Colorado legislatures enacted new felony DUI laws, making the stakes much higher for those convicted of the offense. As a felony DUI offender, you will be required to spend a minimum of 90 days in jail, regardless of the offense. In addition to this, you will have your license suspended, be labeled a persistent drunk driver and have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
The collateral consequences of a felony DUI are far more reaching than criminal penalties. You could be fired from your job, have a hard time finding employment and lose some of your fundamental rights. It’s imperative you contact legal representation if you have been arrested for felony DUI.
DUI Defense Attorney in Colorado Springs, CO
Felony charges are too serious to be handled by an inexperienced attorney. Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. has been defending clients of DUI crimes for over a decade, so we know what it takes to have a successful case. Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a confidential consultation.
Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. defends clients accused of felony crimes in areas such as Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Woodland Park and Cañon City.
Fourth or Subsequent DUI
Driving under the influence is generally charged as a misdemeanor in Colorado. But after the third offense, the state puts its foot down and charges the crime as a felony. As a felony DUI offender, you will be required to spend time in jail, even if you are sentenced to probation.
Driving under the influence involves operating a motor vehicle under the following circumstances:
- With a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more
- With five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood; or
- Being intoxicated by alcohol or drugs to the point you can no longer operate a vehicle safely.
The fourth or subsequent time you are arrested with DUI, DUI per se or DWAI, you will be charged with a class 4 felony, which is punishable by the following:
- Between two to six years of imprisonment
- A fine between $2,000 and $500,000
- A license suspension for two years
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Labeled a persistent drunk driver (PDD)
- Complete alcohol or drug treatment
Colorado does not recognize lookback periods for DUI. This means any previous DUI on your record will be taken into account by the court, even if it took place decades ago. Keep in mind, however, if the fourth or subsequent DUI offense took place within five years of your previous conviction, you will face additional sentencing.
Drivers who operate a vehicle while under the influence are almost 100 times more likely to get into an accident than sober drivers. Getting into a crash and causing serious bodily injury because you were under the influence is considered vehicular assault.
What sets a regular DUI accident apart from vehicular assault is whether or not serious bodily injury occurred. Determining what is serious bodily injury can be difficult. According to the Colorado Revised Statutes, serious bodily injury is an injury that causes the following:
- A substantial risk of death
- Protracted loss or impairment of a bodily organ
- Serious permanent disfigurement
- Breaks or fractures
- Second or third-degree burns
Vehicular assault is a class 4 felony, even for first-time offenders. The offense is punishable by the following:
- Two to six years in prison
- A fine between $2,000 and $500,000
Prosecutors will seek prison time due to the cause of serious bodily injury and the media exposure that typically follows vehicular assault cases. If the judge finds aggravating factors such as a high BAC or previous convictions of the crime, they may sentence you to up to 12 years.
Another type of felony DUI is vehicular homicide. This offense is similar to vehicular assault, except it results in the accidental death of another person. Traffic fatalities have been on the decline over the last few years, but alcohol-related crashes still take 10,000 lives a year in the United States.
Vehicular homicide is a devastating crime that affects everyone involved. The death may have been an accident, but prosecutors will still come after you with force. In addition to this, the victim’s family may file a claim against you in civil court for wrongful death.
Vehicular homicide is typically charged as a class 4 felony, but the crime is reclassified to a class 3 felony when intoxicated driving was the cause. A class 3 felony is punishable by the following:
- Four to 12 years in prison
- A fine between $3,000 and $750,000
- A license suspension for one year
You are solely responsible for your actions once you consume a substance. It’s inadmissible in court to argue the drug which impaired your driving was legally purchased.
Driving Under the Influence | Colorado Revised Statutes – Follow the link provided to learn more about the state’s DUI laws. You can find more information about DUI per se and DWIA. You find out how juveniles are charged and what is considered not under the influence. The statutes can be read on FindLaw.com, an online legal resource.
Vehicular Homicide | Colorado Revised Statutes – Visit FindLaw.com to read the section of the revised statutes governing vehicular homicide. You can read the precise legal definition of the crime and find out if you are required to submit to a chemical test.
Felony DUI Defense Lawyer in Colorado Springs, CO
Finding legal counsel should be your top priority. Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. will take the time to listen to your story and devise a defense plan in your best interest. Don’t delay. The sooner you retain legal counsel, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome in court. You can schedule a case evaluation by calling (719) 328-1616.
Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. proudly defends those accused of felony DUI crimes in areas such as El Paso County, Pueblo County, Fermont County and Teller County.