Colorado DUI – Third Offense Consequences
In 2015, Colorado enacted a law that makes a fourth DUI conviction a felony. Making a fourth DUI a felony significantly increases the penalties an offender would face upon conviction. This is an important point to consider if you have recently been arrested for a third DUI offense. While a third DUI conviction is not a felony, it does bring you one step closer to that critical fourth conviction that could result in your serving serious jail time and paying a large fine.
Even though a third DUI conviction is a misdemeanor offense, it has taken on a greater meaning in the Colorado County Court system because now a third DUI charge is the most serious alcohol crime in County Court. While previously Judges saw that a person may have had multiple DUI convictions, now, the most serious will always be the 3rd DUI charge as it is the highest in the court.
Colorado DUI Penalties – Third Offense
- Jail – Minimum – 60 days/Maximum – 1 year
- Suspended Sentence – 1 year
- Fine – Minimum – $600/Maximum – $1500
- Community Service – Minimum – 48 hours/Maximum – 120 hours
- Probation – Minimum – 2 years/Maximum – 4 years
- License Revocation – Minimum – No revocation/Maximum – 2 years
Unlike some other states, Colorado does not have a “lookback” period when it comes to prior DUI convictions. This means that no matter how long ago your previous convictions occurred, they will still be used against you when it comes to your third DUI. A DUI that occurred 20 years ago will be used against you when it comes to sentencing as a DUI as well as the DUI that occurred last year. Your previous convictions, as well as your new conviction, will follow you around for the rest of your life.
The mandatory minimum jail sentence for a 3rd DUI is a 60-day consecutive sentence. This means that there is no “good time” credit available to shorten the first 60 days of any jail sentence imposed. Work release is a possibility. However, In Home Detention (IHD), home monitoring, is not. If you’re convicted of a third DUI, you will do jail time. Keep in mind that this is the minimum sentence. In practice, Colorado judges routinely impose six- to nine-month sentences for a third DUI.
In addition to a jail sentence, a judge must also impose a one year suspended jail sentence for a third DUI conviction. This suspended sentence can be a dangerous penalty. Once you serve your original sentence, you will be released on probation. However, if you fail on probation probation , you may have to serve the additional year of the suspended sentence.
You will also be required to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation. This evaluation will result in a recommended treatment program. You will have to successfully complete this treatment program, even if it requires significant costs in both time and money.
A fine of between $600 and $1500 will be imposed along with community service requirements of anywhere from 48 hours to 120 hours. You may also have to submit to random drug testing and pay court costs. A failure to successfully complete all of these requirements will result in the imposition of the suspended sentence.
Finally, if your previous DUI convictions all occurred within seven years of your third conviction, or if you have had two previous major traffic offenses, as defined in § 42-2-206 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, you will be labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender. This will result in a license revocation of five years. Furthermore, a conviction of driving as a habitual offender will result in a jail sentence of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $5000, and an additional one-year license suspension.
Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation
The significant penalties associated with either a third DUI conviction require an attorney with extensive DUI defense experience. Ann Toney is an expert in Colorado DUI laws, and her practice focuses solely on DUI and DWAI cases. Contact her for a free, confidential consultation at 303-399-5556, or through her online contact page.