Can I go to jail for a first DUI in Colorado?

Denver DUI attorney Jay Tiftickjian says that most people do not receive jail on a first-offense DUI in Colorado, but this is not always the case. The trend is moving toward harsher sentences, and some judges routinely give jail on first DUI or DWAI convictions.

The possible sentencing range for a first-time DUI conviction in Colorado is 5 days to one year in the county jail and up to two years of probation. A judge has the authority under the DUI law to suspend even the minimum mandatory 5 day sentence upon the condition that an offender undergo an alcohol evaluation and complete the recommended education and therapy course.

Most judges in Colorado will still sentence an offender to probation for a first-time DUI conviction, but that trend is quickly changing. First, with any aggravating circumstance such as an accident or high BAC, a judge may impose incarceration. In addition, every county is different, and in some counties it is routine to get jail on a first offense DUI or DWAI even without aggravating circumstances.

Most DUI lawyers will advise you to enroll in alcohol education classes in advance of court in order to show the judge and prosecutor that you are taking the case seriously and are not a candidate for a repeat offense. In addition, your defense attorney will want to investigate the case to see if there are challenges to the police procedures and legality of the contact and arrest. Finally, your attorney will want to mitigate and negotiate with the prosecution so that there may be a better alternative to a conviction, trial, or a county jail sentence.

Bottom line, jail is a real possibility for a first DUI offense in Colorado. Many of the possibilities lie with where the case is pending and what type of facts are involved, but the assistance of a good defense attorney can be the difference in negotiating a favorable disposition or going to jail with a conviction.

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