What are the penalties for a DUI First Offense in Colorado?

Question: What are the penalties for a DUI First Offense in Colorado?

Answer: There are a wide range of penalties for a first-DUI conviction in Colorado, and some may surprise you, says Denver-based DUI attorney Jay Tiftickjian.

Most people will not go to jail for a first DUI conviction unless they have a BAC at .20 or more or were involved in an accident. The possibility of incarceration, however, is a realty in counties such as Clear Creek and Summit, where judges commonly impose jail time for a first DUI or DWAI conviction.

In Denver County, prosecutors routinely ask for jail when a person is involved in an accident, especially when there is some evidence that the person tried to flee the scene. In addition, a BAC at or over 0.15 should cause a defendant to be nervous as it elevates a first-offense to a “persistent drunk driver” category.

In addition to the possibility of jail, it is very common to receive probation on a first offense. Probation is supervised through the court system, or could be outsourced to a private monitoring company. If probation is not successful, jail is a strong possibility.

Probation routinely consists of the following conditions:

  1. No new law violations;
  2. No driving without a valid driver’s license and insurance;
  3. Completion of an alcohol evaluation to be done by the probation department, as well as any alcohol education and therapy track that is recommended;
  4. Completion of a MADD victim impact panel;
  5. No consumption of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs including marijuana;
  6. Up to 96 public service hours

If the BAC in the case is 0.20 or more, there is a mandatory jail sentence of ten days. While in-home detention or electronic home monitoring is an option for this minimum sentence, a judge does not have to grant this and could put an offender in the county jail for up to one year.

Finally there are driver’s license revocations involved with DUI cases. A first DUI conviction will cause a nine-month driver’s license loss with mandatory ignition interlock driving if a motorist wishes to reinstate early. In addition, a person charged with DUI must defend a separate hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicle regarding his or her driving privilege.

Because of all the penalties involved, it is wise to retain a DUI defense lawyer that can work to lessen any potential sentence in a DUI case.

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