DUI Penalties

The Denver DUI Penalties imposed by the state of Colorado for driving under the influence (DUI) include both the sentencing in your criminal court case, as well as the limitation or suspension of your driving privileges by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

These are two entirely separate cases, as one generally has nothing to do with the other. For example, your DUI case may be dismissed entirely at the DMV but you still face a conviction in your court case – or vice versa. This page explains how the judge in your criminal case will decide the sentence of someone charged with DUI or DWAI.

What the judge will consider at a DUI/DWAI sentencing hearing

If convicted of, or you plead guilty to DUI or DWAI charges, you will be sentenced by the judge. The decisions the judge will make are:

  • The amount of jail time to be served (if any);
  • The number of community service hours required (if applicable);
  • If alcohol counseling is needed; and
  • Whether a fine should be imposed and the amount;

The judge may also consider alternatives to jail time such as in-home detention, participating in a work-release program, or probation.

A DUI is a misdemeanor charge, not a felony and the maximum sentence one can receive in the state of Colorado is one year in jail. If convicted of charges in addition to DUI, your jail sentence may be more than one year, since the judge has the authority to run the sentences consecutively, meaning they are added together.

Factors that determine your sentence will include:

  • Prior DUI related offenses you have (if any);
  • Your blood alcohol content levels;
  • If an accident occurred;
  • If there were any injuries;
  • Whether there was a reckless disregard for safety, such as excessive speeding, etc;
  • Your demeanor (politeness vs. rudeness) with the arresting officer;
  • Your post-DUI conduct, such as enrollment in alcohol or drug classes.

In cases of an accident, you will be required to pay restitution. For example, if you caused damage to someone’s car, you are required to pay for everything not covered by that person’s insurance, including his or her deductible. These are just a few examples of various issues related to DUI Penalties.