In 2015 Colorado lawmakers enacted tougher penalties for drivers facing their fourth or subsequent DUI. An driver’s fourth DUI is now considered a felony DUI, and that person faces prison time and a fine as high as $500,000.
Three or More Prior Convictions for DUI?
Driving under the influence is a class 4 felony if the violation occurred after three or more prior convictions, arising out of separate and distinct criminal episodes, for DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI; vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, or any combination of these offenses.
What Qualifies as a Prior Conviction for Felony DUI?
- Any Colorado prior for DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI; vehicular homicide or vehicular assault.
- A DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI; vehicular homicide or vehicular assault from any other state or U.S. territory.
- The prosecution has to list the DUI prior convictions in the charging document.
Penalties for Felony DUI in Colorado
If a person is convicted of Felony DUI in Colorado, a judge can sentence the person to a prison sentence to be served in the Colorado Department of Corrections for a period between two (2) to six (6) years. If the judge sentences a person to prison for any period of time, the person will also have to serve three (3) years of mandatory parole.
If the court sentences a person to prison, the court must first determine that:
- Prison is the most suitable option given the facts and circumstances of the case, including the defendant’s willingness to participate in treatment.
- Additionally, the court has to consider whether all other reasonable and appropriate sentences have been exhausted, and
- Do not appear likely to be successful if tried, or
- Present an unacceptable risk to public safety.
Before sentencing a person to prison for a felony DUI, the court has to consider other alternatives such as probation with inpatient treatment. Because of this, it is extremely important to contact O’Malley and Sawyer, LLC to discuss your specialized defense to felony DUI charges.
Is Prison Mandatory for Felony DUI?
No. A prison sentence is not mandatory. A person sentenced to a felony DUI could receive a lengthy probation sentence. Any felony DUI probation sentence could also begin with a combination of up to ninety days in county jail and up to one year of work release. A person convicted of felony DUI could also be sentenced up to six years to community corrections instead of prison.
Other Felony DUI Penalties
In addition to either a probation, community correction, or prison sentence for a felony DUI, the court will also include:
- Fine – $2,000 to $500,000;
- Points – 12 points against your Colorado driver’s license;
- Court fees, costs, and DUI surcharges; and
Felony DUI Defenses
If you are charged with felony DUI in Colorado, you must act quickly. Contact us immediately so that we can attack your Felony DUI charge on all fronts.
- Review your prior DUI convictions to determine if any of the prior convictions can be overturned.
- Attack the testing done in your case.
- Attack the DUI stop and any other constitutional suppression issues that exist in your case.
- Recommend a treatment plan to avoid being sentenced to prison.