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If you were arrested for drunk driving, your life can be negatively impacted for years, especially if you do not obtain a qualified DUI defense attorney. A conviction can raise your auto insurance rates, establish a criminal history and result in the revocation of your driving privileges.
There are two different points at which revocation of your driver’s license could occur. The first is for having a blood alcohol level over .08, and the second is a revocation upon conviction. If you have had a prior DUI conviction or an express consent revocation, the consequences of your current charges can become even more complicated. A second offense at any time in your life triggers a mandatory jail sentence. An arrest for drunk driving should not be taken lightly. To present a strong and aggressive defense to these accusations, you need an attorney who is ready to help you protect your rights and driving privileges.
Why Choose J.B. Katz
- We have more than 20 years of experience representing clients facing alcohol-related offenses.
- We understand the gravity of your situation and will do everything we can to help you avoid harsh penalties.
- Each case is given the one-on-one personal attention it deserves to ensure we develop the strongest legal defense possible.
DUI Laws in Breckenridge, Colorado
Being charged with driving under the influence should always be taken very seriously. A knowledgeable lawyer can assist you in every step of the way, but it’s still important to know what penalties you could be facing so you can prepare yourself for what’s ahead.
First DUI Conviction
The first time you are convicted of a DUI, it is considered a misdemeanor. You will automatically receive at least five days in jail. If your BAC was .2% or higher, you will be required to spend a minimum of 20 days in jail. The maximum jail sentence for your first DUI conviction is one year. Additionally, you will be required to pay between $600 and $1,000 in fines. You’ll need to complete between 48 and 96 hours of community service, and you may have to attend alcohol education classes. Further, your license will be suspended for a period of 9 months, and you could be put on probation for up to 2 years.
Second DUI Conviction
A second DUI conviction is a misdemeanor as well, and you will be required to spend at least 10 days in jail. The 10 days must be consecutive if your second DUI conviction is within 5 years of your first. You will be required to pay up to $1,500 in fines, complete up to 120 hours of community service, attend alcohol education classes, and you will be put on probation for at least 2 years. Additionally, you will have to install an ignition interlock device in your car for two years, and you will be put on probation for a minimum of two years.
Your license will also be revoked for one year. Once you are permitted to have your license reinstated, you will be required to install and cover the costs of an ignition interlock device. This machine requires you to blow into it before your car will start. If it registers alcohol in your system, it won’t allow the car to start. This is to ensure that you are not drinking and driving.
Third DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of a third DUI, it is still considered a misdemeanor. You will be required to spend at least 60 days in jail consecutively, up to one year. You will have to complete community service, pay up to $1,500 in fines, attend alcohol education classes, and your license will be suspended for 2 years. Additionally, you will have to install an ignition interlock device in your car for a period of two years, and you will be put on probation for a minimum of two years.
Fourth DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of driving under the influence for a fourth time, you will be charged with a class 4 felony. The penalties for a class 4 felony and a fourth conviction include a minimum of two years in prison and a possible maximum of up to six years, or probation and a mandatory 90 days in jail. Additionally, your driver’s license will be suspended for two years, and once reinstated, you are required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
Even if you weren’t convicted of any or all of your prior DUIs in the state of Colorado, a new conviction in the state of Colorado will still count as a fourth DUI.
Defenses Against a DUI
Building a solid defense against a DUI is critical, as you could possibly persuade the prosecution to reduce or even drop the charges.
Inaccurate Breathalyzer Test
Breath tests, commonly referred to as breathalyzers, determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and if above 0.08%, the test alone can prove you were intoxicated. However, inaccurate readings can occur, and a single test alone is often insufficient to determine the levels of alcohol in your system. Frequently, you will need testimony from an expert witness for a defense related to chemical test results.
A police officer must have reasonable suspicion that a driver has violated the law in order to pull someone over legally. Therefore, if you are pulled over unlawfully, any evidence of DUI they discover cannot be used in court. In other words, if you can prove the police officer had no basis for pulling you over, then any field sobriety tests, statements, results from chemical or blood tests, etc. must be thrown out, and the prosecution will have no choice but to dismiss the charges against you.
Witnesses Saw it Differently
If there were witnesses you can introduce who saw the situation differently from the police officer, it may challenge the officer’s credibility. For example, no bad driving, no balance problems getting out of the car, no odor of alcohol, no speech impairment, etc.
When is a DUI Considered a Felony?
DUIs are typically misdemeanors in Colorado, except in some circumstances. For example, a DUI is considered a felony offense if:
It is your fourth DUI conviction or more. Facing a class 4 felony DUI charge means you have had at least three prior DUI-related convictions. As a result, potential penalties include:
- Between 2 to 6 years in prison with mandatory a 3-year parole period; and/or,
- Between $2,000 to $500,000 in fines.
- If the judge grants probation, the sentence will include:
- Between 90 to 180 days in jail or 120 days to 2 years in jail through an alternative sentencing program;
- 48 to 120 hours of community service; and,
- Level II alcohol and drug education class.
You caused an accident that resulted in an injury or death. Even if you have no prior DUI convictions, you can face a class 4 felony DUI charge for causing serious bodily injury. For example: paralysis, loss of limbs, disfigurement, serious burns, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injuries.
If you cause a fatality. If you operate a vehicle while intoxicated and cause an accident that results in a fatality, you can be charged with a Class 3 felony. This level of felony carries the following potential penalties:
- $3,000 to $750,000 in fines; and/or,
- 4 to 12 years in prison with a mandatory 5-year parole period.
When deciding a defendant’s penalties, the court will consider the defendant’s willingness to participate in an alcohol or drug treatment program and whether other penalties are acceptable for the situation and do not pose an unacceptable risk to public safety.
DMV Hearings Concerning The Status Of Your Driving Privileges
For those who have been charged with driving under the influence and have taken a breath test, you have only seven days to complete certain critical actions. You must request a DMV hearing; otherwise, you will lose your driving privileges on the eighth day.
DMV hearings are conducted by telephone in rural Colorado. If I participate as your lawyer, you may not need to take part in the hearing. We will make that decision together depending on the facts of your case. This hearing will determine the status of your driving privileges only. It has no bearing on the criminal case. The two are completely separate, and while these hearings are difficult to win, it is without a doubt to your benefit to have experienced legal counsel representing you at this critical time in your case.
Creative Solutions That Help You Achieve Your Goals
In addition to representing you at the DMV hearing, I will analyze the evidence in your case and will file motions, if necessary. If your case goes to court, I will work to negotiate with the prosecution to obtain an agreement that is in your best interest.
It is always your decision whether to accept a plea bargain in your case. However, I believe it is my ethical obligation in every case to at least obtain a plea offer for your consideration. You must understand your options and alternatives in your case to make an informed decision about whether to take your case to trial. Once you make your decision, I will work zealously to obtain the best result for you.
I will also work with you to find a creative approach to your situation. For example, DUI convictions often reflect a long-term alcohol problem. Obtaining counseling or attending a substance abuse program can help you move on in life and may help you when facing the consequences of any criminal conviction.
Free Initial Consultation — Over 20 Years Of Experience Fighting DUI Charges
Providing only criminal defense services, I am dedicated to protecting those charged with DUI in the Colorado mountains area. For out-of-state individuals, I am ready to assist you with a “plea by mail” so you may not have to return for court. Please call or text my Breckenridge office at (970) 453-5533 or send me an email today for a free initial consultation.