When Does a DUI Become a Felony?

By Evan Levow
 on 0909/2525/17171717
 in the category:
Penalties & Fines For DWUI / DWI

By: The Orr Law Firm

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a charge that leads to severe punishments in many states. Colorado is no exception. The state of Colorado has two levels of alcohol-related driving offenses, and both are based on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the person operating a vehicle—driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol (DUI) and driving while ability is impaired (DWAI).

If you are convicted of either offense, you face automatic penalties, called administrative penalties. These punishments will cause an automatic suspension of your driver’s license in addition to fees and points depending on the level of the offense.

While most 1st-time DUI offenses are misdemeanors, there are a couple of cases that could lead to a felony conviction. For example, according to Colorado law, a person who commits a 4th or subsequent DUI offense commits a class 4 felony. The court could sentence you to probation rather than a prison sentence; however, the law requires the court to also order as a condition of probation the following:

  • Require the defendant to serve 90 to 180 days in jail. During this time, the defendant is not eligible for good-time deductions of his or her sentence for trusty prisoner status; however, the defendant receives credit for any time he or she served in custody for the violation of his or her conviction.
  • Require the defendant to serve 120 days to 2 years of jail time through participation in an alternative sentencing program if such programs are available in the county in which the defendant is imprisoned (only for certain purposes). Likewise, the defendant is not eligible for good-time deductions but can receive credit for any time served in custody for the violation prior to conviction.

Additionally, if probation is granted, the defendant will have to complete 48 to 120 hours of public service, complete a level II alcohol and drug driving safety education or treatment program at the accused’s own expense, and any other conditions of probation.

However, if the court doesn’t sentence you to probation, you face harsher punishments. Four a 4th or subsequent DUI, you could face up to 6 years in prison and be fined up to $500,000. However, if your DUI led to vehicular assault or vehicular homicide, you could still face a felony charge even if it is your 1st DUI conviction.

A conviction for a DUI offense can lead to severe consequences. Those who are convicted of a DUI will have it displayed on their criminal record, which can make it harder for them to find a job, particularly if a good driving record is a requirement. Commercial truck drivers, for example, might no longer be eligible for their commercial driver’s license if they are convicted of a DUI. Housing can also be hard to find if the owner of the property conducts background checks on all his or her tenants.

Make sure you give yourself the best defense possible if you’re facing a DUI or DWAI charge. Our skilled Denver criminal defense attorneys can help. The Orr Law Firm is Colorado’s premier DUI defense law firm. Our lawyers are well trained to look over your case and determine what the best course of action is in your case. Call us as soon as possible so we can begin mounting a good defense. Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights and freedom of our clients. Let us see what we can do for you.

Contact us at (720) 619-2676 or fill out our online form to schedule a FREE case consultation today.

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Evan Levow - instructor of field sobrietyState V. Chun Button
(877) 735-2288
Evan Levow
Date Published: September 25, 2017
Evan Levow is the managing partner of Levow DWI Law, P.C., which is a Tier 1 DUI/DWI Best Law Firm. Evan Levow has argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court on landmark DWI breath testing cases such as State vs. Chun. He is also the President Emeritus of the 600 member DUI Defense Lawyers Association.
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