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Oct 22

Just Shy Of A Felony DUI - The Third DUI In Colorado

Just Shy Of A Felony DUI – The Third DUI In Colorado

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado DUI – DWAI – DUID – Criminal Defense Lawyer

Just Shy Of A Felony DUI – The Third DUI In Colorado – If a person reaches a THIRD DUI, DWAI, DUID conviction in Colorado, one shy of a Felony DUI, that person may be surprised that the punishment for that third DUI may actually EXCEED that of a FOURTH or FELONY DUI conviction. Here is why.

A Third DUI – DWAI or DUID Conviction In Colorado

There is an irony at work right now in the Colorado DUI law area and it is this: if you are convicted of a third DUI – DWAI – or DUID (collectively DUI), you are more likely to serve a much longer sentence than if you are convicted of a FELONY DUI.

What follows is a chart of potential sentences for a third DUI conviction:



For a conviction for a THIRD DUI, a sixty day (consecutive) jail sentence is the mandatory minimum sentence and while work release may be granted – no home detention (electronic monitoring – ankle monitor) is permitted. The 60 day sentence is the MINIMUM sentence – Colorado Judges routinely imposed 6 to 9 months in the county jail for a third DUI.

For the first 60 days you are required to do your time in an actual jail and you are not given credit for GOOD TIME or TRUSTEE TIME (which lessens the length of the sentence under ordinary circumstances).

Also the time between your prior convictions for DUI – DWAI – or DUID is not a factor. Colorado reaches back over a lifetime and in every state to compute your prior DUI history. I am asked – often – “well my priors were twenty plus years ago so they can’t use them right?” While that might factor in to the sentence imposed after the mandatory minimum of 60 days it is not relevant otherwise.

Here is a link to 42-4-1307  C.R.S. – this is a complex statute – but contains the information you will need to understand.

Some Additional Bad News

In addition to the up to a year for the original sentence, a Trial Judge must also impose a one-year suspended sentence should you fail at the conditions of the probation that follow your original jail sentence. A suspended sentence poses a very real danger of serving that additional year should you not comply with probation.

You will be ordered to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and the recommended treatment program that follows – which may also included dozens of hours of therapy.

Finally the fine will be a minium of $600 and a maximum of $1,500.00. Public service hours of between 48 and 120 are imposed along with a myriad of other conditions such as UA’s (random urinalyses) a MADD panel class (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and probation superivion and court costs.

The Colorado Felony DUI Conviction – Cumulative Experience As Of 2016

Here is the irony of the 2015 Colorado creation of the Felony DUI (chargable after 3 or more DUI’s). You are more likely to do a heavier jail sentence on your THIRD DUI than any other subsequent DUI conviction.

The Denver Post recently reviewed the sentences for a Colorado Felony DUI conviction. Unlike the sentence for a Colorado THIRD DUI (see above) there is no mandatory minimum for the sentence in a Colorado FELONY DUI.

Under the new Colorado felony DUI law, a fourth DUI conviction carries a possible sentence of up to six years in prison a felony DUI conviction has no mandatory jail or prison time. In Colorado, on a first felony conviction you are more likely to receive probation than a straight prison sentence. In the case of a Colorado Felony DUI – while a Trial Judge may grant probation  – there is almost always a jail sentence – but here’s the irony – that jail sentence is typically much less than a sentence for a THIRD DUI.

Colorado law provides that – in a felony sentence to probation – the maximum jail sentence a judge can impose is 90 days in jail or a sentence of 90 days.

The Sentences Actually Being Handed Out In 2016 For Colorado Felony DUI’s

A well known Front Rage DA has put it this way:

“The courts are interpreting the DUI felony law to give out less jail time than would be mandated under a misdemeanor DUI,”

According to the Denver Post, while 30 percent of the sentences for Colorado Felony DUI’s resulted in prison sentences and 48 percent included a straight jail sentence:

the balance of the sentences, about 22 percent, were for time served in halfway houses, jail work-release programs or straight probation.

Of those more lenient sentences, more than two dozen offenders or nearly 8 percent of the total spent no time behind bars for their convictions.

Even home detention is permitted in these cases and has been imposed and while a deferred judgement sentence is practically impossible under the traffic code – it is allowed in Felony DUI cases.

Again – the Denver Post reported that:

In about 40 of the cases — mostly in Denver and Boulder County — judges granted deferred judgment arrangements through plea agreements that allow their felony guilty pleas to be dismissed after jail time is done.

In these cases, there was a “split plea bargain” where these Defendant’s also were required to plead to the DUI misdemeanor.

Front Range District Attorneys have different approaches to these cases. The Denver DA sees county jail as an opportunity for the Defendant to obtain a much more comprehensice alcohol treatment program than is offered in prison.

“The new law left wide discretion to judges and required them to consider other options besides prison. The law instructs judges that they should only sentence a defendant to prison for a felony DUI if they ‘determine that incarceration is the most suitable option given the facts and circumstances of the case, including the defendant’s willingness to participate in treatment.’

The Colorado Felony DUI Law Requires The Sentencing Judge To Take A Reasoned View Of The Needs Of The Convicted

The law requires judges to assess:

“whether all other reasonable and appropriate sanctions and responses to the violation that are available to the court have been exhausted, do not appear likely to be successful if tried, or present an unacceptable to risk to public safety.”

While there is a movement to amend the law for a sentence of between a year to three years in jail when probation is granted. The law remains that for a conviction of a Colorado Felony DUI the maximum of 90 days is the only sentence currently allowed.

Arapahoe DA Expresses The Possibility Of A Change In The Law

“When our state legislature finally joined 45 other states in passing a felony DUI law in 2015, it failed to include one minute of mandatory incarceration, leaving open the possibility that the drunken drivers with the worst records could serve no time at all,”

“That result makes little sense to Aurorans and it creates an injustice for those sent to jail for statutorily ‘lesser’ acts of drunken driving.

If you found any of the information I have provided on this web page article helpful please click my Plus+1 or the Share buttons for Twitter and Facebook below so that others may also find it.

The reader is admonished that Colorado criminal law, like criminal law in every state and at the Federal level, changes constantly. The article appearing above was accurate at the time it was drafted but it cannot account for changes occurring after it was uploaded.

If, after reading this article, you have questions about your case and would like to consider retaining our law firm, we invite you to contact us at the Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm – 303-627-7777.

Never stop fighting – never stop believing in yourself and your right to due process of law. You will not be alone in court, H. Michael at your side every step of the way – advocating for justice and the best possible result in your case.

H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal DUI Defense LawyerABOUT THE AUTHOR: H buy zovirax cream. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at – A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277. Attorney H. Michael Steinberg is passionate about criminal defense. His extensive knowledge and experience of Colorado Criminal Law gives him the edge you need to properly handle your case.

“A good criminal defense lawyer is someone who devotes themselves to their client’s case from beginning to end, always realizing that this case is the most important thing in that client’s life.”

You should be careful to make a responsible choice in selecting a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – and we encourage you to “vet” our firm. Over the last 30 plus years – by focusing ONLY on Colorado criminal law – H. Michael has had the necessary time to commit to the task of constantly updating himself on nearly every area of criminal law, to include Colorado criminal law and procedure and trial and courtroom practice. H. Michael works hard to get his clients the best possible results in and out of the courtroom. He has written, and continues to write, extensively on Colorado criminal law and he hopes this article helps you in some small way – Just Shy Of A Felony DUI – The Third DUI In Colorado.

Just Shy Of A Felony DUI - The Third DUI In Colorado
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Just Shy Of A Felony DUI - The Third DUI In Colorado
- If a person reaches a THIRD DUI, DWAI, DUID conviction in Colorado, one shy of a Felony DUI, that person may be surprised that the punishment for that third DUI may actually EXCEED that of a FOURTH or FELONY DUI conviction. Here is why.

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