Colorado’s Felony DUI Law: What You Need to Know

Last year, Colorado went even stricter on drunk driving and enacted a new law that requires a person spend time in jail once they’ve been convicted of a felony DUI. These changes follow a law passed in 2015 that made a person’s fourth DUI conviction and any DUI convictions afterward an automatic felony. Changes made last year were partly intended to close loopholes in the 2015 law, but those who are critical of this latest law say that automatic jail time for drunk drivers could get in the way of rehabilitation for those with actual drinking problems.

Repeated DUI Offenders Face Stiffer Penalties and Consequences

Any person who is convicted of felony DUI in Colorado faces automatic time behind bars. The sentence ranges from 90 to 180 days if the person is able to receive probation, and those eligible for a work release program can see anywhere from 120 days to two years in jail.

Being convicted of a felony DUI will have a serious impact on your life and can affect your employment and housing options now and in the future. Some positions, such as those that involve driving, working with kids or the medical field, could be off the table once you have been convicted. Speak to Denver criminal defense lawyers about your case if you are unsure about restrictions you are facing.

Keeping your current job when you have to spend time in jail is usually not possible, and the other penalties that come with this offense could make finding and keeping a new job incredibly challenging. Your license will be suspended for a period of time, making it tough to get to and from work. It may also be restricted once the suspension is lifted. If you have to perform community service as part of your sentence or attend required counseling, it will be tough to work as these mandatory hours will get in the way of your work schedule and reduce your availability to your employer.

Colorado is what is known as an “employment at will” state, so your employer can let you go without a reason and without any notice at any time. There are, of course, some exceptions – you can’t be fired because of a reason connected to discrimination against your race, for example – but a felony DUI conviction is not one of these exceptions.

Last but certainly not least, there are financial and personal ramifications associated with a felony conviction and jail time. The fines and other costs can easily exceed $10,000, and you will be separated from your family and people you care about when you serve time in jail. If you are caring for another person, this can be especially difficult.

Naturally, the best way to avoid these penalties and consequences is to never get behind the wheel after you drink. However, if you have made this mistake and are facing a DUI charge, it will be in your best interest to seek the help of Denver criminal defense lawyers. An attorney will guide you through the process, explain your options and help you prepare for your case.

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