Driving under the influence is a serious charge in Colorado, but it becomes even more serious if you have multiple convictions on your record. Once you reach a fourth DUI, the potential penalties become very steep because under Colorado law a fourth DUI is a felony crime.
If you are facing your fourth DUI, you should know the possible risks you face as you move forward through the court system. Here is some more information about Colorado's DUI laws and how your multiple DUIs affect your current case.
Minimum felony sentence
Colorado's felony DUI statute made it so that every DUI from the fourth upward counts as a felony. This gave judges a lot of discretion in how to sentence people convicted of felony DUI.
When the law went into effect in 2015, there were no minimum sentencing requirements. Some judges decided not to hand down any jail time at all, despite the fact that the fourth DUI was a felony offense. The Colorado legislature closed that loophole in 2017 with new sentences for a felony DUI that include a minimum of 90 days in jail or 120 days with a jail work-release program. Now, a fourth DUI as a felony carries this and other sentencing rules that judges can no longer work around.
DUI charges are not always straightforward cases, and there can be many different ways to defend yourself in court. A lot depends on what took place when the officer stopped you under the suspicion of drunken driving. The officer may have made mistakes during the stop, in field sobriety testing, during the Breathalyzer test, or at some other point.
You should not automatically assume that your case is a lost cause.
The courts do not look favorably upon people with prior DUI convictions, which is why you should look for an experienced DUI attorney to handle your case. This advocate can help you understand your rights and risks, as well as build a defense strategy that is appropriate to the circumstances of your case.