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Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / DUI / What Makes a DUI a Felony Offense in Colorado?

What Makes a DUI a Felony Offense in Colorado?


Driving under the influence, or a DUI, in Colorado is a criminal charge that a motorist can face if they are considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, and a DWAI with a BAC between 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent. What makes a DUI or DWAI a felony offense under Colorado law? In general, there are three situations in which a motorist can face felony DUI charges. Our Denver DUI defense lawyers can explain in more detail.

Fourth DUI or DWAI Offense is a Felony

 If you are facing a fourth DUI (or DWAI) offense in Colorado, then you will be facing a felony. If you are convicted, you will have a felony conviction and will be subject to severe penalties that often involve prison time. You should know that, to face a felony DUI as a fourth-time offender, it does not matter when your previous drunk driving convictions occurred, and it does not matter if they occurred outside the state of Colorado.

Accordingly, it does not matter if a conviction in another state went by another term like “driving while intoxicated” or “operating a vehicle while intoxicated.” In short, three prior drunk or drugged driving-related convictions will mean felony charges for a fourth offense in Colorado.

A fourth drunk driving charge is a class 4 felony offense in Colorado, which can result in penalties of up to $500,000 in fines, two to six years in prison, 3 years of parole following release (and an ignition interlock device in your vehicle during the parole period), as well as DMV penalties. Depending on the circumstances, you could face up to 12 years in prison.

DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury is a Felony 

When you are facing charges for drunk driving in an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury to another party, you will be facing class 4 felony charges. The penalties are the same as those listed above. You will face felony charges in this type of circumstances even if it is a first-time offense for a DUI. This offense is referred to as vehicular assault.

DUI Causing Another Person’s Death is a Felony 

If you are accused of drunk driving in a case that involves an accident that caused someone’s death, you will be facing a class 3 felony. You will face this type of felony charge even if this is a first-time DUI. This offense is referred to as vehicular homicide.

Penalties can include up to $750,000 in fines, four to twelve years in prison, and a required parole period of three years following release.

Contact Our Denver DUI Defense Lawyers 

If you are facing any DUI or DWAI charge in Colorado, it is critical to work with an experienced defense lawyer to avoid the significant administrative and criminal penalties that can come with a conviction. Even a first-time DUI or DWAI can have severe consequences and can, in some circumstances, even impact your job and other aspects of your life. An experienced Denver DUI defense attorney at DeChant Law can speak with you today about the details of your case and options for defending against charges.




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