Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

What Does a DUI Conviction Entail?

In the State of Colorado, if you are placed under arrest for driving under the influence (DUI), the consequences of a conviction are harsh. You will need the advice and legal services of a Denver DUI defense attorney, and you’ll need to contact that attorney as quickly as possible.

What penalties can you face for a DUI conviction in this state? How long does a Colorado DUI conviction stay on your record? When should you contact a Denver DUI defense lawyer, and what will that lawyer do for you? Keep reading for answers to these questions.

What Are Colorado’s Standard DUI Penalties?

A first DUI conviction in Colorado is typically penalized with a fine, a driver’s license suspension, community service, mandatory attendance at alcohol education classes, and in some cases, time in jail.

Most first driving under the influence offenses in Colorado are misdemeanor charges, but if DUI is charged as a felony, and the defendant is convicted, that defendant may be sentenced to a lengthy prison term.

What About Second and Subsequent DUI Convictions?

Penalties in Colorado for an adult driver convicted of a second misdemeanor DUI may include jail time, a costly fine, a one-year driver’s license suspension, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the offender’s vehicle, and alcohol education classes.

Similar penalties may be imposed for a third conviction, although the jail sentence and license suspension will be for lengthier time periods. The precise penalties for second and subsequent DUI convictions depend on how long it has been since the most recent previous conviction.

In 2015, lawmakers in Colorado made a fourth DUI offense a felony, and lawmakers at that time gave Colorado judges the discretion to imprison convicted fourth-time DUI offenders or to hand down alternative sentences.

What is a DUI “Look-Back” Period?

The “look-back” period in driving under the influence cases is the time period used to determine if previous offenses can be taken into consideration during sentencing.

In general in Colorado, when a driving under the influence conviction happened within the previous five years, that conviction will count against the defendant for sentencing for a subsequent conviction.

For defendants with extensive prior convictions (that is, three major previous convictions), the look-back period may be prolonged to seven years.

How Long Do DUI Convictions Remain on Your Record?

However, the look-back period is not how long a DUI conviction remains on your record, and the look-back period is only important if you are facing a new DUI charge. The unfortunate truth is that a DUI conviction in Colorado will remain on your record for the rest of your life.

Even a DUI arrest that did not lead to a conviction – charges were never filed, or were dismissed, or you were acquitted – can only be expunged after ten years and only if you have not faced any other criminal charges since the time of that arrest.

If you qualify, a Denver DUI defense attorney can help you expunge the record of an old DUI arrest. However, because a conviction in Colorado for driving under the influence cannot be expunged, if you are arrested for DUI, you must contact an attorney at once.

What Are the Long-Term Consequences of a DUI Conviction?

Even a first-offense, misdemeanor DUI conviction can have consequences for your future – long after you’ve completed your jail or probation term and license suspension period. The record of that conviction may keep you from getting a better job or obtaining a professional license.

Almost anyone today can quickly conduct an online criminal background check. You could be rejected by employers, turned away for housing, or denied a loan. Especially if your work involves driving, a DUI conviction could make it quite difficult to find employment in the future.

Additionally, if you’re not a citizen of the United States, you could be targeted for deportation after a DUI conviction, and if you already have a professional license, that license could be revoked or suspended by your state professional licensing board.

Charged With DUI? Take These Steps

If you are placed under arrest for DUI in or near the Denver area, contact the offices of a Denver DUI defense lawyer at once. You cannot be convicted of driving under the influence unless the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty.

Your DUI attorney will probably file a motion with the court to have the charge against you dismissed. If the charge cannot be dismissed, you have the right to a jury trial, and if you are not guilty of driving under the influence, you should insist on that right.

However, if the evidence against you is overwhelming and a conviction is inevitable, your attorney may negotiate a plea deal on your behalf, and you would plead guilty to a lesser charge in return for a reduced sentence.

What Happens at a DUI Trial?

At a DUI trial, your defense lawyer will cast doubt on the state’s case against you. Your attorney may challenge:

  1. the breathalyzer test results or the credentials of the person who conducted the test
  2. the testimony of the arresting officer
  3. the reason why the police pulled you over in traffic

If a defendant’s legal rights were violated in any way when the defendant was stopped, interrogated, or arrested, it’s possible that a driving under the influence charge can be dropped or dismissed.

DUI lawyers in Colorado win a substantial percentage of cases with dismissed charges and acquittals. However, and as mentioned previously, if you are in fact guilty of DUI, and if the evidence of that guilt is substantial, accepting a plea deal may be your best option.

How Should You Choose a DUI Attorney?

Having the right attorney can make the difference in a DUI case. If you are charged with driving under the influence in or near Denver, legal help is available by calling the offices of Denver DUI attorney Daniel M. Murphy at 303-996-8998.

For more than a quarter of a century, attorney Daniel M. Murphy has successfully defended DUI defendants throughout the State of Colorado. He has the legal skills and knowledge that you need on your side, and he’s established a reputation for legal excellence.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, do not wait to contact the Denver law offices of attorney Daniel M. Murphy. Make the call at once. Your first legal consultation is provided without cost or obligation.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.