We get asked a lot, “how many DUIs until it’s a felony in Colorado?” The answer is now four. The new law went into effect on August 5, 2015 and states that a DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI is now a Class 4 Felony if the current offense occurred after three or more prior convictions arising out of separate cases for DUI, DUI per se, vehicular homicide, DWAI, or vehicular assault.

Colorado law enforcement refers to drunk driving offenses as either:

  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence), triggered by .08% or higher BAC, or
  • DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), triggered by .05% BAC or higher (but less than .08% BAC).

A Class 4 Felony DUI brings a punishment of 2-6 years in prison (exceptional circumstances may drop this range to as low as 1 year and as high as 12 years) if incarceration is the most suitable option in light of the facts of the case, as well as a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.  A defendant will also be subject to 3 years of mandatory parole.

The Court is required by law to consider the defendant’s willingness to participate in treatment and to make sure that all sanctions have been exhausted successfully. With that being said, a person can technically avoid prison time after being convicted of a fourth DUI, but it’s not worth taking that chance. At the end of the day, the Court makes that call.

Can an attorney in Colorado get a DUI dismissed?

It’s possible that a DUI attorney in Colorado can enter a plea agreement for a defendant. For example, a defendant might receive a “wet reckless,” or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision in Colorado on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in your state, but it’s possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you. A lawyer may be able to assist in advising you on how to plea whether it is for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), triggered by .08% or higher BAC, or a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), triggered by .05% BAC or higher (but less than .08% BAC). Also, a lawyer’s assistance may prove helpful considering that Colorado contains no lookback period — that is, any prior alcohol-related driving arrest counts as a prior no matter when it happened.

Have questions? We’re here to help!