A Third DUI in Colorado Can Have Significant consequences

Driving under the influence cases get complicated when dealing with prior convictions. Prior convictions can include any alcohol or drug related driving offense, including driving while ability is impaired. Prior convictions can be from any time or any state.

If you are facing a third DUI, you are facing serious fines, probation, and jail. Jail is mandatory in these cases. Probation is also mandatory, and it will include monitored sobriety, alcohol classes, and community service. A court can order you to complete a MADD Victim Impact Panel.

It is important to remember that a DUI can involve other criminal offenses. If a defendant has a child in their vehicle, there could be a secondary charge of child abuse. The possession of a firearm can result in charges for the unlawful possession of a firearm. This is a second misdemeanor case and could result in additional jail, fines, and lose of the firearm.

Legal Meaning of DUI in Colorado

A DUI is a criminal offense that is easy to understand. Driving under the influence is driving while your ability to drive is impaired by drugs or alcohol. It also includes driving under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. It will depend on the combination of drugs and alcohol in your system.

Operating a motor vehicle includes actually driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle. Actual physical is being in a position to quickly exercise control over the vehicle. The court will look at where you are in the vehicle, where the keys are, and the location of the car. There are other factors the court will consider.
Under the influence means a driver is unable to operate a motor vehicle safely. Law enforcement will look a person's speech, motor skills, and mental functions. The law will presume you are substantially impaired if your blood alcohol content is greater than .08. Driving under the influence is an unclassified misdemeanor, and it is defined at C.R.S. 42-4-1301.

What is a Prior Alcohol Related Conviction?

A prior conviction in Colorado for driving under the influence, driving under the influence of drugs, driving while ability impaired, vehicular assault, or Vehicular Homicide in Colorado is considered a prior conviction. However, a prior conviction of any other state, or federal law will be considered a prior conviction for purposes of sentencing. The Court will determine if violation of that law would constitute a violation of Colorado law. The conviction can happen at any point in the defendant's lifetime.

The law varies greatly from each state to each state. Some states have laws that outlaw conduct that would not be illegal in Colorado. Courts in Colorado will look at the statute from the other states. They will then determine whether it would be consistent with a violation of Colorado law.

The law concerning prior convictions is fairly clear. For more information concerning prior convictions, please see C.R.S. 42-4-1301(j)

What is the Punishment for a Third DUI in Colorado?

A third DUI carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and a mandatory sentence of 60 days jail. The Court cannot suspend the mandatory minimum sentence. A defendant would only be eligible for straight jail time or work release for the mandatory minimum sentence.

Jail beyond the 60 days can be in-home detention. The initial 60 days must be served in jail or work release. A defendant is not eligible for good time of trustee status during the 60 day minimum sentence. A defendant would be eligible for good time after the required minimum jail sentence.

The Court will also impose a period of probation. Probation is required to be at least 2 years, but it can be up to three years. Probation requires a defendant to undergo an alcohol evaluation and any recommended treatment, monitored sobriety, and community service.

The court will also be required to suspend a one-year jail sentence upon the successful completion of probation. This means that if the defendant successfully completes probation, there will be no additional jail time. However, the suspended sentence will likely be imposed if the defendant does not do comply with all terms of probation.

The mandatory minimum is just that as well, it is the minimum. The Court will look at a variety of factors in determining the appropriate remedy. This would include the BAC, the length of time, and the facts surrounding the case. 

Mitigation is also important. Mitigation will help to convince a Court to give a defendant mercy. Mitigation includes AA, alcohol classes, and compliance with monitored sobriety.

Colorado law also requires individuals with prior DUI offenses to submit to monitored sobriety while the case is pending. Courts consider compliance with monitored sobriety and other mitigation. This is important when seeking work release.

Case can be aggravated by other factors. The presence of a child could result in child abuse charges. An accident can aggravate a case, and a firearm could result in unlawful possession of a firearm case. These additional charges complicate cases and require a skilled litigator.


There is not a one size fits all to DUI Defense. Each DU case is different, and it requires a defense tailored to your specific facts and needs. It is important to speak with a dui defense attorney about your options and case.

If you are facing this type of charge, speak with our third dui attorney today.