Is There a Mandatory Jail Sentence For DUI In Colorado?

by | Mar 13, 2023 | DUI Defense

Your Freedom Is Very Much At Stake When Facing DUI Charges

Of all the worries, concerns, and questions you have after Colorado Springs police pull you over and arrest you for driving under the influence, the biggest one may be wondering if you will need to serve a jail sentence for DUI if you’re convicted. While a DUI conviction in Colorado comes with plenty of other consequences – loss of driving privileges, hefty fines and costs, and a criminal record – the thought of spending time behind bars is a particularly scary and daunting possibility.

Whether you will need to serve a jail sentence for DUI and how long that sentence will be, depends on many factors. But there are situations in which a person convicted of DUI will face mandatory jail time, including those charged and convicted of a first-time DUI.

Here is what you need to know about mandatory jail sentences for DUI in Colorado.

Mandatory Jail Sentence For DUI First Offenses

The state imposes particularly harsh penalties for a first-time DUI conviction, hoping that these severe consequences are enough to make the first time the last time the convicted party gets behind the wheel under the influence.

And, yes, one of those harsh penalties for a first-time DUI is a mandatory jail sentence of five days up to one year. However, it is more accurate to say that jail time for a first-time DUI is mandatory-ish. Depending upon your circumstances, a skilled DUI defense attorney may be able to get you into an alternative alcohol evaluation, education, and treatment program instead of jail. If you complete the program (which usually takes 12 hours for most first-time DUIs) and refrain from using alcohol for a year, the court and prosecutors may waive your jail time. But this is far from guaranteed.

You are highly unlikely to receive such a reprieve from jail time, even for a first offense, if you had children in your car, injured or killed someone, or had a blood alcohol content of 0.20%, among other aggravating factors.

Further Reading: How Alcohol Classes Can Help Your DUI Defense

Second DUI Conviction: You’re Probably Going To Jail

That possibility of avoiding a jail sentence for DUI pretty much disappears if you get a second DUI conviction. A second DUI conviction makes you a “persistent drunk driver,” and Colorado law treats every subsequent DUI charge as an increasingly serious offense – with increasingly severe penalties to match.

A second DUI conviction in Colorado will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days behind bars, with the potential for up to a full year of incarceration. And that is the best-case scenario for a second DUI (other than acquittal, dismissal, or reduction of the charges).

James mandatory jail sentence for dui resulting in vehicular assaultMost second-time DUIs are misdemeanors, but El Paso County prosecutors will seek your conviction for felony vehicular assault if your actions resulted in the serious bodily injury of another individual.

Vehicular assault due to drunk driving is a Class 4 felony in Colorado, resulting in a mandatory prison sentence of two to six years, three years of mandatory parole, and fines ranging from $2,000 to $500,000.

Similarly, if you killed someone while driving under the influence, you will face DUI-related vehicular homicide charges for your second DUI. As a Class 3 felony, a vehicular homicide conviction comes with penalties, including four to 12 years in state prison, five years of mandatory parole, and a fine of between $3,000 and $750,000.

Mandatory Jail Time for a Third and Fourth DUI Conviction

Unsurprisingly, you will need to spend even more time behind bars on your third DUI conviction, with an elevated mandatory jail sentence for DUI of at least 60 days up to one year.

But if you have a fourth conviction for DUI, you are no longer looking at a mandatory jail sentence in El Paso County jail; you will face a mandatory prison sentence in a Colorado State Penitentiary. A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction is a Class 4 felony with a mandatory two to six years in state prison.

Don’t Face the Possibility of a Mandatory Jail Sentence For DUI On Your Own

Your life and your freedom hang in the balance when El Paso County prosecutors charge you with drunk driving. When facing such serious consequences, trying to handle things yourself can make your bad situation even worse, and yes, that includes the possibility of a lengthy jail sentence for DUI. You need a local, experienced DUI attorney to protect your rights and freedom.

The Colorado Springs DUI attorneys at James Newby Law have the insight and experience you need to fight the charges against you. As former prosecutors themselves, these seasoned criminal defense lawyers know all the tactics police and prosecutors use to gain convictions for DUI. Put their expertise to work for you as they attack every aspect of the prosecution’s case, aggressively and strategically fighting the allegations against you, ensuring you are in the best position to obtain a positive outcome.

Arrange for your free, confidential DUI consultation today.

James Newby

James Newby

James Newby is a criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs and the managing attorney of the criminal justice law firm James Newby Law. James got into law because of a deep-rooted passion for helping good people that may have made a poor choice that could have lasting consequences.