When you think about a DUI conviction, you think about jail and potential fines. But, what about the long-term consequences of a DUI conviction? What most people do not realize is how a conviction will affect them for the rest of their lives – and it could spill over into every aspect of their lives, such as work, housing, and even personal relationships. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a criminal defense attorney from the moment when you are arrested for a DUI – regardless of whether or not it is your first arrest. If you fail to realize the consequences of a conviction, you could deal with those consequences for years.
Colorado’s Two Levels of DUIs
Colorado has two types of DUIs that you could be charged with:
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI)
- Driving While Ability is Impaired (DWAI)
The Penalties Associated with a Conviction
It is important to look at all penalties associated with a potential conviction here – and see what you are risking by using inadequate defense, or by simply pleading guilty to the crime. These penalties include:
- Administrative Penalties – The state of Colorado’s Division of Motor Vehicles has the legal authority to suspend your driver’s license for a DUI or possibly under some circumstances DWAI (e.g., if you are a provisional driver), even if you are not charged criminally in court; therefore, you must attend a separate hearing for this license suspension to keep your driving privileges. For a first time DUI, you could face an administrative license revocation for up to nine months for excessive breath alcohol or twelve months for a refusal action.
- Alcohol Hearings – You will have seven days after receiving your administrative notice from the DMV to request your hearing. If you fail to request the hearing in seven days, you will receive a default revocation of your driving privileges.
- Your Vehicle – If you are arrested for a DUI or DWAI, the police officer will request that a tow truck come retrieve your vehicle, and it will be impounded. You will have to pay an additional fine in order to receive your vehicle from the impound lot.
- Criminal Penalties – There is the possibility of jail time associated with a conviction, which can range from ten days to one year in jail – depending on whether or not it is your first or subsequent offense. Should you be charged with a felony DUI (3 or more priors) you could face the possibility of a prison sentence.
- Ignition Interlock Device – To make matters worse, you will not be able to just drive a vehicle once you receive your driver’s license back. You will also have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) into your vehicle. This is not free. Instead, you will have to pay to install it, as well as pay a monthly maintenance fee. If you fail the IID breathalyzer, your vehicle will lock and you will have to not only contact the service, but pay a fee to unlock it.
- Reinstatement of a Driver’s License – After a suspension or revocation, you will still need to have your license reinstated, which includes a high reinstatement fee.
- SR22 Insurance – In order to receive your driving privileges back, you will also need to show proof of an SR22 insurance policy. This must be carried for up to three years, but will depend on the violations associated with your DUI or DWAI. SR22 insurance rates are extremely pricey and could add several hundred dollars to your annual auto insurance premium.
- Employment Screening Issues – Not only will you have an IID, fines, and jail time to worry about, but your vocation could permanently bar you from some employment opportunities. If you cannot drive and your current job requires you to drive, you may be terminated. Also, some employers may deny you employment just for having a criminal record.
Avoid the Lifetime Penalties – Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
A good criminal defense attorney understands the true, long-term consequences of a conviction. He or she will work hard to lessen the penalties, but also work with the prosecution to possibly dismiss the case altogether. Whether it is your first arrest or your fourth, you need an attorney who understands the law. Contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C. today. Schedule your consultation by calling 970-704-0888, or request a free consultation via our online form.