Best Colorado DUI Lawyer


Colorado's DUI (a.k.a. DWAI, DWI or OUI) laws are the among the toughest in the nation in terms of jail and driver's license penalties. Court probation can last for four years including up to 13 months of alcohol or drug treatment. During the probation period you may not drink alcohol or consume marijuana (unless you have permission from the court to use medical marijuana.) A Colorado DUI or DWAI cannot be dismissed if there is a chance the DA can convince a jury that you drove drunk or impaired! A mandatory sentenced to jail on a first DUI is possible if your alcohol level was over 0.20 BAC. The average sized woman can reach this level with only two restaurant size glasses of wine.

Summary of Colorado DUI Penalties

Violation Mandatory Jail Jail Time Range Misd./Felony Community Service Fines Probation
DWAI First None* 10days-6Months Misdemeanor 24-48hours $200-$500 up to 2yrs
DUI First None* 5days-1yr Misdemeanor 48-96hours $600-$1000 up to 2yrs
2nd DUI/DWAI more than 5yrs 10days** 10days-1yr Misdemeanor 48day-120hours $600-$1500 2-4years
2nd DUI/DWAI within 5 years 10days*** 10days-1yr Misdemeanor 48-120hours $600-$1500 2-4year
3rd DUI/DWAI 60days**** 60days-1year Misdemeanor 48-120hours $600-$1500 2-4years
4th DUI/DWAI or More N/A 2-6years DOC Felony N/A $2000-$5000 3years Parole

*All convictions over 0.20 BAC must serve at least 10days jail, Work Release or IHD

**IHD and Work Release possible

***Work Release Possible

****Work Release Possible, but you must serve full 60 days, consecutive

Many attorneys advertise themselves as be the "Best" or the "Premier" DUI lawyer in Colorado. Its hard to separate the marketing chatter from the truth. Arapahoe DUI Lawyer Cliff Hypsher has been successfully defending against Colorado DUI and DWAI charges since 1992. We offer you the depth of experience that comes only with years of being a DUI specialist in Colorado.

Our lawyers serve most Colorado counties including: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Gilpin, Jefferson, Larimer, Park and Summit. Click the appropriate category below to see what you are facing or call 1.877.362-9091 for a free telephone consultation with a Colorado DUI lawyer.

Colorado DUI Penalties - Details


Two (2) days to 180 days in jail, a fine of at least $200 but not more than $500. Useful public service of 24-48 hours. All jail time can be suspended if you complete and pay for an alcohol drug education as determined by the court alcohol evaluation. The court may impose probation, not to exceed two years. Generally, you should expect probation without jail time for a first DWAI under 0.20 BAC. Expect one to two years of probation unless your alcohol level was really low.


REQUIREMENTS: Same as above except that you must do jail time for over 0.20 BAC. Ten (10) days to one (1) year in jail, the minimum 10 days of jail may not be suspended. The jail time may be served on work release or "ankle monitor" if approved by the court. The court may impose probation, not to exceed two years. A high alcohol level over 0.20 requires mandatory sentencing even if you plead to DWAI instead of DUI. Most metro area courts will impose IHD, but, some judges don't do IHD/ankle monitor so you must go to jail!


REQUIREMENTS: 48-96 hours of public service, 48 hours of which are mandatory and cannot be suspended by the court. Five (5) days to one (1) year in jail, and a fine of at least $600 but not more than $1000. Jail time can be suspended if you complete and pay for an alcohol/drug education program as determined by the court. The court may impose probation not to exceed two years. Most people will get probation without jail for a first DUI under 0.20 BAC. Probation is almost always for two years with a suspended year of jail time can be imposed if you don't do your probation in a timely manner or if you get caught with hot UA's during the probation period.


REQUIREMENTS: 48-96 hours of public service, 48 hours of which are mandatory and cannot be suspended by the court. Ten (10) days to one year in jail, and a fine of at least $600 but not more than $1000. The minimum 10 days jail may not be suspended. the jail time may be completed on work release or in-home detention, if approved by the court. The court may impose probation not to exceed two years. Drivers convicted of First DUI over 0.20 will usually, but not always, get an ankle monitor.


REQUIREMENTS: 48-120 hours of public service, 48 hours are mandatory and cannot be suspended by the court. Ten(10) days to one (1) year in jail without credit for good time, time-served etc. during the minimum 10 day sentence, and a fine of at least $600 but not more than $1500. Work release or in-home detention is possible under Colorado Law. The court must impose at least two years of probation - and one year of suspended jail to enforce completion of probation. The trend is to impose actual jail time for a second DUI instead of IHD/Ankle monitor. However, some judges still allow IHD depending upon the circumstances of the offense. Up to two additional years of probation can be added "for the purpose of monitoring the person or ensuring that the person continues to receive court ordered alcohol or substance abuse treatment..."


If you have a prior conviction for an alcohol related offensethe jail sentence required above may not be served as in-home detention. Work release, education release, and medical release to participate in an alcohol/drug education treatment program may be approved by the court. Sentences are trending longer than ten days in many jurisdictions. THE MINIMUM JAIL SENTENCE OF 10 DAYS IS MANDATORY - it cannot be exchanged for more community service or bigger fine.


Three or More Offenses: DUI, DUI Per Se, DWAI or Habitual User With Two or More Prior DUI, DUI Per Se, DWAI, Vehicular Assault, Vehicular Homicide, DUR Alcohol, or a prior Habitual User: 48-120 hours of public service, 48 hours of which are mandatory. Sixty (60)days to one (1)year in jail, a fine of at least $600 but no more than $1500. THE MINIMUM JAIL OF 60 DAYS IS MANDATORY and must be served consecutively, and are not eligible for good time, earned time or trusty prisoner status. YOU CANNOT "NEGOTIATE" AWAY THE 60 DAYS JAIL. The jail time may not be served on in-home detention. Work release, education release, and medical release to participate in an alcohol/drug education/treatment program may be approved by the court. The court must impose probation of at least two (2) years beginning upon commencement of the sentence and may impose up to an additional two years of probation. Probation shall include Level II Education and may include alcohol monitoring and interlock. The court must impose a suspended one year sentence for which no credit is given for any jail served as part of the initial sentence.


Beginning in August 2015 a fourth or subsequent DUI, DWAI or DUID will be punished as a felony, i.e., if you had three or more prior adult alcohol related driving offenses (e.g., AGG DUR, Vehicular Homicide or DUI.) Penalties are 2-6 years in Colorado Department of Corrections and 3 years mandatory parole. A person convicted of Felony DUI in Colorado is liable for completion of substance abuse treatment and additional restrictions such as ignition interlock and sobriety monitoring. Some counties are actually sending people to Department of Corrections for DUI. In some instances, misdemeanor DUI is being substituted as a plea bargain. Colorado Felony Bill HB 15-1043


A "sentencing aggravator" is a circumstance or behaviour that calls for a harsher sentence. Obviously, if one driver drove with a much higher alcohol level than another, a harsher sentence is in order because of the higher BAC. An accident, even if not serious will often net you a harsher sentence. Mouthing off to a cop, resisting arrest, running away from police or an accident, etc. often results in a harsher sentence. By harsher sentence I mean a longer IHD sentence, jail or denying work release.

"Proportionality" refers to the sentence you receive in relationship to the sentence received by other people. In general a criminal sentence should be similar for similar types of criminal behaviour. The problem is that sentencing judges are granted wide discretion in sentencing based upon such factors as prior criminal/driving record of the defendant, harm caused by the illegal behaviour, attitude of the defendant, steps taken by the defendant to correct the illegal behaviour prior to sentencing. Just because somebody told you they got a particular sentence for their dui doesn't mean that you are entitled to the same sentence!


Steps you take to defend a Colorado DUI or DWAI arrest can greatly influence the outcome of your case. Colorado DUI lawyers recommend a few simple things you should do to protect your rights. You should get started immediately upon being released by the police:


Documents given to you at the time of your release may contain information which will form the basis of a strong legal defense. The summons, Affidavit and Notice of Revocation and any other documents from the police or detox facility should be retained for review by your lawyer. For example, things a DUI attorney looks for are whether your chemical test was taken within the two hour time limit mandated by law. Documents that establish the time of arrest, location of police contact, etc. can help establish that the police didn't conduct a valid chemical test within the time allowed. You should also preserve credit card receipts, cell phone records, tow truck receipts and similar documents as these may help if the time of "actual physical control" of a vehicle is an issue.


Any experienced Colorado DUI lawyer will tell you that as time passes you will forget important details about your case. While certain facts may seem insignificant to you, these same facts in the hands of an experienced attorney could mean the difference between conviction and acquittal. Talk to passengers, friends and family to ask them what they remember. Police are trained to take notes about things that might incriminate you but they purposely exclude facts from their reports that might exonerate you - so its up to you to bring to your attorney's attention facts that might help your case. Writing a narrative is one way to do this.

Write down everything you remember about what happened leading up to contact with the police. Include a list of what you had to drink and when you drank it. Detail everything you said and that the police said up to the time you were released. Did you see a video surveillance camera in the police car or at the police station where you were given an alcohol test? These notes could be helpful in formulating a defense or to refresh your memory months later during a trial or other hearing.


Except in rare instances, it is always a good idea to request a hearing concerning revocation of your drivers license for "driving with excessive alcohol content" or "refusal." If you took a breath test or refused any test and you were issued an Affidavit and Notice of Revocation you should request a hearing, in writing, with the Department of Revenue within seven days. Failure to do so will not only result in loss of your driver's license but also loss of your right to a hearing during which you might save your license. In order to make sure that the written request is made properly, consult a competent attorney prior to going to DMV if possible. If you took a blood test, the hearing request must be made within a time period that will be specified in correspondence from the Colorado DMV. When you go to a DMV office to request a hearing, you may also wish to obtain a Colorado photo ID card.

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