Russell Hebets Oct. 9, 2013

It seems that every week there is a fresh news headline recounting the latest DUI accident or death. States are cracking down on drunk driving with more law enforcement officers tasked exclusively with DUI enforcement. The National Transportation Safety Board recently released their recommendations encouraging a reduction in the DUI limit from a blood alcohol percentage of .08 to a lower limit of .05. All of these state and national trends serve to increase the chances of a DUI arrest, and further increases the chances of multiple DUIs arrests and convictions.

So how bad is a first DUI? In the case of a first conviction for drunk driving, or DUI, the consequences, while severe, do not necessarily mandate a trip to the county jail. Prosecutors can argue for jail on a first offense in Colorado, but it is not standard for judges to sentence offenders to jail on a first offense. There are exceptions to this general rule such as inordinately high blood alcohol content results, an underage driver, or a significant traffic accident. Of course putting jail aside you’re still looking at some very extreme consequences from even a first DUI conviction including suspension of your driver’s license.

Multiple DUIs are worse in every way. A second or multiple driving under the influence conviction carries with it a mandatory jail sentence. That’s right folks, if you’re convicted of DUI or DWAI, and you’ve been previously convicted, you’re doing some form of a county jail sentence. But wait, you ask, what if my prior offense was years ago in a different state other than Colorado? Sorry, but Colorado law does not care how long ago or where any prior was received. You could have gone 40 years without a DUI, but if you pick up your second, you’re headed to jail. If you get to a third or greater conviction for drunk driving you are looking at significant jail time.

The moral of the story is this: DUI laws and DUI enforcement are getting more and more aggressive. Your best bet is to stay away from any vehicle if you’re over the legal limit, but if you do get charged with drunk driving, please make the office of an experienced DUI attorney your first stop.