You might have the impression that a DUI or DWAI charge is not as big of a deal as Colorado criminal law goes. It’s true that both are misdemeanors, but that still means jail time is a possibility, along with a large fine, community service and losing your driver’s license for up to nine months.
Still, for someone with a clean criminal record, it is often possible to resolve a DUI/DWAI charge with minimal disruption to your freedom and life. That might not be the case if the prosecutor claims there were aggravating factors that raise the charge to a class 4 felony, which is punishable by two to eight years in prison and/or a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.
Drunk driving aggravating factors in Denver
Colorado’s DUI statute lays out the following aggravating factors:
- Having at least three prior convictions for DUI/DWAI based on three or more separate incidents.
- Vehicular assault.
- Vehicular homicide.
Thus, someone who is arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving after a car accident in which somebody got killed or seriously hurt, they will be charged with a felony instead of the standard misdemeanor. The same is true for someone with three prior DUIs on their record already.
Give yourself a chance at a just outcome
Nobody wants to go to prison or have a felony record follow them around. Every case is unique, but one thing is always true: someone charged with a felony-level DUI needs to know their rights and options. The best way to do this is to work with an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney.