Felony DUI Lawyers in Colorado Springs
Defending You Against Felony Penalties
Being convicted of a DUI, no matter how severe, has the potential to cause serious consequences. A felony DUI conviction carries even harsher penalties and can get you labeled a convicted felon for life. There are many reasons why a DUI may be elevated to the felony level, all of which depend upon the number of convictions you’ve had in the past and the nature of any accident caused by driving under the influence.
Fortunately, a Colorado Springs DUI lawyer can help you defend yourself and fight DUI charges. At Joyner Law, our team of DUI defense lawyers is here to assist you in building a case in your own defense. Whether this is your first DUI or you have had another DUI arrest in the past, we are confident we can help you. We understand just how difficult and frustrating it is to be charged with a DUI or DWAI. No matter what legal matter you are fighting, call our office today at 719-294-0566 for a free consultation.
What is a Felony DUI?
Under Colorado law, most DUIs are classified as misdemeanors, which are less serious charges than felonies. However, there are some instances in which a DUI is classified as a felony charge. A DUI is considered a felony offense if you have four or more DUI offenses on your record. You will be charged with a class four felony even if there were no accidents, deaths, or injuries as a result of your driving. You will also be charged with a felony even if the three prior convictions happened years ago, occurred in another state, or were classified as deferred judgment and dismissed. Any type of drunk driving charges, including DUI per se and DWAI, count as a DUI offense.
You will also be charged with a felony DUI if your drunk driving caused bodily injury. Even if you don’t have prior convictions, you can still be charged with a felony DUI. Bodily injury may include serious burns, loss of limbs, paralysis, head injuries, spine injuries, and neck injuries. Any accident that causes serious bodily injury is known as vehicular assault and is a felony offense.
If your driving kills another person, it is automatically a class three felony offense. Driving under the influence and killing another person is also called vehicular homicide, and it carries severe penalties, including hefty fines and jail time. If you are facing DUI charges after injuring or killing another person, contact a DUI attorney on our team today.
What Are the Penalties for a Felony DUI?
Felony DUIs carry some of the harshest penalties of any traffic charge. If you are charged with a DUI, and it is your fourth offense, you could face two to six years in state prison and three years of parole. You may also be fined up to $500,000, depending on the circumstances surrounding your driving offense.
If you are charged with a DUI causing injury to another person, you could face up to six years in prison, three years on parole, and up to $5,000 in fines. For a DUI that causes death, you may face four to twelve years in prison, five years of parole, and up to $750,000 in fines.
In some cases, a DUI attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to get you probation instead of serving a prison sentence. If you are assigned probation, you will likely have to spend up to 180 days in jail and complete up to 120 hours of community service. You may also be required to attend a drug and alcohol education class.
What Are the Penalties for a Misdemeanor DUI?
Although misdemeanor DUIs are less severe than felony charges, they can still carry hefty penalties. Below are the potential consequences you may face for DUI charges in Colorado Springs:
First DUI Conviction
Up to one year in jail for DUI and DUI per se, or 180 days in jail for DWAI. You may also face a $1,000 fine, a 9-month license suspension, and 96 hours of community service. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for up to eight months.
Second DUI Conviction
Up to one year in jail and up to a $1,500 fine. You may also face a 1-year license suspension, 120 hours of community service, and an ignition interlock device for two to five years.
Third DUI Conviction
Up to one year in jail and up to a $1,500 fine. You may also face an indefinite license suspension and be required to do 120 hours of community service. A judge may also require you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for up to five years.
In Colorado, DUI cases carry harsher penalties if you are convicted multiple times within a five-year timespan. If you are facing second, third, or fourth DUI charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today for assistance.
What Are the Additional Consequences of a DUI Conviction?
Unfortunately, the consequences of DUI convictions don’t limit themselves to jail time or fines. Having a felony on your criminal record can impact your life in many ways. If you require a driver’s license for work, you will likely immediately lose your job and may be blocked from applying to that company again. You will also be unable to work any job that requires a driver’s license until your suspended license is reinstated.
Applying for jobs after a felony conviction can also be challenging. Most job applications require you to disclose any felony convictions on your record. Many hiring managers are hesitant to hire an employee with a felony conviction on their criminal record, leading to unfair discrimination. Similarly, applying for housing can also become more difficult because many landlords and property managers would rather rent to someone without a criminal record. College administrators may also reject applicants automatically if they have a felony conviction on their record.
If you are convicted of a felony in Colorado, you will no longer be able to own or operate a firearm. You will likely also face high car insurance rates, making it challenging to drive legally once your license is reinstated. Additionally, being convicted of a DUI can damage your personal relationships and your reputation, leading to a strained personal and professional life.
The best way to avoid these consequences is by hiring a DUI attorney to defend you. As your legal representative, our team can build a solid legal defense strategy to protect your rights and negotiate a plea deal or aim for a not-guilty verdict in court. To talk to a DUI defense attorney free of charge, contact our law office today.
What Are the Most Common Defenses Against a Felony DUI?
Because DUI convictions carry such severe penalties, it is essential to consult with a criminal defense lawyer who has experience in DUI defense. Your particular DUI defense strategy will depend on the circumstances of your case, but there are a few common defense strategies that DUI offenders often use.
Those strategies include the following:
Faulty Test Equipment
In most cases, if you are pulled over on a suspected DUI, officers at the scene will ask you to take a breath test. If the breathalyzer machine was not working correctly or the officer did not administer the test properly, our team can argue that your results cannot be used against you in court.
Impropert Field Sobriety Tests
Another way officers may test your level of intoxication is by using a field sobriety test, like the one-leg stand or the walk-and-turn. If a police officer did not do these tests correctly, our team can create a defense strategy that includes denying the legitimacy of these tests.
Lack of Probable Cause
Before pulling someone over, officers must have probable cause, or reasonable suspicion that a crime is occurring. Officers will look for signs of intoxication, like excessive braking, speeding, or swerving. Our team can argue that officers did not have probable cause and should not have pulled you over in the first place.
Some medical conditions can mimic the symptoms of intoxication, including having a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit. If you have any medical conditions, including diabetes, allergies, or ones that cause extreme fatigue, our team may be able to use that in your defense.
Adverse Reaction to Medication
If you took over-the-counter or prescription medication, you may still be charged with a DUI. However, our team can argue that your prescription drug had an adverse effect that you didn’t know about, making your DUI charge less severe. In some cases, this defense strategy can reduce the penalties you may be facing in a DUI case.
How Do Police Define Probable Cause?
Before a police officer can pull anyone over, they must establish probable cause. This means that the officer must have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. There are a few different ways law enforcement will determine probable cause, but for DUI cases, they will look for signs of intoxication like swerving, speeding, careless driving, excessive braking, or tailgating. Once the officer has probable cause, they will likely pull the vehicle over.
Once a vehicle has been pulled over, officers will look for further signs of driving under the influence. This may include glassy eyes, slurred speech, delayed speech, or the smell of alcohol on someone’s breath. Officers may also inspect the inside of the car and look for evidence of intoxication, like drug paraphernalia or empty alcohol bottles.
If an officer believes that someone is driving under the influence, they will likely ask them to submit to a breathalyzer test. The breathalyzer test will show an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC). The legal limit in Colorado Springs is .08. If an individual is over the legal limit, they will likely be arrested.
Once an individual is arrested, they will likely be required to submit to a blood test. A blood test is a chemical test that shows how much alcohol is in someone’s blood at the time of the test. A certified technician will draw the individual’s blood and then send it to a lab for further testing. If officers wish to interrogate an individual, they must read them their Miranda Rights before any questioning.
What Does a DUI Attorney Do?
Being charged with a felony DUI can have severe repercussions on your life. Ultimately, a felony DUI lawyer on our team will aim to reduce the penalties that you are facing. Ideally, we will aim to get your case dismissed entirely.
There are many things an experienced DUI defense attorney on our team can do for you, including:
- Gathering evidence on your behalf, including witness statements, police reports, and photos of the alleged crime scene
- Developing a legal strategy based on your specific circumstances
- Negotiating with prosecutors to reach a plea deal and reduce the penalties against you
- Representing you at trial if necessary and defending you before a judge
- Explaining the terms of probation or parole to ensure you do not commit a violation
By hiring an experienced attorney on our team, you’re not just getting a legal representative. You are ensuring that you have an experienced guide to walk you through every step of the legal process, from being arrested all the way to trial if your case goes that far. Our team prides itself on making sure our clients feel empowered and informed about their cases every step of the way. To talk to a felony DUI lawyer on our team, reach out today.
Should I Hire a Lawyer When Facing Felony DUI Charges?
Being convicted of a felony DUI can have harsh consequences on your life that follow you around for years to come. Jail time, fines, and a suspended license are just some of the penalties you could be facing. Losing your job, your housing, and your educational prospects is also a real possibility when facing felony charges. The Colorado criminal justice system is especially hard on DUI cases, so it is essential to hire a felony DUI defense attorney when facing DUI charges.
As your legal representation, our team will work tirelessly to gather evidence on your behalf and negotiate with prosecutors. Not only will we develop a legal strategy to reduce the penalties against you, but we will look for ways to get your case dismissed entirely if at all possible. At Joyner Law, we pride ourselves on empowering our clients and walking them through the legal system no matter what legal matter they may be facing. If you are fighting felony DUI charges, contact us today for a free consultation by calling 719-294-0566.