A DUI conviction comes with some hefty costs — monetarily and otherwise. On average, individuals convicted of a first DUI may end up paying out more than $10,000 in various fees, fines, and expenses. That doesn’t even account for potential civil lawsuits and intangible or indirect costs such as jail time, loss of wages or work, and diminished reputation.
If you’re facing DUI charges in the Centennial State, reaching out to a Colorado criminal lawyer can help you understand your options and plan the best defense. Proactive defense is your best chance at avoiding a DUI conviction or lowering the costs associated with one if it does occur.
What Are the Penalties for DUIs in Colorado?
One of the costs associated with a DUI conviction is a potential fine. The amount of the fine depends on whether a DUI was your first. The fines in Colorado for a first DUI range from $600 to $1,000. The fines for subsequent DUIs can be $600 to $1,500.
Penalties for DUIs also include potential jail time or imprisonment. A first DUI conviction can come with a sentence of five days to one year in jail. A second DUI conviction can result in 10 days to one year of jail time. A third conviction may bring 60 days to one year of jail time, and anything after that can result in two to six years in prison.
What Other Monetary Costs Are Associated With a DUI Conviction in Colorado?
Defendants who receive a DUI conviction typically incur other costs. The average expense for a first adult DUI conviction in Colorado is around $13,500. That includes everything from attorneys fees and court costs to increases in auto insurance.
- Fees related directly to the DUI. If you’re convicted of a DUI, you may have to pay court costs and cover fees for detox, addiction treatment, drug or alcohol evaluations, and probation supervision fees.
- Costs related to a suspended or restricted license. If your license is restricted or suspended, you may be on the hook for fees associated with that process as well as reinstating your license at the appropriate time. Administrative penalties for a first DUI in the state typically involve a nine-month suspension of your license.
- Costs of your defense. Paying a defense attorney to help with your case can help you ensure you get the best possible outcome for your situation. That may not always mean winning a not guilty verdict; in some cases, an attorney might work with you to submit a plea to reduce how much a DUI conviction costs you overall.
- Restitution. Courts in Colorado can order those convicted of a DUI to pay restitution to victims.
- Fees for ignition interlock devices. If you’re ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle after a DUI conviction, you typically foot the bill for the rental of that device as well as its installation and removal.
- Fees related to your car. If you are stopped, arrested, and charged with a DUI, your car may be towed and/or impounded. You would be responsible for the cost of towing and storing your car if you’re convicted.
- Increased auto insurance. You can expect your auto insurance to go up by quite a bit if you are convicted of a DUI. A first DUI involves 12 points on your license, and each subsequent DUI adds another 12 points.
What Are Some Non-Monetary Costs Associated With DUI?
The costs of a DUI conviction go beyond the immediate monetary expenses. If you spend time in jail, you won’t be able to work. That means a loss of wages, but it also might mean a loss of traction in your career. If you were working toward a promotion or training for a new position, that momentum may be gone or erased by the conviction. You may also lose your job entirely due to the conviction.
There are also social and relationship costs to consider. If you are convicted with a DUI, you may suffer a hit to your reputation. How critical this is and how much it costs you depends on factors such as your role in the community. For example, a public servant, law enforcement officer, or church or school leader may experience significant social and reputation costs associated with a DUI conviction.
A conviction can also leave you with long-term financial concerns. You may go into debt to cover the costs associated with the DUI conviction, for example, which might hurt your credit score or your ability to borrow money later. If you have a high debt-to-income ratio because of the debt you incurred due to a DUI conviction, you may not be able to get a loan in the near future for a car or a home.
Fight DUI Charges With Help From an Experienced Lawyer
Working with an experienced DUI attorney is essential to protecting your interests when facing DUI charges. A lawyer with experience defending against such charges can help you understand your chances of avoiding conviction and your options for moving forward with your case.