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Felony DUI conviction carries a substantial prison sentence

A conviction of four or more DUI offenses in Colorado makes the offense a felony. Recently, a man was convicted of felony DUI in Arapahoe County and sentenced to a 12-year prison term plus 3 ½ years on lesser offenses. The defendant also had a conviction on his record for vehicular homicide from a crash that occurred in 1995. The current charge was from an arrest by Aurora police in October 2015.

Under Colorado law, the man has also been adjudged a habitual traffic offender, and his license has been permanently revoked. The defendant has been deported numerous times due to his criminal record. From a defense perspective, not much can be done in a case like this. This was especially true with a .26 blood-alcohol level, which was over three times the legal limit set at .08 percent. The status of being here apparently in violation of the immigration laws adds a further complication to the ability to defend this individual.

With three or less convictions, the prison sentence generally can be minimized and the driver's license preserved for further use after a suspension.  The maximum sentence for DUI in Colorado is generally limited to one year, even for a second or third offense. The sentence goes up precipitously when the crime is charged as felony DUI.

This case was the extreme exception, with the accused having a record that goes beyond even the limits of a felony DUI. With an appropriate focus on demonstrating contrition and compliance with the rehabilitation purposes of the DUI statute, however, an accused can in many cases obtain a sentence that does not include imprisonment. In more serious matters, experienced defense counsel is generally successful in minimizing the sentences. Of course, the police do make mistakes, and where the facts warrant it, a seasoned DUI attorney in Colorado will not hesitate to fight the case by demanding a jury trial, even where a felony DUI has been charged.

Source: kdvr.com, "Man convicted of fifth DUI in Colorado sentenced to 15 years in prison", Anica Padilla, Jan. 5, 2017

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