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Colorado's drunk driving penalties among harshest in nation

If you are ever pulled over in Colorado on suspicion of drunk driving, it is wise to know what you are up against. The state's penalties for drinking and driving, per Westword, are among the nation's toughest, with Colorado ranking 18th out of all 50 states in terms of the severity of its punishments.

A number of factors were reviewed when compiling the state-by-state drunk-driving penalty rankings, including minimal jail time requirements, how long old convictions play a role in new punishments and whether ignition interlock devices are in use, among other considerations. Colorado's ranking was ultimately awarded, in part, because of the following:

Penalties for Colorado's first-time DUI offenders

Even if you are facing your first conviction for driving under the influence, the punishments you face are severe. If convicted of the crime, you can expect to serve at least five days in jail, and you will also need to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car for at least eight months, and at your own expense. Furthermore, you will be fined at least $600 and are likely to lose your license for somewhere between nine months and a year, among other varying penalties.

Penalties for Colorado's second-time DUI offenders

As you might assume, the penalties for second-time offenders are steeper than those given to first-time offenders. If you are convicted of DUI for a second time in Colorado, you can again expect to pay $600, but you will also have to serve, at minimum, 10 days in jail, and face a longer period without your license than you would as a first-time offender. You may face additional penalties, too, at a judge's discretion.

Additional Considerations

Colorado also ranks high in terms of DUI-penalty severity because unlike some other states, previous DUI convictions factor into subsequent conviction punishments forever. In other words, it does not matter if you were convicted five or 50 years ago - a new DUI conviction will still be considered a subsequent offense. It is also important to note that, should you already have three DUI convictions, your fourth becomes a felony offense. You can also expect, as a Colorado DUI offender, to have to take part in a mandatory alcohol assessment, and your car may also be impounded following your arrest, should the law enforcement official who arrests you determine it necessary.

Even the state's first-time offenders face strict penalties if convicted of drunk driving. If you are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, you may find it beneficial to contact an attorney.

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