If you've been arrested in Colorado for DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI and you have 3 prior alcohol-related traffic convictions anywhere in the US, you may be charged with a Felony DUI offense. Whether or not to charge the 4th or subsequent offense as a Felony rests entirely with the District Attorney's Office who is prosecuting the case. Sometimes the Felony is charged and sometimes it is not. Factors that seem to play into the decision are the evidence in the case, the jurisdiction, the district attorney, the criminal history of the defendant, and how old the prior offenses are. The bottom line is that the Felony DUI charge is not automatic- the 4th or subsequent offense may or may not be charged as a Felony.
It's important to note that sometimes a person with 3 prior DUI convictions will start out with a Misdemeanor charge and then once the district attorney investigates the case (and the person's prior DUI offenses), the Misdemeanor case will be dismissed and then re-filed as a Felony offense. Shockingly, this sometimes happens many months later into the Misdemeanor case whereby a person shows up to court and is greeted with a dismissal of the Misdemeanor and a summons to appear in Felony court on a new Felony charge. Thus, it's imperative to have legal representation in these complex cases.
Penalties for a Felony DUI conviction run the gamut of possibilities and range from probation and a straight time jail sentence (or possibly work release) to community corrections or even a prison sentence. According to the statute, if a person receives probation without work release, he/she must serve 90 to 180 days of straight time jail. If a person is granted work release, the minimum jail component is 120 days up to 2 years maximum. A Felony DUI is a Class 4 Felony, thus the possible penalty is from 2 years to 6 years imprisonment with a mandatory period of 3 years parole.
The year 2019 saw 1,316 Felony DUI filings in the state, with Jefferson/Gilpin Counties, El Paso/Teller Counties, Larimer/Jackson Counties, Adams/Broomfield Counties, and Douglas/Elbert/Lincoln/Arapahoe Counties leading as the "top 5" judicial districts with the most Felony DUI filings statewide. In light of these statistics it's clear that Felony DUI offenses are being aggressively prosecuted.
If you've been charged with a Felony DUI or with a Misdemeanor DUI that might transition into a Felony DUI, it's important to get immediate legal representation. Colorado Felony DUI Attorney Monte Robbins has over 15 years experience in fighting DUI charges throughout the state of Colorado. Contact Denver Felony DUI Attorney Monte Robbins today for a free case evaluation at 303-355-5148.