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Felony DUI in Colorado

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If you’ve been charged with your 4th DUI, you risk being sentenced for a class 4 felony DUI in Colorado. If you are convicted of a felony DUI, there is a lot on the line. With the right DUI attorney in Aspen, you increase your chances of getting off with Probation, Community Corrections, or best-case scenario, with a Not Guilty verdict.

Facing a felony DUI charge? Mark Thiessen is a Colorado DUI lawyer known for getting results. Mark is Board Certified in both DUI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense (as approved through the American Bar Association) and DUI Law by the DUI Defense Lawyers Association. In addition, Mark has also earned the American Chemical Society-Chemistry and the Law’s (ACS-CHAL) Forensic Lawyer-Scientist designation — the highest form of scientific recognition available for lawyers.

What does this mean for you? Mark has the DUI knowledge and expertise to have a greater advantage in the courtroom. If you hire Mark Thiessen, you’ll get a lawyer who works aggressively to defend your rights, fights for your driving privileges, and defends your reputation.

What is the difference between a DUI and a felony DUI?

To be charged with a felony DUI, you would have had to have previously been convicted with DUI, DWAI, vehicular assault, or vehicular manslaughter in Colorado or out of state.

The biggest difference between the two is the conviction and penalties. Excluding vehicular assault and vehicular homicide in Colorado, your 1st DUI, 2nd DUI Colorado, and 3rd DUI Colorado are considered misdemeanors, while a 4th DUI in Colorado will be charged as a felony DUI. Penalties including mandatory jail time, fines, and license revocation increase with each conviction.

Is a first-time DUI a felony in Colorado?

The answer depends on what you’re being charged with. If you were charged with a DUI Colorado first offense, it will be considered a misdemeanor. But if you were charged with vehicular assault or vehicular homicide you will be looking at a felony charge, even if it is your first offense.

Regardless of the level of your charge, don’t wait to seek professional counsel. Hiring a board-certified, DUI attorney in Aspen like Mark Thiessen can help protect you and your rights throughout the entire DUI court process.

What’s the Difference Between DUID, DUI and DWAI?

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)

An individual caught driving under the influence of drugs including prescription medications and marijuana, will be charged with a DUID or a marijuana DUI Colorado. A DUID has the same penalties as a DUI.

Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)

If you’re caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.05% and 0.08%, you will be charged with a DWAI. Penalties increase as the number of offenses increases.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

You will be charged with a DUI if you are driving with a BAC higher than 0.08%. The higher your BAC, the more the penalties increase (including jail time, license revocation, and fines). 

Unlike in other states, you can be convicted with 3 DUI charges before it is considered a felony on your 4th DUI charge — with the exception of vehicular homicide or vehicular assault DUI Colorado. 

Felony DUI penalties in Colorado 

If convicted of a felony DUI, the penalties can have long-term consequences. Possible penalties for a 4th DUI in Colorado include: 

Class 4 felony – 4th time DUI/DWAI

Jail*2 years Colorado State jail6 years Colorado State jail
Community Service48 hours120 hours
Probation2 years4 years

*This jail sentence also comes with a mandatory 3-year parole period. You will also have to have a mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed into your vehicle for at least two years.

If probation is granted, the sentence includes:

Jail*90 days Colorado State jail180 days Colorado State jail
Community Service48 hours120 hours
Probation2 years4 years

*This jail sentence also comes with a mandatory 3-year parole period. You will also have to have a mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed into your vehicle for at least two years, take mandatory alcohol or drug education classes, and have your license suspended for two years.

Class 4 felony – Causing serious injury

Jail*2 years Colorado State jail6 years Colorado State jail

*This jail sentence also comes with a mandatory 3-year parole period. 

Class 3 felony – Causing death

Jail*4 years Colorado State jail12 years Colorado State jail

*This jail sentence also comes with a mandatory 5-year parole period. 

Note that the judge may sentence you to prison only if a prison sentence is deemed as the most suitable option by the Department of Corrections. Meaning, these harsh penalties aren’t mandatory unless convicted. With the right trial-tested attorney, you can fight to avoid jail time and negotiate for an acceptable deal. 

Felony DUI Colorado: What’s Next?

The court process for a class 4 felony charge is arguably one of the most complicated. There are two phases you will need to navigate including the administrative process (the DMV hearing) and the criminal process (your arraignment, trial, etc.).

The administrative DMV hearing gives you seven days from your arrest to save your license from potential suspension. Once the DMV hearing is concluded, you’ll move into the criminal process where your lawyer will argue on your behalf resulting in either a plea deal or a trial. From there you will be found as Not Guilty or Guilty. If the latter is decided, a sentencing decision will be made.

At this point, it’s vital that you have a trusted DUI lawyer in your corner. They can help you look for weaknesses in the case including any mistakes made during your arrest or chemical testing that could lead to your freedom. The earlier you include your DUI attorney, the sooner they can start fighting to defend you.


Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are several defense strategies your attorney might use to help you:

  • The defendant does not have three prior DUI convictions if cases were dismissed or redacted to non-DUI charges
  • Proving that the police lacked probable cause when pulling you over
  • Debunking improperly administered field sobriety tests
  • Establishing that faulty equipment was used to conduct a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine test)  
  • Proving that evidence was mishandled or incorrectly gathered
  • Proving that defendant has a medical condition that caused an inaccurate blood alcohol content (BAC) level 

Thiessen Law Firm — Aspen DUI Attorneys That Win.

Here at the Thiessen Law Firm, you are more than just a case to us. If you are charged with a  felony DUI in Colorado, it’s important that you hire the best DUI attorney around. Mark Thiessen specializes in personal care while aggressively fighting for your case. As an attorney that is obsessed with winning, he will defend your rights, your reputation, and your driving privileges.

Call Mark Thiessen today at 970-233-9000 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.

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