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Addressing a Second DUI: Your Next Steps

Operating a vehicle under the influence (DUI) is a grave offense, and the repercussions escalate significantly with each subsequent violation. In Colorado, a second DUI offense is classified as a misdemeanor unless it involves an accident, which can elevate the charge to a felony. Navigating the legal landscape surrounding a second DUI is crucial, as it comes with stringent penalties that can significantly impact your life.

Upon arrest for a second DUI, one of the immediate repercussions is a one-year driver’s license suspension, provided you consent to a blood or breath test. However, if you refuse the test, the suspension period extends to two years. It is imperative to act swiftly in such situations. Within seven days of your arrest, you must seek an administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to contest the suspension. Failure to do so will result in the automatic activation of the suspension. However, you may be issued a seven-day driving permit to cover you until the hearing.

The penalties for a second DUI in Colorado are more severe compared to a first offense. The violator faces a mandatory minimum of 10 days of incarceration, alongside monetary penalties ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. The length of the license suspension varies based on the time elapsed since the initial DUI offense, with Colorado having no specific lookback period. Therefore, even a DUI conviction from two decades ago carries weight in determining the severity of the penalty. Individuals guilty of a second DUI may also face 60 to 120 hours of community service.

A common question in such cases is whether pleading guilty to a lesser offense can result in reduced penalties. While this strategy may work in certain situations, it is often challenging for individuals facing a second DUI. Courts are generally reluctant to entertain pleas for lesser offenses unless compelling mitigating factors exist. To navigate the complex legal proceedings and explore potential options, seeking guidance from an experienced drunk driving defense attorney is crucial.

Understanding the nuances of your case and the potential consequences is paramount. An attorney specializing in DUI cases can assess the specifics of your situation, identify any mitigating factors, and advise you on the best course of action. They can help build a solid defense, challenge evidence, and explore possible plea bargains that may mitigate the severity of the penalties you face.

It is crucial to understand that every DUI case is unique, and the specific details surrounding the arrest can significantly impact the legal proceedings. Cooperation with legal professionals and adherence to timelines for administrative hearings are crucial steps in mounting an effective defense.


In conclusion, a second DUI offense in Colorado brings about severe legal consequences, involving substantial periods of incarceration, substantial financial penalties, and the revocation of driving privileges. The absence of a lookback period underscores the importance of addressing any prior DUI convictions, regardless of how long ago they occurred. Seeking legal counsel early in the process is vital to understanding the options available, building a solid defense, and mitigating the impact of a second DUI conviction.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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