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What are the potential consequences for a DUI charge in Colorado?

Every year in Colorado, thousands of people are pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired. During the holiday season, police are going to be out in full force, looking for signs of drivers who may have had a few drinks with friends or family.

Since so many drivers end up in this situation -- and almost everyone knows someone with a DUI or DWAI on their record -- many people mistakenly think that a drunk driving charge is not a big deal. This assumption could not be further from the truth.

All DUI and DWAI charges can have a major impact on your life. A drunk driving-related conviction can cost you not only your freedom, but will also cost you financially and has the potential to cause issues for your in terms of current or future employment, as well as hurt your reputation.

In this blog post, we will look at just some of the possible consequences of a DUI case.

Financial repercussions

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, a first time DUI can cost a driver over $10,000. This includes fines, legal fees, alcohol education classes, and costs , like those stemming from having your car towed after your arrest. You can also expect to pay more in car insurance when you do get your license back, for years to come.

Possible jail time, license suspension

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, you can end up in jail for a first time offense. The specifics of your sentence depend on the circumstances of your case. For example, if you are in an accident and someone else is hurt, you could end up facing felony charges and the possibility of a prison sentence. But in some cases, even just a first time DUI offense -- where no one else is injured and there is no accident -- could still end up meaning a short period of time in jai.

In addition to the possibility of jail time, a DUI or DWAI also typically results in negative consequences for your driving privilege, which can directly play into your employment. While some jobs will require you have an active driver's license -- or a clean driving record -- if you do not lose your job, you will have to deal with the added stress of getting to and from work.

A negative reputation

It is easy to take for granted the ability to just jump in the car and get to where you want to go, until you can no longer do this. If you lose your license, you are going to have to get creative in finding a way to get to work, go out with friends or even go to a family outing. If someone asks why you are not driving -- or where your car is -- there are the negative connotations that will come with saying you have a DUI or DWAI. And since these charges do not go away, you can end up having to continue to deal with having the conviction on your record.

Similarly, if are required to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle, these devices are not discreet. Other people are going to know exactly what you are doing when you have to blow into the device in order for your car to start.

With such steep consequences, do not make the mistake of thinking it will be easier to plead guilty. Rather, the next step after a DUI or DWAI arrest should be reaching out to an attorney, to start exploring the defenses that may be available in your case, both in court and in administrative driver's license proceedings.

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