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Colorado DUI & DWAI Probation

Insight from Our Denver DUI Lawyers

Clients and potential clients hear the word probation frequently when discussing their Colorado DUI case, but rarely do people truly understand what probation is and what is consists of. If you have been charged with an alcohol-related driving case in Colorado and your case ends up in some sort of conviction for a DUI or DWAI offense, you are almost guaranteed to be place on some form of probation.

Probation is mandatory for all second and subsequent offenses. The court has the discretion to impose probation for first time DUI or DWAI offenders. However, courts almost unilaterally impose probation for DUI and DWAI offenders.

When we discuss probation with clients, there are two kinds of DUI probation:

  • Supervised
  • Unsupervised

What is Unsupervised Probation in Colorado?

Unsupervised probation is just that – unsupervised. This type of probation is rare and usually reserved only for cases with extenuating facts or circumstances. Do not expect that you will get unsupervised probation if you are convicted of DWAI or DUI in Colorado. Some courts and judges will not even consider unsupervised probation. You will still be required to complete all terms and conditions of sentencing, except that you will have to provide proof of completion and compliance directly to the court rather than to a probation officer.

Unsupervised probation is much cheaper since you do not have to pay supervision fees and is much more convenient because you do not need to check in with a probation officer on a monthly basis. Unsupervised probation usually also means that you are not required to be on monitored sobriety and you do not have to get permission to leave the state. The court has the full authority to set the exact terms and conditions of unsupervised probation and you should consult with your attorney as to whether this is even a realistic possibility in your case. Do not be surprised if it is not.

Understanding Supervised Probation

Supervised probation is the most common form of DUI probation in Colorado. Supervised DUI or DWAI probation typically lasts from one - two years for first time offenders and two - four years for all multiple offenders.

DUI or DWAI probation usually consists of the following:

  • Monthly meetings with a probation officer who in our experience:
    • Rarely returns phone calls or emails
    • Is generally distrusting, rude and unorganized
    • Will likely only be your probation officer for a short period of time because they will quit or transfer and someone else will get assigned to supervise your case
  • This probation officer may work for the county probation department or they may be with a private probation company like RMOMS, Intervention, ICCS or Behavioral Intervention. You have zero ability to control which entity is assigned to monitor you while on probation and you have zero control over which probation officer gets assigned to your case. You simply will have to deal with your luck of the draw.
  • A monthly supervision fee to be paid either as part of your court costs or directly to the probation department. The going rate is around $50 per month.
  • Monitored sobriety in the form of Urinalysis test (UAs), ETGs or Breath test (BAs). If you have multiple offenses or are perceived as high risk, you may be required to have SCRAM, Soberlink, Smart Start InHom, Antabuse or another form of 24/7 monitoring. The frequency of your monitoring will be completely up to probation and will be based on the results of your alcohol evaluation, the facts of your case and your prior history. If you miss, have diluted urine samples or fail any tests, the frequency of your monitoring will be increased by your probation officer and/or a petition to revoke your probation will be filed with the court.
  • The court will also impose community service hours, also called Useful Public Service in Colorado. Probation will monitor the completion of these hours to ensure you are on track to complete these hours within the timeframe specified by the court and that you are completing these hours at an approved non-profit agency. You will likely be required to pay a useful public service fee and you may be required to choose from a list of pre-approved organizations. Each county handles this differently so you should check with your attorney or your probation officer prior to starting community service hours to ensure you get credit for all hours completed.
  • Probation will ensure that you have paid your fines and court costs in full or that you have established a payment plan with the court clerk’s office to ensure full and prompt payment of all fines and costs.
  • The court will likely impose Level II Education and Therapy as ordered by probation. The alcohol evaluator who works for probation will determine what level of treatment you should complete based on a cookie cutter approach and proprietary scoring matrix that they will not disclose to attorneys or the court. Probation will ensure you are registered for and attending these classes on a regular basis to ensure that you complete these classes within the timeframe set by the court or prior to your probationary period ending.
  • The court will likely require that you complete a MADD Victim Impact Panel. Probation will ensure that you are on track to complete this 2-3 hour class in a timely manner before probation is terminated.
  • Probation will ensure you are remaining law abiding and require you to immediately contact them if you have any police contact.
  • Probation will ensure that you are complying with all court orders and terms and conditions of sentence as imposed by the court. However, probation will also impose additional requirements upon you, such as:
    • You cannot leave the state without their permission. In order to obtain permission you will need to submit a travel voucher to your probation officer at least “X” weeks in advance to your scheduled travel. If you are 100% compliant with probation, the trip will likely be granted. If you are not full compliant, your request may be denied. You likely will not receive a response from your probation officer in a timely manner and you likely will have to send several emails and leave numerous voicemails to get approval just days or hours before you are scheduled to leave.
    • Probation will require you to keep them informed about your address and employment status, including who your employer is.
    • Probation will require you to consent to a search of residence, person, and automobile at the sole discretion of probation and without a warrant.
    • Probation has the right to subject you to monitoring and substance testing at their discretion
    • Probation may try to impose a ban on possession of a firearm while on probation

These are just some of the terms and conditions of probation and the terms and conditions for each person are contingent upon many variables, some of which are outside of your control and ours.

Below is a chart of criminal penalties associated with Colorado DUI and Colorado DWAI convictions. The statutory Period of Probation is highlighted in red font.

Criminal Penalties

OffenseJail Term RangeMandatory JailMaximum JailPeriod of ProbationFinesPublic Service
1st DWAI2 days - 180 daysNone180 daysUp to 2 years$200 - $50024 - 48 hours
1st DUI5 days - 1 yearNone1 yearUp to 2 years$600 - $1,00048 - 96 hours
2nd Offense - outside of 5 years10 days - 1 year10 days2 years2 - 4 years$600 - $1,50048 - 120 hours
2nd Offense - within 5 years10 days - 1 year10 days consecutive2 years2 - 4 years$600 - $1,50048 - 120 hours
3rd or Subsequent Offense60 days - 1 year60 days consecutive2 years2 - 4 years$600 - $1,50048 - 120 hours
1st UDDNoneNoneNoneNone$100Up to 24 hours
DUR-Alcohol30 days - 1 year30 days1 yearNone$500 - $1,000None
1st Alcohol Conviction with a BAC >.20010 days - 1 year10 days1 yearUp to 2 years$600 - $1,00048 - 96 hours

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