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DUI Car Accident

The Impact of a Car Accident on a DUI Defense Case

By: Lain A. Lawrence - DUI Defense Attorney May 25, 2023

DUI Defense will focus on mitigators and aggravators. Aggravators are things that make a case worse. Mitigators are things that make a case less severe. 

DUI car accidents are always aggravators in a DUI Defense case. They can impact a criminal proceeding in a variety of ways. 

Drunk driving offense and it involving an accident are serious offense. It is always advisable to speak with a DUI Defense attorney. 

Most drunk driving lawyers offer free consultations. This type of consultation can provide information about what is going on with your case and ways to proceed forward. 

The purpose of this article is to provide some insight on the impact of a car accident. Always speak to a DUI accident lawyer to get information specific to your case. 

What is driving under the influence under Colorado Law?

The first place to start is to understand how Colorado defines driving under the influence involves. Driving under the influence is the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated. A defendant needs to be intoxicated to the point that they are substantially unable to safely operate a motor vehicle. The impairment can be a result of a alcohol or drugs.

Colorado has a lesser included offense of driving while ability is impaired. This involves impairment where a defendant’s ability is impaired to the slightest degree. 

Dealing with BAC, a DUI is a blood alcohol concentration greater than .08. A DWAI is a .05 or greater. A person can also commit DUID if they are driving under the influence of drugs. Each drug is different and will require different levels on consumption for impairment.

The BAC can be a result of a blood test or breath test. These tests will happen after a traffic stop and field sobriety test.

The term operation of a motor vehicle involves driving and being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. When dealing with an accident, the facts will always deal with actually driving a vehicle.

A DUI Accident can result in jail time.

The Colorado legislature has imposed a sentencing structure for DUIs. A first alcohol related driving offense does not require jail time unless the BAC is above a .20. In that case, the Court is required to impose a mandatory jail sentence. 

A second DUI, third DUI, and multiple offenses also involve mandatory minimum jail sentences. A drunk driving defendant may be permitted to serve their jail sentence on in home detention or work release.

It is important to remember that judges will routinely give jail sentences above the mandatory minimum. Some jurisdictions will permit you to stipulate or agree on the potential sentence. Others, like Adams and Jefferson County, will not permit stipulation. In those courts, the Judge will decide the appropriate sentence.

As state above, a car accident will aggravate a DUI case. Even if jail is not mandatory, a court could want to impose jail.  Additionally, an accident could remove the possibility of in-home detention or increase the amount of jail a defendant is facing. 

DUI Car Accidents can Result in an Order for Restitution.

In addition to jail and probation, a court is required to enter an order for restitution in every criminal case. Restitution is paying back a victim for any loses. 

The loses must be a result of the charged offense. The most common loses are medical bills an accident victim suffered. The court can also look at any injury to another person.

A defendant will have a chance to challenge any restation amount. The restation must be supported by documentation. A standard challenge to restitution in a drunk driving case is insurance. If the defendant had insurance that would cover any loses, restitution would not be appropriate. 

If the defendant did not have insurance, they may face high restitution. It is important to speak with a DUI attorney to understand what a defendant could be responsible to pay. Restitution payments can be expensive, but a DUI defense attorney can help minimize the financial impact.

A DUI Accident with Injury can Result in Felony Charges.

Vehicular assault is a class 4 felony under Colorado Law. Vehicular assault is DUI with an accident that results in serious bodily injury. Serious bodily injury is any injury that could result in death or scarring. It also involves any fracture or burn.

Vehicular assault can involve reckless driving. A vehicular assault lawyer will be able to explain the difference between reckless driving and DUI law.

It is important to remember that comparative negligence is not applicable in vehicular assault cases. Comparative negligence is an allegation that the victim contributed to their injuries. It is a common defense in civil cases.

A common argument in civil cases is a victim wasn’t wearing their seat belt. Seat belts are used to prevent serious injuries, and the failure to utilize a seat belt can result in severe injuries. In a criminal case, the failure of a victim to wear a seat belt would not be a valid defense. The only question is whether serious bodily injury resulted from a car accident caused by drunk driving.

Vehicular assault carries a possible prison sentence of two to six years. A court could also impose a fine of $2,000 - $500,000. Probation can be imposed at the court’s discretion.

Prosecutors are extremely tough on vehicular assault cases. There is no mandatory jail time with vehicular assault. It isn’t uncommon for a defendant to do a few months in jail or community corrections. It is important to speak with a vehicular assault attorney. 

The most serious cases involve death. If a defendant kills a victim in a DUI car accident that charge will be vehicular homicide. This is a class 3 felony. 

Vehicular homicide carries a possibility of 4 to twelve years of prison. The fine can be up to $750,000.  In these cases, a defendant should anticipate a lengthy prison sentence.


DUI litigation is not simple, it is complicated. Car accidents complicate these cases even more. They are complicated cases and require aggressive dui defenses.

Each dui case is different. Each case and each defendant require a DUI attorney to tailor a defense to their case and goals.

If you are charged with a DUI or DWAI offense involving a car accident in Aurora or the Denver Metro Area, request a consultation with our DUI lawyer today. We are open during regular business hours, and we will stay late and be available on the weekends by appointment.

Schedule a free consultation with a DUI Accident Attorney from the Lawrence Law Firm. We are ready, willing, and able to represent you. Our firm charges flat fees, but we also provide flexible payments plans. Your financial situation should not compromise your legal defenses.

Request a consultation today with our Colorado DUI Attorney.