Colorado State Delegates

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DUI Laws

Colorado Alcohol Related Driving Offense Law

 

Alcohol Related Driving Charges in Colorado (Criminal)

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

    • In Colorado you are considered “Under the Influence” with a blood or breath alcohol content of 0.080 or greater.

    • You can still be charged with DUI even if your test result comes back below 0.080.

    • You can and will be charged with a DUI if you refuse to submit to a chemical test while showing signs or indicia of impairment or being under the influence.

    • You are guilty of DUI if you are substantially incapable of operating a vehicle safely (note: this applies to non-motorized vehicles such as bikes also).

  • Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)

    • You will be arrested and charged for DWAI if you have a blood or breath alcohol content between 0.050 and 0.079.

    • You can still be charged with DWAI even if your test result comes back below .050.

    • If a law enforcement officer believes that your ability to operate a vehicle is impaired to the slightest degree , you will be charged with driving while ability impaired.

  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)

    • There is no separate statute for DUID – the DUI statute covers drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. 

    • The state must prove that you operated a vehicle while under the influence or that you were impaired to the slightest degree.

    • Colorado recently approved a permissible inference limit for THC or Marijuana of 5ng. The current limit is 5 ng/100ml of blood of the active metabolite in THC (Delta-9). You can still be charged with a DUI even if your test results are below the 5ng permissible inference level or if you have a combination of drugs and alcohol in your system or you are suspected of being under the influence of other drugs, including prescription and over the counter drugs.

    • You can and will be charged with a DUID if you refuse to submit to a chemical test while showing signs or indicia of impairment of being under the influence of drugs.

  • Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.080 or Higher (DUI Per Se)

    • In Colorado, it is illegal, in and of itself, to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.080 or more.

    • In other words, even if a Defendant isn’t proven to be “under the influence” or “impaired” by drugs or alcohol (or by a combination thereof), he is still liable to be convicted of DUI Per Se if his blood alcohol content is higher than 0.08.

    • If a Defendant is charged with both DUI and DUI Per Se, the plea offer will usually involve dismissing the DUI per se charge.

    • If a Defendant is convicted of both DUI and DUI per se, the sentences will run concurrently, or at the same time.

  • Underage Drunk Driving

    • It is illegal for any person under the age of twenty-one to operate a motor vehicle with a blood or breath content of .020% or greater. A BAC between .020% and .049% will result in the person being charged with UDD (underage drinking and driving).

    • Underage Drinking and Driving is a Class A Traffic infraction that carries the loss of your license among other penalties.

    • Minors will be prosecuted the same as adults for BACs at or above .050%.

       

      ** Blood alcohol level is expressed in grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

     

    Penalties

  • The following tables summarize the criminal and administrative penalties upon conviction as they appear in sections 42-4-1301, 42-4-1307, 42-2-125, 42-2-126, 42-2-127, of the Colorado Revised Statutes. There are both criminal penalties (fines, court costs, imprisonment, required useful public service, required alcohol education and treatment, etc.) and administrative penalties for Alcohol related driving.  Courts impose criminal penalties, while the Colorado Department of Revenue, or DMV, imposes the administrative penalties. Administrative penalties include the suspension or revocation of driving privileges due to the conviction of certain alcohol related driving offenses or the accumulation of two many points. This summary does not include all the details contained in state law and regulations.

     

    Criminal Penalties

     

Offense

Jail Term Range

Mandatory Jail

Maximum Jail

Period of Probation

Fines

Public Service

1st DWAI

2 days – 180 days

None

180 days

Up to 2 years

$200 – $500

24 – 48 hours

1st DUI

5 days – 1 year

None

1 year

Up to 2 years

$600 – $1,000

48 – 96 hours

2nd Offense – outside of 5 years

10 days – 1 year

10 days

2 years

2 – 4 years

$600 – $1,500

48 – 120 hours

2nd Offense – within 5 years

10 days -  1 year

10 days  consecutive

2 years

2 – 4 years

$600 – $1,500

48 – 120 hours

3rd or Subsequent Offense

60 days – 1 year

60 days consecutive

2 years

2 – 4 years

$600 – $1,500

48 – 120 hours

1st UDD

None

None

None

None

$100

Up to 24 hours

DUR Alcohol

30 days – 1 year

30 days

1 year

None

$500 – $1,000

None

1st Alcohol Conviction with a BAC >.200

10 days – 1 year

10 days

1 year

Up to 2 years

$600 – $1,000

48 – 96 hours

 

 

 

Administrative (DMV) Penalties

 

When charged with an alcohol related driving offense in Colorado, you face possible administrative penalties as well as criminal penalties.  Administrative penalties are assessed by the Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  Administratively, the DMV is coming after your driving privileges.  Possible penalties for DUI offenses are contingent upon prior criminal and administrative (DUI) convictions, as well as the current number of points on your motor vehicle record.  The chart below includes a summary of administrative penalties based upon offense type and priors. Note: Drivers are able to reinstate early with an interlock restricted driver’s license, which allows a driver to get his/her license back after not driving at all for a month or two months in most cases.

 

Offense

License Suspension / Revocation

Points Assessed

Failed BAC test of .080 or higher

9 months

None

2nd Failed BAC test of .080 or higher

1 year

None

3rd or subsequent Failed BAC test of .080 or higher

2 years

None

 1st Refusal

 1 year

 None

 2nd Refusal

 2 years

 None

 3rd or subsequent Refusal

 3 years

 None

1st DWAI criminal conviction

None

8 points

1st DUI criminal conviction

9 months

12 points

2nd DUI or DWAI  criminal conviction in a 5 year period

1 year

DUI -12 points DWAI – 8 points

3rd or subsequent DUI or DWAI criminal conviction

2 years

DUI -12 points DWAI - 8 points

1st UDD (BAC .02 -.049)

3 months – 1st offense 6 months – 2nd offense 1 year – 3rd or subsequent offense

4 points

Driving Under Revocation / Suspension

1 year

None

2nd Driving Under Revocation / Suspension

convictions in a 5 year period

3 years

None

3rd Major Traffic Offense in a 7 year period

5 years

None

 

The Persistent Drunk Drivers (PDD)

 

Persistent drunk drivers, commonly called PDDs, are required to have a minimum 2 year interlock device is their vehicle as a mandatory term of driver’s license reinstatement.  Along with the interlock requirement, being legally classified as a PDD requires you to complete Level II Alcohol Education and Therapy and to maintain special insurance (SR22) for no less than 2 years and often times for 3 years as a mandatory term of reinstatement.  You can and will be designated as a persistent drunk driver, even if this is your first offense If: you refuse to take a test or your BAC is ≥ .150.

 

(a) C.R.S. 42-1-102(68.5) (a): “Persistent drunk driver” means any person who:

(I) Has been convicted of or had his or her driver’s license revoked for two or more alcohol-related driving violations;

(II) Continues to drive after a driver’s license or driving privilege restraint has been imposed for one or more alcohol-related driving offenses;

(III) Drives a motor vehicle while the amount of alcohol in such person’s blood, as shown by analysis of the person’s blood or breath, was 0.15 or more grams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood or 0.15 or more grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath at the time of driving or within two hours after driving; or

(IV) Refuses to take or complete, or to cooperate in the completing of, a test of his or her blood, breath, saliva, or urine as required by section 18-3-106 (4) or 18-3-205 (4), C.R.S., or section 42-4-1301.1 (2).

(b) Nothing in this subsection (68.5) shall be interpreted to affect the penalties imposed under this title for multiple alcohol- or drug-related driving offenses, including, but not limited to, penalties imposed for violations under sections 42-2-125 (1) (g) and (1) (i) and 42-2-202 (2).

 

Early Reinstatement of a Driver’s License

 

If at any time your license is revoked for an alcohol offense, you will need to go through the process known as reinstatement to obtain a valid driver’s license after the period of mandatory revocation is over. Below is the process and requirements for reinstating your driving privileges as a resident of Colorado.

 

1st Offense Excess BAC .080 – .149

 

REVOCATION: Your first episode of driving with a B.A.C. of 0.08 – .149 results in a 9-month revocation.  The driver is eligible for early reinstatement after completing one (1) month of the revocation.  They then are eligible for a restricted license with interlock for the time remaining on the total restraint (8 months).

  • The revocation remains in effect until you complete the reinstatement process.

  • ALL reinstatements are processed by mail.  You should begin the reinstatement process approximately 3-4 weeks before you expect to reinstate.

  • If you were 21 or older at the time of the violation, are a Colorado resident, and have no other unsatisfied license restraints, you may reinstate early after serving only 1 month of the revocation period, provided you install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in every vehicle you own or will drive and meet all other reinstatement requirements.

  • If your B.A.C. was below 0.15, you reinstate early, drive only an Interlock vehicle and do not have any failed BACs (≥ .025), you may be eligible for an unrestricted license after 4 consecutive months of successful Interlock driving. 

 

 

 

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1st Offense Excess BAC ≥ .150

 

REVOCATION: Your first episode of driving with a B.A.C. of ≥ .150 results in a 9-month revocation.  The driver is eligible for early reinstatement after completing one (1) month1 of the revocation.  They then are eligible for a restricted license with interlock for the time remaining on the total restraint or two (2) years, whichever is longer.

  • The revocation remains in effect until you complete the reinstatement process.
  • ALL reinstatements are processed by mail. You should begin the reinstatement process approximately 3-4 weeks before you expect to reinstate.
  • If you were 21 or older at the time of the violation, are a Colorado resident, and have no other unsatisfied license restraints, you may reinstate early after serving only one (1) month of the revocation period, provided you install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in every vehicle you own or will drive and meet all other reinstatement requirements.

 

1st offense Refusal

 

REVOCATION:  When a driver refuses a chemical test for drugs or alcohol for a first offense, the period of revocation is for 1 year.  The driver is eligible for early reinstatement after completing two (2) months of the revocation.  They then are eligible for a restricted license with interlock for the time remaining on the total restraint or two (2) years, whichever is longer.

  • The revocation remains in effect until you complete the reinstatement process.
  • ALL reinstatements are processed by mail. You should begin the reinstatement process approximately 3-4 weeks before you expect to reinstate.
  • If you were 21 or older at the time of the violation, are a Colorado resident, and have no other unsatisfied license restraints, you may reinstate early after serving only two (2) months of the revocation period, provided you install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in every vehicle you own or will drive and meet all other reinstatement requirements

2nd Offense Excess BAC.080

 

REVOCATION:  When a driver is convicted of a 2nd excess BAC offense in a lifetime, a one (1) year revocation is imposed for a second offense.  The driver is eligible for early reinstatement after completing one (1) month of the revocation.  They then are eligible for a restricted license with interlock for the time remaining on the total restraint or two (2) years, whichever is longer.

  • The revocation remains in effect until you complete the reinstatement process.
  • ALL reinstatements are processed by mail. You should begin the reinstatement process approximately 3-4 weeks before you expect to reinstate.
  • If you were 21 or older at the time of the violation, are a Colorado resident, and have no other unsatisfied license restraints, you may reinstate early after serving only one (1) month of the revocation period, provided you install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in every vehicle you own or will drive and meet all other reinstatement requirements

2nd Refusal

 

REVOCATION:  When a driver refuses a chemical test for drugs or alcohol for a second offense, the period of revocation is for two (2) years. The driver is eligible for early reinstatement after completing two (2) months of the revocation.  They then are eligible for a restricted license with interlock for the time remaining on the total restraint or two (2) years, whichever is longer.

  • The revocation remains in effect until you complete the reinstatement process.
  • ALL reinstatements are processed by mail. You should begin the reinstatement process approximately 3-4 weeks before you expect to reinstate.
  • If you were 21 or older at the time of the violation, are a Colorado resident, and have no other unsatisfied license restraints, you may reinstate early after serving only two (2) months of the revocation period, provided you install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in every vehicle you own or will drive and meet all other reinstatement requirements

3rd or Subsequent Offense Excess BAC .080

 

REVOCATION:  When a driver is convicted of a 3rd excess BAC offense in a lifetime, a two (2) year revocation is imposed for a third offense.

  • The revocation remains in effect until you complete the reinstatement process.
  • ALL reinstatements are processed by mail. You should begin the reinstatement process approximately 3-4 weeks before you expect to reinstate.
  • If you were 21 or older at the time of the violation, are a Colorado resident, and have no other unsatisfied license restraints, you may reinstate early after serving only one (1) month of the revocation period, provided you install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in every vehicle you own or will drive and meet all other reinstatement requirements

3rd or subsequent Refusal

 

REVOCATION:  When a driver refuses a chemical test for drugs or alcohol for a third or subsequent offense, the period of revocation is for three (3) years. The driver is eligible for early reinstatement after completing two (2) months of the revocation.  They then are eligible for a restricted license with interlock for the time remaining on the total restraint or two (2) years, whichever is longer.

  • The revocation remains in effect until you complete the reinstatement process.
  • ALL reinstatements are processed by mail. You should begin the reinstatement process approximately 3-4 weeks before you expect to reinstate.
  • If you were 21 or older at the time of the violation, are a Colorado resident, and have no other unsatisfied license restraints, you may reinstate early after serving only two (2) months of the revocation period, provided you install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in every vehicle you own or will drive and meet all other reinstatement requirements