Colorado DUI laws – A complete guide

by | Mar 1, 2017 | Blog

A Guide to Colorado DUI Laws

DUI and DWAI are not the average Colorado traffic offenses. The state’s laws on impaired driving are harsh for good reasons. Colorado has separate categories for these offenses: driving while ability is impaired (DWAI) and driving under the influence (DUI). The difference is the subject’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of testing. For DWAI, the person’s BAC must be between .05 and .07%; anything over .08% is considered DUI. Below, readers will learn about Colorado DUI laws.

DWAI and DUI Penalties

The punishment for DWAI and DUI in Colorado becomes harsher as a person gathers more convictions. However, even a first offense has serious consequences. Unlike most traffic violations, a person can end up with more than fines and points on their license. Below are the consequences of these offenses:

First DWAI: up to 180 days in jail, fines of up to $500, mandatory community service and 8 points assessed against the driver’s license.

First DUI: up to one year in jail, fines of up to $1000, increased community service, a license suspension of up to one year, and months of mandatory alcohol education

Underage drinking and driving: a three-month license suspension, points on the driver’s license, a fine of $100 and community service

As it’s easy to see, a DUI or DWAI is no fun, as colorado DUI laws are intended to prevent future offenses. When a person receives these charges, they can have lifelong effects. The easiest way to avoid these harsh penalties is not to drink and drive.

DWAI/DUI Convictions and License Suspensions

The Colorado DMV can impose a license suspension based on what the defendant is convicted of in court, even if the person hires a dui lawyer. In most cases, suspensions are run concurrently with a per se revocation, but when a person refuses a breath test, suspensions are run consecutively. DUI and DWAI are regarded as severe traffic offenses, and if a person gets three within seven years, they can lose their driver’s license for up to five years as a habitual offender.

Ignition Interlock as a Condition of Early Reinstatement

Recent legislative changes have made it easier for drivers to regain their driving privileges following a license revocation, but early reinstatement requires the use of an ignition interlock for at least two years. If a defendant refuses a breath test, the minimum no-driving period before interlock reinstatement is 60 days. Other requirements are in place, such as mandatory alcohol classes, and a person can face separate charges for driving a vehicle with no ignition interlock. Even if a person gets his/her license back, they still face unique challenges.

Suspensions Based on Points

For a criminal DUI conviction, 12 points are assessed against the driver’s license. For a DWAI, the penalty is eight points. If enough points accrue, the person’s license may be revoked concurrently with other DMV revocations. Points remain on the driver’s record even after his/her license is reinstated.

Being Arrested for DUI in Colorado

If a driver is apprehended on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the police typically follow certain procedures, as listed below.

The driver is asked to submit to breath testing. Defendants should consider that refusal of the test will bring the automatic confiscation and revocation of driving privileges. The driver’s car is impounded.The defendant is taken to jail.

Drivers should always follow the officer’s instructions during a traffic stop. Disagreeing with the police will not resolve the situation—in fact, it only makes things worse.

State-Specific DUI/DWAI Laws

Colorado law has a few specific provisions on driving while intoxicated. These laws include:

The law of express consent: When a person drives a car in Colorado, they automatically give consent to have their blood, urine or breath tested for alcohol content. If a person refuses chemical testing, they can lose their license for up to a year.

The zero tolerance law: This law applies to those under the legal age for alcohol consumption. If a person under 21 has a BAC of .02-.08% while behind the wheel, they will lose their license.

The purchase and possession law: If a person under 21 buys or possesses alcohol, their license will be taken even if they are not driving at the time of apprehension.

Colorado’s drivers have a lot to think of where driving and drinking are concerned, and a car accident attorney in Colorado Springs can provide legal advice—but the best piece of advice is to not drink and drive. Avoiding it can be difficult, but it’s worthwhile due to the high risk involved. When the evening’s plans involve alcohol consumption, pick a designated driver or call a cab—do whatever it takes to stay out of the driver’s seat and out of jail. However, even if a person causes a drunk driving accident, a personal injury lawyer can provide legal counsel and courtroom representation.

A personal injury lawyer with over 10 years of experience, Ryan Malnar serves Colorado Springs with honesty & integrity.