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Colorado DUI Law

Standard: Colorado has two standards for drunk driving.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI):

DUI means that the driver has consumed a level of alcohol and/or drugs that renders him substantially incapable to exercise clear judgment, sufficient control, and due care in the operation of a motor vehicle.

Driving While Impaired (DWAI):

DWAI is a lower standard and means that the driver has consumed a level of alcohol and/or drugs that renders him unable in the slightest degree to operate his vehicle. This means that he is, in any way less able to operate the vehicle than an ordinary person without drugs or alcohol in their system would be.

Blood Alcohol Levels and the Standards

A BAC of under .05 is presumed to not be intoxicated. However, depending on the testimony of the police officer, you may still be able to receive a DWAI.

A BAC of between .05 and .08 could be liable for either a DUI or DWAI, depending on the circumstances.

A BAC of .08 or greater is presumed to be a DUI.

Penalties

First DWAI Conviction

Jail: 2 – 180 days Fine: $100 - $500 Public Service: 24 – 48 hours, none of which may be suspended.

Second and Subsequent DWAI Convictions

Jail: 45 days – 1 year Fine: $300 - $1,000 Public Service: 48 – 96 hours, none of which may be suspended.

First DUI Conviction

Jail: 5 days – 1 year Fine: $300 - $1,000 Public Service: 48 – 96 hours, none of which may be suspended.

DUI Conviction With a Prior DWAI

Jail: 7 days – 1 year Fine: $450 - $1,500 Public Service: 56 – 112 hours, none of which may be suspended.

Second DUI or First DUI with a BAC of .20 or Greater

Jail: 90 days – 1 year Fine: $500 - $1,500 Public Service: 60 – 120 hours, none of which may be suspended.

License Suspension: One Year

Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test:

It is your right to refuse to submit to a chemical test. However, if you do so, your license will be automatically revoked upon arrest and the judge may suspend your license for longer than a year. Additionally, if you were convicted of a DUI or DWAI in the last 5 years, the judge will restrict your license for not less than a year (this is in addition to the license suspension).

Alcohol Programming:

The court may require you to attend alcohol programming and education courses. These courses cost an average of $525 and run for a period of 24 hours over 12 weeks.

The court has discretion to suspend part or all of the jail term in the case that the offender has enrolled in or successfully completed the alcohol programming between the time of arrest and the time of trial. To have your sentence suspended, the court will also require that you abstain from alcohol for a year. This is monitored by periodic check-ins at a treatment facility.

Open Container Laws:

It is unlawful to have an open container in the passenger area of a car. It is also unlawful for passengers to drink alcohol while the car is moving. This is a Class A Traffic Infraction and is punishable by a $50 fine.

Drunk Driving Under 21:

If you are under the age of 21 and have a BAC of greater than .02 but less than .08, the court may punish you with a Class A Infraction. This carries with it up to 24 hours of public service. In addition, the court will sentence you to one or more of the following: Alcohol Evaluation and Assessment, Alcohol Education Programming, or Alcohol Treatment Programming.

Colorado Estimates that the Average “Real Cost” of Drunk Driving is $8,866.00.