Understanding Colorado’s DUI Charges

Understanding Colorado’s laws surrounding driving while under the influence or driving while ability impaired is important.

People in Colorado and around the nation can be reasonably concerned about the risk of being involved in an accident with a drunk driver. However, our society frequently has a stereotype about impaired drivers being stopped perhaps at a DUI checkpoint that is largely untrue.

While there can be times that people are extremely visibly intoxicated to the point of even slurring speech or having difficulty walking let alone driving, in most cases this does not happen. Many a responsible and functional driver has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving charges. Because this can happen to anyone, it is important to know the state's laws on these types of cases and their associated penalties.

Do convicted drivers always have to install IIDs?

In Colorado, the use of an ignition interlock device is generally part of the penalty set for any DUI or DWAI conviction, even if a first offense according to the Colorado Department of Revenue Department of Motor Vehicles website. People found guilty of impaired driving with blood alcohol levels greater than 0.15 percent must use IIDs for longer than those drivers with lower BAC levels. Additionally, in 2014 the state lowered the threshold for what was considered a Persistent Drunk Driver from 0.17 percent to 0.15 percent and this delineation can affect the amount of time for which an IID is required.

What other administrative penalties may result?

The Colorado Office of Legislative Legal Services indicates that even a refusal to participate in impaired driving testing can lead to the suspension of driving privileges. The length of suspension varies between nine month and two years depending upon whether or not a refusal is the first or subsequent such refusal. If convicted, up to 12 points can be added to a driver's record.

What criminal consequences may result?

Both DUI and DWAI convictions can lead to criminal penalties. At Colorado.gov, the basic outline for these penalties includes jail time, fines and community service up to the following limits:

  • For a first DWAI offense, drivers can spend up to 180 days in jail, pay up to $500 and perform up to 48 service hours.
  • For a first DUI offense, drivers can spend up to 1 year in jail, pay up to $1,000 and perform up to 96 service hours.
  • For a second or subsequent DUI offense, drivers can spend up to 1 year in jail, pay up to $1,500 and perform up to 120 service hours. They may also face two years of probation.

If a second conviction happens within five years of the first, the defendant is required to maintain employment or school enrollment as well as enter into a stipulated substance education program. These requirements are also added to any third or subsequent conviction.

When to get help

Many people wonder when the best time to seek help with a DUI defense is. The answer to that is immediately upon arrest. Seeking legal input as soon as possible is always recommended.

Keywords: DUI, drunk driving, charges