DUI in Colorado

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Colorado law enforcement refers to drunk driving offenses as either:

  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence), triggered by .08% or higher BAC, or
  • DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), triggered by .05% BAC or higher (but less than .08% BAC).

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DWAI/DUI in Colorado?

Under 21 .02%
21 or older .08% DUI or .05% DWAI

** BAC = blood alcohol content

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Colorado?

Colorado has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension.

  1st Offense 2d offense 3rd Offense
Refusal to take test 1 year revocation of license 2 year revocation of license 3 year revocation of license

What is the minimum jail time?

  1st Offense 2d offense 3rd Offense
Minimum Jail 5 days jail (for DUI), or 2 days jail (for DWAI DUI: 10 days jail (if previous conviction was for DUI), or 7 days jail (if previous conviction was for DWAI)

DWAI: 6 days jail (if previous conviction was for DUI), or 5 days jail (if previous conviction was for DWAI)

No statutory minimum

Lookback Period: 10 years (Period of time that prior DWAI/DUIs are relevant for sentencing

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DWAI/DUI in Colorado?

A defendant might receive a “wet reckless,” or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in your state, but it’s possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

1st Colorado DUI Offense

First Drunk Driving Conviction

Blood Alcohol Content .08 or Above

  • 1st DUI
  • Jail – From 5 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine – From $600 – $1,000
  • License Suspension – 9 Months
  • License Points – 12
  • Public Service – From 48 to 96 Hours
  • Jail May be Suspended in Lieu of Alcohol Treatment Program

1st DWAI Offense

First Driving While Ability Impaired

Blood Alcohol Content of .05 But Less Than .08

  • 1st DWAI
  • Jail – From 48 Hours to 180 Days
  • Fine – From $200 to $500
  • License Suspension – None
  • License Points – 8
  • Public Service – From 24 to 48 Hours

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