Colorado DUI Laws and Penalties

How Colorado defines impaired driving and the consequences of a conviction.

Colorado has three categories of impaired driving. Motorists are prohibited from driving a vehicle:

  • while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two (called “DUI”)
  • while abilities are impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both (known as “DWAI”), and
  • with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more (referred to as “DUI per se”).

DUI requires proof of a substantial impairment that affects the person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. DWAI is the lesser of these offenses, requiring proof of only a slight degree of impairment. A defendant is presumed to be DWAI if a chemical test shows a BAC of more than .05% but less than .08%. DUI per se means that the driver’s BAC was .08% or more.

Jail Time and Fines for Impaired Driving Convictions in Colorado

The possible penalties for an impaired driving offense depend on the number of priors and whether the defendant is convicted of DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI. The penalties are typically less severe for a first DWAI conviction than they are for DUI or DUI per se convictions. But when an offender has at least one prior conviction, the penalties for DUI, DUI per se, and DWAI are the same.

Here are the minimum and maximum jail sentences and fines for first, second, and third convictions.

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

Jail Time

5 days to 1 year (DUI and DUI per se)

2 days to 180 days (DWAI)

10 days to 1 year

60 days to 1 year

Fines

$600 to $1,000 (DUI and DUI per se)

$200 to $500 (DWAI)

$600 to $1,500

$600 to $1,500

License Revocations for Impaired Driving Convictions in Colorado

There is no license revocation imposed as the result of a first DWAI conviction. However, all Colorado drivers who are convicted of DUI, DUI per se, or a second or subsequent DWAI face license revocation. The revocation periods for a first, second, and third conviction are as follows:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

Revocation Period

9 months

1 year (if the second conviction is within 5 years)

Indefinite (can apply for reinstatement after 2 years)

An offender can apply for an interlock-restricted license after one month of the revocation period has passed. For first DUI and DUI per se convictions, the defendant is required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) for eight months. However, if the defendant’s BAC was .15% or more, the IID must be installed for two years. For second and subsequent convictions of DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI, the defendant must hold the interlock-restricted license for at least two but not longer than five years before being eligible for any other license.

Colorado’s Expressed Consent Law

If there’s probable cause to believe a motorist was driving under the influence, Colorado’s expressed consent law requires the motorist to submit to breath, blood, saliva and/or urine testing. Motorists who fail or refuse a test typically face the following revocation periods:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

Revocation Period for BAC of .08% or more

9 months

1 year

2 years

Revocation Period for Test Refusal

1 year

2 years

3 years

Other Consequences of a DUI or DWAI in Colorado

Public service. A defendant who’s convicted of DWAI for the first time must complete 24 to 48 hours of public service. For first DUI and DUI per se convictions, 48 to 96 hours of public service is required. For second and subsequent convictions of DUI, DUI per se, and DWAI, offenders must complete 48 to 120 hours of public service. All defendants required to complete public service must pay a $120 fee.

Alcohol/drug evaluation and treatment. All DUI, DUI per se, and DWAI offenders must complete an alcohol/drug evaluation and the recommended treatment program.

Probation. For a second or subsequent conviction, the defendant is placed on probation for at least two years. An additional period of probation of up to two years can be imposed and a violation of probation can result in up to a year in jail.

FACING A DUI?

Talk to a DUI Defense attorney

We've helped 115 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you