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DUI/DWI Information for Colorado

Driving under influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) is an offence committed when a driver operates a vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs or other intoxicants. Increased alcohol levels in the driver's blood lead to diminished mental and motor reactions which, in turn, reduce the driver's ability to control the vehicle. This significantly increases the risk of the driver committing errors of judgment and often results in accidents causing severe injuries and even death.

In Colorado, as in the rest of the US, drunk driving is the single largest cause of motor vehicle related fatalities and accounts for an alarmingly high 40% to 50% of the total number of motor vehicle related deaths every year.

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REGULATIONS FOR DUI/DWI IN COLORADO

In Colorado the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is set at 0.08% for drivers over 21 years of age and it is set at 0.02% for those under 21. For commercial drivers, the limit is set at 0.04%.

Having a Colorado license automatically provides your consent to be tested if stopped by a law enforcement officer, while driving. This is the law of "implied consent" and can be used by the officer to test you if you are stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving, either through a breathalyser test or by an actual blood test to check the BAC. Refusing to take the chemical test will result in your license being revoked.

Points will be added to your driving record and your license will be suspended or revoked, if you convicted of DUI/DWI. The number of points assessed, depend on the severity of the offense and the number of times you have been convicted for it.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI /DWAI FOR DRIVERS OVER 21:

If you are over 21 years old, and are caught with BAC higher than the set limit of 0.08%, you may be subjected to criminal actions in addition to administrative actions. If the DUI/DWI incident you are involved in is subjected to criminal action, it is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice. Colorado has another category of offense called Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) when BAC is 0.05%.

  1. The first offense may result in imprisonment for five days to one year and $300 to $1000 fine. Also, if convicted for a first offense BAC or DWI (BAC over 0.08%) or for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID):
    • 12 points will be added to your driving record.
    • Your license will be suspended for 30 days.
    • You may be eligible to drive using the Interlock Restricted License, if you meet the reinstatement requirements. If you are convicted when driving under restraint then your privilege to drive will be suspended for one year with effect from the date it would have been restored.
    • You will have to under take mandatory 48-96 hours of useful public service.
  2. The second offense within five years may result in imprisonment for 90 days to one year and $500 to $1000 fine. Also, if convicted for the second offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
    • Your license will be revoked for one year.
    • You may be eligible to drive using the Interlock Restricted License, if you meet the reinstatement requirements. If you are convicted when driving under restraint then your privilege to drive will be suspended for one year with effect from the date it would have been restored.
    • You will have to under take mandatory 60-120 hours of useful public service.
  3. The third offense or three offenses in five years and may result in imprisonment and a fine. Also, if convicted for the third offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  4. Your license will be revoked for a year.
  5. You may be eligible to drive using the Interlock Restricted License, if you meet the reinstatement requirements. If you are convicted when driving under restraint then your privilege to drive will be suspended for one year with effect from the date it would have been restored. It is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice.
  6. The fourth offense in five years and may result in imprisonment and a fine. Also, if convicted for the fourth offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  7. Your license will be revoked for a year.
  8. If you are convicted when driving under restraint then your privilege to drive will be suspended for one year with effect from the date it would have been restored. It is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice.
  9. The fifth offense in five years may result in imprisonment and a fine. Also, if convicted for the fifth or subsequent offenses of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  10. Your license will be revoked for a year.
  11. If you are convicted when driving under restraint then your privilege to drive will be suspended for one year with effect from the date it would have been restored. It is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice.
  12. The first offense with DWAI may result in imprisonment of two to 180 days and $100-$500 fine. Also if convicted for first offense of DWAI:
    • 8 points will be added to your driving record.
    • You may be eligible to drive using the Interlock Restricted License, if you meet the reinstatement requirements. If you are convicted when driving under restraint then your privilege to drive will be suspended for one year with effect from the date it would have been restored.
    • You will have to under take mandatory 24-48 hours of useful public service.
  13. The second offense with DWAI may result in imprisonment of 45 days to one year and $300-$1000 fine. Also if convicted for first offense of DWAI:
    • Your license will be revoked for one year.
    • You may be eligible to drive using the Interlock Restricted License, if you meet the reinstatement requirements. If you are convicted when driving under restraint then your privilege to drive will be suspended for one year with effect from the date it would have been restored.
    • You will have to under take mandatory 48-96 hours of useful public service.
  14. DWAI with previous DUI may result in imprisonment of 60 days to 1 year and $400- $1200 fine. Also if convicted for this offense:
    • Your license will be revoked for one year.
    • You will have to under take mandatory 52- 104 hours of useful public service.
  15. DUI with previous DWAI may result in imprisonment of 70 days - 1 year and a $450- $1500 fine. Also if convicted for this offense:
    • Your license will be revoked for one year.
    • You will have to under take mandatory 56 -112 hours of useful public service.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS UNDER 21

  1. If you are convicted under the "minor in possession/other alcohol offenses" law(trying to purchase, possessing or having purchased any intoxicant; or being intoxicated using alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants; or having a BAC between 0.02% and 0.05% while driving it is treated as a Class A traffic infraction. The privilege to drive will be mandatory revoked for one year.
  2. A second offense will be treated as a Class 2 traffic Misdemeanor. The privilege to drive will be mandatorily revoked for one year.
  3. As per the law, minor's license will be mandatorily revoked for any alcohol or drug-related offense (including possession and use) while driving or for changing or lying on your driver license. Your license will also be suspended for 6 months if you are convicted of supplying any alcoholic beverage to anyone less than 21 years of age.
  4. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to minors if they are convicted of DUI/DWI.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS

If you drive a commercial vehicle and hold a commercial driver license (CDL):
  1. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for a year, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04%. Your license will be suspended/ revoked for minimum one year for your first offense.
  2. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04% while transporting hazardous materials.
  3. You may be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for life if you are convicted for any of these offenses for multiple times.
  4. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to commercial drivers for their offenses of DUI/DWI.

ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI:

Colorado laws have administrative implications in addition to the criminal laws against DUI/DWI. An officer may arrest a driver if:
  • He/she is aged 21 and above and is driving with BAC 0.08% or more.
  • He/she is aged below 21 and is driving with BAC 0.02% or more.
Under this action, if you are arrested for DUI/DWI, the arresting officer will confiscate your Colorado driver license, file an AIR (Alcohol Influence Report), complete a notice of license suspension/revocation based on the nature of the offense along with a warrant, if applicable; and send the entire set to the Department of Revenue. The driver can schedule an administrative hearing on receiving the notice of suspension/revocation. It is a good idea to consult a DUI/DWI lawyer beforehand. If the hearing goes against the driver, his license will be suspended or revoked based on his previous five-year driving record. If he has any alcohol related convictions or suspensions for this five-year period, his license will be revoked for one year, and if not, then it will be suspended for 30 days. You may be eligible to drive using the Interlock Restricted License, after one year of suspension. If the administrative hearing goes against the driver, he can ask for a review. He will, however, have to serve the suspension/revocation until the court reaches a verdict. If the verdict is the same as the administrative hearing, then the driver will have to complete the remaining period of his suspension/revocation and then file for reinstatement of the license. If the verdict goes in favour of the driver, then his license will be returned and the suspension/revocation will be cancelled. If the driver, however, does not request a hearing, then the suspension/revocation begins, and is final.

LICENSE REINSTATEMENT AFTER DUI/DWI SUSPENSION/REVOCATION:

If you are convicted of DUI/DWI, it will result in your license being suspended or revoked. This means that your driving privileges will be taken away and you will need to apply for a reinstatement of your license with the Department of Revenue, once the period of suspension or revocation is over. Reinstating a license after a suspension of a year, or revocation will also mean taking the driving tests all over again. These will include the vision test, knowledge test and the road test. If you do not complete the reinstatement requirements, the license will remain suspended or revoked.
  1. To complete the reinstatement requirements, you must prove that you have successfully completed the Alcohol Education and Therapy Program or a comparable program (the agency will send the proof to the Driver License Bureau once you have completed the program), pay the reinstatement fee of $95 (to be paid by money order), and maintain proof of financial responsibility for three years from the date of suspension/revocation by filing SR-22, if you are over 21 years old.
  2. If you are being convicted for a two or more times in five years or if your BAC is 0.17% or above, it is mandatory for the court to order an ignition interlock device to be placed for breathalyser tests on any vehicle you drive at your cost.
  3. You have to mail the reinstatement application form (DR 2870) and fees to the appropriate office.
  4. You can submit the reinstatement application and fees (Monday-Friday from 8 am to 5 pm) in person at the Main office:
    Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles 
    1881 Pierce St
    Lakewood, CO 80214
    Phone: (303) 205-5600    
    For more details on requirements to reinstate your driving privileges you can also call: 303-205-5613.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • DUI/DWI has been a major cause of death and injury in our nation and it is our duty to prevent such needless pain and suffering. Simply: If you drink, DON'T DRIVE! If we all follow this rule to the letter - thousands of lives will be saved each year.
  • If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI get help from a DUI/DWI Lawyer.
  • See also Suspended License, Point System and Traffic Ticket Lawyers.
 

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