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current colorado dui laws and penalties

Colorado DUI Laws Overview

Colorado DUI law § 42-4-1301(2)(a) states that it is a misdemeanor offense for any person with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Colorado.

Colorado DUI laws are some of the toughest in the country.  What most people are not aware of is that the state of Colorado can also arrest you for driving while ability impaired or DWAI if you are found to have a blood alcohol concentration of between .05% and .08% while operating a motor vehicle.

If you have been charged with DUI or DWAI in Colorado you will not only be facing the criminal charges, but you will also face sanctions from the Colorado DMV against your driver’s license.  The revocation of your driver’s license is separate from the criminal case against you and you will have to deal directly with the Colorado DMV when it comes to your driving privileges.  You only have seven days from the date of your arrest in which to request an administrative hearing with the DMV if you hope to retain your driving privileges.

Colorado DMV Hearings for DUI's

The purpose of a Colorado DMV hearing is for the DMV to review the evidence provided by the arresting officer to see if the revocation of your driver’s license is justified. This is also the time when your Colorado DUI lawyer will present the evidence in your favor that contradicts the arresting officers evidence.

You need to make sure that your DMV hearing is an in-person hearing and not a hearing over the telephone.  It will be impossible for your lawyer to present an effective case on your behalf to try and retain your driver’s license over the phone.

Obtaining A Colorado Probationary License

If you are 21 years of age or older and this was your first offense and your BAC level was .08% or greater, your license will be revoked for a period of 3 months.  You may apply for a probationary license after 30 days of the revocation period have passed.  The following items must be provided to the DMV in order for your license to be reinstated:

You will have to provide a completed application for reinstatement (DR2870) form.
You will have to pay a $95 reinstatement fee to the DMV.
You will have to provide proof of financial responsibility to the DMV in the form of an SR22 insurance filing for a period of 3 months if you do not have any other convictions or revocations and there was no accident involved.  If you have a prior convictions or an accident was involved you will be required to maintain your Colorado SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years.
If your BAC was below .17% you will have to file a certification form (DR2598) with the DMV.  A BAC reading above .17% will require the installation of an ignition interlock device before your license will be reinstated.

Colorado First Offense DUI Penalties

A first offense DUI charge in Colorado means that your blood alcohol concentration was .08% or greater and you have no prior drunk driving convictions.  A first offense DUI charge is considered a misdemeanor charge and carries the following penalties:

Jail time: You will have to spend a minimum of 5 days in county jail and up to 1-year in jail.  The amount of time in jail can be increased at the court’s discretion based upon the circumstances surrounding your case.
Fines: The minimum fine amount is $600 and can increase up to $1,000 at the court’s discretion.
Community service:  You will have to perform 24 to 48 hours of community service.  The maximum amount of community service is 96 hours.  The court has no discretionary power when it comes to suspending the minimum hours of community service.
Test refusal:  A first offense test refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation. You may be eligible for reinstatement after 2 months. An ignition interlock is required for 2 years following reinstatement.
Ignition interlock:  If your BAC was below .15% you may install an IID after 30 days of the suspension period has lapsed to receive a limited license. All those above .15% must install an IID for at least 1 year following their suspension period.

DUI Classes:  An approved state DUI class is required for DUI offenders in Colorado.
License suspension: The minimum license suspension period for a first offense DUI is 9 months.  You may apply for a limited license after 30 days of the suspension period have elapsed with the installation of an IID.  If you are under 21 years of age, you will not be able to apply for a probationary license.  If you refused or failed to complete any part of the chemical test, your license will be revoked for 1-year with no chance of a probationary license.

Colorado Second Offense DUI Penalties

A second offense DUI charge in Colorado means that your blood alcohol concentration was .08% or greater and you have been convicted of one prior DUI in the past 5-years.  A second offense charge is considered a misdemeanor charge and carries the following penalties:

Jail time: The mandatory minimum jail sentence in county jail will be 10 days and not more than 2 years.  The length of the jail term you will face will depend upon circumstances surrounding your case and your previous conviction.  The length of the jail sentence will be at the court’s discretion.
Fines: The minimum fine for a second offense DUI charge is $600 and can be increased up to $1,500 at the court’s discretion.
Community service: You will have to serve a minimum of 48 hours of community service or up to 120-hours of community service.  The court has no discretionary power to reduce or suspend the 48 hours of minimum community service.
Test refusal:  A second offense test refusal will result in a 2 year license revocation. You may be eligible for reinstatement after 2 months. An ignition interlock is required for 2 years following reinstatement.
Ignition interlock:  An IID is required for 2 years after reinstatement for second time offenders.
License suspension: A second DUI offense will result in a 1 year suspension of your license.  You may request an early reinstatement of your license after 1-year if you refused or failed to complete the chemical test.  You will have to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for the remainder of your revocation period.

Colorado First Offense DWAI Penalties

A first offense DWAI charge in Colorado means that your blood alcohol concentration was at least .05% and less than .08%.  A first offense DWAI charge is considered a misdemeanor charge and carries the following penalties:

Jail time: There is no minimum jail sentence for a first offense DWAI. The maximum is up to 180 days.  The length of the jail sentence is at the court’s discretion.
Fines: The minimum mandatory fine for a first offense DWAI charge is $200 and the maximum fine is $500.  The amount of the fine is at the court’s discretion.
Community service:  The minimum community service for a first offense DWAI is 24-hours with a maximum of 48-hours of community service.  The court has no discretionary power to reduce the minimum community service hours.
License suspension: You will receive 8 points for a first offense DWAI towards a license suspension.  The Colorado DMV allows up to 12 points against your license in a twelve month period if you are at least 21 years of age or older.  Drivers that are 18 to 20 years old are allowed 9 points in a 12-month period and drivers under the age of 18 are allowed 6 points in a 12-month period.

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Colorado SR22 Requirements

Before the Colorado DMV will reinstate your license following your revocation period or before issuing you a probationary license, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years.

At anytime during this 3-year period if there is a lapse in your SR22 insurance coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the Colorado DMV of the lapse.  If a lapse in coverage occurs, the Colorado DMV will immediately suspended your license and you will be required to re file an SR22 form with the DMV before they will issue you another license.

Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one.  DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Colorado and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

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Additional Colorado DUI Resources

  • Colorado First Offense DUI – First offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and more.
  • Colorado SR22 Insurance Filing – We have compiled everything you need to know about Colorado’s SR22 insurance and filing requirements including important addresses, phone numbers, etc.
  • Colorado DUI Classes – We offer a complete listing of state approved DUI & alcohol abuse classes.
  • Colorado Bail Bondsmen – Comprehensive list of Colorado bail bond agents including address, phone, website, etc.
  • State Statutes – Complete Colorado DUI statute regarding DUI laws and penalties.
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