Get the facts on Colorado DUI penalties


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Get the facts on Colorado DUI penalties

Colorado laws about drunk driving distinguish between “under the influence” and “ability impaired.” Driving under the influence occurs when the person’s blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher. Driving while ability impaired refers to a measured BAC of 0.05% to 0.08%.

DWAI carries less severe penalties than DUI for the first offense, but subsequent offenses carry the same penalties.

First DUI offense

Drivers convicted of DUI as first-time offenders will receive between five days and one year in jail. Fines range from $600 to $1,000. This conviction also carries a nine-month license revocation and eight months of an ignition interlock device upon license reinstatement. The court also requires 48 to 96 hours of community service.

First DWAI offense

For a first-time DWAI conviction, drivers receive between two and 180 days in jail and between $200 and $500 in fines. The license revocation and ignition interlock requirements are the same as for a first-time DUI offense. This conviction also requires 24 to 48 hours of community service.

Subsequent offenses

A second offense for either DUI or DWAI carries jail time of 10 days to one year and fines of $600 to $1,500. Drivers receive a one-year license suspension if the first offense occurred less than five years ago. The ignition interlock device requirement extends to between two and five years. Convicted drivers must complete 48 to 120 hours of community service.

Third-time offenses carry the same fines as second-time offenses along with a minimum of 60 days in jail and a maximum one-year sentence. The court revokes the person’s license indefinitely. Ignition interlock device and community service requirements remain the same as for a second-time DUI or DWAI offense.

With such a wide range of potential penalties, legal representation may be important for those charged with a DUI. Keep in mind that refusal to take a breath test carries additional administrative penalties, including at least a year of license revocation.