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What are Colorado’s drunk driving penalties?

Learn about the laws that govern drunk driving in Colorado and the associated penalties for test refusals as well as convictions.

Residents in Fort Collins should educate themselves about the state’s laws concerning impaired driving. Anyone can find themselves arrested on DUI or DWAI charges as it is easier than many people think to be in such a situation. Contrary to stereotypes, even highly responsible and professional persons are often the defendants in these cases.

What are the criminal penalties?

According to the website, drivers can be ordered to spend time in county jail, pay fines and perform community service for first DUI or DWAI offense as well as when multiple DUI offenses have occurred.

Second DUI convictions that take place within a five year period of first convictions will find defendants being required to maintain specific job status or enrollment in school. Additionally, participation in drug or alcohol treatment can be required. These consequences will be part of any third or subsequent conviction regardless of how close or far apart the convictions happened.

What are the administrative penalties?

Driver’s license suspension and points on a driving record can also result from a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. As noted by the Colorado Office of Legislative Legal Services, a driver may temporarily lose the privilege to drive even simply for refusing to participate in testing to determine impairment. License suspensions range from nine months for a first offense to 24 months for a third or subsequent offense.

Details are as follows:

  • A first offense results in suspension for nine months. A DWAI conviction does not add points to a license but a DUI conviction adds 12 points to a license.
  • A second offense results in suspension for 12 months. A DWAI conviction adds eight points to a license and a DUI conviction adds 12 points to a license.
  • A third or subsequent offense results in suspension for 24 months. A DWAI conviction adds eight points to a license and a DUI conviction adds 12 points to a license.

Additionally, the use of an ignition interlock device is commonly ordered for people convicted of impaired driving charges per the website of the Colorado Department of Revenue Department of Motor Vehicles. Prior to January of 2014, the designation of a Persistent Drunk Driver always resulted in the required use of an IID and was determined by a blood alcohol content of 0.17 percent or higher. Since January of 2014, that threshold has been 0.15 percent.

Seeking help is important

Drivers who are arrested for suspected impaired driving offenses should always contact an attorney. Getting help with a defense is important as both civil and criminal penalties are at stake.

Keywords: DUI, drunk driving, penalty