ColoradoDUI laws state that any driver over the age of 21 cannot operate a vehicle if they have a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. The limit for underage drivers is 0.02%. Even if the driver is not noticeably impaired, they can be convicted as a DUI Per Se if their BAC is higher than 0.08%.
What is a DUI?
A DUI refers to driving under the influence, which is classified as impairment caused by alcohol, drugs, or both. This is not the same as a DWI, which is considered driving while intoxicated, but Colorado does not use it. Instead, all alcohol-related driving impairment charges in Colorado are categorized as a DUIs.
A DUID refers to driving under the influence of drugs. Colorado’s DUI statute applies the same penalties to a DUID as those for a DUI. Colorado drivers can also be charged with a lesser charge of a DWAI, which is driving while ability impaired. This is reserved for offenders whose BAC is less than 0.08% but above 0.05%.
A DUI could mean that the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination. This does not mean specifically illegal substances and can include marijuana, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medicines. If taking these drugs impairs you in any way while driving, you may be charged with a DUI.
Key Takeaway If you are operating a vehicle while on a substance in Colorado, you could be charged with a DUI, a DUID, or a DWAI depending on your level of impairment.
DUI vs. DWI
DUI in Colorado
In Colorado, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of:
- 0.08% or higher if you’re 21 or older
- 0.02% if you’re under the age of 21
- 0.08% or higher if you’re on a DUI probation
Key Takeaway There is zero tolerance for minors driving under the influence. Drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of a DUI will be tried and punished as adults.
Implied consent law
Every state has an implied consent law stipulating that you consent to be tested if you’re suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you’re lawfully arrested for a DUI, you must submit to a urine, blood, or breath test. Colorado drivers who refuse to do so are considered persistent drunk drivers, regardless of how many previous offenses they have committed. It is important to note, you do not have a right to consult with a lawyer before completing the test.
What is a PDD?
A PDD is a Persistent Drunk Driver. This status carries heavier penalties than for those without.
A PPD is a driver who has been previously convicted for a DUI, a first-time offender with a BAC higher than 0.15%, or a driver who refuses to submit to a chemical test.
Penalties for DUI in Colorado
If you are convicted of a DUI in Colorado, the conviction will remain on your driving record for 10 years and on your criminal record indefinitely. There are additional fees and penalties for DUIs, which increase for all subsequent offenses.
The DUI will stay on your driving record for ten years, and you’ll have twelve points assessed against your license. The points will last for two years.
Up to $500 (DWAI) or up to $1,000 (DUI)
Up to 180 days (DWAI) or up to 1 year (DUI) or
9 months to 1 year
Ignition Interlock Device Required
If you are not labeled as a PDD, you may qualify for early license reinstatement after one month, as long as you were over the age of 21 at the time of the violation, are a Colorado resident, and have no other unsatisfied license restraints. If you qualify, you are eligible for a restricted license with an ignition interlock device.
Subsequently, if you meet the requirements of the restricted license for four consecutive months—driving only an interlock vehicle and keeping BACs less than .025—you may be eligible for an unrestricted license.
If you are labeled as a PPD, you will have your license revoked for one year. To reinstate your license, you must be over the age of 21 at the time of the violation, a Colorado resident, and have no other unsatisfied license restraints after two months. If you qualify, you can get a restricted license with an ignition interlock device for up to two years.
If you are convicted of a
second DUI in Colorado, you’ll be subject to increased penalties and fees depending on your BAC at the time of the conviction and how much time has passed since the previous conviction. There are harsher penalties for those found with BAC higher than 0.15%.
The revocation and reinstatement process remains largely the same as a first offense, but there are longer periods for reinstatement eligibility and required interlock device usage—along with costlier fines—for all subsequent convictions.
Key Takeaway All DUIs come with minimum penalties, which are often increased if you had a high blood-alcohol concentration, previous offenses, or refused to take a chemical test.
Does a DUI impact car insurance in Colorado?
Yes. Insurance companies consider a DUI to be one of the most serious driving violations, and you will be labeled a
high-risk driverif you have one. High-risk drivers often pay more for insurance, or they may be denied coverage entirely.
That said, some companies are willing to take on high-risk drivers—and it’s possible to get the coverage you need at a reasonable price. With
Jerry, you can quickly compare rates from some of the nation's top providers, making the process much simpler and more accessible.
Other effects of a DUI
Beyond the conviction penalties and higher insurance rates, DUIs can have some other lasting implications.
License revocation: After a DUI, you run the risk of having your license revoked if you’re charged with other serious offenses.
Ignition interlock device: All states have some type of ignition interlock program requiring drivers convicted of a DUI to install an interlock device in their vehicle to disable the engine if alcohol is detected on their breath.
Background checks: Even though a DUI lasts ten years on your driving record, it lasts a lifetime on your criminal record, so it will show up on a background check. This can hurt your future employment endeavors.
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