Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is against the law in all 50 states. In Colorado, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for a driver is 0.08 percent. It is lower for commercial and underage drivers. In an effort to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road, state laws are strict when it comes to punishing this crime. In Colorado, you could face major consequences if you are arrested for a DUI. The consequences grow in severity with each successive conviction.
Colorado has two different crimes associated with drunk driving: DUI and DWAI. DUI, or driving under the influence, is when a driver blows a 0.08 percent BAC or higher. DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, refers to a BAC of 0.05 to 0.08. Both crimes are treated seriously by prosecutors and the courts in Colorado. However, DUIs generally come with more severe penalties.
The administrative penalty for 0.08 percent on a BAC test – with or without a DUI conviction – is 9 months of driver’s license suspension. A first-time DUI also comes with 12 points added to the driver’s record. If a driver accumulates 12 or more points within a year (or 18 points in 2 years), his or her license is suspended for 6 to 12 months. The criminal consequences of a first-time DUI conviction include.
A first-offense DUI is a misdemeanor in Colorado. Since the driver does not have a previous history of driving under the influence, it may be possible for his or her defense attorney to negotiate the charge down to a traffic violation rather than a misdemeanor. A clean criminal and driving record can help minimize the penalties that a driver faces for a DUI or DWAI.
Just as a clean record can help a defendant during a DUI case, a prior DUI conviction can hurt. Colorado increases the penalties for second and subsequent DUIs. The administrative penalties for a second BAC of 0.08 percent in Colorado are 12 months of driver’s license suspension and 12 points against the driver’s license. In addition, a driver could face criminal penalties of 10 days to 1 year in jail, $600 to $1,500 in fines, 48 to 120 hours of community service, at least 2 years of probation, mandatory alcohol education classes and an ignition interlock device.
The administrative penalties for blowing a 0.08 or higher for the third time in Colorado are license suspension for 24 months and 12 points on the driver’s record. The criminal penalties include 60 days to 1 year in jail, a fine of $600 to $1,500, 48 to 120 hours of community service months and at least 2 years of probation. A third-time DUI will also result in an ignition interlock device requirement for 24 months.
A felony DUI is a criminal charge that a driver in Colorado could face if he or she receives a DUI or DWAI with three or more previous DUIs/DWAIs on his or her record. With three prior drunk driving convictions, the crime is upgraded from a misdemeanor to a class 4 felony. A DUI could also be charged as a felony if the crime resulted in serious bodily injury (vehicular assault) or death (vehicular homicide).
A felony DUI or DWAI in Colorado can come with up to 6 years of imprisonment (with a minimum of 2 years), as well as 3 years of parole and 48 to 120 hours of mandatory community service. If you are facing a misdemeanor or felony DUI charge in Colorado, contact a DUI defense lawyer immediately.