Colorado DUI Laws: Penalties, Limits, and Legal Limits


Strict Colorado DUI laws can change life instantly for those facing charges. Understanding the consequences of a DUI is imperative to overcome obstacles and find a better outcome for DUI charges in Colorado.

Colorado DUI Laws

DUI charges fall under two primary categories in Colorado.

  • Zero Tolerance: Drivers 21 or older whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .08% can be convicted of DUI without further evidence of impairment. The policy of zero tolerance is aimed at curbing driving and underage drinking, with a blood alcohol content level set at .02%.
  • Express Consent: Anyone possessing a Colorado license has given express consent to chemical testing for the presence of alcohol if probable cause exists of impairment due to the influence of drugs or alcohol. Failing to submit to chemical testing can result in the loss of a license for one year, mandatory educational and treatment programs, and the designation of a persistent drunk driver.

Legal Limits and Charges

The laws for repeat offenses become more severe. Obtaining employment that requires a valid driver’s license can become challenging or impossible.

A DUI charge might occur when:

  • A blood or breath alcohol content is at or higher than 0.08%, which is the legal limit for DUI
  • A person appears incapable of operating motorized or non-motorized transportation safely, even if BAC is less than 0.05%.
  • An individual fails to submit to chemical sobriety tests, not including field sobriety tests

DUI Per Se charges can result from:

  • A BAC of 0.08% or higher
  • No other indicators need to be present to charge for this subcategory of DUI

DWAI or Driving While Ability Impaired charges apply when:

  • A driver over 21 has a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08%
  • A driver under 21 has a BAC of 0.02% or more

Penalties for DUI

One of the most critical factors to consider is that an arrest for DUI can occur if an individual is suspected of driving while under the influence. More than one offense of any alcohol-related driving infraction will result in higher fees and more severe penalties, summarized here.

First-Time DWAI

  • Fines: $200-$500
  • Possible jail time: Two days to 180 days
  • Mandatory jail time: None
  • Probation: Up to two years
  • Public Service Requirements: 24 to 48 hours
  • Eight points against a license

First Time DUI

  • Fines: $600 to $1000
  • Possible jail term: Five days to one year
  • Mandatory jail time: None
  • Probation: Up to two years
  • Public Service Requirements: 48 to 96 hours
  • Nine-month license revocation
  • Twelve points against a license

First DUI with BAC >0.2%

  • Fines: $600 to $1000
  • Possible jail time: Ten days to one year
  • Probation: Up to two years
  • Public Service Requirements: 48 to 96 hours
  • Nine Month license revocation
  • Twelve points against a license

Ignition Interlock Restricted License

Recent laws allow individuals convicted of DUI to apply for an ignition interlock-restricted license immediately instead of observing a mandatory wait period. However, individuals refusing to submit to chemical BAC tests must wait 60 days before applying for this license after a conviction.

Experienced Legal Guidance Navigating Colorado Drunk Driving Laws

It is your right to ask for legal representation if you are charged with a DUI offense. Failing to contact a DUI defense attorney in Colorado can result in severe penalties and fines. Contact The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC, for solution-based guidance to resolve Colorado DUI cases in the most beneficial way possible for clients.