Penalties for DUI or DWAI offenses in Colorado

Every driver in Colorado should know the state’s laws on drunk driving and what penalties could result after a conviction.

Many stereotypes abound about drunk drivers, most of which are very negative and also frequently untrue. The fact is that any person who has so much as one alcoholic beverage and then drives a motor vehicle is at risk of getting arrested for a drunk driving offense.

Persons arrested for DUI or DWAI charges include men and women from all walks of life. Professionals, white-collar executives, teachers and other highly regarded people are all susceptible to these charges. The consequences for even a single drunk driving conviction can last for years and have serious financial impact on defendants as well. It should be noted that impairment by drugs as well as alcohol can also result in an impaired driving conviction.

What penalties does Colorado impose for impaired driving?

Various factors will impact the ultimate set of consequences for each convicted driver. One of the biggest contributors is the presence of any prior such offenses on a driver's record. The state website, Colorado.gov, gives an overview of the basic penalty sets for different situations. These include the following:

  • A first DWAI conviction in Colorado can send a driver to a county jail for up to 180 days. The driver may be required to pay as much as $500 in fines.
  • A first DUI conviction in Colorado can send a driver to a county jail for up to 365 days. The driver may be required to pay as much as $1,000 in fines.
  • A second DUI conviction in Colorado can send a driver to a county jail for up to 365 days. The driver may be required to pay as much as $1,500 in fines. Additionally, a probation period lasting two years can accompany this type of conviction.

If repeat impaired driving offenses occur within five years of each other, convicted drivers can be ordered to maintain ongoing enrollment in school or ongoing employment as well as participation in community service work.

What about driving privileges?

Even the refusal to participate in a substance test can result in the loss of driving privileges according to the Colorado Office of Legislative Legal Services. This is true even if the case does not result in a conviction. For persons convicted of impaired driving offenses, drivers' licenses can be suspended for as long as two years. Points will also be added to drivers' records for the convictions.

What about ignition interlock devices?

The Colorado Department of Revenue Department of Motor Vehicles oversees the installation and use of ignition interlock devices. IIDs can be required at the discretion of the court with the defendant being forced to pay all associated costs.

Recommendations for drivers

In the event of an arrest for impaired driving, getting legal help promptly is important. Every driver deserves a solid defense and the opportunity to prove innocence.

Keywords: drunk driving, DUI, arrest, penalties