As you probably already know, in the U.S., it is up to the states to establish their own DUI laws. This can be rather confusing at times, since it is quite ambiguous what constitutes a DUI offense, what the punishments are, and what you should expect if you get one. Colorado is one of such states where the laws can create a certain amount of confusion. That is why, today, we are going to be talking about Colorado DUI laws and tell you everything you should know about them.
Colorado DUI Laws – The Complete Guide
DUI vs DWAI
The first thing you should know about Colorado DUI laws is that they differentiate between a DUI (driving under the influence) and a DWAI (driving while ability impaired). A DWAI is less serious than a DUI, since you can get charged with one if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is between 0.05% and 0.08%. In the case of a DUI, on the other hand, you need to have a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Furthermore, a DUI doesn’t only relate to alcohol, but to any other drug you might have taken as well. A DWAI usually applies when someone has consumed alcohol or prescribed medication. If you are under the age of 21, you will get a DUI if your BAC is 0.02% of higher. Even more so, if you are a commercial driver, so you drive delivery trucks, buses, and so on, you will receive a DUI if your BAC is 0.04% or higher.
The Implied Consent Statute
Once you get pulled over and the police officer has reasons to suspect that you were driving under the influence, according to the implied consent statute under Colorado DUI laws, you are obligated to take a test to determine your blood alcohol level. If you simply decline to take the test, you will receive a fine according to the specific circumstances of your incident, and whether you have any prior DUI charges or not. You will also get your license suspended, depending on the offense.
Pleading for “Wet Reckless”
In case you get a DUI in the state of Colorado, you can try to plead for what is called “wet reckless”, which would turn your DUI into a reckless driving incident. However, that is only possible if the DUI charges were related to alcohol consumption, and not other drugs.
Colorado DUI Laws – Punishments
Now, after we’ve told you the limits according to which you can get convicted with a DUI, and what you should expect after this happens, let’s take a look at what the Colorado DUI laws say about punishments, according to the severity of the offense.
First Offense DWAI
If you get caught driving while ability impaired, but this is your first DWAI, you can expect to spend between 2 and 180 days in prison, pay a fine between $200 and $500, and do at least 24 hours of mandatory community service. However, the jail time can be suspended if you agree to attend alcohol education sessions and therapy. Fines can also be suspended, according to case.
Second Offense DWAI
In the case of a second offense DWAI, you run the risk of spending between 10 days and a year in prison, paying between $600 and $1.500 in fines, getting your license suspended for a year, and doing at least 48 hours of public service. Moreover, you will be forced to install an interlock ignition device on any car you might want to drive in the future. An alternative to jail may be found if you are willing to go to therapy and alcohol education sessions.
Third Offense DWAI
Finally, if this is your third DWAI, you can spend between 60 days and one year in jail (without any other alternatives), you will pay a fine of $600 up to $1.000, you will have to go without a license for 2 years, you will do at least 48 hours of community service, and you will also need to install an interlock ignition device.
First Offense DUI
If you were found guilty of driving under the influence, but it was the first time, the Colorado DUI laws state that you will have to spend between 5 days and a year in jail, sentence that can be suspended by you attending alcohol therapy and education sessions. You will have to pay a fine of $600 up to $1.000, you will have your license suspended for 9 months, and you will have to do at least 48 hours of community service.
Second Offense DUI
In the case of a second DUI offense, Colorado DUI laws require you to be imprisoned for 10 days up to a year (with the possibility of other alternatives). Moreover, you will have to pay between $600 and $1.500 in fines, do at least 48 hours of public service, get your license suspended for a year, and install an interlock ignition device on your car.
Third Offense DUI
If you were caught driving under the influence for a third time, Colorado DUI laws state that you will have to spend between 60 days and a year in prison, and you don’t have to possibility to choose any other alternative. Furthermore, you will pay a fine of $600 up to $1.500, you will do at least 48 hours of community service, you will get your license suspended for 2 years, and you will have to get an interlock ignition device installed as well.
As is the case with most states, Colorado DUI laws also mention a type of aggravated DUI. What does it mean if you are found guilty of this? Well, usually it involves a harsher sentence, whether by augmenting the typical DUI sentences, or by adding new ones. You can get an aggravated DUI if your BAC is extremely high, if there were any minors in the vehicle you were driving, if you were speeding excessively, if you were driving with your license revoked or suspended, if you already had another DUI, or if you were involved in an accident.