Colorado Drunk Driving: How long will my driver’s license be suspended?

Which Colorado DUI offenses lead to license suspension?

Your Colorado driver's license will be automatically revoked for the following offenses involving alcohol and/or drugs:

How long will I be without my license?

The period of license revocation depends on the specific charge and whether it was your first or a repeat offense. To help you better understand Colorado laws on driver license revocations, our Colorado DUI defense lawyers break down the Colorado DMV license suspension periods as follows:

1. DUI / DUI per se

The minimum period of Colorado driver's license revocation for a DUI or DUI per se is:

  • 9 months for a first violation,
  • 1 year for a second violation; or
  • 2 years for a third or subsequent violation, regardless of when the prior violations occurred (i.e., Colorado has no “lookback” period).

You will also receive 12 points on your Colorado DMV driving record.

2. DWAI

There is no license suspension or revocation for Colorado misdemeanor DWAI (driving while ability impaired) unless the conviction puts you over the limit on Colorado DMV driving points. A DWAI does, however, add 8 points to your Colorado driving record.

3. UDD

Colorado's underage drinking and driving (UDD) law prohibits drivers under 21 years of age from driving with a BAC of .02% or higher. If your only offense is Colorado UDD, your license will be suspended for:

  • 3 months for a first violation, 
  • 6 months for a second violation, or
  • 1 year for a third or subsequent violation.

You will also receive 4 points on your Colorado driving record.

4. Chemical test refusal

By driving in Colorado, you are deemed to have given you "express consent" to a DUI blood test or DUI breath test if you are arrested for drunk or drugged driving. If you refuse to take or complete a chemical test, you will automatically lose your license unless you request a DMV hearing within 7 days of your arrest and then prevail at the hearing.

The minimum license revocation period for a Colorado DUI chemical test refusal is:

  • 1 year for a first violation, 
  • 2 years for a second violation, or
  • 3 years for a third or subsequent violation.

5. Commercial driver's license

Commercial licenses are regulated primarily by federal law.[2]

Both federal and Colorado law mandate a suspension of your commercial driver's license (CDL) if you commit any of the following offenses (among many others):

  • DUI,
  • DUI per se,
  • DUI of drugs (DUID),
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or more (“Excess BAC CDL”),
  • Refusing a DUI chemical test,
  • Leaving the scene of an accident, or
  • Driving without a current valid license.

If you do any of these acts while driving a commercial vehicle, the minimum periods of suspension of your commercial license are:

  • 1 year for a first offense, or
  • 3 years if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time of the violation.

A second or subsequent DUI and/or chemical test refusal results in a lifetime loss of your commercial license.

However, if you are over 21 and you lose your commercial license, you may apply for a driver's license of another class or type as long as there is no other statutory reason to deny you a license.

Drivers under the age of 21 who commit UDD (but no other offense) while driving a commercial vehicle will have their commercial licenses suspended as follows:

  • 3 months for a first violation,
  • 6 months for a second violation, or
  • 1 year for a third or subsequent violation.
truck driver

6. Early reinstatement

You can apply for reinstatement of a revoked Colorado driver's license as follows:

Revocation of one year or more for DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI

  • After your privilege to drive has been revoked for 1 month, or
  • After 1 year if you were under 21 at the time of the offense.

Chemical test refusal

  • After your privilege to drive has been revoked for 2 months, or 
  • After 1 year if you were under 21 at the time of the refusal.

However, after reinstatement you will have an ignition interlock restriction. The ignition interlock device must remain on your vehicle for the longer of:

  • 1 year, or
  • the total time period remaining on the license restraint prior to early reinstatement.

First-time offenders whose license was suspended for 9 months

  • After your privilege to drive has been revoked for 1 month.

Following reinstatement, you will be required to have an interlock-restricted license for at least 8 months. However, the ignition interlock restriction may be lifted if:

  • the DMV's monthly monitoring reports show that, for four consecutive monthly reporting periods the approved ignition interlock device:
    • did not interrupt or prevent the normal operation of the vehicle due to excessive BAC, and 
    • did not detect tampering with the device.

Chemical test refusal

  • After your license has been suspended for at least 2 months and on condition that you:
    • complete a level II alcohol and drug education / treatment program, and 
    • hold an ignition interlock restricted license and SR-22 insurance for at least two years.

Commercial license

If your CL was revoked for life, you may apply for reinstatement after 10 years if you voluntarily entered and successfully completed an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program approved by the state of Colorado. However, if you lose your license again, it cannot be reinstated a second time.

Call us for help…

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Were you charged with a drug- or alcohol-related driving offense in Colorado? Our Colorado DUI lawyers fight to help clients keep their driver's licenses at both criminal trials and Colorado DMV license hearings.

If you or a loved one is facing the loss of a Colorado driver license, call us for a free consultation. But don't delay. You have just seven days from your arrest to request a license suspension hearing from the Colorado DMV. Alternatively, we may be able to help you appeal the suspension of your Colorado driving privilege. 

You can reach us using the contact form on this page, or at our conveniently located Denver office:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
1400 16th Street
16 Market Square
Denver CO 80202
(720) 955-6112


Legal references:

  1. 42-2-126, C.R.S.
  2. 49 CFR 383.51.

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