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What is the BAC limit in Denver?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Denver's blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is:

DWAI in Colorado law

Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1301 (1)(g) C.R.S. makes it a crime for a driver to operate a motor vehicle while his/her ability is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, even in the slightest degree. Typically, Colorado law considers drivers to have an impaired ability if his/her BAC is at least .05%, but less than the state's “legal limit” of .08%.

The penalties for DWAI increase with each successive offense:

DWAI 1st

  • 2 days to 180 days in jail,
  • A fine of $200 to 500,
  • 24 to 48 hours of community service, and
  • 8 points on the DMV driving record

DWAI 2nd

  • 10 days to 1 year in jail (with 10 days mandatory),
  • A fine of $600 to $1,500,
  • 48 to 120 hours of community service, and
  • 8 points on the DMV driving record

DWAI 3rd

  • 10 days to 1 year in jail (with 10 days mandatory),
  • A fine of $600 to $1,500,
  • 48 to 120 hours of community service, and
  • 8 points on the DMV driving record

DUI in Colorado Law

Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1301 (2)(a) C.R.S. makes it a crime to drive with a BAC of at least .08%. It does not matter if the driver was being safe and did not seem impaired. This law is known as "DUI per se" because a BAC of .08% or higher automatically makes the driver guilty. 

The penalties for DUI increase with each successive offense:

DUI 1st

  • 5 days to 1 year in jail,
  • A fine of $600 to 1,000,
  • Driver's license suspension of up to 9 months, and
  • 48 to 96 hours of community service.

However, people with a BAC of at least .15% will be sentenced as a repeat-DUI offender even for a first-time offense

DUI 2nd

  • 10 days to 1 year in jail,
  • A fine of $600 to 1,500,
  • Driver's license suspension of up to 1 year,
  • 48 to120 hours of community service, and
  • Colorado ignition interlock device for 2 years following license reinstatement

DUI 3rd

  • 10 days to 1 year in jail,
  • A fine of $600 to 1,500,
  • Driver's license suspension of up to 2 years,
  • 48 to 120 hours of community service, and
  • Ignition interlock device for 2 years following license reinstatement

DWAI/ DUI defenses in Colorado law

There are literally dozens of possible defenses to Colorado DWAI or DUI charges depending on the circumstances of the case. Possible defenses include:

  • The blood- or breath-testing equipment was faulty;
  • The defendant had a medical condition that caused the BAC level to appear elevated (examples: GERD, acid-reflux, heartburn);
  • The police did not have probable cause to pull the defendant over;
  • The police improperly administered the field sobriety tests; or
  • The defendant had "rising blood alcohol" (this means that the defendant was driving with a perfectly legal BAC, but the BAC level had risen to illegal levels later on during the chemical testing)

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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