Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Colorado DUI Laws to learn more.
For a first-time offense, defendants have the option of requesting a probationary driver’s license (PDL) after only 30 days. For the remainder of the driver’s license suspension period, the defendant may then commute to and from work, school, doctor’s appointments, or alcohol/drug classes and treatment.
Second- and successive-time UDD defendants do not have the option of getting a probationary license. They may not drive a motor vehicle at all during the revocation period.1
Can underage drivers contest their license revocation?
Yes. People arrested for being an underage person driving under the influence can request a DMV hearing to contest their license revocation.
A DMV hearing is an administrative trial where defendants can argue that they were not violating DUI driving laws. Like with a criminal trial, defendants can be represented by a criminal defense lawyer.
But note that DMV hearings are much harder to win than criminal trials, even with the help of a DUI defense lawyer. At a criminal trial, prosecutors have the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In DMV hearings, the DMV requires a much lower burden of proof to suspend a person’s license.
Either way, DMV hearings are always worth having. They serve as a valuable “dry run” for the criminal case.2
A first-time UDD carries no jail time in Colorado.
Is UDD against the law in Colorado?
Yes. Nicknamed “Baby DUI”, underage drunk driving (UDD) is a driving offense that reflects Colorado’s “zero tolerance laws” policy for minors.
Adults 21 and older rarely get convicted of drunk driving with a BAC of less than 0.05%. In contrast, minors under 21 can get convicted of underage DUI (UDD) with a BAC as low as 0.02%. For many people, that is the equivalent of just one beer.
Since people under 21 are not allowed to legally drink alcohol, they get punished for driving with even tiny amounts of alcohol in their system. It makes no difference if there was no impaired driving, and the minor felt and acted completely sober.3
What are the penalties for a UDD?
The punishment for UDD increases with each successive offense:
Fines of $150 to $300 plus court costs and surcharges
10 to 90 days of jail time
Up to 24 hours of public service
4 DMV points on the driving record
6 month license revocation for a second offense; 1 year license revocation for a third or subsequent offense
*In addition, UDD defendants may be required to submit to an alcohol evaluation, take an alcohol education class or enter a treatment program.4
Other, non-court related consequences of a UDD case may include:
Increased car insurance premiums
Disqualification from admission to certain schools
Rejection from certain scholarships or financial aid programs
Suspension or expulsion from certain schools
Being put on academic probation at certain schools
Eviction from campus housing at certain schools
What if an underage driver has a BAC of more than 0.05%?
Underage drivers arrested with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher face the same DUI charges that adults 21-and-older do. But they will not have the option of getting a probationary driver’s license like adult drivers can. So for a first-time offense, underage defendants cannot drive for a full nine months.5
Meanwhile, underage drivers arrested with a BAC of between 0.05% and 0.08% face the same DWAI charges (driving while ability impaired) that adults 21-and-older do. But underage defendants will lose their license for a full three months for a first-time offense, and they cannot get a PDL.6
Contact us for additional help.
Our UDD, DWAI and DUI lawyers help clients in Denver, Greeley, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Adams County, and throughout the state. Our criminal defense attorneys fight to get your DUI charges reduced or dismissed while saving your license.
Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.
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