Colorado DUI / DWAI Laws & Penalty Chart

Updated


In Colorado, driving under the influence (DUI), DUI per se, and driving while ability impaired (DWAI) are generally misdemeanor offenses that don't always result in fines or jail time. But with a potential driver's license suspension and criminal record, the real cost of a DUI or DWAI can be quite significant.

Colorado DUI Penalty Chart

First-time DUI or DUI per se

(42-4-1301 C.R.S.)

Misdemeanor:

  • 5 days – 1 year jail;
  • $600 – $1,000;
  • 48 – 96 hours community service;
  • 9-month license suspension;
  • 12 DMV points; and
  • Possibly alcohol education classes

Defendants with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15% or higher are designated a persistent drunk driver (PDD) and sentenced as repeat-DUI offenders.

Second-time DUI or DUI per se

(42-4-1301 C.R.S.)

Misdemeanor:

  • 10 days – 1 year jail;
  • $600 – $1,500;
  • 48 – 120 hours community service;
  • 1-year license suspension;
  • Ignition interlock device for 2 years;
  • 12 DMV points; and
  • Possibly alcohol education classes

Third-time DUI or DUI per se

(42-4-1301 C.R.S.)

Misdemeanor:

  • 60 days – 1 year jail;
  • $600 – $1,500;
  • 48 – 120 hours community service;
  • 2-year license suspension;
  • Ignition interlock device for 2 years;
  • 12 DMV points; and
  • Possibly alcohol education classes

Fourth or subsequent DUI or DUI per se

(42-4-1301 C.R.S.)

Class 4 Felony:

First-time DWAI

(42-4-1301 C.R.S.)

Misdemeanor:

  • 2 – 180 days jail;
  • $200 – $500;
  • 24 – 48 hours of community service; and
  • 8 DMV points

Second-time DWAI

(42-4-1301 C.R.S.)

Misdemeanor:

  • 10 days – 1 year jail;
  • $600 – $1,500;
  • 48 – 120 hours of community service; and
  • 8 DMV points

Third-time DWAI

(42-4-1301 C.R.S.)

Misdemeanor:

  • 60 days – 1 year jail;
  • $600 – $1,500;
  • 48 – 120 hours of community service; and
  • 8 DMV points

Fourth or subsequent DWAI

(42-4-1301 C.R.S.)

Class 4 Felony:

  •  2 – 6 years prison with 3-year parole; and/or
  • $2,000 – $500,000

Vehicular assault (18-3-205 C.R.S.)

a.k.a. DUI causing serious injury

Class 4 felony:

  • 2 – 6 years prison with 3-year parole; and/or
  • $2,000 – $500,000

Vehicular homicide (18-3-106 C.R.S.)

a.k.a. DUI causing death

Class 3 felony:

  • 4 – 12 years prison with 5-year parole; and/or
  • $3,000 – $750,000

First-time UDD (42-4-1301 C.R.S.)

a.k.a. Underage drunk driving

Class A traffic infraction:

  • $150;
  • 24 hours of community service;
  • 3-month license suspension; and
  • 4 DMV points

Second or subsequent UDD (42-4-1301 C.R.S.)

Class 2 traffic misdemeanor:

  • 10 – 90 days jail;
  • $150 – $300;
  • 48 – 120 hours community service;
  • 6-month license suspension;
  • 4 DMV points; and
  • Possibly alcohol evaluation and treatment

The good news is that the best Colorado DUI lawyers have many ways to challenge both drunk driving arrests and Colorado DMV license suspensions. But you have just seven days from the time of your arrest to request a Colorado DMV hearing.

If you or a loved one has been charged with Colorado drinking and driving, time is of the essence. We invite you to contact the caring criminal attorneys at the Colorado Legal Defense Group for a free consultation. We will get back to you promptly to explore your best ways to defend against a Colorado DUI.

In this article, our Colorado DUI defense lawyers discuss:

1. Colorado DUI penalties

Driving under the influence is a generally a Colorado misdemeanor. Consequences of misdemeanor Colorado drunk driving can include:

1st offense DUI

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

However, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.15% or higher, you will be designated a Colorado persistent drunk driver (“PDD”) and sentenced as a repeat-DUI offender, even if it is your first offense.

2nd offense DUI

For purposes of Colorado DUI sentencing, prior convictions include DUI and/or DWAI convictions in any state or U.S. territory.1 Penalties for a second DUI conviction can include:

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

3rd offense DUI

A third DUI offense in any jurisdiction can lead to penalties of:

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

Jail time on 2nd and 3rd offenses (and 1st offenses with a BAC of .20 or greater) is mandatory.

Additional consequences of a Colorado misdemeanor DUI can include:

  • court-mandated alcohol education classes, and
  • 12 points on your Colorado DMV driving record.

2. Colorado DWAI penalties

DWAI is generally a misdemeanor in Colorado. Potential consequences of a Colorado DWAI include:

1st offense

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

2nd offense

  • 10 days - one year in jail (with a minimum 10-day mandatory sentence),
  • A fine of $600-1,500,
  • 48-120 hours of community service, and
  • 8 points on your DMV driving record.

3rd offense

  • 60 days - one year in jail (with a minimum 10-day mandatory sentence),
  • A fine of $600-1,500,
  • 48-120 hours of community service, and
  • 8 points on your DMV driving record.

Jail time on 2nd and 3rd offenses (and 1st offenses with a BAC of .20 or greater) is mandatory.

3. Felony DUI / DWAI Laws

Colorado DUI or DWAI becomes a Colorado class 4 felony when the violation occurs after three or more entirely separate prior convictions (in any U.S. state or territory) for:

  • DUI,
  • DUI per se (BAC of .08% or higher),
  • DWAI, 
  • vehicular homicide, and/or
  • vehicular assault.2

Consequences of a Colorado felony DUI conviction can include:

  • A fine of $2,000 to $500,000,
  • Two to six years in Colorado state prison, and
  • Three years mandatory parole.

4. Refusing a BAC chemical test

When you operate a motor vehicle in Colorado, you are deemed to give "express consent" to a DUI breath test or DUI blood test if you are arrested on suspicion of DUI or DWAI.

If you refuse to take a DUI chemical test, your Colorado driver's license will automatically be suspended for one year. To regain your driving privilege at the end of your license suspension, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device for 2 years at your own expense.Additionally, if your case goes to trial, your refusal will be admissible as evidence of your guilt.

5. Colorado underage drinking and driving penalties

Underage drivers are subject to Colorado regular DUI and DWAI laws if they drive while actually impaired or with a BAC of over .05%.

But Colorado also has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking and driving (UDD). Under Colorado's UDD law, it is illegal for anyone under twenty-one to drive with a BAC of 0.02% or higher.

A first UDD is not a crime. It is a Colorado class A traffic infraction--a civil violation. A second or subsequent violation of Colorado's UDD law is, however, a Colorado class 2 traffic misdemeanor.

Potential consequences of Colorado underage drinking and driving include:

1st offense

  • Fine of up to $150,
  • Driver's license suspension of up to 3 months,
  • Up to 24 hours of useful community service, and
  • 4 points on your Colorado DMV driving record.

2nd offense

  • 10 days – 90 days jail time,
  • Driver's license suspension of up to 6 months,
  • Fine of $150-300,
  • 48-120 hours of community service, and
  • 4 points on your Colorado DMV driving record.

3rd offense

  • 60 days – 90 days jail time,
  • Driver's license suspension of up to 6 months,
  • Fine of $150-300,
  • 48-120 hours of community service, and
  • 4 points on your Colorado DMV driving record.

Additional consequences of any Colorado UDD can include:

  • An alcohol evaluation or assessment (at your own expense), and
  • An alcohol education or treatment program (at your own expense).

6. Call us for help…

Img call for help optimized

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a Colorado DUI or chemical test refusal, there is no time to waste. You have just seven days from arrest to challenge a Colorado DMV license suspension.

Communities our Colorado DUI / DWAI lawyers serve include Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, Thornton, Arvada, Westminster, Centennial and Boulder.

In Denver, our home office is conveniently located at:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 222-0330


Legal references:

  1. 42-4-1301 (1) (j), C.R.S.
  2. 42-4-1301. Driving under the influence - driving while impaired - driving with excessive alcoholic content - definitions - penalties.
  3. 42-4-1301, C.R.S., (d) (I) 

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