Drunk Driving | DUI Lawyer Boulder

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Colorado law prohibits a person from driving a vehicle while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs or while the person’s ability to drive is impaired (DWAI) by alcohol or drugs. These offenses are often abbreviated as “DUI” and “DWAI”, respectively.

Driving under the influence (DUI) means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to a degree that he or she is substantially incapable, mentally or physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle. Section 42-4-1301(1) (f), Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.).

Driving while ability impaired(DWAI) is similar, except that the person is affected to the slightest degree so that the person is less able than he or she ordinarily would have been to exercise clear judgment, etc. Section 42-4-1301(1) (f), C.R.S.


Medical Marijuana Is No Defense

The fact that any person charged with a violation of this subsection (1) is or has been entitled to use one or more drugs under the laws of this state, including, but not limited to, the medical use of marijuana pursuant to section 18-18-406.3, C.R.S., shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this subsection (1).


Blood Or Breath Test

Blood or breath tests play a prominent role in the enforcement of drunk driving laws, although DUI or DWAI can be proved by other means. A person is presumed to be DWAI if a blood or breath test shows a blood alcohol level of more than 0.05 but less than 0.08. A person is presumed to be DUI if a blood or breath test shows a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08.

Blood alcohol level is expressed in grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

Blood Or Breath Test Above .150

A person may be classified as a persistent drunk driver and subject to greater penalties if the test shows a blood alcohol level of at least 0.15.

Express Consent

Under the principle of expressed consent, the law presumes that every driver has consented to take a blood, breath, saliva, or urine test when requested to do so by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that the person is DUI or DWAI.

Refusal

Refusal to take the test is both admissible in court, AND a basis for revocation of a driver’s license.

Criminal & DMV Penalties

There are both criminal penalties (fines, imprisonment, and required public service) and administrative (DMV) penalties for drunk driving. Courts impose criminal penalties, and the Colorado Department of Revenue (the Department) imposes the administrative penalties.

Administrative penalties include the suspension or revocation of a license due to the commission of certain offenses or the accumulation of sufficient points assessed for violations.


1st Colorado DUI Offense

Blood Alcohol Content .08 or Above

  • 1st DUI
  • Jail – From 5 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine – From $600 – $1,000
  • License Suspension – 9 Months
  • License Points – 12
  • Public Service – From 48 to 96 Hours
  • Jail May be Suspended in Lieu of Alcohol Treatment Program

1st DWAI Offense

Blood Alcohol Content of .05 But Less Than .08

  • 1st DWAI
  • Jail – From 48 Hours to 180 Days
  • Fine – From $200 to $500
  • License Suspension – None
  • License Points – 8
  • Public Service – From 24 to 48 Hours

1st Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) Under 21 Years Old

Blood Alcohol Content of .02 But Less Than .05

  • 1st Offense
  • Fine – From $15 to $200
  • License Suspension – 3 months
  • License Points – 4
  • Public Service – 24 Hours

2nd Colorado DUI Offense

Blood Alcohol Content .08 or Above

  • Jail – From 90 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine – From $1,000 to $1500
  • License Suspension – 1 Year
  • Ignition Interlock Device Prior to License Reinstatement*
  • License Points – 12
  • Public Service – From 60 to 120 Hours

*If within 5 Years of Previous DUI

2nd DWAI Offense

Blood Alcohol Content of .05 But Less Than .08

  • Jail – From 90 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine – From $1,000 to $1500
  • License Suspension – 1 Year
  • License Points – 12
  • Public Service – From 60 to 120 Hour

3rd Colorado DUI Offense

Blood Alcohol Content .08 or Above

  • Jail – From 70 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine – From $900 to $1,500
  • License Suspension – 2 Years
  • Ignition Interlock Device Prior to License Reinstatement
  • License Points – 12
  • Public Service – From 56 to 112 Hours

3rd DWAI Offense

Blood Alcohol Content of .05 But Less Than .08

  • Jail – From 45 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine – From $600 to $1,000
  • License Suspension – 2 Years
  • License Points – 8
  • Public Service – From 48 to 96 Hours

DWAI With Previous DUI

  • Jail – From 60 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine – From $800 to $1,200
  • Public Service – From 52 to 104 Hours

DUI With Previous DWAI

  • Jail – From 70 Days to 1 Year
  • Fine – From $900 to $1,500
  • Public Service – From 56 to 112 Hours

2008 Changes to DUI Law in Colorado

Colorado House Bill 1166 – Repeals and reenacts, with amendments, the statute authorizing the Department of Revenue to revoke a person’s driver’s license due to the presence of alcohol or drugs in the person’s system or the person’s refusal to take a test to determine whether there is alcohol or drugs in the person’s system.

Colorado – House Bill 1194 – Concerns measures by executive branch agencies to reduce the incidents of drunk driving, provides for extending the length of suspension of driving privileges for certain offenders, requiring certain offenders to use an ignition interlock device, increasing the cost to reinstate a driver’s license, and providing for an increase in annual high-visibility drunk driving law enforcement episodes, relates to appropriations for capital construction and expansion of correctional facilities.


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