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DWAI and DUI laws in Colorado

| Sep 22, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Penalties for driving under the influence in Colorado start at a blood alcohol content of 0.05%. This crime, known as driving while ability impaired, carries a lesser sentence for the first offense than for a DUI with BAC of 0.08% or higher.

Review the consequences of DUI and DWAI in Colorado.

First-time DWAI or DUI

For the first offense, DWAI carries penalties of:

  • At least two days and up to 180 days in jail
  • Nine-month license suspension
  • Eight-month ignition interlock device requirement
  • 24 to 48 hours of community service
  • $200 to $500 in fines

By contrast, a conviction for a first-time DUI offense can result in at least five days and up to one year in jail, 48 to 96 hours of community service, and $600 to $1,000 in fines in addition to the above penalties.

Subsequent offenses

For a second DWAI or DUI within Colorado’s five-year look-back period, penalties may include:

  • At least 10 days and up to one year in jail
  • 12-month license suspension
  • Two-to-five-year ignition interlock device requirement
  • 48 to 120 hours of community service
  • $600 to $1,500 in fines

For a third offense, the convicted person will receive the second offense penalties with at least 60 days in jail. The state will revoke his or her license indefinitely.

For all DWAI and DUI offenses, Colorado imposes elevated penalties for cases that involve refusal of a breath test, bodily injury to another person, property damage or reckless driving. For example, breath test refusal results in a 12-month license suspension for the first offense.