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DUI Cases

Driving Under the Influence [DUI]

Alcohol and Driving

Drinking and driving is one of the greatest problems causing highway crashes. Every year, tens of thousands of people are killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes. Drinking drivers are more likely than other drivers to take excessive risks such as speeding or turning abruptly. The drinking driver is also more likely to have slowed reaction times and may not be able to react quickly enough to avoid a collision.

Alcohol is a depressant drug that affects the central nervous system, which affects the brain. It slows reflexes and reaction times while reducing the ability to make split-second decisions necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle. As the amount of alcohol in your body increases, your judgment worsens and your skills decrease.

The amount of alcohol absorbed in your blood stream is what causes you to feel the effects of drinking. This is called Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), which is determined by a chemical test, usually of blood or breath.

The driver with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.09 percent is presumed to be driving while his ability to drive is impaired (often referred to as “driving while ability impaired” or DWAI). If a driver’s BAC is 0.10 percent or greater, this may be due to a combination of alcohol and any other drugs. For example, one drink, when you are also taking an allergy or cold medication, could have the same effect as several drinks.

Illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, LSD and heroin also affect your reflexes, judgment and alertness along with their many other dangerous side effects. These drugs can give a person a false sense of alertness and self confidence or make a person drowsy and unable to react to simple situations.

Express Consent Law (C.R.S. 42-4-1301)

The express consent law means that when you operate a motor vehicle within the state, you have already agreed to take a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine to determine the alcohol and/or drug content of your blood. The law is designed specifically to quickly remove the drinking or drugged driver from the roads. If a law enforcement officer suspects that you are driving under the influence or while your ability is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, he can require that you take a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine. If you refuse to take the test or don’t cooperate with the testing procedure, your license will be revoked for a period of one year. If other suspensions or revocations come about from this same incident, they will be added onto the end of the revocation (consecutively).

Because driving under the influence is so dangerous, the penalties for alcohol or drug-related violations are very tough, and DUI enforcement efforts by the police are a top priority that can include jail, fines, and suspension of your driving privileges. Colorado law does not allow you to “plea bargain” your way out of an alcohol or drug-related driving offense.

The only sure way to avoid the consequences is not to use alcohol or drugs at all when you will be driving.

Under Age 21

Any driver under the age of 21 who is convicted of DUI or DWAI is subject to a mandatory revocation of their driving privilege for one year.

Zero Tolerance (C.R.S. 42-2-121)

Drivers under the age of 21 with a BAC of .02 but less than .10 are subject to a mandatory revocation of their driving privilege.

Buy and Possess (C.R.S. 42-2-125)

Any person under the age of 21 who buys or possesses liquor (including beer) is subject to mandatory revocation of their driving privilege even if driving is not a factor.

As of 2010 — the laws in Colorado have changed – -here is a summary of the new DUI penalties

The state legislature had this to say about the new, harsher sentencing laws in Colorado:

The Old Colorado DUI Setencing Law:

DWAI – first offense: two to 180 days; all jail time can be suspended.
DUI – first offense: five days to one year; all jail time can be suspended.

DUI or DWAI with Blood Alcohol Content of 0.20 or more: 90 days to one year; all but ten days can be suspended.

DWAI with prior DWAI conviction: 45 days to one year; all but five days can be suspended.

DWAI with prior DUI conviction: 60 days to one year; all but six days can be suspended.

DUI with prior DWAI conviction: 70 days to one year; all but seven days can be suspended.

DUI with prior DUI conviction: 90 days to one year; all but ten days can be suspended

Changes to DUI Laws

Effective July 1, 2010,  which apply to offenses committed on or after that date


The new law provides as follows:

1st DUI:  minimum mandatory of 5 days, or 10 days if BAC over 0.20

1st DWAI:  minimum mandatory of 2 days, maximum of 180 days

2nd DUI:  minimum mandatory of 10 days

3rd DUI:  minimum mandatory of 60 consecutive days

Further, the new law provides that anyone with two or more DUIs will be required, in addition to a period of incarceration, to serve a two year probationary sentence.  The period of incarceration for multiple offenders can no longer be served on in home detention (ankle monitor).

Work release and straight time are now the only options permitted under the statute

Here is a More Comprehensive Chart of the Changes

2010 Update – New Colorado DUI/DWAI Penalties

Effective July 1, 2010 Governor Bill Ritter recently signed 10 criminal and juvenile justice bills into law.  These laws went into effect July 1, 2010.  The most notable of these new laws was HB 1347 proposed by Rep. Levy and Sen. Morse. 

HB 1347 – Increases penalties for a 2nd offense in a 5 year period and 3rd and subsequent offenses in lifetime.  The mandatory for a 2nd offense will be 10 days (straight jail time, no good time and no alternative sentencing programs like EHM/IHD) with work/education release available. 

The penalty for 3rd and subsequent offenses will be 60 days (straight jail time, no good time and no alternative sentencing programs like EHM/IHD).  There will be increased probation time for repeat offenders.  There are provisions for “shock” incarceration for offenders who are not compliant with probation.  HB 1347 – Applies only to offenses on or after July 1, 2010.

HB 1347 DUI Bill Summary



Effective Date:  Offenses committed on or after July 1, 2010. 
Statute Repealed:

Statute Created:

Statutes Amended: