DUI and DWAI penalties in Colorado

Colorado residents may face penalties for drunk driving even with blood alcohol content levels below 0.08 percent.

Over the past several decades, the penalties that people around the country have faced for drunk driving offenses have changed as public sentiment about drinking and driving has evolved. In Colorado, the penalties have become increasingly harsh and even include penalizing those drivers with blood alcohol content levels below the 0.08 percent threshold that is used to determine legal intoxication.

What is the difference between a DUI and a DWAI?

Driving under the influence of alcohol may be charged in situations where a driver's BAC is at least 0.08 percent. A charge of driving while ability impaired may result in situations where a driver's BAC is between 0.05 and 0.07 percent.

What are the penalties for a first DWAI?

A first DWAI is a misdemeanor and will add eight points to a driver's record. People convicted of this offense may spend a minimum of two days in jail but may be sentenced to as many as 180 days in jail. Fines may be up to $500. There is no loss of driving privileges associated with a first DWAI.

What are the penalties for a first DUI?

A first DUI is also a misdemeanor and adds 12 points to a driver's record. Minimum jail time for these offenses is five days with a maximum of 365 days. Fines may be up to $1,000 and a nine-month suspension of a driver's license may also be ordered.

What are the penalties for second offenses?

Second DWAI and DUI convictions may result in jail time between 10 days and one year. Fines can be up to $1,000 for a DWAI or $1,500 for a DUI. A one-year license suspension is ordered for either offense. Eight points will be added to a record for a DWAI and 12 points for a DUI.

Can I reinstate my license early?

Some drivers may be eligible to have their licenses reinstated before their suspension periods are over if they have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. There may be a required suspension period before reinstatement is allowed and the length of time that an IID must be used may vary based upon the nature of the offense.

Some drivers must use ignition interlock devices for as long as two years while others are only required to use the devices for eight months.

How can I learn more about DUI and DWAI penalties in Colorado?

The best thing for a driver to do after being arrested for an impaired driving offense is to contact an attorney. There are many factors that may influence the outcome of a drunk driving case and working with an experienced professional is the best way to fully understand the law.