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What is a "persistent drunk driver"?

We have likely all heard the term "persistent drunk driver." We know that persistence involves tenaciousness, and repeating behavior in spite of obstacles in a person's way. Those qualities are all involved in Colorado's designation of certain motorists as persistent drunk drivers.

It used to be that drivers arrested with a blood alcohol content of 0.17 percent (more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent) were classified as persistent drunk drivers. Five years ago, however, the state legislature lowered the threshold to 0.15 percent; making it easier for prosecutors and courts to drop heavier penalties on certain drivers.

A state representative said at the time that the new law would make it easier to get help to people who need it. The help includes mandating that the offender has an ignition interlock device in their vehicle and that they are required to attend alcohol education classes to help them "actually make changes to their behaviors."

The penalties imposed on persistent drunk drivers don't end there. You can also be eligible for an extended jail sentence, hefty fines and court costs, as well as lengthy loss of your driving privileges, according to state law.

Note: you can also be declared a persistent drunk driver if you've had two or more alcohol-related suspensions of your Colorado driver's license.

As you can see, there's more than one way for the state to attach the label, the penalties and the stigma of "persistent drunk driver" to you. That's why so many in Denver who face the possibility fight as hard as they can with an experienced attorney at their side.

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