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What does it mean to be a “persistent drunk driver” in Colorado?

When it comes to drunk driving, Colorado has some tough laws — and the state’s “persistent drunk driver” law is no exception.

While you can probably make your own guess as to what a “persistent drunk driver” is by the name alone, it is important to remember that this terminology is actually defined under Colorado law. Specifically, Colorado law will brand you as a “persistent drunk driver” under the following circumstances:

  • You have been convicted of, or had your license revoked, for two or more alcohol-related driving offenses.
  • You wrongfully refused to participate in required alcohol/chemical testing, including tests of your breath, urine, blood or saliva.
  • You drove a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.15 percent or more, measured either at the time you were driving or within two hours or driving.
  • You were caught operating a vehicle after your license/driving privileges have been suspended or revoked due to an alcohol-related driving offense.

Why does this designation matter?

So why does it matter if you are labeled a “persistent drunk driver?” Simply put, you will face harsher penalties for alcohol-related driving offenses.

For instance, persistent drunk drivers must complete a level II alcohol education and treatment program, which is typically a requirement before they can get their driving privileges back. And even after their driving privileges are restored, they will have a restricted license that requires them to use an ignition interlock device (IID) on their cars for at least two years.

Given that these are merely two of the harsher, mandatory penalties that a persistent drunk driver may face, you can quickly see how this designation is quite serious under Colorado law.

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