Colorado DUI Laws

Colorado law prohibits anyone from driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or while the person’s ability to drive is impaired by alcohol or drugs.

According to C.R.S. 42-4-1301, driving under the influence is defined as “driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to the degree that the person is substantially incapable…mentally and/or physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.”

You are considered under the influence when your blood or breath alcohol level is 0.080 or more.

Denver DUI Charges & Penalties

Colorado is tough on DUIs, especially for repeat offenders. Your DUI will likely be charged as a misdemeanor, but it could be a felony if the offense is severe.

  • First DUI: Jail term of five days up to one year, fines of up to $600-$1000, and 24-48 hours of public service
  • Second DUI: Jail term of 10 days up to one year, fines of $600-$1,500, and 48-96 hours of public service
  • Third DUI: Jail term of 60 days up to one year, fines of $600-$1,500, and 48-120 hours of public service
  • Subsequent DUI: Class 4 felony, two to six years’ incarceration, three years of parole, and 48-120 hours of public service

DUI License Penalties in Colorado

In addition to criminal penalties, DUI charges in Colorado bring administrative penalties which can affect your driving privileges:

  • First DUI: Nine-month license suspension and 12 license points
  • Second DUI: 12-month license suspension and 12 license points
  • Third DUI: 24-month license suspension and 12 license points

Individuals charged with DUI will also have to pay court costs and a $95 license reinstatement fee to the Colorado DMV. Repeat offenders convicted of three DUIs within seven years face a five-year license revocation.

Colorado DUI Process

In Colorado, the administrative and criminal processes after a DUI are completed separately.

If you are arrested and submit to a breath or blood test that shows your blood alcohol level over the legal limit, you will receive a notice of license revocation. You have seven days to submit a written request for a hearing with the DMV.

At the hearing, you can contest the charges against you and request your driving privileges back. If your privileges are reinstated but you are convicted in criminal court, you can still lose your license. Refer to the Colorado DMV’s flowchart for a detailed view of the administrative process.

In criminal court, you will attend an arraignment to hear the charges against you and enter a plea. If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge will hand down a sentence. If you plead not guilty, you will begin the pre-trial phase and may consider a plea deal. Your Colorado DUI attorney can review the evidence and documents for your case and help you determine your next steps.

Colorado DUI Defense Options

Your Denver DUI lawyer will work with you to create the best defense possible for your case. Some possible defenses include:

  • Improper police procedure or misconduct
  • Lack of probable cause to pull you over
  • Coerced statements or testing
  • Testing errors or faulty equipment

The loss of your driver’s license due to a DUI conviction can present obstacles to many aspects of your life, such as getting to and from work or spending quality time with your friends and family.


DUI Over .15 Reduced to Reckless Driving

Michael’s client was charged with Driving Under the Influence with a BAC Over .15. He was facing potential jail, probation, fines, suspensions, an interlock device, and community service. Michael got the charge reduced to reckless driving with the State minimums.

3rd DUI Penalties Reduced

Client was arrested for a 3rd DUI while his 2nd was pending. Original offer was 9 months of jail and life-time license revocation. Michael resolved both DUIs to mandatory minimums without lifetime revocation of his driving privileges.

How To Avoid a Colorado DUI Conviction

If you are convicted of a DUI, possible jail time and fines aren’t always the end of your punishment. But being charged with a DUI doesn’t necessarily mean you will serve jail time, especially if you are a first-time offender.

Colorado offers alternative sentencing for some DUI offenders. These alternatives can include completing alcohol treatment and education courses, probation, or house arrest.

The loss of your driver’s license due to a DUI conviction can present obstacles to many aspects of your life, such as getting to and from work or spending quality time with your friends and family. However, fighting your Colorado criminal conviction doesn’t guarantee you will keep your driving privileges, even if your case is dismissed. That’s why it’s important to work with a DUI lawyer to fight for the best possible outcome.

Field Sobriety Tests: Should You Refuse?

When you are pulled over for DUI, a police officer may ask you to complete a field sobriety exercise such as a balance test or breath test to examine your coordination and measure your blood alcohol level. These tests are notoriously unreliable and open to interpretation. Essentially, the officer is looking for additional evidence of impairment.

Field sobriety tests are also optional. The only mandatory chemical tests are administered once you are under arrest. You can decline to complete a field sobriety test, but doing so can still have consequences.

Your refusal can be used against you in court and provide a basis for losing your license for two months even without being convicted.

He is relentless to ensure his clients are well taken care of.”

- Cliff T

Denver DUI Attorney Michael Fayard Can Help

Don’t let a DUI charge limit your future. Attorney Fayard can put his criminal defense experience and insight as a former prosecutor to work for you.

Let Attorney Fayard examine the details, highlight any flaws in the case, and work towards a favorable outcome that protects your record and ability to drive. We help clients put DUI charges behind them and move forward with their lives.

Call (303) 990-8585 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation. Attorney Fayard will listen, ask some questions, and give you an honest assessment. There’s no pressure, just information that can help you.