Generally, Colorado law states that a person is prohibited from driving any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), or driving while ability impaired by alcohol or drugs (DWAI). A person is considered DWAI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is determined to be more than 0.05, but less than 0.08. Picking up where DWAI leaves off, a person is considered DUI if their BAC is at least 0.08. If a person’s BAC is much higher, they may be considered a “persistent drunk driver” and thus be subject to harsher penalties.
A person’s BAC can be identified from a variety of tests: Blood, breath, urine, or saliva. If a person refuses to take any of these tests when requested to do so, that refusal is admissible in court as well as grounds for revocation of a driver’s license. Depending on the results of one of these tests (or the refusal of), the Colorado court and the Colorado Department of Revenue will impose both criminal and administrative penalties respectively.
The severity of Colorado DUI/DWAI criminal penalties and administrative penalties is determined by the person’s BAC, as well as any previous offenses. If the offender is under 21 years of age, a separate set of penalties are imposed. Additionally, if an injury or death is associated with the DUI/DWAI, consequences will be more severe. The general range of criminal DUI and DWAI penalties for persons over the age of 21 is as follows:
- As short as 2 days, or as long as 1 year in jail;
- Fines of up to $1,500; and
- A minimum of 24 hours of public service and a maximum of 120 hours.
Colorado administrative penalties are as follows:
- 3 months to 2 years driver’s license suspension (1st DWAI violation excluded); and
- Zero to 12 points against one’s driver’s license.
It is essential that anyone charged with a DUI or DWAI in Colorado be well informed of their rights, as well as the potential consequences. If you have been charged with a DUI or DWAI in Colorado, an experienced Colorado Springs DUI defense lawyer can help you determine the best course of legal action. The knowledgeable Colorado criminal defense attorney, Timothy Bussey, of The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., has the skills and resources to build a strong defense on your behalf. Call 719-475-2555 for a free initial consultation.