If you are facing a DUI in Colorado, you probably are frightened and stressed, wondering what may be before you. Colorado DUI laws are complex and will require significant study in order to completely understand them. A qualified local Colorado DUI attorney can help you navigate the process through the court system and the CDR (Colorado Department of Revenue). In Colorado, DUI and DWAI (driving while ability impaired) laws both have criminal liabilities attached. You do not have to know you were breaking the law, nor do you need to have any intent to break the law. You merely need to break the law, which involves a BAC (breath alcohol content) of .08, in order to be arrested. Even if your driving is perfect, you will be arrested. A DWAI offense is lesser than a DUI, in that it only requires a BAC of .05 to .08. An arrest will still take place, but punishment will be less. There’s also another way you can be arrested in Colorado that is not as widely known. If an officer has reason to believe you are driving while impaired, you can be arrested for DUI or DWAI without a breath test. You may have been observed weaving in traffic, driving with no headlights, slow acceleration, erratic braking or a few dozen other things. The officer is trained to look for these to enforce road safety laws. Once you are stopped, everything you say and do can and will be held against you in a court of law. The officer is building a case and he or she will often delay the arrest until you’ve given enough incriminating evidence. Be advised -- only after you are arrested will you will be read your Miranda rights.
As in most other states, Colorado will present you with two separate legal cases to defend yourself against. One is a court case in which jail time, fines and fees, and remedial alcohol and drug education will be addressed. The other case is an administrative case handled by the CDR, which will handle the suspension, revocation and reinstatement of your license as well as points against your driving record. The two cases are separate and exclusionary, so for instance if the court case does not require something such as an ignition interlock device, the CDR case maintains the right to do so.
If you are arrested outside your home state, be sure to ask your attorney how this law will impact you.
The punishments listed below are not complete, as there are many factors not mentioned which can change the outcome of your case. If you are under 21, punishments will vary. And if you are charged with a DUI while a minor is in the car, punishments will also change. Contact a specially trained local Colorado DUI attorney who can answer your questions with a free consultation.
Incarceration – 48 hours to 6 months in jail.
Fines – minimum $700 up to $1,000 plus fees
License Suspension – mandatory 120 days; 18 months for refusal to submit to a chemical test
Insurance – SR22 proof of insurance form, mandatory before suspended license reinstated
Ignition Interlock Device – required to be installed on your vehicle if you refused a chemical test. Must be installed on vehicle before license will be reinstated
Alcohol & Drug Education – mandatory completion of a drug and alcohol education program
Community Service – court may choose to require 48 hours community service or home electronic monitoring instead of minimum jail sentence of 48 hours.
ADDITIONAL COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES
Bail – amount set by the court, required before being released after being arrested
Towing – impound fee of $330 plus towing fee if applicable. Vehicle must have current registration before it will be released.
Insurance – required to carry high risk SR22 insurance for three years. As a designated “high risk” driver, your insurance company will raise your rates significantly. Expect your insurance rates to double or more.
Record – DUI conviction can remain on driving record permanently
Employment – offender may lose time off work and possibly even their job.
Immigration and travel – restrictions can apply with certain convictions
Vehicle – possible vehicle seizure for multiple violations
Additional offenses will bring significantly higher penalties, up to 6 years in prison and $5000 in fines. Don’t take a chance with your freedom. It is highly recommended that you contact a qualified DUI attorney right away for a FREE CONSULTATION on your case. It is possible your case CAN be won with the right representation.