A first DUI offense in Colorado results in both criminal (fines and possibly jail time) and administrative penalties (license suspension). However, aside from DUI charges, which involve drivers found with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above .08, Colorado also includes penalties for DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) violations. DWAI refers to driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or drugs, or a combination so that the driver is less able to exercise clear judgment -- for example a driver with a BAC above .05 to less than .08.
A first offense DUI in Colorado results in a 3 month suspension of one's driver's license and adds twelve (12) points to a driver’s license. Reinstatement in DUI cases depends on one completing a alcohol/substance abuse assessment and treatment program and, if the driver BAC is above .17, a mandatory use of an ignition interlock device.
How Much Will it Cost?
To get an idea of how much a first offense DUI will cost you, see our article on the cost of a DUI.
In Colorado a first offense DUI carries a mandatory minimum period of incarceration set at 5 days, with a potential of incarceration up to 1 year, with the possibility of suspending the jail sentence if the offender attends a treatment program. However, although jail time is rare for first offenders, it is mandatory if the driver's BAC is .20% or higher.
First offense DWAI convictions in Colorado results in a mandatory minimum period of incarceration set at two days, with a maximum of 180 days, with the possibility of a suspended sentence.
Fines for DUI in Colorado range from $600 to $1000, with fine amounts not covering costs associated with completion of other terms of sentence.
Fines for DWAI in Colorado range from $200 to $500, with fine amounts not covering costs associated with completion of other terms of sentence.
In Colorado, community service mandates in either DUI or DWAI are likely. Convictions influence charges and sentencing in future DUI or DWAI cases indefinitely.
If you want to know more about a received DUI or DWAI, it is important you consult with a lawyer as soon as possible following arrest.