Subject to a few exceptions, consumption and possession of alcohol by a person under 21 years of age is illegal in Colorado. A person under the age of 21 who operates a vehicle while intoxicated can be charged with a class A traffic infraction for a first offense and a class 2 traffic misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense.
This article discusses the laws and consequences associated with a DUI offense committed in Colorado by a person who's under 21 years old.
Under Colorado's impaired driving laws, all drivers are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle:
However, Colorado has even stricter laws against underage drinking and driving (sometimes called "UDD"). UDD is Colorado's version of a "zero tolerance" law for underage motorists. Colorado defines UDD as driving a motor vehicle with a BAC of at least .02% but less than .05%. And, of course, the UDD law applies only to motorists who are under the age of 21.
Generally, the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will administratively revoke the license of any driver who is arrested for UDD and fails a breath test. Under Colorado's implied consent law, a BAC of at least .02% but less than .08% is considered a failed test for a driver under 21 years old.
The license revocation periods for UDD offenses are as follows:
However, so long as the BAC was not more than .05%, the underage driver can request a 30-day revocation, to be followed by a two-month suspension. During the suspension period, the driver can obtain a probationary license. A probationary license can be used to drive for purposes of employment, education, health, or alcohol and drug education or treatment.
For a first offense, it's a class A traffic infraction for a person under 21 years of age to drive a motor vehicle with a BAC of at least .02% but not more than .05%. A second or subsequent UDD offense is a class 2 traffic misdemeanor.
The fine for a first UDD conviction is $100, plus court costs and surcharges. The fine for a second or subsequent UUD conviction is $150 to $300, plus court costs and surcharges.
There is no jail time for a first UDD conviction. However, for a second or subsequent UDD conviction, 10 to 90 days of jail time is possible.
A defendant who is convicted of UDD can be required to perform up to 24 hours of public service. Any person required to complete public service must pay a fee of up to $120.
If the defendant's license wasn't administratively revoked as discussed above, the court will generally impose a three-month revocation upon a first UDD conviction. For a second conviction, the revocation is for six months, and for a third or subsequent conviction, the revocation is for one year.
On a first conviction, an underage driver can request a 30-day revocation, which, if granted, will be followed by a two-month suspension. During the suspension, the motorist can get a probationary license for driving to and from employment, education, health, and alcohol and drug education or treatment. Before granting a probationary license, the judge may require the defendant to enroll in a program for driving education or alcohol and drug education and treatment.
UDD offenders are generally required to complete and pay for an alcohol evaluation, an education program, and/or a treatment program.
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence in Colorado, you should get in contact with a knowledgeable DUI attorney as soon as possible. A qualified DUI lawyer can identify any possible defenses, let you know what you're facing, and help you decide on how best to handle your situation.
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