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Colorado DUI Limit

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Colorado DUI Limit

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Colorado DUI Limit

Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to the offense or crime of being in control of a motor vehicle or driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol to a level that renders you incapable of safely operating or handling a motor vehicle. The Colorado DUI limit or “per se” blood alcohol content is 0.08%.

DUI is an umbrella term that encompasses, among others, driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI), Driving while ability impaired (DWAI). DUI is illegal in Colorado. The state’s laws set forth the limits for blood alcohol content levels while driving and testing rules. The statutes also include the penalties for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or impaired from one or more drugs.

Here’s what you should know about the DUI limit in Colorado.

Colorado DUI Limit

The state of Colorado considers you “under the influence” if you have a breath or blood alcohol content of .08 or greater. However, the government can still charge you with DUI even if your test results are below .08.

Additionally, the police can arrest and charge you with a DUI if you refuse a chemical test while showing clear signs of being under the influence or impairment. You are also guilty of DUI when you drive a motor vehicle but are substantially incapable of operating it.

Colorado DWAI Limit

DWAI refers to driving while ability impaired. The police can charge you with DWAI if your breath or blood alcohol content level is between .050 and .079. Colorado is a no-tolerance state, and the police can still charge you even if your test result is below .050.

If an officer believes, even if to the slightest degree, that you have an impaired ability to drive, he or she will charge you with driving while ability impaired.

Colorado DUI Per Se

In Colorado, DUI per se refers to a breath or blood test that measures 0.08 or higher inside two hours of operating a motor vehicle. The state considers this DUI per se because it automatically deems motorists with an above-the-legal-limit BAC as driving under the influence. The limit is regardless of individual tolerance or impairment levels. “Per se” is Latin for “in and of itself.” It means that Colorado considers anybody with a .08 BAC as under the influence even if their driving was not unsafe.

Penalties for Driving Over the Colorado DUI Limit

Colorado DUI or DUI Per Se penalties for first-time offenses include:

  • A fine of between $600 and $1,000
  • A misdemeanor criminal record
  • A jail term of between five days and one year
  • 12 DMV point
  • Community service (up to 96 hours)
  • A nine-month DMV revocation of driving privileges
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Alcohol education classes

In a worst-case scenario (as in the case of repeat offenses or defendants with a BAC of 0.15 or higher), the state could end up considering you a persistent drunk driver (PDD). The designation will result in longer driving privilege suspensions. It will also result in an ignition interlock restricted license.

Colorado DUI or DUI Per Se penalties for second-time offenses include:

  • A jail term (10 days to one year)
  • A misdemeanor criminal record
  • A fine of between $600 and $1,500
  • Community service (48 to 120 hours)
  • A one-year license revocation
  • A two-year ignition interlock device (IID)
  • 12 DMV points
  • Alcohol education classes

Colorado DUI or DUI Per Se penalties for third-time offenses include:

  • A jail term (60 days to one year)
  • A misdemeanor criminal record
  • A $600 to $1,500 fine
  • Community service (between 48 and 120 hours)
  • A two-year license suspension
  • A two-year ignition interlock device (IID)
  • 12 DMV points
  • Alcohol education classes

Colorado DUI or DUI Per Se penalties for fourth or subsequent offenses include:

  • Up to a six-year jail term in a Colorado state prison with parole after three years
  • A fine of between $2,000 and $500,000
  • A class four felony criminal record

Penalties for Driving Over the Colorado DWAI Limit

Below are the penalties for driving over the DWAI limit:

  1. First-Time Offence: You could receive a jail term between two and 180 days, a fine ($200 to $500), public service (between 24 and 48 hours), and eight DMV points.
  2. Second-Time Offence: You could receive a jail term (ten days to one year), a fine ($600 to $1,500), up to 120 hours of public service, and eight DMV points.
  3. Third-Time Offence: You could receive a jail term (60 days to one year), a fine ($600 to $1,500), public service (48 to 120 hours), and eight DMV points.
  4. Forth or subsequent DWAI offenders: A class four felony criminal record, jail term (two to six years with three-year parole), a fine ($2,000 to $500,000).

Penalties for vehicular Assault or Homicide

DUI causing serious injury attracts a class four felony criminal record, a jail term (two to six years with three-year parole), and a fine ($2,000 to $500,000).

DUI causing death is a class three felony with a jail term (four to twelve years with five-year parole) and a fine ($3,000 to $750,000).

Payment plans are available. Contact us today to learn more.


Right Law Group is a top-rated Colorado law firm that focuses on DUI and Criminal Defense. We represent clients in Denver, Highlands Ranch, Littleton Colorado, and all surrounding cities in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties.

If you are looking for a Denver DUI Defense Attorney that offers aggressive defense no matter the case, look no further.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Don’t make the mistake of trying to defend yourself or pleading guilty or no contest just because you want to get this behind you. A conviction for ANY charge can have lasting consequences that you should be aware of before making any decisions.

Don’t let one wrong decision impact your life, job or freedom.

Call today for a free case evaluation.

Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or

    Arrest or

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of

    Advisement of

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /

    Pretrial Conference /

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment


    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness

    Pretrial Readiness

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing


    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is a DUI a felony in CO?

Most DUI charges are misdemeanors in Colorado. DUI will be a felony charge in Colorado if the driver has had 3 or more previous DUI convictions, or if someone was seriously injured or killed in an accident caused by the intoxicated driver.

Do you lose your license for first DUI in Colorado?

For a first DUI in Colorado, you will face the revocation of your license. The standard revocation period for a first offense DUI is nine months, but this could be different based on the specifics of the individual arrest.

Is there mandatory jail time for a DUI in Colorado?

The required jail time for a DUI in Colorado will depend on a few factors. In some situations, particularly when someone has multiple previous DUI convictions, jail time may be mandatory – but it is not usually required for a first-time offense.

Areas Served


El Paso County

Douglas County


Arapahoe County

  • Centennial
  • Englewood
  • Greenwood Village
  • Cherry Hills Village
  • Foxfield
  • Sheridan
  • Columbine Valley
  • Byers
  • Southglenn
  • Castlewood
  • Peoria

Pueblo County

Teller County

Fremont County

  • Coaldale
  • Cotopaxi
  • Hillside
  • Howard
  • Texas Creek
  • Wellsville