First Offense DUI Colorado


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First Offense DUI Colorado

Facing DUI Charges For The First Time? If You Were Charged With A First Offense DUI in Colorado You ONLY Have 7 DAYS to Request A DMV Hearing.

Here is what you can expect from a first offense DUI in Colorado

If a Colorado law enforcement officer has arrested you for a first-time DUI charge, you must call a DUI Attorney immediately. If the court convicts you, you could end up facing jail time, even if this is a first offense DUI in Colorado. You’ll have an opportunity to defend yourself; but, even if you feel confident about your chances, you should never face the court without legal representation.

A DUI lawyer understands the laws, the court system, and your potential defenses. When you seek legal help immediately, an attorney helps you prepare a personalized defense. A DUI attorney works with you to produce the most favorable outcome.

If you have been arrested…

Your FREEDOM is potentially at stake. A conviction can have a huge impact on your job, relationships, and your future. You need to act fast.

Colorado First Offense DUI Laws

Colorado Revised Statutes, 42-4-1301 describe four distinct alcohol and drug-related charges. As a driver, you are subject to criminal charges if you drive or you are simply “…in actual physical control of a vehicle…”

  • DUI, Driving Under the Influence: A person has consumed alcohol and/or drugs and is “substantially Incapable… to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle…”
  • DWAI, Driving While Ability Impaired: A person drives after consuming alcohol and/or drugs that affects them “…to the slightest degree…” so that the person is “…less able than the person ordinarily would have been…” to exercise clear judgment, control or due care.
  • DUI Per Se: A driver has a minimum 0.08% blood or breath alcohol content.
  • UDD Underage Drinking and Driving: A person under the age of 21 drives with a BAC of 0.02% to 0.05%


Colorado First Offense DUI Penalties

If a court convicts you of a first-time DUI, it’s a class one misdemeanor crime. A conviction places you in Colorado’s progressive penalty system. Each subsequent DUI conviction earns a stiffer set of punishments. The system provides different penalties depending on the DUI crime:

First DUI/DUI Per Se Conviction

  • Jail Time: 5 days minimum up to 1-year
  • Fine: $600 minimum up to $1,000
  • Useful Public Service: 48 – 96 hours of public service;
  • License Suspension: 9-month suspension
  • DMV Points: 12 points
  • Sentence may include mandatory alcohol education classes


First DWAI Conviction

  • Jail time: Up to 180 days
  • Fine: $200 to $500;
  • Useful Public Service: 24 to 48 hours
  • DMV Points: 8 points


Underage Driver (UDD) Conviction

When a driver under age 21 tests at a BAC of 0.02% up to 0.05%, a court can convict them of UDD. Underage drinking and driving isn’t a crime like other DUI charges. It’s a Class A traffic infraction. Penalties include:

  • Fine: up to $150,
  • License Suspension: Mandatory Minimum 9-month license suspension
  • DMV Points: 4 points
  • Useful Public Service: Up to 24 hours
  • Alcohol/drug assessment counseling and treatment
  • Alcohol education program


Persistent Drunk Driver Conviction

A driver who is convicted of multiple DUI charges earns Persistent Drunk Driver status. Some first-time DUI Offenses earn PDD status as defined under C.R.S. 42-1-102 (68.5 (a). First-time PDD offenses include:

  • High BAC: When a driver is convicted after testing at a BAC at 0.15% or greater, even a first conviction earns a persistent drunk driver designation.
  • Alcohol Test Refusal: Drivers who refuse to submit to a blood or breath test are designated PDD.


PDD Penalties

Penalties for Persistent Drunk Drivers include:

  • License: Mandatory license revocation
  • Ignition Interlock Device: 2 years
  • SR-22 Filing from your insurance carrier
  • Education: Mandatory Level two alcohol education and treatment classes


Commercial Driver Alcohol Use

Under C.R.S. 42-2-405, a commercial driver who “drives, operates, or has physical control” of a commercial vehicle with “any” alcohol in their system is subject to disciplinary actions and penalties. If a commercial driver refuses to take a BAC test, he shall be “placed out of service.” and will be subject to additional penalties.


Lookback Period For Colorado DUI Laws

C.R.S. 42-4-1301, Part III Prior Convictions, Case Annotations explain and discuss how the courts use prior convictions as a “sentence enhancer.” A court has the discretion to sentence a first-time DUI conviction as a Class 4 felony. This can occur under these circumstances:

  • You have previously been convicted of three or more DUI, DWAI, DUI Per Se, Vehicular Homicide, or Vehicular Assault charges.
  • The counts arose out of separate and distinct criminal episodes.
  • A “prior conviction” includes convictions in Colorado, in any other state in the United States, or in any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.



The primary difference between DUI and DWAI offenses in C.R.S. 42-4-1301 is the language that describes the observed degree of impairment. Otherwise, the wording is essentially the same in both offenses.

  • DUI: A driver has consumed alcohol and/or drugs “…that affects the person to a degree that the person is substantially incapable...”
  • DWAI: A driver has consumed alcohol and/or drugs “…that affects the person to the slightest degree so that the person is less able than the person ordinarily would have been…”

Both offenses describe the officer’s perception of the degree to which a driver is “…incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.” DWAI is a less severe level of alcohol impairment, and the penalties are not as harsh.


License Reinstatement

You can apply for license reinstatement after you have complied with the term of your sentence or if you qualify for early reinstatement. You apply for reinstatement through the Colorado DMV. Depending on your conviction, the DMV may require some or all of the following.

  • A $95 reinstatement fee
  • An Application for Reinstatement
  • SR-22 insurance company filing for up to three years
  • A Certification Form acknowledging basic facts about DUI and the potential for PDD status
  • Enroll in or complete Level II Alcohol or Drug Education and Treatment
  • Ignition Interlock installation

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have been convicted of a first offense DUI in Colorado, jail time will be a possible penalty but is not necessarily mandatory. The possible jail time for a first offense DUI can be anywhere from 5 days to one year.

Colorado has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. And as such, a first time DUI offense in Colorado can still carry some serious penalties. Possible penalties include fines, community service, jail time, points off your license, and suspension of driving privileges.

In Colorado, a first offense DUI is generally considered a misdemeanor. In order for a DUI to be a felony in Colorado, it usually has to be the driver’s fourth or more DUI charge, or if there was a serious injury or death involved in the DUI.

Colorado Springs First Offense DUI Attorney Near You

When you’re charged with a first offense DUI in Colorado, you need a lawyer who is familiar with the laws and knows how the court system works. DUI attorneys work with you to help you establish a strong defense. Even if you believe that a conviction is inevitable, an attorney can help you fight for a lesser charge, a reduced sentence, or another more favorable outcome. Contact us right away for a free case consultation.


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