Call now

First Offense DUI Colorado

2022 Winner - Best of the Springs
Lawyer of the Year - American Institute of Legal Professionals
Colorado Bar Association
Top 40 The National Trial Lawyers
Top 100 The National Trial Lawyers
AVVO 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Criminal Defense
Google Reviews


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.

Top-Rated Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer


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.

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

Call today for a free case evaluation.

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

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.

What is the sentence for misdemeanors in Colorado?

  • Class 1

  • 6 to 18 months in county jail, and/or
  • $500 to $5,000 in fines
  • For extraordinary risk class 1 misdemeanors, the maximum jail sentence is 24 months.
  • For 3rd-degree assault (CRS 18-3-204), the maximum sentence can be 48 months if the victim was on duty as a:
    • Peace officer,
    • Emergency medical provider,
    • Firefighter, or
    • Mental health professional at the Department of Human Services.
  • Class 2

  • 3 to 12 months in county jail, and/or
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines

What are Colorado felony penalties?

  • Class 1

  • Life imprisonment
  • No Colorado crime carries the death penalty.
  • Class 2

  • 8 – 24 years in Colorado State Prison, and/or
  • $5,000 – $1,000,000
  • 5 years of mandatory parole if the offense is a crime of violence. Otherwise, 3 years of mandatory parole.
  • Class 3

  • 4-12 years in prison
  • Fines of up to $750,000 but not less than $3,000
  • 3 years of parole
  • Class 4

  • 2 – 6 years in prison, and/or
  • $2,000 – $500,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 4 felonies, the maximum sentence is 8 years in prison.
  • Class 5

  • 1 – 3 years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 2 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 5 felonies, the maximum sentence is 4 years in prison.
  • Class 6

  • 1 – 18 months years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 1 year of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 6 felonies, the maximum sentence is 2 years in prison.



Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorney


At Right Law Group, we understand the stress you are under. Our Criminal Defense Law Firm is here to guide you down the right path to your legal challenge. Whether you are facing your first DUI, a drug charge, need a restraining order, or are facing another type of criminal charge, our firm is committed to your well-being and protecting your rights the right way.

Is there mandatory jail time for a DUI in Colorado?

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.

What happens to a first time DUI offense?

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.

Is DUI in Colorado a felony?

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.

Experienced First Offense DUI Lawyer

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.