Colorado has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving offenses. What this means is that underage drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood can be charged with a traffic offense, even though their level of impairment is far below the .08% BAC for most adults over 21 around the country. Underage DUI charges in Colorado Springs, however, use the .08% BAC impairment level and feature the same penalties as adult DUIs do.
The Penalties of an Underage DUI in Colorado Springs
As with adult alcohol and drug-related traffic offenses, the penalties for underage DUI in Colorado Springs are harsher for repeat offenders than they are for the first offense. Here is a look at the penalties an underage driver faces for being caught driving with a .08% BAC.
A first-time drinking or drug DUI for an underage driver in Colorado Springs is known as a “Baby DUI” and it is considered a Class A traffic infraction, which carries no jail time. The periods of incarceration for repeated underage drinking and driving offenses are as follows:
- Second offense: A Class 2 misdemeanor, with 10-90 days in jail
- Third or subsequent underage DUI: Also a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by 10-90 days in jail
It should be noted that Class 2 misdemeanors are not sealed from criminal records, meaning the offense will show up on background checks even after the driver has reached the age of 21. However, in some circumstances, a criminal defense attorney can help the driver plea the charge down to a traffic infraction to keep it off their permanent record.
The fines associated with an underage DUI offense in Colorado Springs are as follows:
- First offense: Up to $100 in fines, as well as court costs and surcharges
- Second offense: Up to $300 in fines, with the addition of court costs and surcharges
- Third and subsequent underage DUI convictions: Up to $300 in fines along with costs and surcharges
Individuals who are convicted of underage DUI in Colorado Springs face more than just potential incarceration and fines. They also stand to have their driver’s license revoked for a period of time after that conviction. The license revocation period for underage DUI is:
- First offense: A three-month revocation
- However, because first-time underage DUI offenses are technically not considered crimes, the driver is eligible for a “red license” a month after conviction. This is a probationary license that allows them to drive to work or school.
- Second offense: A six-month revocation
- Third and subsequent offenses: A 1-year license revocation
It should be noted that non-resident underage drivers in Colorado who are convicted of DUI likely also face revocation of their driver’s license from their home state as a result of the offense.
Those who have had their license revoked as a result of the offense can appeal the revocation to the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, if they win the hearing but lose their criminal case, the license will still be revoked. Likewise, if they lose their DMV hearing but their criminal case is dismissed, they are still subject to revocation.
All underage DUI offenses also carry a period of up to 24 hours of useful public service, also commonly known as community service. Useful public service in Colorado includes any work that is beneficial to the public and requires minimum supervision or further costs to the public. Individuals who are sentenced to undergo useful public service must pay a $120 fee.
Alcohol or Drug Evaluation or Treatment
Those convicted of underage DUI for either alcohol or drugs are generally required to also undergo alcohol or drug evaluation and could also be ordered to enter an alcohol or drug treatment program at their own expense.
How a DUI Lawyer Can Help
There are a number of ways a Colorado Springs DUI lawyer can help an individual who has been charged with underage DUI in Colorado Springs, such as:
- Investigating how the charge occurred and the circumstances of the treatment of the defendant during the process. Many times, DUI charges will be levied during a stop that violated the police department’s protocols and policies or DUI will be determined using faulty equipment. These are the sort of issues that can lead to a DUI charge being dismissed.
- Negotiating a plea deal that will allow lighter charges or lesser consequences. For example, many times, a lawyer can help an underage client obtain a plea deal in which their guilty plea results in a traffic infraction instead of a criminal offense.
- Appealing license revocation, or seeking a red license.
- Expungement. While an underage DUI can never be wiped from the driver’s record, the charge can be sealed in some cases when the driver turns 21 through the process of expungement.
Contact us today for a free case review to learn more about the legal options a minor has if they have been charged with underage DUI in Colorado Springs and the services we can provide to help you deal with the legal consequences of the charge.