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Being arrested for DUI in Colorado (or anywhere) can be expensive and have long-lasting repercussions. A conviction can affect your life regarding employment, relationships and social standing in the community. Being aware of laws regarding driving under the influence and the penalties for doing so can help drivers avoid running afoul of the law.
Law enforcement takes drunk and impaired driving very seriously in Colorado. Annually, 4,000 people suffer serious injuries in crashes involving alcohol and over 240 people lose their lives in completely preventable wrecks on Colorado interstates and roads. State statutes define two tiers of driving offenses regarding impairment:
To be arrested for DWAI, a driver only has to have one's ability to operate a vehicle impaired by the “slightest degree” from consuming alcohol, illegal drugs or legally prescribed medications. Blood alcohol concentrations of .05 will result in this charge.
Drivers face DUI charges with a BAC of .08 or higher or if they are deemed to be “substantially incapable” of driving after drinking alcohol or take prescription or illegal drugs.
Those drivers caught behind the wheel with a BAC level of .17 or greater are designated as a Persistent Drunk Driver -– even on a first offense –- and face the same sentences and strict penalties as those who rack up more than one DUI conviction.
A publication issued by the Colorado Department of Transportation details the financial and other costs associated with a DUI arrest and conviction. It should be noted that the below list details those costs for a first DUI. Second and subsequent violations would have much higher costs and more stringent penalties attached.
While by no means all-inclusive, the above costs total $10,270. There are far better ways to spend your hard-earned money.
Those facing a first DWAI conviction in Colorado are subject the following possible penalties:
First offense DUI convictions can rack up:
A Colorado law passed in 2015 makes a fourth DUI a Class 4 felony that can send the offender to prison for up to six years. The law doesn’t require a judge to impose jail time, however.
Any subsequent convictions incur higher fines and longer jail terms and other penalties. If you are arrested for an alcohol-related offense while driving in Colorado, you may fare better in court by retaining a criminal defense attorney who routinely handles such cases and is intimately familiar with the state’s DUI laws.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified drunk driving lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local drunk driving attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.