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Navigating Traffic Matters: Considerations for a DUI in Colorado

Blurred image of a car driving on a forest road

Here is a step by step walk through on what you can do if you find yourself in this situation:

1. Remain Calm and Cooperative

Upon being pulled over and suspected of DUI, it's crucial to remain calm and cooperative with law enforcement officers. Avoid arguments or resistance, as it could escalate the situation.

2. Understand the Charges You Face

In Colorado, DUI laws are strict. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is very low … the presumptive range for DUI is a BAC above 0.08% within two hours of time of driving and for the lesser charge of Driving While Ability Impaired is a BAC between .051% to .079% within the same period of time. With that said, Colorado also uses a subjective standard with respect to DUI/DWAI laws, as a driver can also be charged with DUI if, in the option of law enforcement, they are substantially incapable of operating a vehicle. Similarly, a driver can be charged with DWAI if, in the option of law enforcement, they are impaired to the slightest degree.

3. Seek Legal Representation Immediately

Seek legal help immediately. One of our qualified attorneys with over a decade of experience can help you navigate the legal process, explain your rights, and offer fair representation for you in court.

4. Administrative Penalties - DMV

There are administrative consequences separate from the criminal case, including the possible revocation of your driver's license after a contact for DUI. There is limited time to request a hearing to contest the revocation with the DMV, so act quickly.

5. Criminal Penalties

Penalties for an alcohol related event in Colorado vary based upon many factors such as the nature of the charge (for example DUI versus DWAI), the driver’s BAC level (or refusal to test), prior offenses (even in other states), and whether an accident occurred (and if so, if there were injuries to people or property). Resulting penalties can include fines, mandatory alcohol education or treatment programs, community service, probation, and jail time.

6. Court Proceedings

It is important for an individual cited with an alcohol related charge to attend all court hearings and follow an attorney's advice. Be honest and cooperative throughout the legal process as this will help your attorney to negotiate (and advocate) on your behalf and potentially arrange for a plea bargain which may include reduced charges or sentencing considerations.

7. License Reinstatement

After a DUI/DWAI conviction your driver’s license may be revoked. In order to reinstate your driving privilege there are several steps that must be undertaken to reinstate your driving privilege such as obtaining an ignition interlock device, obtaining an SR-22 through insurance, and participating in accredited alcohol treatment classes.

8. Insurance and Employment

A DUI/DWAI conviction can impact your car insurance rates significantly. It could also impact employment, and certainly if your job involves driving. Consider these implications and plan accordingly.

9. Learn from the Experience

Use this experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Understand the seriousness of drinking and driving and the potential consequences, not only legally but for your safety and the safety of others.


FAQs About Colorado DUI

Are DUIs and DWAIs Charged as a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

The severity of the DUI or DWAI charge you will face depends on the number of driving while under the influence convictions on your record. After three convictions for DUI/DWAI, a fourth and subsequent offense maybe charged as felony. In addition, any number of DUI may be charged as a felony if the driver was the cause of an accident in which another person is seriously injured or resulted in a fatality.

Do You Lose Your License Automatically After a DUI Citation in Colorado?

If a driver receives an appropriate notice as part of a contact with law enforcement, their driving privilege will be revoked after seven (7) days unless a DMV Hearing is properly requested. This revocation will occur even if you are later found to be innocent. It is very important to pay close attention to all documentation you are provided by law enforcement after a contact for DUI.

What Happens If You Refuse to Take a Chemical Test?

Under Colorado’s Express Consent Law, you are required to submit to a chemical test if requested to do so by law enforcement after a DUI contact. A failure to do so will subject a driver to a revocation (longer in duration than if a chemical test had been given).

What If I Was Convicted of a DUI in Another State?

If you were convicted of a DUI in another state (or an equivalent conviction), Colorado will still classify this this conviction as a prior offense. In addition, Colorado treats any prior DUI conviction (or equivalent conviction), at any prior time (no longer how long ago it occurred) as a prior offense.


Remember, every DUI case is unique, and the advice and steps might differ based on individual circumstances. Seeking immediate legal counsel and following their guidance is crucial for navigating a DUI charge in Colorado.


Attorney Advertising: This article was prepared for general informational purposes only based on information available at the time of publication and is not intended as, does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Miller & Law, P.C. (and its affiliates, attorneys, and employees) shall not have any liability in connection with any use of these materials.  The sharing of these materials does not establish an attorney-client relationship with the recipient and should not be relied upon as an alternative for advice from qualified counsel. 

Last update: 5/20/2024


Thank you for reading!

Do you still have questions regarding what to do if you are facing DUI charges?

Reach out to our office today to speak to an expert on the matter.


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