What are Colorado’s DUI penalties?

Jail or prison time, the loss of driving privileges, high fines and court fees and the use of an ignition interlock device are just some of the consequences that a person may face if convicted of drunk or drugged driving in Colorado.

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado a few years ago opened the doors to a whole new industry. In addition to launching businesses like growers, producers and retail outlets that sell cannabis products, the move changed impacted many laws, including those that pertain to impaired driving.

It is important for residents to know that an allegation of driving under the influence can be related to marijuana just as easily as it can alcohol. Given this, it is wise for people to be aware of the consequences associated with a DUI conviction in Colorado.

Definition of impairment

Colorado laws identify the presence of 5 nanograms or more of delta-9 tetrahyrdocannabinol per milliliter of whole blood as grounds for charging a driver with a driving under the influence of drugs offense.

People with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater may be charged with a driving under the influence of alcohol offense. If a person's BAC is 0.15% or greater, they may be charged as a persistent drunk driver and experience more severe penalties.

First DUI penalties

After a first DUI conviction, a person may have their driver's license revoked up nine months but may be eligible to have it reinstated after the first month if they install and use an ignition interlock device. The IID may be required for up to eight months for drivers with BAC levels between 0.08% and 0.14% or up to 24 months for drivers with BAC levels exceeding 0.14%.

A first offense may also add 12 points onto a person's driving record. The driver may also be required to spend between two days and 180 days in jail. However, the incarceration period may be avoided or reduced if the driver participates in a substance abuse treatment program.

A first DUI is a misdemeanor in Colorado.

Felony DUI charges in Colorado

As reported by The Denver Post, the state changes the penalties for felony DUIs two years ago. A fourth offense for driving under the influence is a felony that is generally associated with a jail or prison term of two to six years. In response to allegations that many people were not serving any time in custody after a felony DUI conviction, the state made incarceration mandatory.

A driver may be required to spend at least 90 days in jail if their sentence involves probation or at least 120 days if their sentence involves a work release program.

Defendants' rights matter

Every person accused of drunk or drugged driving deserves to have their rights respected. Talking with an experienced criminal defense attorney is a good way for drivers to learn what their rights are when facing these types of charges.