In a study that looked at criminal penalties, administrative penalties, fines, and other data, researchers found that Colorado is one of the top 20 toughest states on DUIs. Even a first time DUI in Colorado can leave you with a suspended license and a criminal record.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs and Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) are generally misdemeanor offenses in the state of Colorado. Even as a misdemeanor, however, a DUI conviction can have devastating and lasting effects on your life.
Defending Your Freedom Against DUI Charges
In Colorado, penalties for DUI are very serious. They can include driver’s license suspension, hefty fines, substance abuse treatment programs, and even jail time.
Having a DUI conviction and a criminal history can haunt you for a long time. You could…
- Lose custody of your kids in a divorce.
- Have to disclose your criminal record to prospective employers—and certain employment opportunities could become off-limits to you.
- Have difficulty renting an apartment, because your DUI appears on your background check.
- Be banned from visiting many countries, including Canada and Mexico.
- Have to pay sky-high car insurance premiums—if your insurer will cover you at all.
- Be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car—and assume the (very expensive) monthly cost associated with it.
With a DUI, there is too much at stake to go through the process on your own. Boulder DUI attorney Janene McCabe is an expert litigator who will represent your interests from start to finish. Janene has dedicated her career to defending these types of criminal charges and can help you resolve your DUI case as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Definition
Colorado drunk driving laws define three different types of impaired driving. They are DUI, DWAI, and DUI per se.
You are considered to be driving under the influence (DUI) if you operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. Colorado defines “under the influence” of alcohol as having a BAC of 0.08% or above.
You are considered to be Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) if you are operating a motor vehicle while slightly impaired by drugs or alcohol. If your BAC is between 0.05% and 0.08%, you will be presumed to be DWAI.
Finally, Colorado also recognizes per se DUIs. In a per se DUI, the officer does not have to prove that you are impaired, just that your BAC is above the legal limit. For example, you might pass field sobriety tests with no trouble, but if you blow a 0.08% on the breathalyzer, you can be charged with a per se DUI.
Remember—DUIs aren’t limited to just alcohol. You can get a DUI even if you are using legal drugs, such as marijuana or prescription medicine.
Driving With Marijuana In Colorado
Even though it’s now legal to use marijuana in Colorado, you still have to follow the law, especially when driving is concerned.
Just like with alcohol, it’s illegal to drive with an open container of marijuana in the car. If your pot has a broken seal or has been partially used, keep it in the trunk. If your car doesn’t have a trunk, keep it out of reach behind the last row of seats.
The open container law also applies to passengers. Passengers, including riders in taxis and public transportation, may not smoke or consume marijuana.
If you plan to leave Colorado, leave your weed at home. You may not leave the state with your marijuana. If you drive into another state, you could be arrested for illegal possession. Marijuana is also prohibited at Denver International Airport—even in the parking lot. This means you shouldn’t leave your pot in your parked car, either.
Legal Limits for DUI
For non-commercial drivers, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or more. Colorado sets the legal limit for commercial drivers at 0.04%. For marijuana, you may be considered “under the influence” if your blood contains 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter.
Colorado’s Express Consent law requires all drivers who are arrested for DUI or DWAI to consent to an alcohol or drug test. Drivers who refuse testing face a one-year license suspension, among other penalties.
Aggravated DUI and Zero Tolerance
If you break multiple laws or endanger or injure others during the course of your DUI, you might be charged with an “aggravated DUI,” which comes with stiffer penalties. You may also be charged with aggravated DUI if your BAC is 0.20% or above.
Colorado also has a “zero tolerance” law for underage drivers who are younger than the legal drinking age of 21. An underage driver with a BAC as low as 0.02% to 0.05% could be convicted of underage drinking and driving.
DUI For Boulder Students
CU Boulder students are particularly at risk when it comes to DUI. Being convicted of DUI as a student can have far-reaching consequences for your education and your future.
For example, you may lose your financial aid and scholarships. You could be removed from on-campus housing, or even face academic probation, suspension, or expulsion from school.
Having a DUI conviction on your record will limit your career options and make traveling to Canada or Mexico nearly impossible. That’s a lifetime of consequences for one night’s mistake.
Fight DUI Charges In Boulder
When you have been charged with a DUI, there’s no time to spare. The first administrative hearing often happens just a few days after the arrest. For the best chance of keeping your license and having your charges reduced or dropped, it’s crucial to speak to a Colorado DUI lawyer right away.
With nearly 20 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer, including as a public defender, Boulder DUI lawyer Janene McCabe has earned her stripes in the courtroom. She will help you fight your DUI charges and stand by your side every step of the way.
At McCabe Law, we’ll comb through every detail of your case to find the facts other attorneys—even the prosecution—might have missed. If the police skipped steps in your arrest, we’ll know. If they made a mistake calibrating or administering an alcohol or drug test, we’ll find out.