If you’re from another state and are visiting Colorado, familiarizing yourself with the laws of our state is very important. This is especially true when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) laws, because the penalties for getting a DUI in Colorado can be quite severe.
By understanding Colorado’s DUI laws and regulations, you can better protect yourself while visiting the Centennial State. In order to help you better understand Colorado DUI laws, this blog post will provide information on what to expect if you get a DUI while visiting here.
What It Means to Get a DUI in Colorado
In our state, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is considered driving under the influence and is illegal. If you’re caught driving with this level of intoxication, you can be arrested and face criminal charges. Additionally, if you have any trace of drugs in your system while driving, or are deemed “impaired” by the officer, it is also considered DUI and can lead to criminal charges.
The penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Colorado vary depending on the circumstances. Generally, however, they include jail time of up to one year, fines of up to $1,000, and the revocation of your license.
Additionally, a first-time DUI offender must also complete a minimum of 48 hours of community service, completion of an alcohol education program approved by the state, and likely ignition interlock device installation.
These penalties are in addition to the possibility of having an “Extreme DUI” charge. This occurs when someone’s BAC is 0.15% or higher, and carries with it an additional jail sentence of up to one year, fines of up to $2,000, as well as a license suspension for at least nine months.
Beyond Criminal Penalties: Even If You’re Not from CO, You Will Face Administrative Consequences
In addition to criminal penalties, there are also administrative consequences that come with a DUI. These include the automatic revocation of your license (regardless of whether you’re from Colorado or another state).
In order to get your license back, you must have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle and complete any court-ordered alcohol education or treatment programs.
Perhaps the most important thing to note: if you are convicted of a DUI in Colorado, the conviction will follow you wherever you go. This means that if you return to your home state, the conviction will still appear on your record and may have an effect on any employment or education opportunities.
A Colorado DUI Charge Is Not the Same Thing As a Conviction
If you are pulled over in Colorado and accused of DUI, it’s important to remember that you can still fight the charges. An experienced attorney may be able to argue for an alternative sentence – or even get your charges reduced or dismissed completely.
If you find yourself facing DUI charges while visiting, seek legal representation as soon as possible. Doing so will give you the best chance at protecting your rights and minimizing any potential penalties. Remember, the consequences can be severe, but with the right help, you may be able to minimize or avoid them altogether.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019-2022” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2022 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020-2022. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.