Colorado DUI, DWAI & DUID Laws

DUI Lawyers in Colorado

Colorado DUI, DWAI and DUID Laws

In most cases, you only have 7 days from the date of your arrest for DUI, DWAI or DUID in Colorado to request an administrative hearing for your driver’s license. If you don't, your driver’s license may be automatically suspended. For immediate help, contact a Colorado DUI Attorney today.

What is the difference between DUI and DWAI in Colorado?

A DUI in Colorado is defined as having a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. It is a 12-point driving offense, and, according to Colorado law, the accumulation of 12 points in a 12-month time frame will result in your license being suspended. DWAI is charged when a motorist registers a blood alcohol content between .05% and .0799%. It is an 8-point offense, so your driver's license will only be suspended if you have other driving violations, like speeding or reckless driving, on your current record.

About Your Driver's License

Note that being arrested for drunk driving in Colorado will result in two cases. One is a criminal case that is resolved in the court system. The other is a civil case involving the Department of Motor Vehicles and your driving privileges.

During a DUI arrest the police will confiscate your driver's license at the scene after determining a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. With a DWAI charge, the DMV will determine if your driving point penalties warrant suspension of your license and they will issue a notice to you.

There are a few conditions that can impact the terms and duration of your license suspension, such as whether you refused to take a breath or blood test or have any prior DUI arrests, but the common effect is that once you receive notification of a license suspension you have only 7 days to request a DMV hearing and try to save you driving privileges. If you do not petition DMV within those seven days you will automatically lose your license, and it is extremely difficult to get them to reconsider.

DUI and DWAI Penalties

The consequences of being convicted of driving under the influence in Colorado vary depending on your blood alcohol content, whether you caused an accident with injury and if you have any previous drunk driving convictions. Generally a first time offender can expect to perform community service, attend alcohol education or therapy classes, pay fines and court costs and spend some time in jail. You will also be placed on probation.

Colorado does not allow expungement of records after successful completion of the terms of probation. This means if you are found guilty of drunk driving in Colorado you will have a permanent criminal record. Having experienced legal representation could result in a lesser charge, fewer penalties and possibly even dismissal of the charges.



  • You will be fined anywhere from $300 to $1,500.

Real Costs:

  • The State of Colorado has estimated the real costs to you, including fines, fees, insurance increases, mandated alcohol classes, and estimated attorney fees, to be at least $8,866.00.


  • You could be sentenced to jail from five days to one year. 10 days is common.

License Suspension:

  • Your license will be suspended for one year.

Community Service:

  • You will be required to perform 48 to 96 hours of community service work.

Alcohol Education Classes:

  • You may have to attend alcohol education classes and therapy, based on your BAC and subsequent alcohol evaluation. Average cost: around $525.00. Education is 24 hours over 12 weeks; alcohol therapy can last 21 weeks to 13 months.


  • Assuming your insurance company doesn’t drop you immediately, your insurance costs will increase at least 30%. Buying insurance through a “high-risk” agency will cost substantially more.
  • First-time offenders are often given a deal, such as a suspended sentence conditioned on treatment for substance abuse or attendance at drunk-driving school.

BAC .20 or higher:

  • Conviction if blood alcohol is .20 or greater leads to fines of $500 – $1500, jail time of 90 days- 1 year (10 days mandatory), one year license suspension, and public service of 60 – 120 hours (60 hours are mandatory).

Under 21:

  • If your BAC is .02 or higher, you lose your license for one year, and are subject to criminal penalties similar to adults.

Commercial Driver:

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