Colorado maintains one of the lowest legal blood alcohol limits in the nation for drinking and driving. The state charges motorists with driving while ability impaired with a measured BAC of at least .05%. Driving under the influence charges take effect at BAC of .08%.

Learn more about the state’s criminal penalties for DWAI and DUI convictions.

First-time DWAI or DUI

If you have no prior alcohol-related convictions, both types of charges carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence in Colorado: two to 180 days for a DWAI, and five to 365 days for a DUI. Fines range from $200 to $500 for DWAI and $600 to $1,000 for DUI. A DWAI carries 24 to 48 hours of court-ordered community service, compared to 48 to 96 hours for a first-time DUI conviction. Regardless of your BAC at the time of arrest, these charges result in a suspended license for nine months, after which you must outfit your vehicle with an ignition interlock device for eight months at your own expense.

Subsequent drinking and driving offenses

Colorado imposes increased penalties for additional DWAI or DUI convictions within the same five-year period. These may include:

  • Mandatory minimum of 10 days to one year in jail (60-day mandatory minimum for a third offense)
  • Community service of 48 to 120 hours
  • One-year license suspension and required IID for two to five years

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could receive decreased or increased penalties. For example, if you injure or kill another person in a crash while driving drunk, you will face extended jail time and may also be subject to a civil personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Colorado has an implied consent law. If you drive in the state, you give your implied consent for a sobriety test if an officer pulls you over. Refusal to take a breath or blood test results in a mandatory one-year license suspension along with any penalties for a DUI conviction.