In 2011, Colorado had 161 drunk driving-related fatalities, making up 36 percent of total traffic deaths that year, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. While the state does not require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, Colorado runs a mandatory and voluntary Ignition Interlock Program that highly incentivizes interlock installation. Colorado is also one of few states without a felony DUI law. Implementing felony DUIs and mandatory interlock installation could help Colorado reduce its high number of high-blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and repeat drunk drivers.
Anyone who operates a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher in Colorado is charged with driving under the influence (DUI). If the drunk driver’s BAC is below 0.08 but higher than 0.05, he or she can still be charged with committing a driving while ability impaired (DWAI) offense with lesser consequences than a DUI offense. The legal limit for drivers under the age of 21 is 0.02.
Consequences for DUI and DWAI in Colorado are given by both the county court (criminal) and the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) (administrative). Criminal consequences include fines, jail time, and community service while administrative consequences include driver’s license suspension or revocation.
- 1st Conviction: $600-$1,000 fine; 5 days to 1 year in jail; 48 to 96 hours community service; 9-month license suspension
- 2nd Conviction: $600-$1,500 fine; 10 days to 1 year in jail; 48 to 120 hours community service; 12-month license suspension
- 3rd & Subsequent Convictions: $600-$1,500 fine; 60 days to 1 year in jail; 48 to 120 hours of community service; 24-month license suspension
Consequences for DUI increase with a BAC of 0.17 or higher or if the drunk driving offender caused the injury or death of another person.
Convicted drunk drivers under the age of 21 must pay a fine of $100 and perform up to 24 community service hours. They will also lose their license for 3 months to 1 year, depending on prior convictions.
Ignition Interlock Laws
DUI offenders with a BAC of 0.17 or higher and all repeat offenders are required to install an ignition interlock device for 2 years once their drivers license suspension period ends. First-time DUI offenders can reduce their license suspension period by volunteering to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for 8 months.