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A summary of DUI laws in Colorado

Among those states with strict laws regarding drug and alcohol use, you might not expect Colorado to be near the top. The state has won a reputation for allowing its citizens to enjoy its recreational substances within limits, despite prohibitions by federal laws. However, if you go beyond those limits, the penalties can be quite harsh.

Like most other states, Colorado's laws pertaining to drinking and driving exist to protect drivers from tragic accidents. However, if you face DUI charges, you want to be vigilant that they do not come at the price of your rights because a conviction can affect you in many negative ways for years to come.

Your blood alcohol content and your future

If you drive in Colorado, it means you give consent to police, with probable cause, to administer a blood alcohol test to determine if you are legally impaired. You may not refuse this test unless you are prepared to accept the consequences, which may include the immediate revocation of your driver's license.

The legal limit for alcohol in your system is .08 percent. Like in many states, Colorado's laws consider a .08 BAC a per se limit. This means if police administer a breath or blood test on you and the results are .08 or higher, they do not need to present any further evidence of your impairment to prove you are intoxicated. A .08 BAC is a critical piece of evidence against you, and a skillful attorney will make it a priority to challenge the results of any BAC test.

Some of the potential penalties you face if convicted of DUI include:

  • License revocation for nine months or longer, even for a first offense
  • Alcohol assessment and treatment
  • DUI education
  • Potential jail time
  • Ignition interlock

If your BAC registers .17, which is nearly twice the legal limit, you may face charges of Aggravated DUI. This higher BAC could lead to more serious penalties if a court convicts you. Additionally, Colorado has followed other states that have instituted a zero tolerance law if you are under the age of 21 when police arrest you for DUI. This means if your BAC is as low as .02, which is about the equivalent of drinking a single beer, you could face arrest for underage DUI.

As you can see, as much as Colorado has a reputation for its liberal stand on some issues, the laws are clear when it comes to drinking and driving. Facing such charges is not something you should do without legal advice.

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