Does Colorado Have Zero Tolerance DUI Laws?

Zero Tolerance DUI Laws In Colorado

Colorado enforces zero-tolerance laws concerning DUI (driving under the influence) for underage drivers. These laws are part of a broader approach to discourage drinking and driving, particularly among those under the legal drinking age of 21.

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Overview of Zero-Tolerance DUI Laws in Colorado

These DUI laws are designed to eliminate any leniency in the legal allowable blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels for drivers who are not of legal drinking age. In Colorado, this law significantly lowers the BAC threshold for underage drivers compared to the standard limit for drivers aged 21 and over.

Legal BAC Limits Under Zero-Tolerance DUI Laws

Standard DUI Limit for Adults: The legal limit for most drivers in Colorado is a BAC of 0.08%.
Underage Zero-Tolerance Limit: For drivers under the age of 21, the BAC limit is set at 0.02%. This limit is effectively a zero-tolerance policy, as consuming even one drink can easily bring a young person’s BAC to 0.02% or higher.

Penalties for Violating Zero-Tolerance DUI Laws

The consequences for underage drivers found to have a BAC of 0.02% or higher, but less than 0.05%, typically involve:

  • License Suspension: The first offense usually results in a three-month license suspension. Subsequent offenses lead to longer suspensions.
  • Fines and Fees: Although monetary penalties for a zero-tolerance offense might be less severe than those for standard DUI charges, they can still be substantial.
  • Community Service and Education Programs: Offenders may be required to participate in community service or complete alcohol education and assessment programs.

If an underage driver’s BAC is 0.05% or higher, the legal consequences become more severe, potentially escalating to those typical of a DUI or DWAI (driving while ability impaired) charge, which carry harsher penalties and long-term implications.

Enforcement and Legal Process

The enforcement of zero-tolerance laws typically involves roadside sobriety tests. If an officer suspects that an underage driver has consumed alcohol, they may conduct a breathalyzer test. If the test indicates a BAC of 0.02% or higher, the driver can be arrested or cited for violating the zero-tolerance law.

Purpose and Effectiveness Of Zero-Tolerance DUI Laws

The rationale behind zero-tolerance laws is based on data suggesting that younger drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in alcohol-related accidents compared to older drivers, even at lower levels of alcohol consumption. By implementing stringent BAC limits for underage drivers, Colorado aims to:

  • Reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents involving underage drivers.
  • Encourage safer driving habits among young people.
  • Signal a strong societal disapproval of underage drinking and driving.

Zero-Tolerance DUI Laws – For Safety

Colorado’s zero-tolerance DUI laws reflect a commitment to maintaining road safety and reducing the incidence of underage drinking and driving. These laws are strict by design, intending to deter any alcohol consumption among underage drivers.

Understanding these regulations can help young drivers recognize the serious legal consequences and potentially life-altering impacts of drinking and driving, reinforcing the importance of adhering to the law and making responsible choices.


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