DUI License Suspension Rules In Colorado

DUI License Suspension Rules in Colorado: An Overview

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Colorado, with significant legal repercussions, including the suspension of one’s driving privileges. Understanding the rules and regulations surrounding DUI license suspensions in Colorado is crucial for anyone facing such charges.

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Here, we provide an in-depth examination of the DUI license suspension rules in Colorado, detailing the processes, penalties, and legal options available to those charged with DUI in Colorado.

Colorado DUI Laws and Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limits

In Colorado, DUI laws are stringent and aim to deter impaired driving. The state defines DUI as operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. For drivers under 21, the BAC limit is significantly lower at 0.02%. Additionally, Colorado has a separate offense called Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), which applies to drivers with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08%.

Administrative License Suspension

Upon being arrested for a DUI in Colorado, the driver faces an immediate administrative license suspension by the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This administrative action is separate from any criminal charges and is known as Administrative License Revocation (ALR).

Notice of Express Consent

Colorado’s “express consent” law requires that any person who operates a motor vehicle in the state consents to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine if an officer has probable cause to believe they are under the influence. If a driver refuses to submit to testing, they face an automatic license suspension.

Notice of Suspension and Hearing Rights

When a driver is arrested for DUI, they are typically given a Notice of Suspension. This notice informs the driver that their license will be suspended unless they request a hearing within seven days. The driver has the right to contest the suspension at a DMV hearing. If the driver does not request a hearing or loses the hearing, the license suspension will proceed.

Duration of License Suspensions

The length of the license suspension varies based on the specifics of the case, including the driver’s prior record and whether they refused the chemical test.

First Offense

  • DUI with BAC of 0.08% or Higher: The suspension period for a first-time DUI offense is nine months.
  • DWAI: For a first-time DWAI offense, there is no mandatory license suspension, but penalties may still apply.
  • Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing: A refusal results in a one-year suspension.

Second Offense

  • DUI: A second DUI offense carries a one-year license suspension.
  • Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing: A second refusal results in a two-year suspension.

Third or Subsequent Offenses

  • DUI: For a third or subsequent DUI offense, the suspension period is two years.
  • Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing: A third refusal results in a three-year suspension.

Reinstatement of Driving Privileges

After serving the suspension period, drivers must take certain steps to reinstate their driving privileges. These steps may include:

  • Alcohol Education and Treatment Programs: Completing an approved alcohol education or treatment program is often required.
  • Interlock Ignition Device (IID): For certain offenses, particularly multiple offenses or high BAC levels, installing an IID in the vehicle is mandatory. An IID requires the driver to provide a breath sample before the vehicle will start.
  • Reinstatement Fee: Paying a reinstatement fee is necessary to regain the license.
  • SR-22 Insurance: In some cases, obtaining SR-22 insurance, which is a form of high-risk insurance, is required.

Impact of Out-of-State DUIs

Colorado is a member of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC), which means that an out-of-state DUI can affect a Colorado driver’s license. If a Colorado resident receives a DUI in another state, the offense will be reported to Colorado, and similar suspension rules and penalties will apply.

Legal Representation and Defense

Given the complexities of DUI cases and the severe consequences of license suspension, it is highly advisable to seek legal representation. A skilled DUI lawyer can:

  • Challenge the Validity of the Stop and Arrest: Lawyers can examine whether the police had probable cause to stop and arrest the driver.
  • Contest Chemical Test Results: There may be grounds to challenge the accuracy and administration of the chemical tests.
  • Represent at DMV Hearings: An attorney can represent the driver at the DMV hearing to contest the license suspension.
  • Negotiate Plea Deals: In some cases, a lawyer can negotiate a plea deal that may result in reduced penalties or alternative sentencing options.

Get The Best DUI Attorney In Colorado Springs

Understanding the DUI license suspension rules in Colorado is essential for anyone facing DUI charges. The consequences of a DUI are severe, including significant license suspension periods and additional legal and financial penalties.

Given the complexity of these cases and the potential for long-term impact on one’s driving record and personal life, consulting with an aggressive and experienced Colorado Springs DUI attorney is crucial. 

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