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Colorado Drunk Driving and Ignition Interlock Laws

Colorado Springs Defense Attorney Timothy Bussey Explains DUI Laws

Like in other U.S. states, Colorado has laws that prohibit motorists from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) or driving while one's ability is impaired by alcohol or drugs (DWAI). Both charges usually rely on measurements of the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In Colorado, the law presumes that a driver is DWAI if their BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08, and that the driver is DUI if their BAC is 0.08 and above. If the driver's BAC is above 0.17, they may be classified as a "persistent drunk driver" under Colorado law.

E-mail us or call us at (719) 475-2555 to schedule a free initial consultation with a DUI lawyer in Colorado Springs about drunk driving laws.

Colorado drivers face both criminal and administrative penalties if they are convicted of DUI or DWAI. Criminal penalties include mandatory jail time, fines, and public service, as follows:

  • First DWAI Conviction: Two - 180 days in jail, $200 - $500 in fines, and 24 - 48 hours of community service.
  • First DUI Conviction: Five - 365 days in jail, $600 - $1000 in fines, and 48 - 96 hours of community service.
  • DWAI or DUI following a previous DWAI or DUI: Ten - 365 days in jail, $600 - $1500 in fines, and 48 - 120 hours of community service.
  • DWAI or DUI following two or more previous DWAI or DUI: Sixty - 365 days in jail, $600 - $1500 in fines, 48 - 120 hours of community service.

Criminal penalties can only be imposed by a court after a plea of guilty or no contest, or after a criminal trial in which the driver is found guilty. However, administrative penalties can be imposed by the Colorado Bureau of Motor Vehicles after an arrest or charge of DWAI or DUI. Administrative penalties include suspension of a driver's license for a period lasting from nine months to two years, plus four to 12 points placed on the driver's license, depending on the type of arrest, the driver's BAC, and the driver's prior history of DWAI or DUI arrests or convictions.

Drivers convicted of DWAI or DUI in Colorado may also have to pay court costs, additional fines to support persistent drunk driver intervention programs, fees to reinstate their driver's licenses after a suspension, costs of installing an ignition interlock device on their vehicles, and other fees, costs, or penalties. Needless to say, the costs of a DWAI or DUI conviction can add up quickly.

Colorado also has a "presumed consent" law, which means that anyone who accepts a Colorado driver's license is presumed to have consented to a BAC test. BAC tests may be performed on breath, blood, or urine samples. A Colorado driver who refuses to take a BAC test when required to do so by a police officer may face administrative penalties like the suspension of their driver's license. The fact that the driver refused to take a BAC test may also be used against them in court.

Ignition Interlock Law in Colorado


When you are caught operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher for the first time, you face a 9 month revocation period.

  • You must finish all of the conditions of reinstatement regarding your case in order to get rid of the revocation.
  • Because everything is done by mail alone, it is highly advised that you initiate the reinstatement process no less than a month before you plan to reinstate.
  • If you were of drinking age when you committed the violation and possess no prior unfulfilled conditions concerning your license, you may opt for a month of revocation, only on the condition that you have an Ignition Interlock Device (Interlock) installed in all the vehicles you operate.


Fulfill the following conditions.

  1. Retain an SR22 insurance policy for 9 months (3 years if your drunk driving arrest involved an accident);
  2. Fill out Form DR2598 (Alcohol Certification);
  3. Fill out Form DR2870 (Application for Reinstatement);
  4. Send by mail the forms along with the SR22 along with $95 (check or money order) to the relevant address.

Early Reinstatement

In order to get your revocation period reduced to 1 month, you must complete the above 4 steps, retain an SR22 insurance policy for at least 3 years, and fulfill the following conditions.

  1. Install an Interlock in every vehicle you drive or own;
    • Include a notarized copy of Form DR2058 (Restricted License Ignition Interlock Agreement Affidavit), and
    • Include signed copies of all interlock lease agreements and installation certificates.

High BAC Offender

If you recorded a BAC of 0.17 or more, then you must complete the following in addition to all of the above.

  1. Take Level II Alcohol Education and Therapy;
    • Include Form DR2643 as proof of enrollment (this replaces Alcohol Certification)
  2. Retain an Interlock restricted license for a minimum of 2 years.

Authorized Ignition Interlock Device Companies in Colorado

  • Draeger - (800) 332-6858
  • Guardian - (800) 499-0994
  • National - (800) 475-5490
  • Smart Start - (800) 880-3394

While You Still Have an Interlock Installed

  • Your restrictive Interlock period may be prolonged if you attempt to start the car with any level of BAC on 3 or more occasions.
  • You may lose driving privileges for a minimum of 1 year if you operate a motor vehicle without an Interlock installed or tamper with the Interlock in any way.

Visit the Colorado Department of Revenue, DMV website to learn more about the reinstatement process and attain forms.

Contact a Lawyer at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. Today

Drunk driving charges of any kind are serious, and the penalties are severe. A driver may face administrative license suspension merely for being charged with a DWAI or DUI, and may face jail time, fines, and other penalties if convicted. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, please don't hesitate to contact the experienced Colorado Springs Felony DUI attorneys at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. Attorney Timothy Bussey is a former El Paso and Teller County District Attorney who uses his courtroom experience to build an aggressive defense and fights for the best possible outcome in each case he handles. To see if our experience and resources are right for you, call (719) 475-2555 for a free and confidential consultation.

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