Legal Limit for Alcohol in Colorado
In Colorado, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is set at 0.08%. Any driver found with a BAC of 0.08% or higher can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), regardless of any other evidence of impairment.
This limit is strictly enforced to ensure the safety of all road users. However, Colorado laws are unique because you can be charged with a DUI even if your BAC is below 0.08%.
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Driving Under the Influence
Colorado defines driving under the influence as the operation of any motor vehicle by a person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
While this is the general standard, there are a few exceptions in which the Colorado legal limit for alcohol is below 0.08% BAC.
Driving While Ability Impaired
Under Colorado’s driving while ability impaired (DWAI) law, it is also unlawful for a driver to operate a vehicle with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08%. This significantly decreases the alcohol you can legally have in your system while operating a vehicle.
A driver charged with a DWAI may not even appear intoxicated or unable to operate a motor vehicle. However, their BAC may still be over the legal limit.
For DWAI, even if a person seems to be sober and safe, they might be guilty of DWAI. It is a much lower bar for the prosecutor to prove, which is why it is imperative to have sharp defense counsel on your side.
Both DUI and DWAI carry similar penalties. However, the main difference is that a DWAI does not result in an automatic license suspension.
Underage Drinking & Driving
The DUI Colorado limit is much more restrictive for underage drivers. In Colorado, underage drinking and driving (UDD) refer to a driver under 21 with a BAC below 0.05% but above 0.02%.
UDDs are often called “baby DUIs,” and most states have some form of a UDD statute to promote a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking.
Notably, the prosecutor does not need to prove the driver was physically impaired but only that their BAC was above 0.02% to convict someone of this crime.
The DUI limit in Colorado for drivers holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) cannot exceed 0.04% BAC. In addition to facing DUI charges, the Colorado DMV will suspend their CDL for one year, which can increase depending on whether the driver has any prior DUI offenses or was transporting hazardous materials at the time of the traffic stop.
Possible Penalties for Driving with a BAC Over the Limit
Even a first-offense DUI can lead to a minimum of five days but up to one year in jail, significant fines, and a nine-month loss of license.
If you are a repeat offender and face a third or subsequent DUI, you may be sentenced to at least 60 days behind bars and up to two years of driver’s license suspension.
Under certain circumstances, such as if you hold a CDL, these penalties can increase substantially, including facing a permanent revocation of your CDL license.
Colorado DUI Limit Attorneys
At The Ferrell Law Firm, PLLC, our founding partner uses his unique knowledge and experience as a former prosecutor to help those charged with breaking the law, including DUIs.
Don’t let a drunk driving offense ruin your life. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation!