Understanding DUI/DWAI Laws in Colorado: Everything You Need to Know


Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) are serious offenses in Colorado. It is crucial for residents and visitors alike to understand the DUI/DWAI laws in Colorado to ensure safety on the roads. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to these laws, covering important aspects such as regulations, penalties, and frequently asked questions. By familiarizing yourself with these laws, you can make informed decisions and take necessary precautions to avoid legal consequences. Let’s delve into the DUI/DWAI laws in Colorado. For more information click here.

DUI/DWAI Laws in Colorado: Understanding the Basics

Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. Driving while ability impaired (DWAI) signifies driving a vehicle when your ability to do so is affected to the slightest degree by alcohol, drugs, or a combination.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits

To determine if an individual is driving under the influence or impaired, Colorado law sets specific blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits:

  1. DUI: If your BAC is 0.08% or higher, you are considered to be driving under the influence.
  2. DWAI: If your BAC is between 0.05% and 0.07%, you can be charged with driving while ability impaired.

It is important to note that for individuals under the age of 21, a BAC of 0.02% or higher can lead to DUI charges.

Aggravating Circumstances

Certain aggravating circumstances can lead to enhanced penalties for DUI/DWAI offenses in Colorado. Some examples of aggravating factors include:

  1. Excessively high BAC levels: If your BAC is significantly above the legal limit, the penalties may be increased.
  2. Prior convictions: Previous DUI/DWAI offenses on your record can result in enhanced penalties for subsequent offenses.
  3. Presence of minors: If you are caught driving under the influence with a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle, the penalties can be more severe.
  4. Accidents or injuries: If your DUI/DWAI offense involves an accident or injuries to others, you may face additional charges and harsher penalties.

Colorado DUI & DWAI Laws, Penalties & BAC Charts


  1. Q: What are the potential defenses against DUI/DWAI charges in Colorado? A: There are several possible defenses, such as challenging the accuracy of BAC test results, questioning the legality of the traffic stop, or disputing the field sobriety tests. Consulting with a qualified DUI attorney is crucial for identifying the most suitable defense strategy.
  2. Q: Can I refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test in Colorado? A: Colorado has an implied consent law, which means that by obtaining a driver’s license, you agree to submit to chemical testing if suspected of DUI/DWAI. Refusing a test can result in an automatic license suspension.
  3. Q: Can I still be charged with DUI if I wasn’t actually driving the vehicle? A: In Colorado, you can be charged with DUI if you are in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, even if the vehicle is not in motion. The key factor is your ability to operate the vehicle.
  4. Q: Are there alternatives to jail time for DUI/DWAI offenses? A: Yes, in some cases, the court may allow alternatives to jail, such as community service, alcohol education programs, or probation. However, this depends on the circumstances of the case and the judge’s discretion.
  5. Q: Can I expunge a DUI/DWAI conviction from my record in Colorado? A: No, Colorado does not currently allow for the expungement of DUI or DWAI convictions from your criminal record. These convictions will remain on your record permanently.
  6. Q: Will a DUI/DWAI conviction affect my auto insurance rates? A: Yes, a DUI/DWAI conviction can significantly impact your auto insurance rates. Your insurer may consider you a high-risk driver, resulting in higher premiums or even policy cancellation.


Understanding the DUI/DWAI laws in Colorado is essential for responsible and safe driving. By familiarizing yourself with the regulations, BAC limits, and potential penalties, you can make informed choices and avoid the serious consequences of DUI/DWAI offenses. Remember to always prioritize the safety of yourself and others on the road. If you find yourself facing DUI/DWAI charges, seek the guidance of a skilled attorney to navigate the legal process and protect your rights

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