Colorado DUI Laws 2023 – Everything You Should Know

Colorado DUI Laws 2022 featured image


It is one of the most dangerous forms of driving. 

And yet people still do it today. 

It’s no wonder, then, that Colorado issues strict DUI laws this 2023. 

It is your responsibility to know and obey these laws. 

So, to help you out, we’re going to tell you everything you should know about the Colorado DUI laws. We’ll look at:

  • Blood Alcohol Concentration
  • The Colorado DUI Laws
  • The difference between DUI and DWAI
  • The penalties for breaking these laws
  • And more

Let’s begin! 

What is Blood Alcohol Concentration?

If you are suspected of DUI, your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) will be checked. 

To put it simply, BAC is the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream. 

Now, if you are arrested for DUI, you HAVE to consent to a chemical test, usually in the form of a breathalyzer. 

If you refuse, then it will be used against you. Plus, refusing to take a chemical test will bring with it its own penalties. 

These tests will show how much your BAC is. And you will be charged with DUI depending on your BAC level. 

DUI Laws in Colorado

What BAC level is considered drunk driving in Colorado?

  • If you are over 21 years old and your BAC level is 0.08%
  • If you are under 21 years old and your BAC level is 0.02%
  • If you hold a CDL and your BAC level is 0.04%

That said, you can still be charged with DUI even if your BAC level does not reach these levels. We’ll see more about this below. 

On top of that, Colorado also makes it very clear that:

  1. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is prohibited.
  2. You are not allowed to have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle
  3. If you are suspected of DUI, you are required to take the tests to determine your BAC. 

If you do not comply with these laws, then you will face harsh penalties.

DUI and DWAI – What’s the Difference?

DUI stands for driving under influence, while DWAI means driving while ability impaired. 

But what is the difference between the two?

It’s important to know this since both come with different penalties. 

In Colorado, DWAI is generally a less serious charge than DUI. 


You get a DWAI charge if your BAC level reaches 0.05% to 0.08%. This means that you are not fully intoxicated but still not in the best driving condition. 

On the other hand, DUI’s BAC level is 0.08% or greater, which means you are already intoxicated. In turn, this could lead to more dangers and accidents. 

Colorado DUI Penalties

As we said, breaking DUI laws is going to inflict harsh penalties. It’s not a surprise, since DUI is a serious issue. 

Here is a table showing the penalties for drivers 21 years and older:

ConvictionPresumed BACFineJailPublic Service
1st Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)0.05%$200 – $5002 – 180 days24 – 48 hours
1st Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

$600 – $1,000

5 – 365 days

48 – 96 hours
2nd DWAI or DUI0.08%$600 – $1,50010 – 365 days48 – 120 hours
3rd or subsequent DWAI or DUI

$600 – $1,500

60 – 365 days

48 – 120 hours

What if you’re younger than 21 years old? 

What are the penalties for you?

For those convicted of DUI or DWAI, their driving privilege will be revoked if they do not accomplish the court’s evaluation or program. 

If they get caught for the 2nd or 3rd time, they will automatically receive mandatory license revocation.

And, since Colorado law does not allow pleas with regards to driving offenses, you will have to pay the required fines and serve jail time and community service. 

Are Drugs Considered a DUI in Colorado?

Yes. Don’t forget that these convictions and penalties are also applicable for other illegal and harmful substances such as cannabis and other drugs.

And of course, individuals who take alcohol and drugs at the same time (which is highly dangerous) will also be subject to the same procedures.

Some states consider Cannabis legal because of its medicinal properties. Why will I receive a violation if I have this?

Well, in Colorado, it is illegal to possess and intake Cannabis. And since you’re in Colorado, the state’s enforcement will recognize only Colorado’s laws. 

Also, illegal or not, cannabis is known and tested to slow down your reaction times, distort perceptions, and impair coordination. 

All of these will affect your consciousness and ability to react and make decisions. And since that is what you need for driving, taking cannabis can be considered DUI. 

What is the Expressed Consent Law in Colorado?

When you own and operate a vehicle in Colorado, you have already agreed to the ‘Expressed Consent Law’. This states that you MUST take the chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine when suspected of DUI. 

So, if the law enforcer suspects you are driving while ability impaired or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he has the right to take these chemical tests.

Should you not comply with the testing procedure, your driver’s license will be revoked for 1 year. 

These tests will determine your conviction and penalties in the end.

How Many Points are DUI in Colorado?

How does DUI affect your Colorado driving record? 

Here are the points that will be added:

ConvictionDemerit Points
Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)8
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)12

You should know that the Colorado Point System suspends your driver’s license if you accumulate too many points. 

Let’s take a look:

  • 12 or more points accumulated in 12 months – 6 months to a year license suspension
  • 18 or more points accumulated in 24 months – 6 months to a year license suspension

So one conviction of DUI will already have your license suspended for 6 months to 1 year. 

This is on top of the other DUI penalties you will have to face. 

How to Contest DUI Convictions in Colorado

Thankfully, in Colorado, you can challenge the convictions within 7 days of the incident. If you win both the DUI administrative case and the criminal case, then you can get your driving privileges and license back.

However, if you were caught driving while your license was suspended from a previous DUI case, then you have to render the following consequences:

  • 10 days to 1 year in jail
  • $150 to $1,000 in fines
  • 1-year license revocation


So that was everything you should know about the Colorado DUI laws. 

DUI is a serious matter. 

And the State of Colorado does not take its DUI cases lightly, which is why you can’t bail out of these convictions and charges.

If you want to avoid these harsh penalties…

…and more importantly, if you want to avoid risking your or someone else’s life…


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