Colorado penalizes drivers who have a drunk driving arrest with a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or above, a crime called driving while ability impaired. BAC of 0.08% or higher results in charges of driving under the influence.

For a first offense, DWAI carries less severe charges for a conviction than for a DUI conviction in Colorado.

DWAI with no prior convictions

In Colorado, this conviction carries at least two days and up to 180 days in jail. An offender will also receive a nine-month license suspension, 24 to 48 hours of community service and $200 to $500 in fines. Upon license reinstatement, the person must install an ignition interlock device for at least eight months at his or her own expense.

DUI with no prior convictions

The mandatory minimum jail sentence for a first-time DUI conviction is five days. The person could receive up to one year in jail along with fines of $600 to $1,000 and 48 to 96 hours of community service. This crime carries the same license suspension penalties as a DWAI.

Second-time convictions

All arrests with BAC above 0.05% and a prior conviction within five years result in:

  • $600 to $1,500 in fines
  • 10 days to one year in jail
  • 48 to 120 hours of community service
  • 12-month license suspension
  • Two-to-five IID requirement

For another offense within the same five-year period, the individual will receive open-ended license revocation and at least 60 days in jail. Second and subsequent convictions also result in probation for two years.

Added penalties apply to cases involving bodily injury, reckless driving and breath test refusal. The latter conviction results in a mandatory 12-month license revocation in addition to other penalties, increasing to two years for a second offense and three years for a third offense.

Drivers can receive a DUI charge in Colorado if they are under the influence behind the wheel. They do not need to be moving or even operating the vehicle.