First Offense DUI in Colorado


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  • Do you go to jail for first offense DUI?

  • The possibility of jail time for a first-offense DUI in Colorado depends on numerous factors. Jail time is a possibility, but not a requirement. Depending on the circumstances, jail time of up to six months is possible.
  • What happens for your first DUI?

  • Usually, a first offense DUI in Colorado is considered a misdemeanor. Depending on the specifics of your charges, you could possibly face fines, license suspension, community service, and even jail time.
  • Do you need a lawyer for your first DUI?

  • You should always speak with an attorney if you are facing DUI charges in Colorado – even for a first offense. An attorney will be able to review your case from a legal standpoint and advise you on the best way to handle your case.

Denver, Colorado First Offense DUI

Get the help of an experienced trial attorney on your side. As an experienced Denver DUI lawyer and criminal defense attorney, Matt Chaput will help advocate on your behalf and get you the best possible outcome for your case. Need help? Contact us now.

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Matt Chaput, DUI Lawyer

Colorado First Offense DUI Laws

Colorado law prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two.

  • In Colorado, you will be charged with a DUI if you are driving a motor vehicle and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or higher.
  • If your BAC is between .05 and .08, you will be charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI).

Colorado has an implied consent law, which means that drivers are deemed to have given consent to a chemical test if suspected of driving while under the influence. Failure to comply with a chemical test will lead to harsh penalties.

In the state of Colorado, a first-time offender is someone with no prior convictions in the state or the equivalent of prior convictions in other states.

Colorado First Offense DUI Penalties

In the state of Colorado, a first offense DUI is a misdemeanor. A conviction can lead to serious consequences.

A first-time DUI offender in Colorado faces the following penalties:

  • Between five days and one year in jail. Jail time may be waived if the driver agrees to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and completes a treatment program. The offender must also agree to abstain from the use of alcohol for one year from the date of sentencing. However, even a first-time offender will spend at least ten days in jail if his/her BAC is .20% or higher.
  • Fines and fees. A first-time offender will face fines of $600-$1,000, plus surcharges and court fees.
  • 48-96 hour of public service and a $120 fee.
  • Loss of their license for one year if they refuse to take a chemical test and have a BAC of .08% or higher. Offenders can apply for a restricted license after two months.
    Loss of license for nine months. Offenders can apply for a restricted license after one month of the revocation.
  • 12 penalty points and a record of conviction on the offender’s traffic record. The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles will likely impose additional penalties.
  • Ignition interlock device. Colorado requires the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for first-time offenders. The use of an IID is required in order to apply for a restricted license and must be installed in all vehicles registered in the offender’s name for eight months. If you refuse a chemical test and have a BAC of .15% or higher, the IID must be installed for at least two years.

Lookback Period for Colorado DUIs

The state of Colorado does not have a lookback period. This means that all previous DUIs and DWAIs are relevant regardless of where and when they happened.

If an offender had a DUI conviction ten years ago and then got stopped in Colorado for a DUI today, the offense could be your second offense.


A DWAI, driving while ability impaired, is less severe than a DUI. Drivers will be charged with a DWAI if their BAC is between .05 and .08.

Penalties for a DWAI are:

  • 2-180 days in jail. The two-day minimum can be waived if the offender completes a treatment program. The offender must agree to abstain from alcohol use for at least 12 months. A minimum 10-day jail sentence is required if the offender’s BAC is .20% or higher.
  • Fines of $200-$500 plus surcharges and court fees.
  • 24-48 hours of public service and a $120 fee.

Drivers won’t have their licenses revoked if this is their first DWAI conviction.

Reinstatement of Driving Privileges after a First Offense DUI in Colorado

Should I Hire a Denver DUI Lawyer or Criminal Defense Attorney?

Offenders who have had their driving privileges suspended because of a DUI can have their license reinstated nine months after the suspension period.

Drivers may have their driving privileges reinstated earlier than the nine-month period if they complete an alcohol education course, a one-month suspension, and participate in an ignition interlock program for at least eight months.

If the offender chooses or is not able to reinstate early through the interlock program, the following steps will have to be taken for full reinstatement:

  • Complete an alcohol certification form.
  • Provide an SR22 Certificate from the insurance company, and that must be maintained for at least nine months.
  • Complete an application for reinstatement.
  • All applications and certifications must be submitted to the address provided on the application for reinstatement as well as $95.

If a first-time offender refuses a chemical test, the period of revocation will last one year. The driver may be eligible for early reinstatement only after two months of revocation.

Offenders may be required to retake the written, eye, and road exams before having their driving privileges fully reinstated.

A first-time DUI offense in Colorado can have serious, life-changing consequences. If you are facing DUI charges, it is crucial to call a Colorado DUI attorney as soon as possible.




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