DUI / DWAI - Colorado’s DUI laws very are complex. You may be facing criminal charges in the courts, and civil / administrative penalties through the Department of Revenue (DOR / DMV) related to your driving privileges. Criminal and civil penalties are applicable to defendant’s that have a non-Colorado driver’s license or drivers who have never been issued a driver’s license.
It is a non-classified traffic misdemeanor for any person who is under the influence or impaired by alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, to drive any “vehicle” in Colorado. Colorado Revised Statute, 42-4-1301 C.R.S.
“Driving under the influence” means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol (DUI) or one or more drugs (DUID), or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs affects the person to a degree that the person is substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.
“Driving while ability impaired” (DWAI) means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs, affects the person to the slightest degree so that the person is less able than the person ordinarily would have been, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.
“Driving with excessive alcohol content” (DUI Per Se). It is a non-classified traffic misdemeanor to drive any “vehicle” in Colorado when the person’s BAC is 0.08 or more at the time of driving or within two hours after driving. During a trial, if the state’s evidence raises the issue, or if a defendant presents some credible evidence, that the defendant consumed alcohol between the time that the defendant stopped driving and the time that testing occurred, such issue shall be an affirmative defense, and the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the minimum 0.08 blood or breath alcohol content required in this paragraph (a) was reached as a result of alcohol consumed by the defendant before the defendant stopped driving. The defendant is entitled to offer evidence showing a disparity between what the tests show and other facts to infer the tests were inaccurate. Such evidence may include testimony of non-expert witnesses relating to the absence of any or all of the common symptoms or signs of intoxication for the purpose of impeachment of the accuracy of the analysis of the person’s blood or breath.
“Express Consent” (EC) Any person who drives any motor vehicle anywhere in Colorado is deemed to have expressed consent to take and complete, and to cooperate in the taking and completing of a breath or blood test when so requested by a law enforcement officer having probable cause to believe that the person was DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, habitual user, or UDD.
If an adult requests a blood test, then the test shall be a blood test; but, if such person requests blood not be drawn, then a breath test is required. A person under twenty is entitled to request a blood test unless the alleged violation is UDD, in which case a specimen of such person's breath shall be obtained and tested (with exception)
Once a person elects either a blood or breath test, such person cannot change such election. If a person fails to take and complete, and to cooperate in the completing of the test elected, such failure shall be deemed to be a refusal to submit to testing.
If a person is unable to take, or to complete, or to cooperate in the completing of a breath test because of injuries, illness, disease, physical infirmity, or physical incapacity, or if such person is receiving medical treatment at a location at which a certified breath testing instrument is not available, the test shall be of such person's blood.
If a law enforcement officer requests a test under the Per Se law the person must cooperate so that the sample of blood or breath can be obtained within two hours of the person's driving.
Refusal - If a person refuses to take or to complete, or to cooperate with the completing of any test, the refusal is admissible at the trial, and a person may not claim the privilege against self-incrimination with regard to admission of the refusal. A refusal to submit to a hand-held portable breath test (PBT) or the results of the PBT test are not admissible at trial.
If a person refuses to take, or to complete, or to cooperate with the completing of any test the person shall be subject to license revocation.
One or more drugs means all substances defined as a drug in section 12-22-303 (13), C.R.S., and all controlled substances defined in section 12-22-303 (7), C.R.S., and glue-sniffing, aerosol inhalation, and the inhalation of any other toxic vapor or vapors. The fact that a person is or has been entitled to use one or more drugs under Colorado law, including the medical use of marijuana, is not a defense.
Minors – Underage Drunk Driving (UDD). It is a class A traffic infraction for any person under twenty-one years of age to drive any vehicle in Colorado with a BAC is at least 0.02 but not more than 0.05 at the time of driving or within two hours after driving. The court may, in addition to any penalty imposed under a class A traffic infraction, order the defendant to perform up to twenty-four hours of useful public service, and may further order that the defendant submit to and complete an alcohol evaluation or assessment, an alcohol education program, or an alcohol treatment program. A subsequent violation of this paragraph is a class 2 traffic misdemeanor.
No court can accept a plea of guilty to a non-alcohol-related or non-drug-related traffic offense or guilty to the offense of UDD except upon a good faith representation by the prosecutor that the prosecutor could not establish a prima facie case if the defendant were brought to trial on the original alcohol-related or drug-related offense.
During a trial of any person accused of both DUI and DUI per se, the court shall not require the prosecution to elect between the two violations. The court or a jury may consider and convict the person of either DUI or DWAI, or DUI per se, or both DUI and DUI per se, or both DWAI and DUI per se. If the person is convicted of more than one violation, the sentences imposed shall run concurrently.
In any prosecution for DUI or DWAI, the defendant’s BAC at the time of the commission of the alleged offense or within a reasonable time thereafter gives rise to the following presumptions or inferences:
(I) If at such time the defendant’s BAC was 0.05 or less, it shall be presumed that the defendant was not under the influence of alcohol and that the defendant’s ability to operate a vehicle was not impaired by the consumption of alcohol.
(II) If at such time the defendant’s BAC was in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08, such fact gives rise to the permissible inference that the defendant’s ability to operate a vehicle was impaired (DWAI) by the consumption of alcohol, and such fact may also be considered with other competent evidence in determining whether or not the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.
(III) If at such time the defendant’s BAC was 0.08 or more, such fact gives rise to the permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.
Trying to decide which attorney to hire for your DUI case or traffic ticket?
303-522-2220 gary @piroskolaw.com
Return to home page
A partial list of the cities, counties and areas I practice in include, but are not limited to: Adams / Arapahoe / Boulder / Broomfield / Clear Creek / Denver / Douglas / Eagle / El Paso / Elbert / Garfield / Gilpin / Grand / Jefferson / Larimer / Lincoln / Park / Pitkin / Routt / Summit / Weld / Agate / Air Force Academy / Arvada / Ault / Auraria / Aurora / Avon / Bailey / Basalt / Battle Creek / Bennett / Berthoud / Black Hawk / Boulder / Bow Mar / Brighton / Broomfield / Buckley AFB / Buena Vista / Byers / Calhan / Castle Pines / Castle Rock / Centennial / Central City / Chatfield / Cherry Creek / Cherry Hills Village / Colorado School of Mines / Colorado Springs / Colorado State University / Columbine Valley / Commerce City / Como / Conifer / Cottonwood / Dacono / Deer Trail / Denver / DIA / Dillon / Dotsero / Dumont / Eagle / Eaton / Edgewater / Edwards / El Jebel / Elbert / Elizabeth / Empire / Englewood / Erie / Estes Park / Evans / Evergreen / Fairplay / Falcon / Federal Heights / Firestone / Fort Carson / Fort Collins / Fort Lupton / Fountain / Franktown / Fraser / Frederick / Frisco / Garden City / Georgetown / Gilcrest / Glen Eden / Glen Haven / Glendale / Glendevey / Granby / Grand Lake / Greeley / Greenwood Village / Guffey / Gypsum / Hartsel / Hayden / Henderson / Highlands Ranch / Hot Sulphur Springs / Hudson / Hygiene / Idaho Springs / Idledale / Invesco Field / Jefferson / Johnstown / Keenesburg / Ken Caryl / Kersey / Kiowa / Kittredge / Kremmling / La Salle / Lafayette / Lake George / Lakeside / Lakewood / Laporte / Larkspur / Littleton / Livermore / Lochbuie / Lone Tree / Longmont / Louisville / Louviers / Loveland / Lyons / Manitou Springs / Matheson / Mead / Mile High Stadium / Milliken / Milner / Minturn / / Monument / Morrison / Mountain View / National Forrest / National Park / Nederland / Niwot / Northglenn / Oak Creek / Palmer Lake / Parker / Pepsi Center / Peyton / Pinecliffe / Platteville / Poudre Park / Ramah / Red Cliff / Red Feather Lakes / Red Rocks / Reservoir / Rocky Mountain National Park/ Saint Vrain / Security / Sedalia / Severance / Shawnee / Sheridan / Silver Plume / Silverthorne / Simla / State Bridge / State Park / Steamboat Springs / Strasburg / Superior / Tabernash / Tarryall / Thornton / Timnath / University of Colorado / University of Denver / Vail / Ward / Watkins / Wellington / Westminster / Wheat Ridge / Widefield / Windsor / Winter Park / Wolcott / Yampa / Yoder