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Pulled over for drunk driving as a Colorado University student?

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in Colorado, you could be facing severe penalties. If you’re a college student, those penalties could affect you for years to come.

In Colorado, as in most states, the legal limit for blood-alcohol is 0.08%. If you test at this level, it is called a “per se” offense of DUI. The penalties for a first offense include:

  • Jail time: 5 days to a year
  • Fine: $600 to $1,000
  • Community service: 48-96 hours
  • License suspension: 9 months
  • 12 DMV points on your license
  • Alcohol education classes may be required ($650)

However, if you are convicted of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher, you could be designated as a persistent drunk driver and sentenced as a repeat DUI offender. For a repeat offense, the penalties climb:

  • Jail time: 10 days to a year
  • Fine: $600 to $1,500
  • Community service: 48-120 hours
  • License suspension: 1 year
  • 12 DMV points on your license
  • Alcohol education classes may be required ($650)
  • Ignition interlock device required at your expense for two years

In addition to the fine and cost of DUI classes, you could see some additional hits to your wallet. You could pay the following costs, on average:

  • Towing and storage of your vehicle: $685
  • Annual car insurance increase: $3,000
  • Driver’s license reinstatement fee: $100

What are DWAI charges?

As you may know, Colorado has another drunk-driving offense: DWAI or driving while ability impaired. You can be charged with this offense even if you do not reach the 0.08% threshold. A trained officer’s observation that your ability to drive is impaired can be sufficient evidence for a conviction. DWAI, however, carries somewhat lower penalties than DUI.

DUI and DWAI are misdemeanors. Should I just plead guilty?

We don’t recommend it. Drunk driving is a serious crime with long-term consequences. Without an attorney, you would be accepting a straight guilty plea to the charges you are facing. With an attorney, you may have the option of pleading guilty to a lesser charge, seeking a reduced sentence, or going to trial to force the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Don’t plead guilty and give up your rights.