DUI penalties in Colorado can be expensive and severe, with those convicted of drunk driving facing an array of potential punishments—from jail time and the loss of their driving privileges to hefty fines, community service, alcohol education courses, and more. While Colorado DUI penalties have been getting increasingly harsh over the years, they are not a foregone conclusion after a drunk driving arrest. If you understand how Colorado DUI laws and cases work, it can be easier to identify better defense options for fighting the charges and positioning cases for better resolutions.

How Are Colorado DUI Penalties Determined?

If a drunk driving case ends in a guilty plea, a plea deal, or a conviction by a jury, a number of factors impact the types and severity of the penalties that the court will impose. Some of these include:

  • The age of the accused: Specifically, whether or not the defendant is a minor can impact the nature of the charges filed. Although Colorado has a Zero Tolerance policy for underage driving and driving, the charges and penalties for underage DUIs tend to be less harsh than those for adults.

  • Whether there are any prior convictions: Previous DUI convictions can mean more serious charges and penalties if someone is accused of drunk driving again in the future. After three DUI convictions, misdemeanor DUI charges can be filed as felonies in Colorado. That can intensify the penalties while potentially impacting gun ownership rights, voting rights, and more.

  • Whether a chemical test refusal is involved: The Express Consent law in Colorado means that drivers on the state’s roads have automatically agreed to submit to breath or blood tests when law enforcement officers request it. By refusing this testing in a DUI stop, drivers can incur additional penalties—above and outside of what they would face for the DUI itself. In fact, even if a driver is not convicted of drunk driving later, (s)he can still be punished for refusing the submit to chemical testing. This penalty is a license suspension, the duration of which will increase for each subsequent refusal.

  • Whether any other aggravating factors were involved: Accidents, injuries, and other criminal charges are just some aggravating factors that could lead to more serious DUI charges and penalties in Colorado. So can DUIs near school zones and/or with children in the vehicle.

Colorado DUI Penalties by Charges & Priors

The table below shows the different penalties for Colorado DUIs, based on the exact type of charges filed.

DUI Offense

Criminal Charges



Other Penalties

Underage DUI or DUI

Class A Traffic Infraction


$15 to $100

3 mo. Driver’s license suspension Up to 24 hrs. of community service

1st DWAI


2 to 180 days in jail

$200 to $500

No driver’s license suspension 24 to 48 hrs. of community service

1st DUI


5 days to 1 year in jail

$600 to $1,000

9 mo. Driver’s license suspension 48 to 96 hrs. of community service

1st DUI with a BAC of 0.15 or higher


5 days to 1 year in jail

$600 to $1,000

A persistent drunk driver (PPD) designation Longer driver’s license suspensions 48 to 96 hrs. of community service

2nd DWAI or DUI


5 days to 1 year in jail

$600 to $1,500

12 mo. Driver’s license suspension 48 to 120 hrs. of community service

3rd DWAI or DUI


10 days to 1 year in jail

$600 to $1,500

24 mo. Driver’s license suspension 48 to 120 hrs. of community service

4th DWAI or DUI


60 days to 1 year in jail

$2,000 to $500,000

24 mo. Driver’s license suspension 48 to 120 hrs. of community service

Here, it’s essential for the accused to understand that DUI penalties can:

  • Include other court-imposed punishments: This can include requiring drivers to have ignition interlock devices (IIDs) on their vehicles, ordering them to submit to random alcohol or drug testing, and/or sentencing motorists to complete alcohol education programs. Drivers are responsible for covering all costs for these penalties, though fee waivers can be available.

  • Go beyond those ordered by the courts: In addition to punishments like those shown above, a DUI conviction can result in higher insurance rates, lost career opportunities, impacts on child custody cases, and lasting damage to reputations and relationships.

With everything that can be on the line, there’s no better step for the accused to take than contacting Parker DUI Lawyer Lori Crystal.

Don’t Face DUI Charges Alone: An Experienced Parker DUI Attorney Is Ready to Help

Contact the Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC when you or a loved one has been arrested for or charged with DUI in Douglas County, CO. Our team of highly experienced, exceptionally skilled professionals is ready to fight zealously for you, protecting your rights and providing you with clear, helpful advice at every step going forward.

Tirelessly dedicated to building strategic defense cases, our DUI lawyers will do everything possible to weaken the prosecutor’s case against you while striving to bring your case to a favorable outcome. We know how to get acquittals, dismissals, and other optimal resolutions, helping our clients put their DUI cases behind them so they can focus on moving on with their lives.

Whether charges have been filed or a case is already moving through the courts, you need an attorney who can stand up to prosecutors and fight to get you the best possible outcome. In Parker and Douglas County, CO, that attorney is Lori Crystal.

Call or email our firm for a confidential, no-obligation consultation.

It’s never too early to contact a lawyer and start your defense. The sooner you reach out to the Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC, the sooner you can get a strong defense team in your corner, working to safeguard your rights and interests while helping you achieve your objectives.

Strategic and well-respected in Parker and throughout Douglas County, we are the partners you can trust what it’s time to protect what matters the most. We have extensive experience in a range of DUI cases, and we have a record of securing favorable resolutions in them. Discover the difference our team can make by contacting the Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC for a consultation today.