Driver’s license suspensions and revocations are often penalties that come with DUIs. While many drivers face the possibility of losing their licenses after a DUI arrest, it’s possible for license suspensions to take effect before a DUI case goes to court and regardless of whether the accused is acquitted.

When it comes to driver’s license suspensions and revocations for Colorado DUIs, understanding the laws is critical. It can help people navigate the way towards reinstating their license and putting their DUI case behind them. It may even be the key to taking the right actions to avoid DUI license suspensions.

With that in mind, here is an essential guide to Colorado DUI license suspensions. Get answers about how long driving privileges are lost after a DUI, how driving privileges can be restored, and more.

When Can Drivers Face a License Suspension for a DUI?

Drivers in Colorado can have their licenses suspended for an alleged drunk driving offense if:

  • They refuse to submit to chemical testing: Drivers in Colorado are obligated by the “express consent” law to submit to chemical testing when police suspect DUI and request a breath or blood test. Refusing a breathalyzer or blood test can be a violation of this, which comes with an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension. This penalty will exist no matter what happens with DUI charges and/or a future DUI criminal case.

  • They are arrested for a DUI: To avoid an automatic driver’s suspension from going into effect, drivers must request a DMV hearing within seven days of their arrest. This will be their opportunity to show why they deserve to keep their driving privileges. If they win, they can retain their licenses until the DUI criminal case is resolved. If they lose, they can be subject to a driver’s license suspension, the term of which is based on the nature of the offense and whether there are any priors.

  • They are convicted of a DUI: Drivers convicted of a DUI offense in Colorado will face a license suspension that can range from 9 months to two years or more.

How Long DUI License Suspensions Can Last

The duration of a driver’s license suspension for a DUI in Colorado, along with the points added to a driver’s record, will be as shown in the following table.

DUI Offense

License Suspension or Revocation Term

DMV License Points

Underage driving & driving (UDD)

3 months


1st Chemical Test Refusal (CTR)

12 months


1st DWAI

*Possibly no suspension


1st DUI

9 months


2nd Chemical Test Refusal (CTR)

24 months


2nd DWAI or DUI

*Possibly no suspension


3rd Chemical Test Refusal (CTR)

36 months


3rd DWAI or DUI

*Possibly no suspension


Here, it’s important to understand that:

  • Additional traffic infractions during a DUI could lead to more points being added: For example, a driver who was pulled over for speeding, running a red light, or making an illegal lane change could have points for those traffic infractions added to his or her record, along with the points for the DUI offense.

  • The penalties increase with more priors: The idea, in the eyes of the law and the court, is that people who have gone through the system once and completed their penalties should know the law, what can happen when you violate it, and how to avoid doing that. That’s why harsher penalties are usually on the table with subsequent DUIs or chemical test refusals.

How to Reinstate a Colorado Driver’s License After a DUI Suspension

Depending on the offense and a driver’s record, it may be possible to get a probationary, provisional, or conditional driver’s license before the term of a suspension or revocation is up. Also referred to as “red licenses,” probationary licenses can be used to drive to and from work, home, school, and other essential locations within Colorado. Probationary driver’s licenses (PDLs):

  • Can come with an ignition interlock device (IID) requirement: An IID may be a condition of issuing the license. If it is, drivers will have to pay for the costs of installing the device and maintaining it every 60 days. They will also have to be careful to avoid submitting any breath samples with alcohol, particularly 3 within any 12-month period. That could result in jail time, a DUI probation violation, and more problems.

  • Are not valid out of state: PDLs can only be used to drive to locations within Colorado. Motorists with Colorado PDLs who are found driving outside of the state could face charges of driving on a suspended license.

  • Come with a Zero Tolerance policy: Drivers cannot get behind the wheel after having alcohol or drug, and they can be prohibited from getting so much as another traffic ticket.

  • May not be available to everyone: There is no guarantee that drivers will be able to get a PDL. Those who have had PDLs in the past are less likely to be eligible than those who have not. The reason is that a prior PDL can mean prior DUIs, which may make someone ineligible for a provisional license for a subsequent DUI (depending on the circumstances of the case).

License Suspensions vs. DUI Criminal Cases: What You Need to Know

The driver’s license suspensions that can come before or after a criminal DUI case can be frustrating—especially for those who are trying to keep work, get a new job, or just move on from a drunk driving case. As difficult as DUI license suspension may be, that may only be one costly penalty that drivers face when they have been accused or convicted of a DUI.

With the possibility of other penalties on the line, a Douglas County DUI lawyer can be the advocate you need when it’s time to fight drunk driving charges and seek the best possible outcome. The truth is that after a DUI arrest in Colorado:

  • You need to deal with TWO DUI cases: This includes the DMV administrative case and the DUI criminal case. The DMV case focuses on driving privileges and whether you should be able to keep them in light of the DUI arrest. The criminal case looks at whether you committed the offense in question, based on the evidence and testimony available. These cases work separately from each other. The outcome of one does not impact the outcome of the other.

  • An experienced DUI lawyer can help you with BOTH cases: An attorney can help you with the two DUI cases you face after a Colorado DUI arrest. From managing crucial deadlines to compiling evidence for your defense and presenting your case in any necessary proceeding, the right lawyer can be key to getting through both DUI cases as favorably as possible.

Find Out How an Experienced Parker DUI Attorney Can Help You

If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, now is the time to contact the Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC. Our experienced Douglas County DUI lawyer and her exceptional team know how to build strong defense cases and get acquittals, dismissals, reduced charges, alternative sentences, and other ideal resolutions.

The reality is that you may only have one chance to defend yourself, protect your interests, and fight for your reputation and good name. Make sure you put up the best fight when it matters most. Make sure you have a 5-star Parker DUI lawyer from the Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC on your side, advocating your rights and defending you every step of the way.

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 faster we can start working on your defense, whether you are in jail, you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, or your DUI case is especially complex. Strategic and well-respected in Parker and throughout Douglas County, we are the partners you can rely on for excellence, a fierce defense, and optimal chances of bringing your case to a favorable resolution.