Facing a New Year’s DUI? You’re Not By Yourself

The new year gives people time to start fresh and focus on goals for the next 12 months. However, charges from the last few moments of the previous year can follow you into the new – especially charges for a DUI over the New Year’s holiday.

The state of Colorado is directing its focus toward the enforcement of DUIs. Holiday gatherings and New Year’s Eve celebrations are when people tend to overindulge in alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car. If you got a DUI in the last few days or hours of 2022, then rest assured you are far from alone. It is best to understand DUI charges and how you can beat them.

Here is what you need to know about DUIs in Colorado and how an experienced attorney can help you win your final mistake of the previous year to start the one off on the best foot possible.

DUIs in Colorado

Under the law in Colorado, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances. If you have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher and are using a car, even a non-motorized one like a bike, you are driving under the influence. You can also get a DWAI, driving while ability impaired, charge for operating a vehicle while impaired with a blood alcohol level of between 0.05 and 0.08 percent.

Penalties for DWI in Colorado

There are both criminal and administrative penalties associated with DUIs in Colorado. With each conviction of a DWI or DWAI, you face increased penalties. Here is a breakdown of each offense and the fines associated with it:

First DUI

When someone gets convicted for a first-time DUI, they can face jail time of up to one year. However, they may be able to have their sentence suspended and be placed on probation if they agree to an alcohol evaluation and treatment. Probation can last up to two years, with fines of as much as $1,000. They also may have to complete up to 96 hours of community service.

Administratively, a person can lose their license for even their first DUI for up to nine months.

These penalties are about the same if a person has a DUI with a blood alcohol level of 0.20 percent or higher on their first offense, but they may get sentenced to home detention instead of probation.

Penalties for DWI in Colorado

First DWAI

For those driving while ability impaired for the first time, the sentence can go up to six months in jail and up to two years on probation. They will retain their license the first time, though they may have to pay fines of as much as $500 and complete up to 48 hours of community service.

Second DUI or DWAI

For a second DUI offense in Colorado within five years, you can face up to one year behind bars. Those convicted can also spend up to four years on probation with fines of $1,500 and be required to complete up to 120 community service hours. They can also lose their license for one year.

Third DUI

Anyone convicted of a third DUI faces up to a year behind bars and risks losing their driver’s license for up to two years. Probation can last two to four years, with fines of up to $1,500.


About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Countless legal organizations have recognized Mr. Martinez for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys and is Lead Counsel rated.