September 28, 2023
While most people may be able to guess what the definition of a persistent drunk driver is, it is actually a term codified in Colorado law. Because of that, there are specific characteristics that define who is labeled as a persistent drunk driver.
The truth is, being labeled as a persistent drunk driver in Colorado has serious consequences. So it’s vital to know what it is and how a person can be labeled as one. Read on to find out what you need to know.
Persistent Drunk Drivers: What Are They?
Anyone who is labeled as a persistent drunk driver (PDD) in Colorado has these characteristics:
Multiple DUI Convictions
Anyone who has had two or more driving offenses related to alcohol can be labeled as a PDD.
Refusing Blood Alcohol Content Tests
If you refuse to have any chemical or alcohol testing done, such as saliva, blood, breath, or urine tests when you are suspected of driving under the influence, you can be labeled a PDD.
Severely Intoxicated Driving
The legal limit for blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent in Colorado. Anyone with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher within two hours of driving can be labeled a PDD.
Suspended License Driving
Anyone who is caught driving on a suspended license due to DUI can be labeled a PDD.
Penalties Associated with Being a Persistent Drunk Driver
Anyone labeled a PDD in Colorado will have their license taken away until they fulfill certain requirements. These requirements include:
Ignition Interlock Device
A PDD must have an ignition interlock device installed in their car and maintain it for at least two years before their license is fully reinstated. “Reinstatements” means they have driving privileges beyond simply getting to work or school if the court will allow that.
The court requires that PDDs provide them proof of SR-22 insurance coverage, which basically means they have proof of financial responsibility. This must be maintained for a minimum period of two years.
Level II Alcohol Education and Treatment
PDDs are also required to complete treatment and education for alcohol abuse. This level II program involves 24 hours of classes over 12 weeks. It usually occurs in small groups.
If the PDD is addicted to alcohol, they may need to complete Level II therapy, as well. How long they’ll need to participate in therapy depends on the case.
If their blood alcohol content was less than 0.15 percent, then they may only need 42 hours over a five-month period. If they have no prior DUIs but had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher, then they may need to complete 52 hours of therapy over six months or 86 hours over 10 months. Finally, if they refused a chemical test, they will need to complete 86 hours over 10 months.
The penalties associated with being labeled a persistent drunk driver are separate from other penalties associated with a DUI, refusing a chemical test, or driving on a revoked license.
You do have the right to contest being labeled a PDD. You will participate in a Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles administrative hearing, something you must request within seven days of your arrest. An experienced attorney can help you to defend yourself against these allegations using common defenses in DUI cases. Which defense depends on the circumstances surrounding your specific case.
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. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations 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 for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.