What are the penalties for a DUI in Denver?

DUI vs. DWAI Blood Alcohol Content

Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream after you drink. In Colorado, the legal limit for BAC is .08% for those over the age of 21. Anything above that is a DUI, with anything between .05% and .08% generally being a DWAI.


While penalties vary on a case-by-case basis, you can expect penalties along these lines:

For a first time DWAI offense, there is potential for up to 180 days in jail, 8 points towards a license suspension, up to $500 in fines, and up to 48 hours community service.

For a first-time DUI offense you can face license revocation for 9 months, up to $1,000 in fines, a max of 1 year in jail, and as many as 96 hours of community service, as well as costly alcohol education classes.

After first-time offenses, penalties get much harsher. These include the requirement of having an interlock put in your car, significant jail time, costly fines and fees, years of license suspension, and, in some cases, complete loss of license privileges.

What are the DUI laws & penalties for someone under 21 in Colorado?

If a chemical test shows that an under 21 driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02% or higher, then the police can cite the driver for driving under the influence (DUI).

What are the penalties if the driver is under 21?

If it is the driver’s first drunk driving conviction and their BAC is .02 to .05%, the traditional penalty is a 3 month drivers license suspension, along with potential other penalties, fines and community service. If the the BAC is above .05%, there are typically adult consequences including imprisonment, fines, and additional license suspension.

If it is the second underage drunk driving conviction for the driver and their BAC is .02 to .05%, a 6 month license suspension will be implemented, as well potential other penalties, fines and community service. A BAC above .05% will traditionally trigger adult consequences that include imprisonment, fines and additional license suspension.

Other Potential Charges for Underage DUI’s

In addition to the DUI, an underage drinker could also be charged with the following (provided the situation existed):

  • distribution of alcohol to other minors riding in the vehicle
  • minor in possession (MIP)
  • soliciting alcohol
  • child endangerment violations if there were other minors being driven in the car at the time,
  • possession of false identification (if a fake ID was used to purchase the alcohol consumed)
  • moving violations

If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense, contact Denver DUI attorney Michael Sheehan to find out more information about your rights and the steps you need to take to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.