New Changes to Colorado’s DUI Laws

Colorado’s Legislature has made several new and important changes to the drinking and driving laws as they related to the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) authority to suspend a motorist’s license for a DUI or DWAI.  These new laws go into effect on January 01, 2014.  If a driver is charged with Driving under the Influence (DUI) or Driving while Ability Impaired (DWAI), the new changes to the law may allow a motorist to get their driving privileges reinstated earlier in some case.  The new changes are highlighted below:

1.  New changes for a refusal to cooperate or to take a blood or breath test allow for early reinstatement of driving privileges for a 1st offense refusal.  Prior to January 01, 2014, if a driver is arrested for DUI and refuses to take a breath or a blood test after being advised of Colorado’s Express Consent Law, that driver will lose his or her license for a period of 1 year. The driver will not be allowed to obtain a probationary license and will not get early reinstatement.  Under the new law, a driver can now reinstate their driver’s license with a probationary license and the interlock ignition system after 2 months.  Early reinstatement of driving privileges will require the driver to have an ignition interlock installed in their vehicle for 2 years. 

2.  The new law now lowers the blood alcohol content (BAC) level for a Persistent Drunk Driver (PDD) from 0.170 to 0.150.  Prior to January 01, 2014, a driver who takes a blood or breath test that results in a BAC of 0.170 or greater for a 1st offense is required to have a restricted license with the ignition interlock for a period of 2 years after reinstatement.  On or after January 01, 2014, the Persistent Drunk Driver threshold is now reduced to 0.150 or greater, requiring a restricted license with the ignition interlock for 2 years after reinstatement.

3.  The new law also changes the early reinstatement period for a second or subsequent per se alcohol revocation for a BAC of 0.08 or greater.  Prior to January 01, 2014 a second or subsequent per se revocation for a BAC of 0.08 or greater requires a 1 year license revocation with no driving.  The driver is only eligible for early reinstatement with the ignition interlock after 1 year of no driving.  After January 01, 2014, a driver with a second or subsequent per se revocation may early reinstate with an ignition interlock restricted license after 1 month of no driving.    

4.  After January 01, 2014 a driver may challenge legality of the stop at a DMV license revocation hearing.  Currently, the reason for the stop cannot be challenged at a DMV express consent hearing.  If the arresting officer had no lawful reason to contact the driver, then all the subsequent evidence illegally obtained must be suppressed. 

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