June 16, 2019

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Colorado Alcohol Laws

Colorado has strict alcohol-related laws relating to the purchase, sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks.

DUI in Colorado

In Colorado, driving under the influence (DUI)  and driving while ability impaired (DWAI) are typically misdemeanors that don’t always result in fines or jail time. But if the punishment is a suspended license or jail time, your life will be greatly impacted. You may lose your job, your reputation and your freedom.

In Colorado, you have only seven days from the time of your arrest to request a Colorado DMV hearing, so if you’ve been arrested for DUI, you should contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney right away. Driving under the influence of drugs (marijuana, for instance) is also a crime in Colorado. Misdemeanor offenses may result in:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Revocation of your driver’s license
  • Community service hours
  • Points on your Colorado DMV record (12 for DUI, 8 for DWAI)

Felony DUI and DWAI convictions may result in:

  • A fine of $2,000 to $500,000
  • Two to six years in prison
  • Three years mandatory parole

Underage Drinking and Driving

Colorado has very strict laws against underage drinking or driving (UDD).  According to Colorado law, it is illegal for drivers under age 21 to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .02% and .05%, and like many states, this is referred to a “zero tolerance law” for underage drivers.

Assault with a Vehicle

Vehicular assault that results from reckless driving is a class 5 felony in Colorado and consequences of reckless vehicular assault may include:

  • 1-3 years in prison (with mandatory 2-year parole)
  • A fine of $1,000-$100,000

Vehicular assault caused by DUI is more serious; it’s a class 4 felony with consequences that may include:

  • 2-6 years in prison (with mandatory 3-year parole)
  • A fine of $2,000-$500,000

Colorado Dram Shop Law

Colorado’s dram shop law states that businesses licensed to sell alcohol “may be held liable if they sell or give alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or to a minor under age 21, who then causes injury to someone else.”

In 2011, the Colorado Supreme Court held that the vendor (business owner) is liable when it sells or gives alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or to a minor, “even if the injury that person then causes is not a foreseeable consequence” of being drunk.

Social Host Liability

Under Colorado law, a host of a social event (a party at a home) may not be held liable for injuries caused by an adult who is 21 (or older) even if the guest is obviously intoxicated. However, a host may be held liable for injuries caused by a minor if said host served alcohol to that minor or provided a place for the minor to drink alcohol (i.e. their home).

If you are facing alcohol-related charges in Colorado, please contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney today.

About Lynn Fugaro

Lynn has been writing web content since 2007 after a lengthy career as a middle school English teacher and administrator. Writing web content seemed a natural progression following a career teaching adolescents about the beauty and the power of the written word, and she quickly got hooked on the challenge of writing SEO- and reader-friendly content that could be found on Page 1 of Google and other search engines.

Having written content for physicians and attorneys for the first few years of her writing career, Lynn has most recently produced original, informative, entertaining, and relevant content for the entertainment industry, the automotive industry, senior communities, pet rescues and numerous other businesses hoping to increase website traffic and page views for all clients looking for informative, vibrant content.