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Written by: Austin Lux
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What Are the Consequences and Penalties for a Second DUI in Colorado?

If you have been arrested for a second DUI in Colorado, you are no doubt wondering, what is the penalty?

In Colorado, second offense DUI penalties are considerably more serious than first offense penalties. Don’t even think about trying to handle a second-offense DUI on your own.

A seasoned DUI defense attorney is an absolute must.

Colorado DUI Law

In Colorado, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while you are intoxicated on any substance, including but not limited to alcohol.

A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more exceeds the legal limit. Colorado imposes a wide variety of penalties for second offense DUI. 

Possible Penalties for a 2nd DUI Offense in Colorado

If you are convicted of a second offense DUI in Colorado, you will be classified as a “persistent drunk driver.” This can result in the following penalties:

  • 10 days to a year in jail, 
  • Four years of probation, 
  • $600 to $1,500 in fines, 
  • 48 to 120 hours of community services, 
  • Mandatory DUI classes, 
  • A one-year driver’s license suspension, 
  • Two years of mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) on your car, 
  • 12 points on your driver’s license,  and
  • Special insurance coverage requirements for at least 2 years.

An experienced DUI attorney, however, can greatly mitigate the consequences of a 2nd DUI in Colorado. With an effective defense, you might walk free.

Otherwise, you might secure a plea bargain down to DWAI (see below) or some other form of mitigation.

Does Colorado Have a “Lookback Period”?

Some states have a “lookback period” that limits how far back the authorities will look when determining if you have a previous DUI. If the state has a 10-year lookback period, for example, you can be charged with a second DUI only if your first DUI occurred in the last 10 years. A DUI that occurred 12 years ago, for example, would not count against you. 

Colorado has no lookback period. That means that Colorado can charge you with a second dui offense no matter how long ago your first DUI occurred. In other words, a DUI from 2021 is a second offense even if your first DUI offense occurred in 1979 and you accumulated no further DUIs in the intervening time.  

It might be possible to convince a court to grant you leniency, or at least a favorable plea bargain, if an exceptionally long period has elapsed since your first DUI.

Previous DUIs from Other States

Strictly speaking, it doesn’t matter which state charged you with your first DUI一the penalty for a second DUI is the same in Colorado. In almost all cases, you will not be able to hide a US DUI from a Colorado prosecutor. This is because the Driver License Compact (DLC) is an agreement among the various US states to share information about driving records. 

Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin are currently not members of the DLC, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t share information with Colorado. It does mean, however, that the process is likely to be more complex and the chances are greater that Colorado will not discover a previous DUI that occurred in one of these states. It is possible that any of these states might join the DLC in the future.

It is definitely not a good idea to lie under oath about your previous driving record. This advice applies even if your first DUI comes from a state that is not a member of the DLC. Consult with an experienced Colorado DUI defense attorney about how to handle an out-of-state prior DUI.


Colorado can charge you with DWAI, a lesser charge, if your BAC is between 0.05% and 0.08% but your driving suggests that you are nevertheless intoxicated. The penalties for DWAI are 2 to 180 days in jail, $200 to $500 in fines, 24 to 48 hours of community service, and 8 points off your driver’s license. There is no license suspension for a first offense.

Drugged Driving

Driving while intoxicated with drugs—even a legal prescription drug—is DUI in Colorado. For example, driving with over 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood is illegal in Colorado. There is no universal formal standard of intoxication (such as the BAC for alcohol intoxication) that applies to driving while “high” on other drugs.   

Third and Fourth Offense DUI

A 3rd offense DUI in Colorado results in penalties that are more serious than second offense penalties. This includes a minimum 60 day jail sentence upon conviction. A fourth offense is a felony that can result in two to six years in prison. Don’t forget—a fourth offense means a Colorado DUI plus three prior offenses anywhere in the US at any time in your driving history.  

Contact the Lux Law Firm to Start Fighting Back Today

The Colorado criminal justice system is merciless and brutally competitive. You are going to need experienced and aggressive representation to fight off a second DUI. We have successfully defended many criminal defendants in exactly your position. Contact the Lux Law Firm at 719-249-6290 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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