Are Underage DUI Charges Treated Differently in Colorado?

DUI charges colorado

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Although in some situations minors aren’t exposed to the harshest penalties of the law for breaking it, things are different when it comes to underage DUI or Baby DUIs in Colorado. According to Weber Law, the state of Colorado has close to zero tolerance law for teen drinking and driving.

The legal maximum Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in Colorado is 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21. It is illegal for minors to possess, purchase, attempt to buy, or transport alcoholic beverages.

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A teen facing a UDD, DWAI, or DUI conviction has more at stake than an adult sometimes. This is because such charges can limit the teen's college admissions or employment opportunities. Some schools won’t even accept someone with a drinking and driving conviction to join or continue to participate.

UDD Charges and Conviction

A UDD charge (underage drinking and driving) can be filed against Colorado drivers under 21 that have a BAC level between 0.02 and 0.49. If the underage driver has a BAC level measuring 0.05 to 0.08 they can be charged with a DWAI (driving while ability is impaired), and if the underage driver has a BAC of 0.08 or higher they will be charged with DUI, the same as an adult.

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Even a first UDD offense in Colorado is a serious issue for a minor, as they can:

  • Be penalized upon conviction with a $100 fine
  • Have their driver’s license suspended for three months
  • Have four points reduced in their driving record
  • May need to do up to 24 hours of community service

A second UDD offense can result in 90 days in jail, a $300 fine, and 24 hours of community service. Underage drivers, regardless of their first or second offense, may also be ordered to partake in substance abuse treatments or probation. A judge will decide the best course of action based on the particularities of each case.

The parent or host of the convicted underaged driver can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor under Colorado’s Host law. Any underage driver with a BAC level of between 0.02 and 0.05 is committing a class A infraction, but this is only a brief description of the consequences.

What You Should Do if Your Child is Arrested for UDD, DWAI, or DUI in Colorado?

If your child is arrested for a UDD, DWAI, or DUI in Colorado, the first thing you should do is contact an attorney specializing in such cases. Underage DUI charges have severe consequences on your child's future prospects and relationships.

Even if these are serious offenses, you have to remember that children often make mistakes. How you handle the situation at home, and from a legal perspective, will affect your child in the long term.

A UDD lawyer can fight for your child's rights, and contest the allegations. Field sobriety tests, the breathalyzer, and even blood tests can be unreliable and contested in court. A lawyer will know exactly how to prepare your child's case in the hopes of getting the charges dropped or receiving lighter punishments.

It is imperative to talk with your child about the dangers of drinking and driving, offer them support, and this includes counseling or treatment. Our children are our future and we must protect them with guidance.