Underage drinking and driving

Denver Underage drinking & driving Defense Attorney

Underage drinking and driving is a serious offense in Colorado. Failure to take such charges seriously can result in loss of scholarships or internships, inability to qualify for certain jobs or career fields, and enhanced penalties for repeat offenses.

As a veteran drunk driving defense attorney in Denver, James Colgan has spent nearly three decades prosecuting and defending those accused of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with ability impaired (DWAI).

Conviction of DWAI or DUI will cost, on average, more than $10,000, including court costs, fines, fees, drug or alcohol counseling and drastically increased insurance premiums. Many career fields will be closed to those with a drunk driving conviction on their record, particularly those that involve driving, or routine travel, as well as those involving law enforcement.

UDD DWAI and DUI Defense in Denver

Many students do not understand they can face charges with virtually any amount of detectable alcohol in their system, beginning at just .02 blood-alcohol content.

Colorado’s UDD laws reflect the state’s “zero tolerance” policy aimed at underage drinking. Sometimes called a baby DUI, underage drunk driving is a Class A driving infraction for those under the age of 21 whose blood-alcohol content tests at least .02 but less than .05. It is punishable by a 3-month license revocation, 24 hours of public service, $100 in fines and alcohol/drug classes.

Those who test higher will face the same consequences as adults.

  • Blood-alcohol content of .05-.0799 is considered driving with impaired ability (DWAI).
  • Blood-alcohol content of .08 is the legal threshold for driving under the influence (DUI).
  • Blood-alcohol content of .15 or higher is considered persistent drunk driving and comes with enhanced fines and other penalties.

Previous convictions will increase the penalties in the event you are arrested in the future. While nobody plans to be arrested the first time, veteran Denver drunk driving defense lawyers know a conviction on your record makes it much more likely you will face additional traffic stops for years to come.

OffenseClassIncarcerationFinePublic Service
DWAIMisdemeanor2-180 daysUp to $50024-48 hours
DUIMisdemeanor5 days - 1 yrUp to $100048-96 hours
DWAI/DUI 2ndMisdemeanor10 days - 1 yrUp to $150048-120 hours
DWAI/DUI 3rdMisdemeanor60 days - 1 yrUp to 150048-120 hours
DWAI/DUI 4thFelony2-6 years (3yrs parole)48-120 hours

Marijuana DUI Defense

The legalized status of marijuana in Colorado has led to increasing attempts to penalize motorists for driving under the influence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana smokeables and other consumable marijuana products.

If a defendant's blood contains 5 nanograms or more of delta-9 THC (the active substance in some marijuana) per milliliter in whole blood, there is a permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence.

This arbitrary limit is problematic for many reasons. Chronic users may have higher base blood levels and different people metabolize marijuana at different rates, although even for fast metabolizers and casual users the drug usually remains in the system for a week or longer. Additionally, the strength of marijuana and whether it was smoked or ingested will also impact results, as will the presence of THC-8 or THC-10 or other THC derivatives.

Failure to comply with a request for blood, urine or other testing may be used against you but is typically a better option than providing the state with a failed test to use against you in court. While it may not stop an administrative penalty (license suspension) it can prevent a criminal conviction in some cases. The law presumes that every driver has consented to take a blood, breath, saliva, or urine test when requested to do so by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that the person is DUI or DWAI. Refusal to take the test is both admissible in court and a basis for revocation of a driver's license.

DUI Defense for College Students in Denver

In Denver and surrounding towns, revenue from municipal court DUI convictions is a primary funder of the criminal justice system. Targeted enforcement against college students often occurs in the areas around local campuses and the bars, clubs and restaurants that serve them. This includes the Community College of Denver, Colorado Heights University, Colorado Christian University, Iliff School of Theology, Johnson & Wales University- Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Regis University, Red Rock Community College, Rocky Mountain, College of Art and Design, University of Colorado Denver and the University of Denver.

Denver Drunk Driving Defense Attorney James Colgan takes great care in representing young adults facing drunk driving and other charges. He believes such mistakes are a part of maturing and should not follow them into adulthood.

Call the Law Office of James Colgan at 720-909-6425 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. We welcome your calls, letters and email; however contacting us does NOT create an attorney-client relationship.

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The Law Office of James Colgan, LLC
11990 Grant Street #550
Northglenn, Co 80233

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