DUI Insurance Laws in Colorado

Penalties for a DUI in Colorado include up to a year of jail time, fines up to $1,500, and at least three years of SR-22 car insurance requirements.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The average cost of auto insurance premiums in Colorado is $1,000.25 per year
  • If you have been convicted of driving under the influence, you can expect your car insurance rates to increase
  • Keep your driving history clean to avoid hikes in insurance costs


If you have recently violated Colorado DUI laws, your car insurance rates may soon increase.

Colorado’s DUI insurance laws make it unlawful to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A driver who is intoxicated is incapable of driving safely.

To implement the law, law enforcement officers in Colorado have the right to test a driver they believe to be impaired.

Testing of the driver’s blood, saliva, urine, or a breathalyzer, or a field sobriety evaluation, has a major role in the detection, enforcement, and prosecution of impaired drivers. 

A person with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher is considered legally impaired.

Rejection by the driver to take the examination is permissible in court and is a solid source used by a judge to cancel a driver’s license.

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What do you need to know about Colorado’s DUI laws?

Under Colorado law, an impaired driver may fall under one or more of these categories:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) blood alcohol content (BAC) equals .08 and above
  • Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) BAC equals .05 and less than .08
  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (DWAI)
  • Driving While Impaired (DWI) sleepy, distracted by cellular phone use

If you are under the age of 21, your BAC limit is .02. Here are some statistics for drunk driving occurrences in recent years:

  • Deadly crashes happening from midnight to three a.m. involved the driver’s use of alcohol.
  • Drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher who are implicated in deadly crashes are more likely to have had an earlier DUI conviction.
  • The BAC among drunk drivers is frequently .17, twice the legal limit.

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What are Colorado’s DUI insurance demerit points?

The Department of Motor Vehicle  for the state of Colorado implements a demerit point system to a driver’s record to determine if sanctioning is necessary.

For example, if you are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your driver’s license receives 12 points. If you have received points for other violations in the past, those 12 points are in addition to those you previously received.

The addition of too many points during a predetermined period of time places a driver at risk of forfeiture of their driver’s license.

Normally, points are added after the conviction and removed after the conditions of the violations are met.

What are the penalties for DUI in Colorado?

The State of Colorado demands the following penalties for DUI convictions:

  • The First Conviction – An alcohol level at or above 0.02 BAC may influence the judge’s decision to demand incarceration from five days to one year which may be substituted, if the judge chooses, for an alcohol treatment program.
  • The Second Conviction – A minimum of 10 days in jail. If the second conviction is within five years of the first conviction detention from 90 days to one year: a fine of $1,00.00 to $1,500.00 and a one-year driver’s license suspension. You may also be sentenced to 48-96 hours of community service.
  • The Third Conviction – A minimum 70-day detention. Up to one year after your third DUI: a fine between $600.00 and $1,500.00, installation of an ignition interlock device, and a two-year suspension of driving privileges.

As you can see, first-time offenders still get a relatively harsh sentence, but each subsequent offense gets progressively harsher.

If you are caught driving under the influence of a combination of alcohol and illegal drugs, the penalties will be more severe.

Furthermore, even though recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. It constitutes drug impairment, whether it’s a legal drug or not.

Do you need Colorado SR-22 insurance?

After a drunk driving conviction, Colorado SR-22 insurance is required for three years or in the alternative, for a period equal to the revocation of the driver’s license.

Colorado SR-22 insurance informs the state that you have car insurance coverage that meets, at least, the minimum Colorado requirements for car insurance.

When the reason for revocation, suspension, or denial of your driver’s license is settled, you can initiate the restoration procedure.

A hearing will be scheduled for you to meet with an Administrative Judge to review your driving record.

You have the right to seek legal counsel for the issues at hand. The restoration procedure will be explained thoroughly during an Administrative Hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

You may contact the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles’ Customer Service Unit for additional information and to request an Application for Reinstatement.

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What else do you need to know about Colorado DUI insurance law?

Most auto insurance companies are actually insurance groups of secondary companies.

The secondary automobile insurance companies often treat drivers with comparable driving records differently. That is the nature of the automobile insurance business.

Your current insurance provider will respond to an alcohol-related car accident and drunk driving conviction by canceling, declining, or increasing your premium while lowering the coverage.

There are three types of auto insurance companies:

  • Conservative-Risk companies that allow coverage to only drivers with spotless to near spotless driving history. When the driver receives a DUI, DWAI, DUID or DWAI the insurance company in all likelihood will end coverage.
  • Moderate-Risk companies insure drivers with a record of traffic violations, as well as a DUI, but at an elevated price.
  • High-Risk companies specialize in insuring the uninsurable (i.e. drivers with records of repeated violations and sanctions). If you’re designated a high-risk driver and you need coverage from one of these companies, expect to pay a very high auto insurance rate.

Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugged driving, and reckless driving are all serious offenses that can result in you being labeled a high-risk driver.

What are Colorado’s minimum coverage requirements?

The cost of the current average auto insurance premiums in Colorado is $1,000.25 per year; however, the nationwide average is $1,438.03.

When shopping for an auto insurance policy, consider not only the cost but the level of service and the quality of the coverage as well. You want an affordable premium that provides you with liability coverage.

What’s the bottom line?

A drunk driving conviction creates nothing but problems. If you’re charged with drunk driving, seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away.

Your automobile insurance agent and your attorney are two of the most knowledgeable sources you have. They will help you separate the problems and offer workable resolutions.

To see if you can find affordable car insurance after a DUI conviction, try our FREE quote comparison tool today!

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