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How Does License Suspension Work in Colorado?

Driving under the influence is a very serious offense that can carry severe and long-term consequences if you get convicted. In addition to having a conviction on your record, having to pay fines, and possibly spending time in jail, it’s likely that you will lose your license for a period of time as well. It’s important to understand what triggers a license suspension. Churchill Criminal Defense is here to help. Contact us today at (303) 832-9000 or use our easy online contact form to schedule a free consultation.


In Colorado, you can be charged with a DUI based on the fact that an officer believes you’re impaired and unable to drive safely or based on your blood alcohol content (BAC) being above the legal limit of .08%. If you’re convicted of a DUI in either of these circumstances, there’s an automatic license suspension of 9 months for your first offense. For a second violation, your license will be suspended for one year. For a third offense, your license will be suspended for two years, regardless of how long ago your prior DUIs occurred. After the 3rd conviction, a DUI charge becomes a felony, and if convicted, you will lose your license for two years.

Driving With Ability Impaired (DWAI)

Driving with ability impaired is a similar charge to a DUI but is considered less serious. A DWAI charge typically involves an individual whose BAC is between .05% and .08%, so it’s still within the legal limit. However, the individual was unable to drive safely due to being impaired, despite not being over the legal limit. A first conviction of a DWAI will not result in a license suspension. If you’re convicted of a second DWAI, you will lose your license for 1 year. For a third conviction, your license will be suspended for two years.

License Suspension for Blood Test Refusal

If you’re pulled over and the police officer believes you are driving under the influence, they will ask you to submit to a blood test so they can see what your BAC is. You can refuse a breath or blood test, but if you do, you will have to suffer the consequences of a license suspension for one year if it’s your first DUI. If it’s your second refusal of the blood test, you will lose your license for two years, and if it’s your third or subsequent refusal, your license will be suspended for three years.

License Suspensions and DMV Hearings

If you’re charged with driving under the influence and you refuse to submit to the chemical test, you have the opportunity to request a DMV hearing, which is a proceeding that will determine if your license will be suspended or not. At this hearing, your attorney can cross examine the police officer involved in the arrest and call other witnesses to the stand. This is an opportunity for you to try to save your license and get valuable information about how the police officers are going to testify at your criminal trial. This hearing must be requested within seven days of your refusal, so it’s imperative to speak with an attorney immediately.

Contact Churchill Criminal Defense If You Need Help with a DUI

For many people, losing their license is one of the most difficult issues to deal with after being convicted of driving under the influence. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s necessary to speak with a criminal defense attorney right away to see if they can help in minimize the potential consequences you are facing. Kevin Churchill of Churchill Criminal Defense has been handling DUI cases for more than 22 years. When you hire Attorney Kevin Churchill, your case is in good hands. Contact us today at (303) 832-9000 or use our easy online contact form to schedule a free consultation.