The legal drinking age in Colorado, as in the rest of the country, is 21 years of age. Those under the age of 21 are not permitted to drink, regardless of whether they are operating a motor vehicle. Therefore, motorists under the legal drinking age who are caught driving under the influence (DUI) will face penalties for such at a much lower threshold than motorists of legal drinking age. However, motorists under the age of 21 retain all the same rights as those of legal drinking age, including the right to a DUI defense attorney.
In most jurisdictions, the blood alcohol content (BAC) at which a motorist is considered impaired and, therefore, incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle is 0.08. For underage drivers that threshold is generally between 0.02 and 0.05. When an underage motorist is found to have a BAC at or above this level, they will be charged with a UDD, underage drinking and driving, which carries penalties similar to a traditional DUI.
Upon arrest for underage DUI in Colorado, a driver is given the choice of taking a blood or breath test if alcohol consumption is alleged, or a blood test alone if drug use is suspected. If the motorist refuses to take a test, the arresting officer will confiscate the driver’s license and serve the motorist with revocation papers. Additionally, if the minor chooses to take a breath test, and the result is 0.02 or higher, the officer will confiscate the minor’s driver’s license and issue a notice of revocation, which also informs the minor of his or her right to petition a hearing to object to the revocation.
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If the minor opts to take the blood test, results are typically available in 2-4 weeks, allowing the minor to retain his or her driver’s license in the interim. If the results indicate a BAC of at least 0.02, the minor will be served a notice of revocation via mail from the Colorado Department of Revenue.
At this point it is prudent to speak with a qualified Colorado DUI attorney concerning the minor’s rights and obligations.
Potential penalties for a UDD charge in Colorado can include:
· Fees of between $15 and $100 and as much as 24 hours of community service for a first-time UDD conviction. It is considered a Class A traffic infraction similar to carrying an open container in the passenger area of a vehicle while on a public road.
· Subsequent UDD convictions are considered Class 2 traffic misdemeanors and are penalized by 10 to 90 days in jail, $150 to $300 in fines, and up to 24 hours community service.
Additionally, a Colorado court can opt to sentence an individual with a UDD conviction to probation, or require them to participate in an alcohol treatment program.
Contact Our Boulder Juvenile DUI Defense Lawyers
If your child has been arrested and charged with underage drinking or DUI in the State of Colorado, you need an aggressive criminal defense lawyer to fight for your child’s future. These serious charges should not be treated lightly. Contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Contact us at (303) 422-2297 to start building a solid defense against these serious criminal charges.