Colorado DUI First Offense Sentence and Penalties

A first offense Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs (DUI) in Colorado is a permanent mark. DUI convictions in Colorado stay on a criminal history and driving record forever. They are not ever eligible to be sealed or expunged. The sentences for a DUI first offense in Colorado are harsh and can include jail time, mentored sobriety, treatment, and heavy fines.

A person convicted of a first DUI could also receive jail time. Most judges will not sentence a defendant to jail in Colorado for a first offense. There are, however, some judges that do. And there are certain situations in which jail is mandatory-even for first time offenders. A DUI with a blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) of 0.20 or more requires at least ten days in jail. In addition, regardless of the BAC, a first-DUI conviction triggers a nine-month revocation to your driving privilege.

There is no limit or “look-back” period in Colorado. Any conviction for any DUI-related offense (DUI, DWI, OUI, DWAI, etc.) counts no matter how long ago it occurred or what state it occurred in. If you have ever been convicted of a DUI or DWAI, and the government can prove it, you are not facing a first-time DUI.

Sentencing Chart for First DUI Conviction in Colorado

The following chart depicts some of the penalties if charged with DUI in Colorado and no prior convictions.





5 days jail*

10 days minimum mandatory if BAC .20 or more

1 year jail




Community Service

48 hours

96 hours


No minimum

2 years

*With respect to the mandatory 5-day jail sentence for DUI (under 0.20 BAC) the judge can suspend this entire sentence including this 5-days on the condition you undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation. Pursuant to the outcome of this evaluation, the judge will order you to attend alcohol or drug education classes and therapy. These classes and therapy must be with a provider licensed by the Colorado Behavioral Health Administration (BHA). If you do not complete court-ordered classes or therapy, the judge will reinstate your jail sentence and your license will be revoked. For a first DUI, the sentence typically includes level II education (24 hours), and either track A or B therapy (up to 52 hours).

In addition to the penalties outlined above, probation is always ordered for a first offense. A condition of first DUI convictions includes abstain from consuming any alcohol or drugs, or refraining from excessive use of alcohol, and sobriety monitoring. The judge will order you attend a victim impact panel coordinated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The judge will also order between 48 to 96 mandatory useful public service (community service) hours.

Mandatory Jail for DUI with BAC 0.20 or more

If you are charged with DUI and the result of a breath test or blood test shows a BAC of 0.20 or greater, you face a mandatory jail sentence of at least ten days. Although the judge cannot suspend this jail sentence, he or she can utilize sentencing alternatives rather than require that you serve straight jail time in the county jail. Sentencing alternatives in Colorado include in-home detention, electronic home monitoring, work release, day reporting, or weekend work programs.

There are many reasons to hire an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Many people report their driving privilege tops this list. Depending on the circumstances, you would be facing driver’s license consequences in and even outside of Colorado. For a first-offense DUI, you would face a nine-month revocation of your driver’s license if you failed a chemical test. This revocation will be longer if a police officer alleges that you refused to take a test. You would also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for two years.