What is a Persistent Drunk Driver in Colorado?

Under Colorado law, any driver who is convicted or revoked for more than one alcohol-related driving offense, or who refuses a test, or who submits to a chemical test with a result ≥ 0.15 will be classified as a persistent drunk driver (PDD).

C.R.S. 42-1-102(68.5) (a) “Persistent drunk driver” means any person who:

(I) Has been convicted of or had his or her driver’s license revoked for two or more alcohol-related driving violations;

(II) Continues to drive after a driver’s license or driving privilege restraint has been imposed for one or more alcohol-related driving offenses;

(III) Drives a motor vehicle while the amount of alcohol in such person’s blood, as shown by analysis of the person’s blood or breath, was 0.15 or more grams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood or 0.15 or more grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath at the time of driving or within two hours after driving; or

(IV) Refuses to take or complete, or to cooperate in the completing of, a test of his or her blood, breath, saliva, or urine as required by section 18-3-106 (4) or 18-3-205 (4), C.R.S., or section 42-4-1301.1 (2).

Why is it Important to Avoid a Persistent Drunk Driver Designation if Possible?

A persistent drunk driver designation is important because all PDDs are required to have ignition interlock for a minimum of two-years as a mandatory term of driver’s license reinstatement. Along with the ignition interlock requirement, being designated as a persistent drunk driver under Colorado law also requires you to complete Level II Alcohol Education and Treatment as a mandatory term of driver’s license reinstatement. As you can see from statutory definition, there are many ways in which a person can be designated as a persistent drunk driver under Colorado law, even for a first-time offender.

How to Avoid Being Designated as a Persistent Drunk Driver

The law mandates a person be designated a persistent drunk driver if they meet the criteria outlined above and in C.R.S. 42-1-102(68.5). However, it is possible to avoid a persistent drunk driver designation on a first offense if you are successfully able to avoid an administrative revocation at the Colorado DMV. This administrative hearing is called an Express Consent Hearing. Avoiding a revocation for refusing a chemical test will prevent the DMV from designating you a persistent drunk driver and mandating the two-year ignition interlock requirement as long as you don’t have any prior revocations or convictions on your Colorado driving history. The same applies for having a BAC ≥ 0.15. If you can avoid a finding of fact at the Express Consent Hearing that your BAC was ≥ 0.15, you can also avoid the persistent drunk driver designation and the two-year ignition interlock requirement on a first offense. Having a skilled and knowledgeable DUI attorney at your side and at this hearing is critical if you want any chance of avoiding the consequences that come with being a PDD.

Contact a Denver DUI defense attorney for a no-sales pitch consultation

Anyone who has been accused of DUI, refusing a chemical test or having a BAC ≥ 0.15 should retain a qualified defense attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of the Tiftickjian Law Firm are dedicated to representing the legal rights of individuals accused of crimes, especially DUI. In many cases, the assistance of an experienced DUI defense attorney can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case and may even assist you in avoiding the mandatory requirements that come with being designated a persistent drunk driver. To schedule a consultation with one of our DUI defense lawyers, please call our office today at (303) 384-5280.