What Makes a DUI Aggravated in Colorado?

Colorado DUI Lawyer

Aggravation is a common human emotion. Your
children or spouse can aggravate you. Your job can cause you to feel
aggravated. But the idea of being “aggravated” is also a legal term.

Legally, you’ll see the word often combined
with driving under the influence (DUI). A DUI charge means that you’ve been
caught driving with alcohol or drugs in your system. An aggravated DUI is even
worse; it means you’ve crossed the line into a more serious offense and should
seek legal help immediately.

What’s the Difference Between
DUI and Aggravated DUI in Colorado?

Colorado DUI laws mandate that it is illegal
for any person to drive a motorized vehicle with alcohol or drugs in their
system. Our statutes define the limits for your blood alcohol concentration
(BAC), which is how much of these chemicals can be in your system before the
police and court system gets involved. The laws also define how police can test
for these substances and the penalties for the varying levels of DUI

An aggravated DUI is a step up in legal
severity from “just” a DUI; if you are charged at this higher level, it means
you face tougher sentencing. Aggravating circumstances on your DUI could

  • An
    extremely high BAC
  • Driving
    without or on a suspended license
  • Excessively
    speeding while intoxicated
  • Having
    a minor child in the car
  • Causing
    an accident
  • Having
    multiple DUIs over a certain period of time

Being pulled over and charged with DUI, along
with any of these aggravating offenses, escalates the penalty structures for
the offense.

Understanding DUI Laws in

Preparing the proper defense for an aggravated
DUI in Colorado requires that you first understand the laws and penalties of
the state. Like the majority of states, Colorado flags a BAC of .08% or higher
for a potential DUI conviction. If your BAC is .17% or higher, the DUI bumps up
to aggravated DUI.

Colorado has a zero-tolerance law on the books
for any driver under the age of 21. That means if you’re driving impaired, even
though you’re not supposed to drink at all under the law, any BAC level in your
blood will saddle you with an underage drinking and driving charge.

You may wonder how the police determine if
you’ve been drinking. Colorado also has an expressed consent law. That means if
you’re driving a car, you have given your implied and expressed consent to
submit to a blood-alcohol test, which the police can do on the spot.

It might be tempting to try to refuse this
test; legally, you still can. However, if the arresting officer believes there
are reasonable indications that you are impaired, and you refuse a chemical
test, your license can be revoked for up to a year. The courts may install an
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your car, a kind of a mini-breathalyzer that
you must blow into before you can drive. If the IID finds an elevated BAC, the
car won’t start.

What if You’re Convicted of an
Aggravated DUI in Colorado?

If you’re impaired while driving and see
flashing blue lights in your rearview, call us immediately. We need to do
everything possible to help you avoid an aggravated DUI conviction.

Colorado law allows the courts to immediately
suspend or revoke your license if you’re convicted, and this is true even on a first-time
offense. Even a first-time DUI in our state can come with jail time of up to a
year, a fine of up to $1,000, or serious other penalties. But common aggravated
DUI penalties include:

  • A
    BAC over .17% will put you in jail for 10-days (mandatory) and suspend your
  • Having
    a minor child in the car could get you charged with negligent child abuse in
    addition to the DUI penalties.
  • Causing
    an accident could also bring a reckless driving charge. If you’ve injured
    someone, you could be charged with vehicular assault that brings a maximum
    six-year prison sentence and fines up to $500,000, along with a mandatory
    five-year license revocation.
  • Having
    multiple DUIs over a certain period of time can land you in prison for up to
    six years.

If you’re convicted of an aggravated DUI,
there are criminal penalties that can include fines, imprisonment, or public
service. There are also administrative penalties such as points on your
driver’s license that make you pay a lot more for auto insurance. You’ll lose your
license, which can create difficulties in getting to work or even landing a

Anderson & Carnahan is an experienced
Colorado criminal defense firm that is working to protect your rights and
freedom. If you’ve been arrested for aggravated DUI, contact us immediately for
a free consultation at 1-712-473-9099.