How Long Do They Take Away Your License for a DUI?

Categories: DUI Defense

When you commit a DUI in Colorado, it is important to note that, regardless if found guilty in criminal court, you could lose your driver’s license. The amount of time you lose your license for will depend on the circumstances of the DUI and whether it was a first offense or subsequent one. Typically, a first offense with a breath test results in a nine month suspension with the possibility of early reinstatement after thirty days for in-state residents.  The conditions of early reinstatement typically involve the installation of an ignition interlock device in your car. The length of time for the interlock device depends on a number of factors depending on your blood alcohol concentration at the time of your arrest. However, the suspension will be longer should you refuse to take a chemical test. 

If you have been arrested, not only should you speak with an experienced attorney about the pending criminal punishments, but you should also discuss any administrative punishments, including losing your driver’s license.

The Length of Time You Lose Your Driver’s License Depends on Multiple Variables

There is no set time, because the circumstances of your arrest will dictate how long the department suspends your license. 

To understand how long you would lose your license, you need to consider how each unique situation affects your license and what you can expect if you do get arrested for a DUI.

When You Are Arrested for a DUI Per Se or Regular DUI

A DUI is when your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher. However, you can still be arrested for the lesser offense of DWAI without that high of a BAC reading. If the drinking is enough to impair you, officers can arrest you and prosecutors will charge you with a DWAI. 

For a first offense involving a breath test, you can expect about nine months without a license. For your second offense, that will increase to 12 months. If you have a third or subsequent offense, you will lose your license for up to two years. 

Also, Colorado does not use a lookback period, which means if your second offense is 20 years later, you could still lose a license for up to one year.

Even if you get your license back, you likely will be required to use an ignition interlock device.

When You Are Arrested for a DUI and You’re Underage

License suspensions are not just for adults. If you are underage and arrested for a DUI, which means you are under 21 years, then you can lose your license as well.

Also, you can be charged with underage DUIs if your BAC is 0.02 percent or higher. Therefore, the threshold for a DUI is much lower than for a person over the age of 21.

For a first DUI, you will lose your license for three months. For your second, you can expect up to six months. For any further violations, you will lose your license for up to one year. 

When You Refuse to Take the BAC Test

You may think that you can avoid a DUI and license suspension if the court has no proof you were actually drunk. However, driving in Colorado is not a right; it is a privilege. Part of that privilege means that you will submit to a chemical test if you are under suspicion of driving while drunk.

For a first-time refusal, you could lose your license for one year, which is longer than the DUI conviction punishment. For a second-time refusal, the amount increases to two years. For any subsequent refusals, you will have a three-year revocation.

When You Have a Commercial Driver’s License the Penalty Is Different

Commercial drivers have special licenses and rules to follow, often because they are driving larger vehicles or even transporting individuals. Therefore, a person with a CDL in Colorado that is arrested for a DUI, refuses to take a BAC test, or has a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher will lose their license.

For a first offense, you will lose your license for up to one year. But if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time, it automatically increases to three years .

Any offenses after that are a lifetime revocation, and you will not be able to drive a commercial vehicle again or reinstate your license.

For most commercial drivers, losing their license for a year means that they cannot work. They may lose their job and possibly have no employment options to fall back on. Also, a DUI on your record may make it impossible for you to get future work, even if you have your CDL reinstated.

Can You Reinstate Early?

In some cases, the Department of Motor Vehicles will let you reinstate your driver’s license early. For example, after a revocation for refusing a chemical test, you may be reinstated after one month.

There is a catch to early reinstatement. You will be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID). These are not only installed and maintained out of your pocket, but you will pay the service fee and you will be required to use them on any vehicle you drive. Therefore, if you are pulled over and you are driving a vehicle without the IID, as part of your reinstatement, your license will be revoked again.

Sometimes, the DMV will remove the IID requirement after a few months, especially if they do not detect any tampering and you have not had any interruptions of driving service because of a BAC registering while driving.

Avoid the Long-Term Complications of a DUI – Speak with an Attorney Now

Losing your driver’s license is only one of the many long-term consequences you will experience if you are convicted of a DUI. Not only could you face jail time and penalties, but you may lose your job, be barred from certain types of employment, be unable to obtain government benefits, and more.

Speak with an attorney in Colorado who has extensive experience with these types of cases. Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein can help you with your DUI. Contact his office today to schedule a free case evaluation, or complete an online contact form and someone will be in touch with you soon.

Losing your driver’s license is one of the many long-term consequences you will experience if you are convicted of a DUI. Call us now and let us help you!

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.