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Underage Drunk Driving: a Spring Break Risk in Colorado

A Big Risk During Spring Break, Underage Drinking and Driving

Spring break should be about sharing good times with friends and making memories that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, a significant number of young people will remember it as the time they got their first drunk driving conviction. 

The costs are particularly high for young people, as a conviction can impact future career options, university standing, and even scholarships and student aid. A drunk driving conviction will cost, on average, more than $10,000, including court costs, fines, fees, drug or alcohol counseling and drastically increased insurance premiums. 

Contacting a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible is the best thing you can do to protect your rights. We understand you are concerned about costs, and about other negative consequences. But we urge you to avoid doing what the state is hoping you will do: Quickly plead guilty in an effort to put the incident behind you. 

Colorado Underage Drinking Laws

Colorado’s UDD laws reflect the state’s “zero tolerance” policy aimed at underage drinking. Those under the age of 21 can be convicted with a blood-alcohol level of just .02 – essentially a trace amount – compared to the adult requirement of a blood-alcohol level of .08. 

Sometimes called a baby DUI, underage drunk driving is a Class A driving infraction for those under the age of 21. It is punishable by a 3-month license revocation, 24 hours of public service, court costs and fines and alcohol/drug classes. More serious charges will be faced by those who test at the adult limits of .05 (DWAI) or .08 (DUI). 

You can also face charges for driving under the influence or marijuana.  If your blood contains 5 nanograms or more of delta-9 THC (the active substance in some marijuana) per milliliter in whole blood, there is a permissible inference that you are under the influence. This is problematic for many reasons, including differing metabolic rates, but the arbitrary limits set by the state can nevertheless result in a conviction. 

There are many ways to beat these charges, or win a reduction that will keep a drunk driving conviction off your driving record. In fact, a first offense is often the easiest to beat or win a reduction, while a conviction will result in frequent future traffic stops and subject you to enhanced penalties for a subsequent conviction. 

Unfortunately, police officers often target areas where young people frequently hang out, particularly during spring break. Our DUI defense lawyers believe college students are entitled to learn and grow, and make mistakes, without negatively impacting their futures. Defenses to drunk driving include probable cause for the traffic stop, the way in which field sobriety tests were administered, the training of officers, the proper calibration and certification of breathalyzer equipment and many other factors best discussed with an experienced Fort Collins DUI attorney. 

We offer free and confidential consultations to discuss your rights and represent college and university students throughout the area, including Colorado State University and Front Range Community College. 

Call Matthew Haltzman at the Haltzman Law Firm today at (970) 692-3440 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

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204 Maple Street Suite 101
Fort Collins, CO 80521

Haltzman Law Firm

204 Maple Street Suite 101
Fort Collins, CO 80521

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Haltzman Law Firm is Fort Collins’ only firm with a team comprised of highly-skilled Trial Attorneys, a Medical Doctor, and a Toxicologist.
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Haltzman Law Firm
204 Maple Street Suite 101
Fort Collins, CO 80521
(970) 692-3440
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