The Long Arm Of Colorado’s DUI Law Reaches Far Beyond The State’s Borders
If you live in Colorado and are convicted of a DUI in another state, chances are that the state of Colorado will know about it and treat it as if you committed the offense here. And if you are unfortunate enough to get a DUI in Colorado with a prior DUI conviction on your record from another state, Colorado prosecutors and state law will count it against you. That means stiffer penalties and your designation as a “persistent drunk driver.”
The Interstate Driver’s License Compact
Along with 46 other states and the District of Columbia, Colorado is a member of an agreement called the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC). All states that are party to the IDLC agree to two fundamental obligations:
- To share information about the driving records of licensed drivers in their state with all other member states, including traffic violations, convictions, and license suspensions, and
- To treat a conviction for a traffic offense or DUI in another state as if it was a traffic or DUI conviction in their state.
The only states that are not parties to the IDLC are Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Nevada withdrew from the compact in 2007 but for the most part still follows the ILDC terms regarding reporting DUIs and other convictions.
How The IDLC Affects Your Driving Privileges
If you face DUI charges in another state, you will need to resolve the charges brought against you in that state, whether that means fighting the charges with the help of a local DUI attorney or pleading guilty to the offense. However, if you hold a Colorado driver’s license and were convicted for DUI in a state that is part of the IDLC, that state will communicate the information to Colorado’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Under the terms of the IDLC, Colorado law provides that the state, ”for the purposes of suspension, revocation or limitation of the license to operate a motor vehicle, shall give the same effect to the offense reported… as it would if such offense had occurred” in Colorado. That means you face the same actual and potential limitations on your Colorado driving privileges regardless of whether your conviction was for driving drunk in Pittsburgh or Pueblo.
If, upon receiving notice of your DUI conviction in another state, the Colorado DMV concludes that it should revoke or suspend your Colorado license based upon that conviction, it will provide you notice and advise you of your rights to challenge that decision.
Your First DUI In Another State Means That Your First Colorado DUI Is Actually Your Second
As noted, the effect of the IDLC is that Colorado treats an out-of-state DUI conviction as if it happened within Colorado’s bordersYour previous conviction, no matter which state it occurred in, will convert your “first” DUI conviction in Colorado to your second overall. And the penalties and consequences of a second DUI in Colorado are much more severe than for a first-time DUI conviction.
Perhaps the most significant distinction between your first and second DUI is the likelihood that you will spend some time behind bars. A second Colorado DUI conviction comes with a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail, with the potential for up to a full year of incarceration.
Additional possible penalties for a second DUI in Colorado include:
- A fine of up to $1,500
- Driver’s license revocation of your license for 12 months
- Up to 120 hours of community service
- Probation for up to four years
- Alcohol education classes
A second DUI conviction in Colorado will also earn you the unwanted designation of a “persistent drunk driver.” This unfortunate label comes with its own set of penalties, including longer alcohol education and treatment programs and an ignition interlock device for at least two years, among other consequences.
Are Your Driving Privileges At Risk Due To A DUI In Another State?
If your driving privileges are at risk following a DUI in another state or you face charges for a DUI in Colorado, you need to take the charges against you as seriously as the state of Colorado does. The first and most important step you should take is hiring a DUI attorney with the experience and tenacity to fight for your right to keep driving.