I do not defend people who are charged with DUI in Colorado. I’m a personal injury attorney not a criminal defense attorney (though I know some very good Colorado DUI attorneys). Sadly, in my particular line of the law, I see many victims of DUI drivers and, to be honest, I am ruthless in my work on behalf of those victims. If another driver has been charged with DUI and they have injured another person because of their negligence, I will never settle for less than the full amount due my client. Any Denver personal injury attorney who seeks to settle on behalf of a DUI victim for less than the full amount owed is just victimizing that person all over again… and being lazy. They should take the case to court and sue for every dime in front of a judge and a jury. DUI drivers who hurt or kill others when they get behind the wheel should be held accountable for their actions.

If you’re Googling “ways to beat a breathalyzer” before going to a party, then you need to just hand someone your keys.

That’s my soapbox, but this blog is actually about some of the misperceptions about breathalyzer tests that I hear when I’m working on DUI cases. If you think you can beat a breathalyzer, think again. And if you’re Googling “ways to beat a breathalyzer” before going to a party, then you need to just hand someone your keys… otherwise, you may be seeing me in the courtroom.

Here are some facts about DUI in Colorado and 3 reasons why you shouldn’t try to beat a breathalyzer.

The Facts About DUI in Colorado

What are the Colorado DUI Levels?

  • DUI blood alcohol level: .08% or above
  • Zero tolerance policy for underage drinkers: .02-.05%
  • Aggravated DUI: .17%

Also note: If a police officer suspects that you’re drinking while impaired by drugs or alcohol, you are required by law to submit to a chemical test.

How many drinks does it take to be considered DUI in Colorado?

Even responsible drinkers who would never have a sip and get behind a wheel wonder how many drinks it might take them to be DUI. Of course, the answer is different for everyone, depending on your gender, weight, what you’re drinking and how quickly you drink. I found a blood alcohol content (BAC) calculator at Lifeloc, a breathalyzer manufacturer, that enables you to enter different answers for all of the above variables and get an answer.

Take note: you can even download a BAC calculator on your phone to help you in making a decision about driving. Remember, though: it’s always best to err on the side of caution and get a ride home instead of getting behind the wheel.What are the penalties for DUI in Colorado?

In 2017, Colorado’s DUI laws got a lot stricter and more expensive. Imagine your life if you faced any of the following:

1st Offense:

  • Possible jail time for 5 days to one year
  • $300 to $1000 fine
  • Minimum license suspension or revocation of 9 months

2nd Offense:

  • Jail time for 90 days to a year
  • $500-$1500 fine
  • License revoked for a year
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (This device requires you to blow into a breathalyzer in your car before driving. If it detects alcohol, your car won’t start.)

3rd Offense:

  • Jail time up to one year
  • $1000-$1500 fine
  • License revoked 2 years
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device

Not even the most convincing myths that you may find on the internet have the ability to lower the level of alcohol on your breath.

What is DWAI in Colorado?

In addition to DUI, Colorado has even stricter limits under what’s called Driving While Ability Impaired. This means that you can be charged with a criminal offense even if you’re not DUI. You can be charged with DWAI when your blood alcohol content is .05%. Depending on your body type and drinking habits, that could be one drink!

Also, the penalties for DWAI in Colorado include fines and maybe even jail time. And of course, you’ll have a record. Again, it’s not worth it. Not only because of the fines and jail time but because you could hurt yourself or others.

3 Reasons You Should Never Try to Beat a Breathalyzer

  1. Science is smarter than breath mints: Not even the most convincing myths that you may find on the internet (suck on a penny) have the ability to lower the level of alcohol on your breath. You may be covering up the odor with mints, but you won’t be lowering your BAC.
  2. You may make matters worse: Some people use mouth wash with alcohol in it to beat a breathalyzer, leading to even worse results in their BAC results. You could create a false-positive result on your DUI test if you use mouth wash, cough drops or other oral products with alcohol in them.
  3. If you think you’re too impaired to drive, the last thing on your mind should be beating a breathalyzer. You could kill someone if you get behind the wheel. At the very least, buy your own breathalyzer and make choices according to the results it gives you. If you’re too impaired to drive, beating a breathalyzer shouldn’t be the only thing you worry about.

I’ve seen hot-shot corporate big wigs, broke college kids, women on “moms night out,” and even book club participants who ruined their lives by getting behind the wheel after too many drinks. And I’ve seen their victims; people who were minding their own business and now have to live with chronic pain and physical limitations. Worse, I’ve met with family members who lost loved ones to DUI drivers. Please be smart and get a ride home if you’ve had too much to drink. If you have any questions about this article, please give me a call.