In Colorado, the legal drinking age is 21. If a person is under the age of 21 and consumes alcohol, then they are committing a crime. Because Colorado has a “zero tolerance” law, if that same person under 21 drinks and then drives, that person may be charged with Underage Drinking and Driving (UDD) for the first offense, and perhaps a misdemeanor for a subsequent offense.
UDD is also referred to as “baby DUI” because it involves minors and because of the lighter sentence imposed.
What constitutes UDD?
Under Colorado’s impaired driving laws, all drivers – despite their age – are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), driving while ability impaired (DWAI), with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more.
However, since a person under the age of 21 cannot legally consume alcohol, Colorado imposes a lower BAC against underage drinking and driving. UDD, which is only applicable to minors, applies when a minor is found driving a motor vehicle with a BAC of at least .02%, but less than .05%. There are many factors that affect a person’s BAC, including weight and the time you’ve been drinking.
If a minor is found with more than .05% BAC, then DUI/DWAI charges may be given.
If a minor is found guilty of a UDD, there may be criminal and administrative penalties. UDD offenders are usually required to complete an alcohol evaluation, an education program, and or a treatment program.
First offense. A first time offense is considered a Class A driving infraction. In this case, the court may impose a $100 fine excluding court costs and surcharges. While there is usually no jail time for a first time offense, the minor may be required to perform no more than 24 hours of public service. The minor’s driver’s license can be administratively revoked for 3 months and they can be given points, which can in turn affect the price of car insurance.
Even though a UDD first time offense may not result in jail time, or a criminal conviction, it still may have serious implications on a minor’s future. For example, such a conviction could impact a minor’s driving history, criminal history, future employment and education.
Subsequent offenses. Subsequent offenses can lead to criminal charges. The courts will impose a $150-300 fine, in addition to court costs and charges. The court may even impose 10-90 day jail time. For a second conviction, the court may revoke the minor’s license for six months. For a third conviction, the revocation is one year.
Learn More by Contacting a Skilled DUI Defense Attorney
Because Colorado UDD is a strict liability offense, there may be fewer legal defenses than for other charges. However, if you or a loved one is facing UDD charges, the attorneys at the Moorhead Law Group can assess your case to advise you about your legal rights and strategize for the best possible outcome. We invite you to schedule a consultation, at no cost to you, by calling our Boulder, Colorado office at (303) 586-6912.