Crime

How Harsh Are Colorado's DUI Penalties?: The 20 Toughest States

Update: After the original publication of a post highlighting the twenty harshest states when it comes to DUI penalties, we were contacted by attorney Seth Steinman, who says a number of items pertaining to Colorado were misstated by WalletHub, the source for the data. We've made the corrections per Steinman's updated information. Continue for the complete report.

Original post, 6:40 a.m. August 15: George Brauchler, DA for the 18th Judicial District, is frustrated that Doyle Carmack got no jail time for his sixth DUI conviction — an outcome he associates with a 2015 felony DUI law that has no mandatory-minimum provision and is, in his view, inconsistent "with the other sentencing portions of our DUI laws."

This last assertion seems to be contradicted by Colorado's performance in a new study from WalletHub that's intended to determine the "strictest and most lenient states on DUI." But taking a closer look at the numbers offers support for Brauchler's claim.

Although Colorado is included among the twenty states with the toughest laws related to driving under the influence, WalletHub accurately lists a minimum jail time for first and second DUI convictions of five and ten days, respectively. Yet Carmack, who notched five DUI convictions in Missouri and had a blood-alcohol content of .235 when he was pulled over in Aurora this past March, won't serve a minute behind bars; his sentence calls for five years' worth of probation and 75 hours of community service.


Continue to get the photo-illustrated details of the twenty states with the harshest DUI regulations according to WalletHub, followed by an interactive graphic allowing you to check out the rankings for all fifty states, plus an additional infographic. Click for the original post.

1. Arizona

Minimum jail time (1st conviction): 10 days
Minimum jail time (2nd conviction): 90 days
DUI is automatic penalty: Third offense
How long old DUI factors into penalties: 7 years
Administrative license suspension: 90 days
Vehicle impound: Yes
Ignition interlock mandatory: 1st conviction/BAC .08
Ignition Interlock mandatory period: 12 months
Additional penalties for high BAC: Above 0.15 BAC
Mandatory alcohol assessment: Yes
Minimum fine (1st conviction): $750
Minimum fine (2nd conviction): $1,750
"No Refusal" sobriety testing average: Yes
Insurance rate increase after DUI: 37 percent
Child endangerment protection: Yes
Sobriety checkpoints: Yes
Other penalties: Yes
Total score: 84.09 percent

2. Georgia

Minimum jail time (1st conviction): 10 days
Minimum jail time (2nd conviction): 90 days
DUI is automatic penalty: Fourth offense
How long old DUI factors into penalties: 10 years
Administrative license suspension: 365 days
Vehicle impound: No
Ignition interlock mandatory: 2nd conviction
Ignition Interlock mandatory period: 12 months
Additional penalties for high BAC: Above 0.15 BAC
Mandatory alcohol assessment: Yes
Minimum fine (1st conviction): $300
Minimum fine (2nd conviction): $600
"No Refusal" sobriety testing average: Yes
Insurance rate increase after DUI: 47 percent
Child endangerment protection: Yes
Sobriety checkpoints: Yes
Other penalties: Yes
Total score: 70.45  percent

3. Alaska

Minimum jail time (1st conviction): 3 days
Minimum jail time (2nd conviction): 20 days
DUI is automatic penalty: Third offense
How long old DUI factors into penalties: 15 years
Administrative license suspension: 90 days
Vehicle impound: Yes
Ignition interlock mandatory: 1st conviction/BAC .08
Ignition Interlock mandatory period: 6 months
Additional penalties for high BAC: Above 0.15 BAC
Mandatory alcohol assessment: No
Minimum fine (1st conviction): $1,500
Minimum fine (2nd conviction): $3,000
"No Refusal" sobriety testing average: Yes
Insurance rate increase after DUI: 80 percent
Child endangerment protection: Yes
Sobriety checkpoints: No
Other penalties: No
Total score: 65.00 percent

4. Oklahoma

Minimum jail time (1st conviction): 10 days
Minimum jail time (2nd conviction): 5 days
DUI is automatic penalty: Second offense
How long old DUI factors into penalties: 10 years
Administrative license suspension: 180 days
Vehicle impound: No
Ignition interlock mandatory: 1st conviction/BAC .08
Ignition Interlock mandatory period: 18 months
Additional penalties for high BAC: Above 0.15 BAC
Mandatory alcohol assessment: No
Minimum fine (1st conviction): $0
Minimum fine (2nd conviction): $0
"No Refusal" sobriety testing average: Yes
Insurance rate increase after DUI: 28 percent
Child endangerment protection: Yes
Sobriety checkpoints: Yes
Other penalties: Yes
Total score: 62.27 percent

5. Nebraska

Minimum jail time (1st conviction): 7 days
Minimum jail time (2nd conviction): 30 days
DUI is automatic penalty: Fourth offense
How long old DUI factors into penalties: 15 years
Administrative license suspension: 90 days
Vehicle impound: No
Ignition interlock mandatory: 1st conviction/BAC .08
Ignition Interlock mandatory period: 6 months
Additional penalties for high BAC: Above 0.15 BAC
Mandatory alcohol assessment: No
Minimum fine (1st conviction): $500
Minimum fine (2nd conviction): $500
"No Refusal" sobriety testing average: Yes
Insurance rate increase after DUI: 58 percent
Child endangerment protection: Yes
Sobriety checkpoints: Yes
Other penalties: Yes
Total score: 61.82 percent

6. Kansas*

Minimum jail time (1st conviction): 2 days
Minimum jail time (2nd conviction): 90 days
DUI is automatic penalty: Third offense
How long old DUI factors into penalties: 10 years
Administrative license suspension: 30 days
Vehicle impound: No
Ignition interlock mandatory: 1st conviction/BAC .08
Ignition Interlock mandatory period: 6 months
Additional penalties for high BAC: Above 0.15 BAC
Mandatory alcohol assessment: Yes
Minimum fine (1st conviction): $500
Minimum fine (2nd conviction): $1,000
"No Refusal" sobriety testing average: Yes
Insurance rate increase after DUI: 46 percent
Child endangerment protection: Yes
Sobriety checkpoints: Yes
Other penalties: Yes
Total score: 59.55 percent

7. Connecticut*

Minimum jail time (1st conviction): 2 days
Minimum jail time (2nd conviction): 120 days
DUI is automatic penalty: Third offense
How long old DUI factors into penalties: 10 years
Administrative license suspension: 90 days
Vehicle impound: No
Ignition interlock mandatory: 1st conviction/BAC .08
Ignition Interlock mandatory period: 12 months
Additional penalties for high BAC: Above 0.16 BAC
Mandatory alcohol assessment: Yes
Minimum fine (1st conviction): $500
Minimum fine (2nd conviction): $1,000
"No Refusal" sobriety testing average: No
Insurance rate increase after DUI: 100 percent
Child endangerment protection: No
Sobriety checkpoints: Yes
Other penalties: Yes
Total score: 59.09 percent

8. Utah

Minimum jail time (1st conviction): 2 days
Minimum jail time (2nd conviction): 10 days
DUI is automatic penalty: Third offense
How long old DUI factors into penalties: 10 years
Administrative license suspension: 120 days
Vehicle impound: Yes
Ignition interlock mandatory: 1st conviction/BAC .08
Ignition Interlock mandatory period: 18 months
Additional penalties for high BAC: Above 0.16 BAC
Mandatory alcohol assessment: Yes
Minimum fine (1st conviction): $1,370
Minimum fine (2nd conviction): $1,560
"No Refusal" sobriety testing average: Yes
Insurance rate increase after DUI: 39 percent
Child endangerment protection: Yes
Sobriety checkpoints: Yes
Other penalties: No
Total score: 58.64 percent

9. West Virginia

Minimum jail time (1st conviction): No minimum sentence
Minimum jail time (2nd conviction): 180 days
DUI is automatic penalty: Third offense
How long old DUI factors into penalties: 10 years
Administrative license suspension: 180 days
Vehicle impound: No
Ignition interlock mandatory: 1st conviction/BAC .08
Ignition Interlock mandatory period: 4.17 months
Additional penalties for high BAC: Above 0.15 BAC
Mandatory alcohol assessment: Yes
Minimum fine (1st conviction): $100
Minimum fine (2nd conviction): $1,000
"No Refusal" sobriety testing average: Yes
Insurance rate increase after DUI: 59 percent
Child endangerment protection: Yes
Sobriety checkpoints: Yes
Other penalties: No
Total score: 58.18 percent

10. Texas*

Minimum jail time (1st conviction): 3 days
Minimum jail time (2nd conviction): 30 days
DUI is automatic penalty: Third offense
How long old DUI factors into penalties: For life
Administrative license suspension: 90 days
Vehicle impound: Yes
Ignition interlock mandatory: 1st conviction/BAC .15
Ignition Interlock mandatory period: 12 months
Additional penalties for high BAC: Above 0.15 BAC
Mandatory alcohol assessment: No
Minimum fine (1st conviction): $0
Minimum fine (2nd conviction): $0
"No Refusal" sobriety testing average: Yes
Insurance rate increase after DUI: 44 percent
Child endangerment protection: Yes
Sobriety checkpoints: No
Other penalties: No
Total score: 55.00 percent

Continue to count down the next ten states (including Colorado) with the toughest DUI laws, followed by an interactive graphic and an infographic.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts