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Glossary of Common Colorado DUI Terms

Glossary of Common Colorado DUI Terms

Administrative License Revocation: The law that allows the prompt revocation of the license of drivers charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) when a driver has a BAC above the prescribed legal limit, or if a driver refuses to take a blood or breath test. Under these circumstances your driver’s license may be revoked before adjudication of the DUI charge.

APC: Short for Actual Physical Control. If you are in physical control of a motor vehicle that is capable of being driven and are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can be found guilty of DUI. Some states have a ‘safe harbor’ provision; Colorado currently does not have this provision. A “safe harbor” provision gives you credit for realizing you shouldn’t drive and pulling off the road. But in Colorado, if you go to your car to ‘sleep it off,’ you will be arrested for DUI.

BAC: Short for “blood alcohol concentration.” BAC refers to the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream and is measured in percentages. BAC can be measured by breath (BrAC), blood, or urine testing and is often used by law enforcement to determine whether or not a motorist is “legally drunk.” Colorado has adopted BAC laws that make it illegal to drive with a BAC at or above 0.08 for substantially incapable and a BAC of 0.05 for impaired to the slightest degree.

Breathalyzer: A generic term for a machine used by law enforcement to measure the BrAC of suspected drunk drivers. In Colorado, the designated machine is the Intoxilyzer 5000-EN. The officers will also use a preliminary breath test (PBT) or often referred to as a breathalyzer, on the side of the road to help establish probable cause.

BUI: Short for Boating Under the Influence. Currently this is defined as operation or being in actual physical control of a vessel with a BAC of 0.08 or greater.

Chemical Test: As it relates to DUI, a test of the alcohol or drug concentration in a person’s blood. An Intoxilyzer, blood analysis, or urinalysis can be used as chemical tests for alcohol. If other drugs are suspected, a blood test or urine test is used.

CDL: Short for Commercial Driver’s License. A Commercial Driver’s License is required in the United States to operate any type of vehicle which has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lbs (11,793 kg) or more for commercial use, or transports quantities of hazardous materials that require warning placards under Department of Transportation regulations, or that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver. This includes (but is not limited to) tow trucks, tractor trailers, and buses.

Commercial Vehicle: A commercial vehicle is a type of motor vehicle that may be used for transporting goods or passengers. A vehicle driven for commercial purposes is classified as either a Class A, B or C commercial vehicle. The punishment for a DUI by a person who holds a CDL is more severe than a non-CDL holder.

Community Service: Uncompensated work performed for a governmental agency or a non-profit agency. Community service or useful public service may be a mandatory part of your sentencing. Once ordered by the court, it is required to be performed unless the court allows you to pay a higher fine in lieu if the community service hours.

DOR: Department of Revenue. In Colorado, this is the agency responsible for issuing, administering and revoking your driver’s license.

DUI: Driving Under the Influence. This can be from two sources. The per se law says you are guilty of DUI if you have a BAC of .08 or greater. You can also be found guilty of DUI if a jury determines you were substantially incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both.

DUS/DUR: Driving under suspension/revocation. If you do not have a valid license and drive, you can be arrested. Driving under suspension and driving under revocation penalties consist of jail time and an additional loss of your license for a minimum of one year.

DWAI: Driving While Ability Impaired. A lesser offense to DUI, which consists of a BAC of .05 to .079 and requires a person be impaired to the slightest degree such that they are less than ordinarily capable of operating a motor vehicle safely.

Felony: A serious crime, such as murder, rape, or burglary, for which a stricter sentence is given than for a misdemeanor. Vehicular assault and vehicular homicide are felonies. If there has been a death or serious bodily injury as a result of driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired, you may be charged with a felony.

Ignition Interlock Device: An ignition interlock device is an in-car alcohol breath screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit. The pre-set limit in Colorado for people under interlock restriction is currently set at .025. The interlock device is located inside the vehicle, near the driver’s seat, and is connected to the automobile’s ignition system.

License Revocation: A license revocation means your driving privileges have been revoked. You will need to reapply for a driver’s license after a designated length of time. Reinstatement requirements will vary based on the driving record and the reason the license was revoked.

Misdemeanor: A crime less serious than a felony. In Colorado all misdemeanor cases are heard in county court.

Open Container Laws: It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle.

Probation: When all or part of the required jail time is suspended in exchange for good behavior. Jail time may be imposed if it is found that the terms of probation have been violated. Examples of violations would be another arrest, driving under suspension, failure to complete your community service or pay your court fines or complete your alcohol education and/or therapy classes, or any new law violation.

Sobriety Checkpoints: A system where law enforcement agencies select a particular location for a particular time period and systematically stop vehicles (for example, every third car) to investigate drivers for possible DUI. If any evidence of alcohol consumption is detected, a detailed investigation ensues.

VIP: Victim Impact Panel. A meeting that usually lasts about 3 hours consisting of victims, victim’s friends, or victim’s family members of drunk driving accidents. Attendance at one of these meeting is a standard requirement of probation upon conviction of an alcohol offense.

Work Permit: A common term and a misconception. People think they can apply for a work permit if their driver’s license is suspended for a DUI. That is not true. There is no such thing as a “work permit” in Colorado. A “Red License” or Probationary Driver’s License exists in Colorado, but is only for people who have had their license suspended due to excessive accumulation of points.