DENVER, June 26, 2004 — Colorado's new Driving Under the Influence (DUI) law could cost an offender close to $10,000 for a first-time offense, officials said. "It can run as much as several thousand dollars for somebody who has been convicted of DUI when you consider court costs, community service, legal fees and other expenses," said Colorado State Patrol Chief Mark Trostel. "It's pretty significant." Mairi Nelson, Colorado's Transportation Department spokesperson, calculated that a first-time conviction could cost $9,500 for attorney fees, an auto insurance increase, the court fine, and other costs in time from lost work and time spent in community service.
A first-time DUI conviction also carries 12 points, which means automatic license suspension for at least a month, often followed by a five-month probationary license. Nelson said her research showed a three- to five-year impact with car insurance premium costs jumping $4,800. "Frankly, knowing that your insurance will be affected and your rates will likely skyrocket when you get caught driving drunk is, for many people, as much or more of a deterrent than getting a ticket and paying a fine," she said. The law also lowered the blood alcohol level from 0.1% to 0.08%.
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