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First-time DUI offense may cost person $13,000 in Colorado

According to recently released state statistics, driving while impaired in Colorado may actually feature an even higher cost than initially thought. For a first-time DUI offender in Colorado, driving under the influence costs more than $13,000 on average versus the more than $10,000 estimated in 2008. The $13,000-plus price tag includes expenses such as insurance hikes, fees and fines.

An insurance rate hike is about $3,600 on average, while an ignition interlock device costs about $2,172. These figures were released during the state's holiday season DUI crackdown, which started in early December and was slated to end in mid-December. During this same type of crackdown last year, police made about 600 arrests for driving under the influence. A total of 48 people were arrested for driving under the influence in El Paso County alone.

In the state of Colorado, a driver faces a DUI charge if his or her blood alcohol level is .08-plus. In addition, the person may face a charge of DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, if his or her blood alcohol level is between .05 and .079 percent. This year, the average level for offenders in the district covering El Paso County was .168. A first-time DUI offense can result in jail time, a fine and the suspension of a license.

Just because a person in Colorado has been charged with DUI does not mean he or she is immediately guilty of committing the offense. Rather, the person is presumed innocent until and unless his or her guilt is proven in court. Prosecutors must prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt before a conviction can be handed down. 

Source: gazette.com, "Study finds average DUI offender in Colorado Springs area has BAC more than double legal limit", Rachel Riley, Dec. 12, 2016

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