Get a DUI and kiss 170 hours of free time goodbye

New findings show the major time costs of impaired driving offenses

RBC | Colorado drivers convicted of a first-time DUI can, on average, expect to spend a minimum of 170 hours dealing with the consequences. That’s the equivalent of more than a month of full-time employment. Following the new cost calculation of a DUI, now an average of $13,530, for the first time Coloradans are getting a picture of how much a DUI in Colorado will affect their personal time.
State law mandates that when someone gets a DUI in Colorado, they must complete several requirements over a designated period of time. For example, the average first-time DUI offense requires 76 combined hours of alcohol and drug education and therapy classes, but individuals can only take two hours of classes per week. This means an individual will need to take weekly classes for nine months to complete the requirement. The average DUI also requires a person to drive with an ignition interlock-restricted license for 24 months before full driving privileges can be reinstated. And at least once every 60 days, drivers must schedule a download of their ignition interlock device so that an interlock service provider can send data to the DMV. Additionally, the DUI case could mean monthly visits with a probation officer for 18 months.
“It’s important for drivers to understand that although a DUI involves an arrest, court and community service, there are other significant outcomes,” said Christine Flavia, manager of the DUI Services Program at the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health. “It’s also likely that 170 hours is just a starting point, because it doesn’t include the everyday impacts of losing driving privileges, which could leave an individual at the mercy of bus schedules or finding a ride to work. Many people find a DUI forces them to spend a great deal of time figuring out how to get around.”
The findings were compiled by NoDUIColorado—a combined effort of the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health; Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV); Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado Judicial Branch. The hourly total is based on the average first-time DUI in Colorado and includes time costs associated with ignition interlock requirements, alcohol and drug education and therapy classes, probation, community service, court and the license reinstatement process at the DMV.
Time requirements, combined with statewide average DUI costs of $13,530, prove what’s at stake for those who drive impaired. With the “Heat Is On” Summer Enforcement Period beginning on Memorial Day weekend, drivers are reminded that law enforcement agencies throughout the state will be adding patrols to spot impaired drivers. Because the best way to avoid a DUI is to find alternative transportation, NoDUIColorado is also promoting its #FirstCall campaign in communities throughout the state. The campaign encourages Coloradans to “make their first call a ride” —find a way to get both a ride out and a ride home. More information about impaired driving in Colorado, including prevention, statewide resources and statistics is available at