Colorado Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Retail stores in Colorado sell spirits, wine, and beer. Grocery and convenience stores sell 3.2 percent beer only, and then not between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Package stores are open 8 a.m. until midnight and are closed on Sundays. Bars stop selling alcohol between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
You must be 21 to drink alcohol or work in a bar or package store, or 18 to serve alcohol in a restaurant as long as a supervisor over the age of 21 is present.
Open Container Laws
Previously opened bottles of alcohol, such as resealed wine, must be stored in a car’s trunk. No one in a vehicle may have an open alcohol container.
Like most states, the maximum blood-alcohol content (BAC) level is .08 percent. For a driver with a higher BAC, s/he is considered ‘per se intoxicated’ and can be convicted on the BAC alone; no other evidence is required.
A driver refusing to allow BAC testing or a BAC result that is .17 percent above the legal limit of .08 percent will experience more severe minimum mandatory penalties.
‘Zero tolerance laws’ are intended to keep under-age drivers from drinking. A driver under the age of 21 with a BAC of.02 percent or above is subject to DUI penalties.
A driver is required to show proof of insurance and a driver’s license, and to submit to breath, blood, or urine testing for intoxication under ‘implied consent laws’ that went into effect when the driver signed for a license. Refusing to cooperate can mean a penalty of a suspended license for up to a year.
The first DUI offense in Colorado incurs a license suspension by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) of 90 days. The second offense incurs one year’s suspension, and a third offense mandates one year’s loss of driving privileges. A vehicle cannot be confiscated in Colorado for DUI conviction, but an ignition interlock device is a possible penalty as is mandatory alcohol education and assessment or treatment for alcohol dependency.