DUI & DWAI Definitions

Colorado has two separate crimes that cover driving while impaired. A DUI is a charge for “driving under the influence” of alcohol or drugs. This is typically reserved for those with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Colorado also has a DWAI charge for “driving while ability impaired” if offenders have a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08.

What to Do if Police Stop You

When the police stop you, remain calm and listen to their instructions. They may ask you to do a field sobriety test, but these are voluntary in Colorado. Common field sobriety tests include balancing on one leg, maintaining your gaze on a moving object, and walking along a straight line.

You may also be asked to submit to a breath test, blood test, or urine test. It is not advisable to refuse chemical testing since refusal is admissible in court and a basis to revoke your driver’s license. After your arrest, you will be processed at the station.

Criminal Penalties in Colorado

Your first DUI offense could result in the following:

  • Between five days and one year in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Community service
  • Having your license revoked for nine months.

If your BAC was 0.20 or higher, jail time is required. A DWAI conviction results in the following:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Fines of up to $500
  • Up to 48 hours of community service
  • Eight points on your driver’s license.

Bail & License Suspension

You may need to post bail to get out of jail after your arrest. You or someone else may:

  • Pay the entire amount upfront
  • Pay a portion of the amount and have a bondsperson pay the remaining balance
  • Be released on personal recognizance

The amount you pay and whether you are released on personal recognizance depend mainly on your criminal history and how likely you are to return for your court date.

Your license is not automatically suspended if you get a DWAI conviction. For a DUI, your license will be suspended for nine months.

Hiring an Attorney

Hiring a criminal defense attorney should be your top priority if you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence. Remember, the conviction rate for DUI cases in Colorado is nearly 90%. Without representation, you run the risk of getting the maximum sentence.

That will cost you time in jail and a substantial amount in fees and fines, but it will also affect other areas of your life since your conviction remains on your record for years.

An attorney with experience in DUI cases can explore different defense options and fight for a positive outcome. Look for an experienced DUI attorney with a successful track record of decreased or dismissed charges.

Defenses for DUI Charges

Defenses your attorney may explore include:

  • Inaccurate breathalyzer reading
  • Illegal traffic stop
  • Reliance on field sobriety tests
  • Inaccurate officer testimony
  • Other explanations for behavior that may have suggested impairment
  • Not given your Miranda rights

Living with a Suspended License

After a conviction, you’ll lose your license temporarily. However, you could get a restricted license that permits you to drive certain places. Your vehicle must be equipped with an ignition interlock device if you do.

A First-Time DUI on Your Record

In Colorado, first-time DWAI and DUI convictions are misdemeanors. While this may impact your job search and hinder your pursuit of a place to live, it is not as severe as a felony conviction. Furthermore, Colorado law prohibits private employers from including questions about your criminal history on job applications.

Expunging Your Record

You cannot have your conviction expunged if you were found guilty or pled guilty to DUI charges. However, your charges can be expunged if you were arrested but not charged, had your case dismissed, or were acquitted.

Get Help for Your First-Time DUI Offense

You shouldn’t take on your first DUI offense in Denver alone. You not only face possible criminal charges, but you also need an attorney who knows the state’s DUI laws and can help you get your license back.

With Attorney Michael Fayard fighting for you, you can feel confident that your case is in good hands. To discuss your DUI/DWAI arrest and plan your next steps, call 303-990-8585 or get in touch online.