Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or While Ability Impaired (DWAI)
A person arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs faces challenges on many fronts, each of which can create significant costs even if there’s no final conviction of the crime. If you’ve been arrested for driving while appearing impaired, you need a lawyer skilled and experienced in defending DUI and DWAI cases to help you navigate through the confusion of Colorado’s DUI laws.
Defining the Crime
The law prohibits people from knowingly operating any vehicle after they’ve consumed too much alcohol or too many drugs. CRS § 42-4-1301, et seq. “Too much alcohol” means having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over a certain limit that impairs the ability to drive:
- .02% – .05% for minors who are not old to legally consume alcohol;
- between .08% and .17% for adults, and
- those with over .17% BAC are subject to “enhanced” penalties for their DUI charge.
Drivers “consent” to BAC testing when they receive their license from the DMV. Refusing the test at the time of arrest adds another criminal charge to the arrest.
What Substances Cause an “Influence”?
Even legally prescribed medications can impair the ability to drive. Marijuana is now legal in Colorado but it, too, can impair one’s judgment while driving. People arrested with a blood reading of 5 ng/ml of THC will be charged with a DUI.
DUI’s in the DMV and the Courts
In Colorado, both the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the legal system penalize drivers for DUI or DWAI offenses.
An arrest for DUI causes the revocation of a driver’s license. After a conviction, the DMV can impose fines and will suspend a driver’s license for nine months for a first conviction and longer periods for subsequent convictions.
The criminal court system also imposes fines of up to $1,000 for a first conviction. Jail terms are ordered of five days to one year for a first offense, and the DUI conviction remains on a person’s record for life.
Defenses to DUI’s
There are several possible defenses to a DUI charge, some related to how the police acted during the initial traffic stop or how they generated or handled any evidence before trial. Alternatively, there may be other reasons why your driving was impaired that had nothing to do with the consumption of drugs or alcohol. In either event, the DUI attorneys at Pollart Miller will explore all elements of the charges against you to reduce as much as possible the impact of the DUI arrest on your life and your future.