Colorado DUI and DWAI – Frequently Asked Questions
A DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) charge in Colorado can be considered a misdemeanor or felony depending on the situation. However, the good news is that there are many circumstances that must be taken into consideration for a conviction. The following are common questions and answers regarding Colorado’s DUI laws:
What happens if I refuse a breathalyzer or blood test and how soon does one need to be administered after driving?
For a first offense, the driver’s license can be revoked for up to 1 year. Each subsequent offense thereafter is a minimum of 2 years. In Colorado, a BAC measurement should be administered within 2 hours of driving. Note, the charge requires the driver to be intoxicated while driving and if more than 2 hours has passed, it can significantly impact the accuracy of the results.
What is the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit in Colorado?
Depending on age and the charges filed, this answer will vary. For a DUI, the BAC limit is 0.08 or greater. A DWAI charge requires at least a BAC of 0.05 as well as any evidence of impairment. Please note, that this type of evidence is highly subjective and can be argued against in court.
However, if a driver is under the age of 21, the maximum BAC is 0.02, but there is no limit to the amount of blood alcohol content needed for an underage drinking and driving charge. If BAC is between 0.02 and 0.05, a Class A traffic infraction may be issued and may result in 24 hours of community service and/or mandatory alcohol treatment classes.
How long will a DUI stay on record?
If convicted, a DUI is permanent and can always be counted against the individual in the future.
Are there any alternatives to a DUI or DWAI?
Although the law enforcement agency will work with the prosecutor to create an ironclad case, it may be possible to plead down to a “wet reckless” charge. This would result in a reckless driving charge involving alcohol and would not carry as severe of consequences as a DUI or DWAI.
What if this isn’t the first DUI or DWAI offense?
The severity of a DUI or DWAI increases significantly with additional convictions. If this is the second conviction for a DUI, up to 10 days in jail or prison may be served (for DWAI, it’s up to 6 days). For a 3rd conviction, or “third strike”, there is no statutory minimum to the amount of prison time that can be served.
Are there any other penalties or restrictions that may be incurred if convicted?
If this is the second DUI conviction (or the first with a BAC of 0.17+), an ignition interlock device (IID) may be installed on the driver’s vehicle.
If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense, it is important to have an aggressive Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Contact an attorney at Anaya-McKedy, P.C. to discuss your case, the charges against you and to begin to build your defense strategy.