Decoding Colorado’s DUI, DWAI and DUID Laws

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Colorado takes impaired driving seriously and has made offenders their target for reform. For that reason alone, it is imperative that anyone arrested for a DUI or impaired driving seek immediate legal counsel. The potential penalties for a guilty conviction are extreme and could affect you for the rest of your life. Also, it is equally important to understand the different laws regarding impaired driving – specifically DUI, DWAI, and DUID.

DUI – Driving Under the Influence

If you choose to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, you are legally impaired. You can be arrested and convicted of a DUI if you are deemed incapable of operating a motor vehicle – even if you are on prescription medications. DUI offenses come with harsh penalties, including:

  • Jail – You could spend anywhere from five days to up to one year in jail even for a first offense.
  • Fines – You could pay $600 to as much as $1,000 in fines even for your first offense. For a second or third, the amount can double.
  • Public Service – Even if you are not required to spend time in jail, the courts will likely impose a public service sentence that can require up to 96 hours of service for a first offense and as much as 120 hours for subsequent offenses.
  • Driver’s License Suspension – Your driver’s license will be suspended for up to 9 months for your first offense. You can also lose your license for as much as two years for your third DUI.
  • Ignition Interlock Device – As part of your license reinstatement after multiple offenses, you will have to use an IID.
  • Costs and Fees – There are numerous costs and fees of a DUI that you may be unaware of, including chemical testing fees, towing fees, detoxification fees, IID rental and service fees, alcohol education course fees and your license reinstatement fee.

DWAI – Driving While Ability Impaired

Colorado is one of the few states that can still arrest you for impairment when your BAC is less than 0.08 percent. This is known as a DWAI. If your BAC is found at 0.05 to 0.08 percent, you could be legally arrested for driving while ability impaired or DWAI. The penalties for a DWAI are similar to a DUI and include:

  • Jail – You could spend two days to as many as 180 days in jail.
  • Fines – You could pay anywhere from $200 to as much as $500 for a first-time offense.
  • Public Service – You could spend up to 48 hours of public service for a first offense.
  • License Suspension – You most likely will not lose your license for a first-time DWAI, but subsequent convictions will result in a license suspension of up to two years.
  • IID – Second and subsequent offenses will require an IID to reinstate your driver’s license.

DUID – Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

DUIs are for drugs and alcohol, but DUID is separate and is used when drugs other than alcohol are involved in your arrest. If you are operating the vehicle while under the influence of one or more drugs or a controlled substance, you could be charged with a DUID. The law also states that THC in your blood in quantities of 5ng/ml or higher could result in a DUID charge. The penalties for a DUID are just as harsh as a DUI and DWAI, and in some cases, worse.

Speak with an Attorney Right Away

If you find yourself facing charges for a DUI, DUID or DWAI, contact an experienced Colorado Springs attorney with a strong history of defending these types of cases. Christian A. Schwaner can help you with your arrest. Regardless of what type of impaired driving charge you face (or multiple), he has years of experience defending such arrests and helping his clients reduce, drop or have their charges dismissed. Schedule a consultation now at 719-577-9700 or fill out an online contact form with your DUI questions.

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