In the state of Colorado, there are various charges that one can receive for misusing substances. And even legal ones. Even though, as we all know, marijuana is legal in Colorado, that doesn’t mean it can be used freely. And the same goes for alcohol.
DUIs and DWAIs are sometimes confusing to understand in terms of differences; however, they each reap different punishments. Getting charged with one of these crimes is serious, and if it has happened to you, Christian A. Schwaner has the defense team you want on your side.
If you don’t know the differences between a DWAI vs. DUI, then this article will give you all the information you need to know.
What Is a DWAI?
A DWAI is an offense that you can receive when driving while your ability is impaired. This is a less serious offense, but you can still be charged for it. You must have consumed at least one or more controlled substances, whether it be alcohol or drugs, before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
For a DWAI, the drugs or alcohol must have affected you slightly. The bottom line is that a DWAI isn’t a charge for completely incoherent drivers.
To receive DWAI vs. DUI charge, your blood or breath test must prove your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to be over 0.05% and under 0.08%. Additionally, the difference between a DWAI and DUI is the degree to which the controlled substances, drugs, and alcohol have affected you.
What Are the Punishments for a DWAI?
One of the biggest differences between a DWAI vs. DUI is the charges you’ll face. Even though you will face less severe charges, you can still see up to 180 days in jail. And, with the possibility of a $500 fine.
However, if you were charged with a DWAI for the second time, your penalties would be more severe. Jail time can increase to up to a year, with hefty fines. The fines for a second charge can be anywhere from the minimum fine to $1,500. Additionally, you may get your license taken away and be put on two-year substance probation.
Your charges for a second DWAI will solely depend on the county you are tried in and the jury. Sometimes, you will also get assigned community service or substance abuse classes. Again, this will solely depend on the charges and the court.
What Is a DUI?
Many individuals are very knowledgeable about what a DUI is. A driving under the influence charge is a very serious charge that those who are impaired behind the wheel will receive. You can get this offense when operating a vehicle with large amounts of alcohol or drugs in your system.
It’s important to note that a DUI doesn’t distinguish between substances, and if you are intoxicated or under the effects of drugs, you can still be charged with a DUI.
When receiving this offense, your BAC must be above 0.08%. If your BAC reaches a 0.15% or greater level, your charges will be more serious. In turn, you will receive more serious penalties for this charge. Additionally, if you refuse to take a BAC test after getting pulled over, you will receive a DUI charge.
What Are the Punishments for a DUI?
The punishments for a DUI are very different from the punishments for a DWAI. DUI punishments are considered very serious. For example, the first time you are charged with a DUI, you will face any of the following punishments:
- A revoked driver’s license
- A $1,000 fine
- Community service hours
- Substance abuse counseling
- Up to a year in jail
On top of the serious charges for this crime, receiving a second offense will worsen the given punishments. If you were charged for the second time with a DUI, you would be subject to the following punishments:
- A revoked driver’s license
- More community service hours
- 10 days of mandatory jail time
- Mandatory two-year probation
- A $1,500 fine
- Substance abuse therapy
Additionally, if your DI becomes a felony, you will be fined large amounts of money. Felony charges are around $2,000 to $3,000. And on top of these fines, you may be sentenced to two to six years in prison and three years of parole.
When Is A DUI Considered a Felony?
In Colorado, your DUI will only be seen as a felony in three situations. These situations include the following:
- You had three previous DUI convictions for alcohol or drugs
- Your impaired driving caused someone to suffer from injuries
- Your driving has killed someone, and they have suffered wrongful death
Depending on your situation and the DUI charge, the penalties will vary. Again, your punishment is solely up to the jury and those in the courtroom.
What Defenses Can We Bring to Your Case?
There are defenses that defense lawyers like Christian A. Schwaner can look at when it comes to your case. We will first look at the charge you were punished with. No matter if you have received a DWAI vs. DUI, we can find a defense for your case.
Some common defenses to a DWAI include:
- The officer that pulled you over did so wrongfully
- You were not lawfully arrested
- You had a previously existing physical condition that caused you to fail the sobriety tests administered
Some common DUI defenses are:
- Your BAC was less than 0.08%
- You had a medical condition that caused a false BAC reading
Have You Received One of These Charges?
If you have received any one of these charges, and wish to pursue action, then call our team today. We know the legal system more than anyone else and know exactly what to do to ensure your freedom.
Contact Christian A. Schwaner today if you wish to speak with our skilled defense team about your case. We will offer you a free consultation for your first call. No matter the charge, we have the skills to help you win your case.