What Is the Difference Between DUI and a DWAI?

Drunk Driving Charges in Denver, Colorado

Our DUI / DWAI lawyers defend many clients who have been charged with DUI or DWAI in Denver, Colorado. Your blood alcohol level will have the strongest effect on your likelihood of conviction and possible sentence. That's why it's important to find a Colorado DUI lawyer who will analyze your case, from the police stop through sentencing, and construct the best defense possible. Whether you took a blood test or breath test, whether you did the roadside maneuvers or declined to do them, and whether you made statements to police or did not, you need a DUI attorney who examines every part of your case.

Please contact us online to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you.

DUI and DWAI Definition in Colorado Revised Statutes for Douglas County

  • DUI or "driving under the influence" is defined in Douglas County, Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1301 as driving a motor vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, which affects the person to a degree that the person is substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.

  • DWAI or "driving while ability impaired" in Castle Rock, Colorado means driving a motor vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, which affects the person to the slightest degree so that the person is less able than the person ordinarily would have been, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.

The main differences in these definitions are the words "substantially incapable" in a DUI and "slightest degree" in a DWAI. Otherwise, they are nearly identical.

Blood Alcohol Content Affects DUI or DWAI Charges in Arapahoe County

A blood alcohol content (BAC) of over .05 percent will put you at risk of a DWAI in Arapahoe County, and a BAC of .08 percent or over is in the presumptive DUI range. A "DUI per se" simply means that, even if you were driving perfectly well, and passed all the roadside sobriety tests, if you have a BAC over .08 percent, you can be charged with a DUI. This is also known as "excess blood alcohol content." This statute makes it much easier for the government to convict you.

Even if your BAC is not above the legal limit for a DUI, you may still face some harsh consequences for "driving while ability impaired." While this is a lesser of the two offenses, you will still receive eight points on your driving record, which combined with any other points you may already have may result in the loss of your driver's license for points. Jail is always a possibility with a Colorado DUI or DWAI.

If you are under 21, and your BAC is at .02% or above, you will be facing DWAI / DUI charges.

DUI / DWAI Penalties and Sentence in Adams County | C.R.S. 42-4-1307

The penalties for drunk driving in Adams County and throughout Colorado are becoming harsher. In addition to points being added to your license and having your drivers license suspended, you can expect the following:

  • For a first-time DWAI offense, a defendant will face fines between $200 and $500, spend between 2 and 180 days in the county jail, complete a minimum of 24 (maximum 48) public service hours, and potentially face a period of probation (no more than two years).

  • For a first DUI offense, you could pay fines up to $1,000. Plus, your jail time could be as much as one year (5-day minimum) with up to 96 hours of community service, and potentially face a period of probation (no more than two years).

  • For a second DUI or DWAI offense, the penalties are even stiffer. This time, you face fines up to $1,500. You could spend up to one year in jail, while serving up to 120 hours of community service. Finally, a period of probation of at least two years.

Habitual Offender and Felony DUI in Denver County, Colorado

Those in Thornton, Commerce City, and Denver who are habitual offenders will face even harsher penalties, and now 4th time offenders face felony charges. DUI/DWAI Felony charges can result in 6 years in the Department of Corrections, and will impact your entire livelihood.

Contact a DUI Defense Lawyer in Jefferson County

If you are facing DUI or DWAI charges in Jefferson County, Colorado, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact our experienced DUI lawyers at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

Facing Charges? Get Help Now!