After a couple of drinks, you might feel fine to drive. And this might very well be the case, as your BAC is under the legal limit of 0.08. However, even when a Colorado driver is pulled over for a suspected DUI and is given a breathalyzer, they could face repercussions even if they blow below the legal limit. As such, motorists need to understand what a DWAI is and how it compares to a DUI.
DUI vs DWAI
While DUI stands for driving under the influence, DWAI stands for driving while ability impaired. A DWAI is a lesser offense than a DUI; however, it still carries with it serious penalties. When a motorist has a BAC of 0.08 or more, there is the presumption that they are under the influence of alcohol. Thus, a DUI charge could result.
If a motorist has a BAC that is less than 0.08 but greater than 0.05, they may be free from a DUI charge; however, there is a presumption that their ability to operate a vehicle is impaired by alcohol. As such, a DWAI could be charged.
Penalties of a DWAI
With regards to administrative penalties in Colorado, when a driver is convicted of a DWAI, there is no required period for a license suspension. However, a motorist will receive 8 points, which could pose a risk of suspension. This is dependent on whether the motorist already has points on their driving record and how many.
For criminal penalties, a motorist could face serious repercussions for a DWAI. If it is a driver’s first conviction, this is classified as a misdemeanor. It could result in 2 to 180 days in jail, a fine between $200 and $500 and 24 to 48 hours of community service. For a second DWAI or a first DWAI with a prior DUI, this could result in up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 120 hours in community service.
Facing a DUI or DWAI charge can be a very overwhelming time. It may not be apparent that you have various options when asserting a defense. Thus, it is important to become informed of your options when moving forward with a criminal defense action. An experienced attorney can help a defendant navigate the process, assisting with their defense.