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In the state of Colorado, the term DWAI means Driving While Ability Impaired. It means that you have been caught operating an automobile when your BAC (blood alcohol content) is greater than 0.05% but under 0.08%.

A first-time DWAI in Denver, which is a traffic misdemeanor, carries between two and 180 days in jail and fines of $200 to $500, along with 24 to 48 hours of community service. This charge will also result in eight DMV points being added to your license.

DWAI charges are not the same as a DUI per se charge. The DWAI charge alone won’t result in your license being suspended.

Understanding Colorado DWAI Charges

According to Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1301 (1)(g), C.R.S., a DWAI is the charge you receive if you drive while being impaired to the “slightest degree.” In terms of the DWAI law in Colorado, it means that you are less able physically or mentally to operate a vehicle safely.

Usually, in Colorado, your abilities are considered impaired if your BAC exceeds .05%, but if it is under the “legal limit” in the state, which is .08%, which is when you would receive a DUI per se charge.

DWAI vs. DUI Charges

DWAI charges aren’t as serious as DUIs. Usually, you only receive a DUI if your BAC is .308% or higher. As mentioned above, the DWAI charge is only applied if your BAC is between .05% and .08%. Unlike getting a first DUI conviction, if you receive a DWAI conviction, your license is not automatically suspended. Also, the community service and fines required for a DUI are twice as severe as what you receive if you are convicted of DWAI.

Providing DWAI

With a DUI, there’s a set BAC level that is necessary to be automatically guilty. This isn’t the case with DWAI. Instead, a DWAI requires some type of true impairment. This means if your BAC was under .08% and your driving was not impaired in any way, then you are not guilty of a DWAI.

While this is true if your BAC is higher than .05% but under .08%, it provides strong evidence that when you were behind the wheel, you were impaired. This is evidence that can typically be shown with results from a breath or blood test.

Sometimes, it’s tempting to refuse to take the chemical test to avoid this type of outcome. However, if you do this, you will face severe penalties. For example, if you refuse a chemical or breath test in Denver, it means your driving privilege will be suspended automatically.

You will also likely be assessed a fine and may even have to spend time in jail. Refusal of the test can also be used as evidence that you were actually guilty of the DWAI you were charged with.

Potential Penalties for a Colorado DWAI

How many offenses you have been charged with in any state or territory in the U.S. will be considered when determining your penalties. Some of the possible consequences of a DWAI conviction include:

First Offense

For a first offense, you will be assessed eight points on your driving record, spend two to 180 days in jail, have to complete 24 to 48 hours of community service, and face a fine of $200 to $500.

Second Offense

For a second offense, eight points will be assessed to your driving record, you will spend 10 days to a year in jail, have your license revoked for one year, must complete 48 to 120 hours of community service, and face fines of $600 up to $1,500.

Third Offense

For a third offense, you will be assigned another eight points to your driving record, spend 60 days to one year in jail, face a license revocation of two years, be assigned 48 to 120 hours of community service, and face a fine of $600 to $1,500.

Fourth Offense Becomes a Felony DUI

If you are charged with a fourth DWAI, it is considered a class 4 felony in Colorado. Some of the potential consequences of this include a two-year license suspension, three years of parole, two to six years in state prison, and a fine that ranges between $2,000 and $500,00.

Tips for Fighting DWAI Charges

It’s smart to get in touch with our law firm and speak to our experienced attorneys if you are facing DWAI charges. Even a first-time offense can result in serious consequences (as you can see above).

Some of the defenses we can potentially use for your case include:

  • The officer did not advise you of your rights
  • Your BAC was under .05% when you were driving
  • You were suspected of a DWAI just because you had a medical marijuana identification card
  • Your driving wasn’t impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • You were not arrested lawfully
  • There was no probable cause for the officer to pull you over

Don’t Wait to Seek Legal Help for Your Colorado DWAI Charge

If you have been arrested and charged with DWAI in Colorado, let our Denver legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani provide you with the aggressive defense you need. We are here to help you provide the legal help and services that you want and need to overcome the charges you are facing.

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