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Colorado is unique as it has multiple separate crimes related to drinking and driving: DUI and DWAI. Driving while ability impaired (DWAI) is very similar to DUI, but it has lighter penalties and a different set of elements to fulfill. Under the Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1301 (1)(g), a person is guilty of DWAI if they are affected by alcohol or drugs in the “slightest degree.” Essentially, you could be mentally/physically able to operate a vehicle, but law enforcement has found you’re slightly inebriated/impaired and unable to safely drive.

If you or someone you know has been charged with DWAI or DUI, get in contact with an experienced Denver defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can analyze the evidence and determine if at any point unlawful actions by law enforcement were made during the traffic stop, BAC testing, or arrest. They can then utilize that information to build a sturdy defense and challenge your charges. Be proactive and protect your future by contacting the experienced and skilled legal team at Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C..

Denver DWAI Defense Lawyer, CO

There is no reason you should face the legal system alone without a dedicated advocate by your side to guide you. Criminal cases involve multiple complex factors, and any mistake could seriously jeopardize your case. That is why we highly encourage you to reach out to Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. who have over 28 years of experience handling DUI cases with promising results.

Matthew Martin has assisted hundreds of clients avoid the full statutory penalties and can do the same for you. Call (303) 725-0017 to set up your first consultation today. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Denver area and surrounding counties including Douglas County, Boulder County, Arapahoe County, Adams County, Jefferson County, and Broomfield County.

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Colorado DWAI Laws

The definition of a DWAI can be found under the Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1301 (1)(g), which state you’re guilty of driving while ability impaired when affected by alcohol or drugs to the “slightest degree.” Since the crime involves only minor drinking or drug use, the legal limit for DWAI is slightly less than DUI.

In Colorado, you can be charged with DWAI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over .05 %, but less than the legal limit of .08 %. Since the limit is so low, many people have been charged with DWAI for simply having one or two drinks. Often drivers charged with DWAI aren’t intoxicated in the slightest and were charged simply because of their BAC.

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Difference Between DUI and DWAI in Colorado

DUI and DWAI share a lot of similarities, but they also have distinct differences. Driving while ability impaired is a less serious drunk driving charge than DUI. The penalties for DWAI are marginally lighter than DUI as their maximum is only 180 days in jail while the DUI maximum sentence is up to one year in jail. A DWAI conviction also does not carry an automatic license suspension nor does it have a fine over $500.

In addition, it’s much harder to face DUI charges than DWAI. The legal limit for DUI in Colorado is .08 BAC unless you are a underaged driver or a commercial driver. While it’s true you can be arrested even if your BAC isn’t at .08 %, most arrests are DUI per se, meaning the officer’s sole evidence of the intoxication is the chemical test. DWAI charges are much different as the legal limit is only .05 % to .08 % BAC. With such a low limit, drivers who have only had a drink or two are susceptible to DWAI charges.

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Is DWAI a Misdemeanor in Colorado?

The penalties for DWAI will depend on your criminal record. If you have any prior DWAI or DUI convictions, then you should expect to face an enhanced sentence. The following are the penalties for DWAI under Colorado law.

The penalties for a first DWAI include:

  • 2 to 180 days in jail
  • Fines for $200 to $500
  • 24 to 48 hours of community service;
  • 8 DMV points

The penalties for a second DWAI include:

  • 10 days to 1 year in jail
  • Fines of $600 t0 $1,500
  • 48 to 120 hours of community service
  • 8 DMV points

The penalties for a second DWAI include:

  • 60 days to 12 months in jail
  • Fines of $600 to $1,500
  • 48 to 120 hours of community service
  • 8 DMV points.

The penalties for a fourth DWAI charged as a Class 4 Felony include:

  • 2 to 6 years prison
  • Fines of $2,000 to $500,000.

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Additional Resources

Colorado DMV Hearings Restrictions Due to COVID-19 – Visit the official website to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected DMV hearings, especially those related to chemical test refusals. Access the site to learn how they are accepting hearing requests, information required, and contact information.

DUI Laws | Colorado Revised Statutes– Access the section of the Revised Statutes to learn more about the laws governing driving under the influence (DUI) in Colorado. You can read the precise definition of the crime, admissible defenses, find additional information about DWAI and DUI per se, and how juveniles are charged.

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DUI & DWAI Denver Defense Attorney

Have you been accused of driving while your ability was impaired (DWAI)? If so, it’s within your best interest to get in touch with an experienced defense attorney. Our skilled and knowledgeable attorney Matthew Martin has over two decades of experience he can put to the test for you. Set up your first consultation today by calling his office at (303) 725-0017 at no cost to you.

Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. has offices throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area including Douglas County, Jefferson County, Boulder County, Arapahoe County, Adams County, and Broomfield County.