Colorado DWAI – Driving While Ability Impaired – Avoid Fines, Jail, and License Revocation

Understanding Colorado’s DWAI laws can be overwhelming, especially given the potential penalties of fines, jail, and license suspension. Below, we will explore the intricacies of DWAI laws in Colorado, the penalties for first-time and repeat offenders, and the impact of DWAI convictions on insurance and employment. We’ll also discuss strategies for defending against DWAI charges and the importance of seeking legal help.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand Colorado’s Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) laws and the differences between DWAI and DUI charges.
  • Be aware of BAC limits, potential penalties, license revocation periods, insurance premium increases & effects on employment opportunities.
  • Take action to protect your rights with the help of a qualified DUI defense attorney for access to expertise & experience leading to successful outcomes.

Understanding Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) in Colorado

In Colorado, driving while ability impaired (DWAI) refers to a driver’s reduced capacity to operate a motor vehicle safely due to alcohol or drug consumption. DWAI is a less severe charge than driving under the influence (DUI), with lower blood alcohol content (BAC) limits and more lenient penalties. However, it still carries significant consequences, including fines, jail time, and potential license revocation. A persistent drunk driver may face even more severe penalties and consequences.

Comprehending the distinctions between DWAI and DUI charges is pivotal to safeguarding your rights, with the guidance of a seasoned DUI defense attorney easing your journey through the legal system after a DUI charge.

The Legal Definition of “Ability Impaired”

According to Colorado Revised Statutes CRS 42-4-1301 (1)(g), “ability impaired” is used to refer to a driver affected by alcohol and/or drugs. This means that even “the slightest” or a minor impact on a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely can result in a DWAI charge. A DWAI conviction in Colorado can lead to:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Community service
  • License revocation

Having knowledge of the legal interpretation of “ability impaired” and its consequences, especially regarding maintaining physical control, can assist in avoiding these penalties.

How DWAI Differs from DUI

While both DWAI and DUI charges involve driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are key differences between the two.

The presumptive BAC limit for DWAI in Colorado is between 0.05% and 0.08%. In contrast, the BAC limit for DUI is 0.08% or higher. However, a BAC level is not necessary for a conviction. There is no presumptive number for drug-impaired driving, so the difference is in the level of impairment.

A first-time DWAI conviction comes with less severe penalties than a first-time DUI conviction and can result in different DMV consequences.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and DWAI Charges

For alcohol-impaired driving, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is used as a measure of impairment. Police can request a Breathalyzer or a blood test for BAC. A urine test is no longer used.

BAC Limits for DWAI

For DWAI charges in Colorado, the BAC limit is set between 0.05% and 0.08%, which is the legal limit for this offense. This is a crucial distinction from DUI charges, which require a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

The presumption is that if an adult’s BAC is below a 0.05%, then they are not impaired. However, a minor’s BAC limit is zero. In addition, you can have a 0% blood alcohol level and still be convicted of DWAI, if there is evidence of drug-induced impairment.

Consequences of Refusing a Chemical Test

How do they know what your BAC is? Driving in Colorado is a privilege, and it is presumed that by driving you have consented to a BAC test.

Refusing a chemical test in Colorado can result in serious penalties. Your license may be revoked for one year, and you may be subject to increased fines and other penalties.

It’s a difficult decision to decide whether you should refuse a chemical test. A correctly performed test could show your BAC is higher than the legal limit, reducing your defenses. However, failure to submit to a test may keep you from showing that your BAC was actually below 0.08%.

A careful consideration of your options is necessary before choosing to refuse a chemical test, given the long-term impacts it could have on your life.

Penalties for DWAI Convictions in Colorado

The penalties for DWAI convictions in Colorado depend on whether it’s a first-time offense or a repeat offense.

First-Time DWAI Offenders

A first-time Colorado DWAI offender may face the following penalties:

  • 2 days to 180 days in jail
  • A fine of $200 to $500 plus court costs
  • 24 to 48 hours of community service
  • 8 DMV points on their driving record

For those facing a first offense, recognizing these possible repercussions and taking measures to prevent recurrences is of utmost importance.

Hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you navigate the legal process and potentially reduce the severity of these penalties.

Repeat DWAI Offenders

Repeat DWAI offenders in Colorado face increased penalties, including jail sentences of 5 days to 1 year, fines of $600 to $1,500 plus court costs, 48 to 96 hours of community service, and 12 DMV points on their driving record. A third DWAI conviction can lead to a license revocation of up to 5 years, and a fourth DWAI conviction can result in even more severe consequences, such as a two-year license suspension, three years of parole, and a potential prison sentence.

License Revocation and Reinstatement After a DWAI Conviction

After a DWAI conviction in Colorado, your driver’s license may be revoked for a duration that varies depending on the specific circumstances and the number of offenses on your record. To reinstate your driver’s license, you’ll need to complete a driver’s license reinstatement form, pay a reinstatement fee, and provide proof of insurance.

Understanding the process after having a driver’s license revoked and the reinstatement procedure following a DWAI conviction is a significant step towards resuming driving and progressing in life.

Duration of License Revocation

The duration of license revocation after a DWAI conviction in Colorado can range from:

  • 9 months to 2 years for a first conviction
  • 1 to 3 years for a second conviction
  • up to 5 years for a third conviction
  • 5 years or more for a fourth conviction

Recognizing these different revocation periods is key to understanding the repercussions of DWAI convictions and taking appropriate measures to restore your driving privileges.

Steps to Reinstate a Driver’s License

To reinstate your driver’s license after a DWAI conviction in Colorado, you’ll need to:

  1. Complete a driver’s license reinstatement form (DR 2870 Application for Reinstatement)
  2. Pay a reinstatement fee
  3. Provide proof of SR-22 insurance to demonstrate financial responsibility.

Reaching out to the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles for detailed information on the specific requirements for driver’s license reinstatement post a DWAI conviction is advised, as they may differ based on the unique circumstances of your case.

Impact of DWAI Convictions on Insurance and Employment

A DWAI conviction can have far-reaching consequences beyond the immediate legal penalties. Your insurance premiums may increase significantly after a DWAI conviction, and employers may be more cautious when considering someone with a DWAI charge on their record.

Gaining an understanding of how a DWAI conviction could affect your insurance premiums and job prospects helps assess the overall implications of this transgression.

Insurance Premium Increases

After a DWAI conviction in Colorado, you may see an enormous increase in your full coverage insurance policy rates. This increase can remain in effect for a full ten years, significantly affecting your finances. Being aware of how a DWAI conviction could impact your insurance costs is crucial for evaluating the overall repercussions of this violation.

Effects on Employment Opportunities

A DWAI conviction can negatively affect your employment opportunities, especially in jobs that require a clean driving record. Employers may be hesitant to hire someone with a DWAI conviction on their record, as it could be perceived as an indication of poor judgment or a lack of responsibility.

However, with the right support and determination, it is possible to overcome these challenges and find success in your career.

Defending Against DWAI Charges

In some cases, it may be possible to defend against DWAI charges and potentially reduce or dismiss the charges altogether. Strategies for defending against DWAI charges may include challenging the accuracy of BAC testing or proving a lack of impairment at the time of the incident.

Enlisting the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney can greatly improve your chances of successfully defending against DWAI charges.

Challenging BAC Results

Challenging BAC results may involve questioning the accuracy of the test, the qualifications of the person who administered the test, or the chain of custody of the sample. Successfully challenging BAC testing results may lead to reduced charges or even dismissal of the case. However, if the challenge is unsuccessful, you may face additional penalties.

It’s crucial to work with an experienced DUI defense attorney to determine the best approach for your specific situation.

Proving Lack of Impairment

Proving a lack of impairment in a DWAI case may involve presenting evidence of sobriety or disputing the arresting officer’s observations. Evidence may include witness testimony, video evidence, or medical records that prove you were not impaired at the time of the incident.

Successfully proving a lack of impairment may result in reduced charges or dismissal of the case, but it’s important to work closely with an experienced DUI defense attorney to build a strong defense.

Underage Drinking and DWAI Laws in Colorado

In Colorado, we address underage drinking and driving with strict laws to ensure the safety of young drivers and others on the road. The Underage Drinking and Driving (UDD) laws specifically target drivers under 21, prohibiting them from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.02% and 0.05%. Referred to as “Baby DUI” laws, these regulations are designed to deter underage drinking and driving.

Underage drivers found in violation of these laws face serious consequences. A DWAI conviction for an underage driver can lead to penalties such as fines, community service, and license revocation. The severity of these penalties varies based on the offense’s specifics but consistently aims to reinforce the importance of responsible driving behavior.

It’s crucial for young drivers and their families to understand the gravity of these laws. Not only do they protect the well-being of the drivers and the public, but they also prevent long-term legal and social repercussions that can arise from underage DWAI offenses. Awareness and adherence to these laws are key to maintaining safety and upholding legal responsibilities on the road.

Seeking Legal Help for DWAI Charges

Facing a DWAI charge can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to navigate the legal process alone. Seeking legal help from an experienced DUI defense attorney can provide invaluable guidance, support, and expertise throughout the process.

Engaging a DUI defense attorney can safeguard your rights, construct an effective defense, and possibly lessen the impact of a DWAI conviction on your life.

Benefits of Hiring a DUI Defense Attorney

Hiring a DUI defense attorney can provide several benefits, including:

  • A thorough understanding of DUI laws
  • A strong defense
  • The potential to reduce penalties
  • Legal guidance and support every step of the way

A DUI/DWAI defense attorney can lower the stress of a DWAI charge. We can help you understand the path through your DMV and criminal court cases and work to get you the best possible outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is driving ability impaired?

Driving ability impaired is known as a DWAI and is when a person’s BAC level has reached a certain limit lower than that of the DWI charge. It can also be when a person has consumed alcohol or drugs in such a way that it affects their abilities, reducing them from what they ordinarily would have been.

What is driving while ability impaired in Colorado?

In Colorado, DWAI stands for Driving While Ability Impaired, and it is when your BAC (blood alcohol content) is over 0.05% but under 0.08%. It is a serious offense that should be avoided at all costs.

Is driving while ability impaired a misdemeanor in Colorado?

In Colorado, Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) is a misdemeanor, however, the penalties for a DWAI conviction can be harsher than other misdemeanor charges.

What is the statute for driving while ability impaired in CO?

Driving while ability impaired in Colorado is defined in Section 42-4-1301 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

What is the BAC limit for a DWAI charge in Colorado?

The BAC limit for a DWAI charge in Colorado is between 0.05% and 0.08%, making it illegal to drive with any amount of alcohol in the body.

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