The consequences of being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with ability impaired (DWAI) can be incredibly life-altering. Given the potential impact that these charges can have on all aspects of your life, including employment, education, and personal relationships, knowing what you’re up against is crucial. Working with an attorney is your best chance at minimizing the consequences. If you find yourself in this situation, contact The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a free consultation.
Why Choose The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC For Your DUI or DWAI Case?
When you’re faced with a DUI/DWAI charge, selecting the right attorney is crucial. Here are some reasons why you should choose The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC:
- Our firm enjoys an established reputation as a professional, courteous, and creative local firm.
- With more than 12 years of experience assisting clients through difficult life situations in and out of the courthouse, we have the skill and experience needed to handle DUI/DWAI cases.
- Colorado is truly our home, and we are dedicated to providing help to everyone who needs it.
How an Attorney Can Help You With a DUI or DWAI Charge
Some of the key ways in which a lawyer can help you with a DUI or DWAI include:
- A lawyer will meet with you to gather and examine the details of your case.
- Your lawyer will work closely with you to explore possible defense strategies that can minimize the consequences of your charges. This includes looking at procedural errors made during your arrest or questioning the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood test results.
- Your lawyer may also consider alternative options such as diversion programs and probation to avoid a conviction.
Driving Under The Influence
In the state of Colorado, it is considered a criminal offense to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater. If your BAC is 0.08%, you will be automatically found guilty of DUI, regardless of your driving ability. This is known as a DUI per se. There is no requirement that the prosecution proves your driving was actually impaired.
However, even if your BAC is below .08%, you can be found guilty of a DUI if you are found to be incapable of safely driving your vehicle due to being under the influence:
“Driving under the influence” means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs 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.”
Penalties for DUI in Colorado
The penalties for a DUI conviction can be severe. They vary depending on the specific charges and the defendant’s prior history of alcohol violations. Some of the potential penalties include:
- Fines: Up to $1,000 for a first-time DUI conviction or higher for subsequent offenses.
- Imprisonment: 5 days to one year for a first-time DUI conviction or longer for subsequent offenses.
- License Suspension: Typically, a nine-month license suspension for a first-time DUI conviction, with longer suspensions for subsequent offenses.
- Alcohol and Drug Education classes
- Community Service
Driving While Ability Impaired in Colorado
In Colorado, “Driving While Ability Impaired” (DWAI) occurs when a person’s mental or physical ability to operate a vehicle is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs “to the slightest degree.” Generally, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .05%, but below .08%, is considered evidence of DWAI.
“Driving while ability impaired” means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs, 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.”
DWAI is a lesser offense compared to DUI in Colorado. However, the penalties for a DWAI conviction can still have severe implications on your life moving forward. They can include:
- Jail time: For the first offense, a conviction carries up to 180 days in jail, with subsequent offenses carrying up to 6 years in some circumstances.
- Fines: A first DWAI conviction carries up to $500 in fines, with subsequent convictions imposing up to $500,000 in fines for a felony DWAI.
- Community Service: For first offenses, a sentence can include up to 48 hours of community service, with subsequent convictions carrying up to 120 hours.
- Points on Driving Record: DWAI convictions will bring 8 points to your driving record, and can lead to a license suspension if you’re convicted of a felony DWAI.
For specific information about potential consequences, speak with an experienced attorney right away.
Contact The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC To Schedule a Free Consultation
The consequences of a DUI or DWAI conviction can be severe. If you find yourself facing these charges, it’s important to work with an experienced law firm to avoid harsh consequences. Contact The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a free consultation.