What is the difference between a DUI and DWAI?
A DUI, or “driving under the influence” charge, means that the state of Colorado alleges that you drove while under the influence of alcohol. The legal blood alcohol limit in Colorado is .08, but if there is no chemical test (a blood or breath test) the police and district attorney’s office can argue that you drove while “substantially incapable” of driving because you were under the influence of alcohol.
A DWAI, or “driving while ability impaired” charge, is a similar but lesser charge than DUI. You can be charged with DWAI if the state of Colorado alleges that you drove with a blood alcohol level of .05 to .079. If there is no chemical test, Colorado law holds that you can be charged with DWAI if you drove while your abilities were impaired “to the slightest degree”. As you can see, the state of Colorado makes getting a DWAI quite easy — “impaired to the slightest degree” gives the prosecutor a low bar to prove their case.
What are the possible consequences of a DUI/DWAI conviction?
DUI convictions carry a possibility of up to 1 year in jail, court costs and fines. Alcohol classes and community service are required. Mandatory jail is required on a first offense with a test result above a .200 and subsequent offenses.
DWAI convictions carry a possibility of up to six months in jail, court costs and fines. Alcohol classes and community service are required. Mandatory jail is required on subsequent offenses.
It looks like I’ve been charged with two counts of DUI for the same incident. Why?
There are two charges — DUI and a charge called “DUI per se”. When someone is charged with DUI, the officer will often add the DUI per se charge (sometimes this charge is added later by the district attorney). DUI per se is essentially the same charge as DUI but it allows the district attorney an extra way of proving the charge. Because the DUI statute holds that someone is guilty of driving under the influence if they are driving while “substantially incapable” of operating a motor vehicle, the DUI per se statute allows the district attorney and judge in a case to legally automatically assume that anyone who has higher than a .08 blood alcohol level while driving was substantially incapable of driving at the time. As you can see, these laws are set up to make it easier for the state to prove their case.
What is a DUID?
A DUID, or driving under the influence of drugs, is like a DUI charge, except that it applies to drugs rather than alcohol. Although recreational marijuana is now legal, driving while under the influence of it is not legal, just like alcohol.
Officers will ask people suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana (or other drugs) to submit to a blood test. In the case of marijuana, if the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level in the blood tests is higher than 5 nanograms, the person will be charged with DUID. Although this gives the state a presumption that the driver was under the influence, a blood test over 5 nanograms of marijuana will not automatically make someone guilty of DUID. You have the right to present evidence at trial that you were not impaired at the time of driving.
Will I lose my driver’s license?
It depends upon many factors but in most cases, if your test result is .08 or higher, your driver’s license will most likely be suspended by the DMV. You could also lose your driver’s license depending upon the results of your criminal case as well. You have two separate possibilities or paths to lose your license. One through the DMV process and one through the criminal process.
Can I get a restricted driver’s license for work if my license is suspended?
In most cases, the answer is yes. You must meet several requirements and you will most likely be required to install an interlock system in your car.
I have the option to get a DMV hearing. What’s that?
Your license will be taken or invalidated at the time a chemical test shows that you were driving over the legal limit. So, if you took a breath test and your BAC was over the limit, the officer will take your license immediately and give you a temporary seven-day permit. If you took a blood test, once the results come back, if your BAC is over the .08 limit, you will be mailed a letter stating that your license will be revoked with instructions to dispute the revocation. In either case, you will have seven days from that time to schedule a DMV hearing to dispute the revocation of your license. You must act quickly! If you do not request a hearing within seven days, your license will be revoked.
When you hire The Foley Law Firm to represent you in your DUI, DWAI or DUID, in addition to the criminal case, we will represent you at the DMV hearing at no additional charge. It is important to act quickly! Once the seven-day window for requesting a DMV hearing has passed, the DMV will automatically revoke your license.
Can I re-test my blood or breath test results?
You can re-test blood test results but you cannot re-test breath test results.
Should I take my case to trial or accept a plea offer?
This is a complicated and extremely important decision. There are many factors, including your previous history, the results from your chemical test and the specific facts of your case. The attorneys at The Foley Law Firm are here to explain the process, help you understand the important considerations of your particular case, and to help you get the best result.
At The Foley Law Firm, we understand that your DUI, DWAI or DUID cases are extremely stressful. We’re here to fight for you and to make the process as smooth as possible.