If you are arrested for drunk or drugged driving and charged with a DUI (Driving under the Influence of Alcohol), a DWAI (Driving while Ability Impaired by Alcohol) or a DUID (Driving under the Influence of Drugs) your life and reputation may be negatively impacted for years. In addition to the possible jail time, fines and fees associated with a DUI/DWAI, a conviction can also result in the revocation or suspension of your driver’s license. Losing your driver’s license can mean losing your job and home. Auto insurance companies typically increase premiums or terminate coverage when they are notified of a DUI or DWAI conviction. A DUI, DWAI and a DUID are a misdemeanor traffic offenses that will stay on your driving record for life if convicted.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DUI / DUID AND DWAI
The difference between a DUI / DUID and DWAI is that of severity. A DUI / DUID is the more serious of the two charges and refers to Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and or drugs (for a first time DUI / DUID conviction, the maximum penalty can be up to 1 year in jail). A DWAI refers to Driving While Ability Impaired by alcohol and or drugs (for a first time DWAI conviction, the maximum penalty can be up to 180 days in jail). In most situations, a breathalyzer test or a blood test will determine whether an individual is charged with a DUI or DWAI. If a blood or breath test shows a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.05 but less than 0.08, a person is presumed to be Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). If the blood or breath test shows a BAC at or above 0.08, the legal limit in Colorado, a person is presumed to be Driving Under the Influence of alcohol (DUI). A refusal to take a blood or breath test is almost always charged as a DUI. A person may be classified as a persistent drunk driver and subject to enhanced penalties if a blood or breath test shows a BAC level of 0.17 or greater (0.15 or greater starting on January of 2014).
DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLE (DMV) HEARINGS
Beating a charge of drinking and driving in court is half the battle. If you are charged with a DUI, you will most likely have to appear for a DMV hearing before the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles to determine if your driving privileges should be revoked.
In most cases you will have seven (7) days from the time of your arrest to request a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing. If you fail to make a timely request, your driving privileges will be automatically revoked.
Under Colorado law, an Administrative Hearing Officer can revoke a person’s driving privileges for:
Driving a motor vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) greater than a 0.08.
Refusing to take or complete a blood or breath alcohol test when requested to do so by a police officer.
Driving a motor vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) between 0.02 and 0.05 while under the age of 21.
Driving a commercial motor vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) greater than a 0.04.
A conviction for DUI / DUID offense or a second or subsequent alcohol related conviction.
HOW A DUI LAWYER CAN HELP WITH YOUR CASE
If you go to court on your own or if you simply accept your fate and plead guilty to the charges, you face possible jail time, driver’s license suspension, large fines, mandatory public service, and probation, and that is just for a first offense. A DUI conviction can also affect you long after you have fulfilled your punishment, making it difficult to procure employment and promotions, school loans, and professional licenses. An experienced drunk driving defense attorney can help you avoid the serious consequences of a DUI or DWAI conviction. If you are facing a drunken driving charge or a DMV hearing, the Law Office of Kip O’Connor can help. We have extensive experience defending the rights of the accused, we are dedicated to protection our clients’ rights and developing the strongest possible defense case. We will work tirelessly to help our clients resolve their DUI charges and DMV issues as favorably and efficiently as possible. For a free initial consultation, call us at (970)384-1000.