Most people in Colorado are aware that if a person has a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08 percent, he or she could be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). However, this is not the only drunk driving charge recognized under Colorado law. Motorists could also be charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI). It is important to understand the differences between these charges and when they will be applicable.
Per Colorado Statutes, a person can be charged with DUI if, after consuming alcohol or drugs, they are substantially incapable of exercising clear judgment, due care or the sufficient physical control needed to safely operate their motor vehicle. This includes those who have a BAC at or above the legal limit.
DWAI is a less severe charge than DUI. A person can be charged with DWAI if they are affected by the slightest degree after consuming alcohol or drugs so that it makes them less able than an ordinary driver to exercise the clear judgment, due care or sufficient physical control needed to safely operate their motor vehicle. A person can be charged with DWAI even if their BAC is below the legal limit.
Whether one is charged with DUI or DWAI in Colorado, it is important for them to formulate a strong defense in their favor. These charges can lead to significant penalties, including the loss of one's driver's license, fines and incarceration. With professional guidance, it may be possible to develop a drunk driving defense strategy that aims to see that the accused is not wrongfully convicted.