Impaired driving laws in Colorado cover a number of scenarios in which drivers may be under the influence of substances. This includes impairment just under the legal limits, as well as impairment by substances other than alcohol alone.

Knowing the differences in charges and the laws can help you understand what may be on the line when you or a loved one faces driving while ability impaired (DWAI) or driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) Douglas County or anywhere in Colorado. It can also help you start to identify some defense options and what to do next.

DWAI vs. DUI vs. DUID in Douglas County: What’s the Difference?

DWAI charges are essentially lesser versions of DUI charges for a first offense. The difference generally lies in the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). At BACs between 0.05 and 0.08, DWAI charges may be filed; when BACs are at or over 0.08, DUI charges and penalties can come into play.

DUID charges, as the name implies, are filed when the impairment is allegedly the result of drugs. This can include legal drugs (e.g., over-the-counter medicine and prescription medications) and illegal drugs.

Here, it’s also important to know that:

  • DWAI penalties, for a first offense, are generally lesser than the punishments that can be imposed for a first DUI or DUID.

  • A first DWAI can be considered a DUI for the purposes of filing subsequent charges.

  • While breathalyzer and blood tests may be used for DWAIs and DUIs, only blood tests can be used for DUIDs.

Penalties for a First Offense DWAI, DUI & DUID in Douglas County, CO

Check out the table below to see how the penalties for Colorado DWAIs, DUIs, and DUIDs vary for a first offense. Please be aware that all of these charges are typically filed at the misdemeanor level and that these penalties shown below assume that no aggravating factors (e.g., accidents or other crimes) were involved.

Drunk Driving Offense



Other Penalties

1st DWAI

2 to 180 days in jail

$200 to $500

No driver’s license suspension8 DMV license points24 to 48 hrs. of community service

1st DUI

5 days to 1 year in jail

$600 to $1,000

9 mo. Driver’s license suspension12 DMV license points48 to 96 hrs. of community service

1st DUI with a BAC of 0.15 or higher

5 days to 1 year in jail

$600 to $1,000

A persistent drunk driver (PPD) designationLonger driver’s license suspensions12 DMV license points48 to 96 hrs. of community service

1st DUID

5 days to 1 year in jail

$600 to $1,000

9 mo. Driver’s license suspension12 DMV license points48 to 96 hrs. of community service

How to Fight DWAIs & DUIDs in Douglas County

As upsetting as it can be to be accused of DWAI, DUI, or DUID, charges are not a conviction. There can be many ways to refute the allegations and weaken the case of the prosecution. In impaired driving cases, some effective defense strategies can include:

  • Pointing out procedural and/or legal violations made by arresting officers: This could include a lack of probable cause to make the traffic stop, failing to Mirandize the accused before the arrest, performing breath tests too soon, or making various other errors at any point during the traffic stop, the arrest, or after.

  • Showing how any alleged signs of impairment were caused by other factors: What officers “observed” during a traffic stop may have been anything from an allergic reaction to exhaustion. Field sobriety tests aren’t as objective as they can be made out to be, and there can be a number of ways to counter the so-called evidence of impairment or intoxication.

  • Challenging the validity of the breath or blood test results: Chemical tests have to be performed according to very specific rules. Officers have to wait a certain period of time, specific instruments have to be used (and properly calibrated), samples may need to be handled in a certain manner, and more. Mistakes at any point can compromise the test results and be strong leverage for a defense case.

The truth is the best defense for a DWAI, DUI, or DUID case in Douglas County will depend on what happened, the evidence, and more. Find out what your best defense options are by contacting an experienced Douglas County and Parker DUI lawyer today.

Where to Get Exceptional DWAI & DUID Defense in Douglas County: Contact Us

A Douglas County DWAI & DUID lawyer at the Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC is here for you, ready to protect and defend your rights when you have been accused of drunk or drugged driving. Highly experienced and exceptionally skilled, our team will fight zealously for you, helping you navigate the criminal justice system while striving for favorable resolutions.

The reality is that you only have one chance to make your case, and the time you have to craft and strengthen it can be very limited. When you want the best possible outcomes and a trusted Castle Rock DUI lawyer in your corner, it’s time to contact the Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC.

Call or email our firm for a confidential, no-obligation consultation.

The sooner you contact our team, the faster we can get to work defending you. Our Douglas County DUI lawyer is effective at defending people in misdemeanor and felony DUI cases, including those that have aggravating circumstances—or where it may seem like there are few options. With the Law Office of Lori in your corner, you can be confident that you have an experienced lawyer protecting your rights and fighting for ideal resolutions at every step.

Discover the difference our team can make by contacting the Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC for a consultation today.