Late-Night Drinks can Result in a “Morning After DUI”


Most adults who drink understand that it is a bad idea to drive home even after a moderate night of drinking. Under current Colorado law, a person is considered legally drunk if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is higher than .08, and can also be convicted of the lesser offense of Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) with a BAC in excess of .05. A normal sized adult can reach either of these limits after consuming just a few drinks, especially if they are consumed quickly or on an empty stomach. In addition, as a general rule, it takes the human body one hour to metabolize one drink, so anyone who drinks more than one or two drinks in an evening may well risk a criminal conviction if they choose to drive home. In some cases, this risk may extend past the night that the drinks were consumed, particularly if a person had a significant amount to drink or had their last drink particularly late at night.

Good Intentions Do Not Overcome a High BAC

There are some Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenders who certainly make the conscious decision to disregard the law and drive while they are obviously drunk. On the other hand, many people who drink make the responsible decision to find alternative transportation home. After getting some sleep and engaging in their morning routine, these generally law-abiding and well-intentioned individuals would most likely not have a second thought about getting in their car or truck and driving to their morning destination. Unfortunately, they may be unwittingly exposing themselves to significant criminal liability by doing so.

When people wake up in the morning, they may well have a BAC over the legal limit. Sometimes, it may be difficult for a person who has just woken up to distinguish the differences between simple grogginess or residual intoxication from the night before. In others, they may simply no longer feel intoxicated. Regardless of their intention, driving with a BAC above the legal limit is against the law and can result in serious legal consequences.

Colorado DUI Penalties

Colorado law imposes significant penalties on DUI offenders. In addition, there may be significant collateral consequences associated with having a DUI conviction on your record, including the inability to secure certain types of employment, difficulty obtaining professional licenses, higher insurance premiums, and damage to your reputation in your community. The potential legal consequences of a DUI conviction include:

  •         Probation;
  •         Significant fines;
  •         The installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle;
  •         The loss or suspension of your driver’s license; and
  •         Jail time.

As a result of these potentially serious penalties, anyone accused of DUI in Colorado should consult with an experienced Colorado DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. In many cases, the representation of a criminal defense lawyer can result in a much better outcome for DUI defendants than had they chosen to represent themselves. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys, call the Tiftickjian Law Firm today at (303) 384-5280 or send us an email through our online contact form available here.

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