The exact consequences of a conviction for DWAI in Colorado depend on several factors: 1) whether the offense was a first time or subsequent infraction, 2) whether the incident involved any personal injuries or property damage, 3) and whether the offender was at least 21 years of age. The purpose of this article is to explain what DWAI is in Colorado and the consequences of a first time DWAI conviction. If you have been charged with DWAI in the state of Colorado, you have a strong interest in defending against the charges brought by the state against you. To mount the strongest possible defense, contact an experienced Colorado DWAI defense attorney.
Conviction for DWAI is Grounds for a Prison Sentence of up to 180 Days
The most serious consequence arising from a criminal conviction, whether misdemeanor or felony in nature, is jail time. Because Colorado is very serious about punishing driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it allows for even a first-time DWAI conviction to be punished with jail time. If you are convicted, you may be punished with a prison sentence of up to 180 days. To convict you for DWAI the state must prove that you were driving while your ability was impaired. Impairment is measured by Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). For DWAI, the threshold is .05% BAC. If a valid BAC test – commonly by breathalyzer – shows a reading of at least .05% BAC and other legal requirements, such as the existence of probable cause at the time of the stop and arrest, are met, you may be convicted.
Conviction for DWAI is Grounds for a Fine of Up to $500
Jail time is not the only consequence of a first-time DWAI conviction in the state of Colorado. If you are convicted, you are also looking at a fine of up to $500. Of course, you will also likely face another financial penalty if convicted: raised car insurance premiums.
What to Do if You Have Been Charged with DWAI in Colorado
If the possibility of jail time, a fine, and raised car insurance premium has not already impressed upon you the serious of even a first-time DWAI charge in Colorado, consider a few other less obvious consequences. First, with one conviction on your record, you can bet the penalties for a subsequent offense will be markedly more severe – as in a year or more in jail and $1500 more in fines. Second, think of the damage to your reputation. Applications for jobs and admissions to education programs will require you to detail your criminal history and will not look kindly on a conviction for DWAI. As such, you have a strong interest in defending against the charges brought against you by the state. In other words, you need to contact an experienced Colorado DWAI defense attorney now. A skilled attorney will investigate whether the police had probable cause in stopping and arresting you in the first place and examine whether or not the BAC test at issue was valid.