Colorado DUI/DWAI: Understanding the Basics

dui offenseFew people know much about DUI in Colorado until it happens to them. Better education, however, might help prevent the problem. This is somewhat ironic given the fact that we are constantly cautioned against drinking and driving on television, radio, and in print. Most public service advertising covers only the broadest strokes. Take a few minutes now and learn a bit more. If you have been charged with DUI or DWAI in the state of Colorado, your learning curve has already been sped-up and you know that you need a skilled and experienced Denver DUI defense attorney to protect your legal rights and reputation.

DUI/DWAI is Measured Objectively by Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

DUI stands for driving under the influence. DWAI stands for driving while ability impaired.  First of all, as recent ads state, “buzzed driving is drunk driving.” In other words, you do not need to be in a stupor after a night of binge drinking to be stopped and arrested for DUI or DWAI. Even if you are experiencing little to no impairment, it is possible that you could be stopped and arrested.

The legal limit for driving after consuming alcohol is .08% for DUI, and .05% for DWAI. These percentages speak to Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). BAC is the ratio of blood to alcohol per milliliter of blood in your system. It is most commonly tested by breathalyzer. To blow a .08% or .05% and thereby be properly charged with DUI or DWAI, you need only consume a few drinks over the span of a few hours. There is no exact standard because height, weight, gender, and metabolism all play a role in BAC, but whatever your personal information may be, it does not take that many drinks to be considered “impaired” in the eyes of the law. In addition, you have to keep in mind that the test for impairment is objective; it is all about the scientific measurement of BAC – and not at all about your subjective opinion about how impaired you are.

You Have Already Given Your Consent to BAC Testing if you are Driving

One fact that surprises many people is Colorado’s express consent law with regard to BAC testing for drinking and driving. Put simply, Colorado takes your decision to get behind the wheel of a car and use its roads and highways as a “yes” to the question “can I ask you to take a chemical test to determine if you are impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of both?” If you say no, you face a one to three year suspension of your driver’s license, depending on whether you are a first-time or subsequent offender. But taking a test also potentially gives the government inculpatory evidence so drivers must carefully choose whether to submit to a chemical test if arrested for driving under the influence or while impaired. And furthermore, you do not have the right to consult with an attorney prior to making this decision.

If you have been charged with DUI or DWAI in Colorado, you need a skilled and experienced Denver DUI attorney to defend your legal rights.

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