Being pulled over for a DUI in Denver is a scary and stressful experience. A DUI can affect your life in so many ways, and it’s important that you receive fair treatment. A DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is triggered by a .08 percent BAC or higher. Colorado is unique in that we also have a DWAI triggered by a BAC that is .05 percent or higher but less than .08 percent.
DWAI stands for “driving while ability impaired.” While most states don’t consider you impaired until you have reached a BAC of .08 percent, in Colorado, the DWAI law starts at .05 percent. This charge refers to when a driver’s judgment or physical control is impaired due to drugs and/or alcohol. While a DWAI will not have the penalties or consequences of a DUI, it is still a criminal charge, which could lead to jail time, fines, license suspension, and points. If you are charged with your first DWAI, you will be sent to jail for a minimum of two days and a maximum of 189 days. When determining guilt or innocence in a DWAI case, the jury must decide if your driving was impaired to the slightest degree. This is somewhat different from a DUI, for which a BAC of .08 is sufficient to warrant the charge. With a DWAI, a BAC of over .05 does not necessarily make you guilty. There is an inference of guilt that the jury can consider with other evidence, but if the BAC is the only evidence, you may be able to escape without conviction.
You can land a DUI when you are caught driving with a BAC over the .08 legal limit. On your first offense, you could be looking at spending up to one year in jail, paying a fine of up to $1,000 dollars, and having a suspended license for nine months. The more times you are convicted of a DUI, the more serious your penalties will be. If you’re convicted for a third time, you could spend up to a year in jail (a 60 day minimum), pay up to $1,500 dollars, and lose your license for two years.
In addition, people can also potentially be charged for a Felony DUI under certain circumstances.
How many drinks does it take?
Everybody has a different tolerance level that can vary based on multiple factors. If you’re going to drink, you should not drive. If you do not weigh very much, you’re more likely to become intoxicated faster. Again if you have been drinking while in the Denver area, we suggest you call a taxi. However, mistakes do happen, and if you are pulled over and risk being charged with a DUI, make sure to call an experienced lawyer right away.
I was pulled over in Colorado; now what?
If you are pulled over, it is essential that you are polite and cooperative with the police officer. If you decide to refuse a test, make sure you politely decline. We encourage you to reach out to a lawyer right away so that we can analyze the situation and figure out the best advice.
If you’re asked to do a roadside test, you should refuse or remain silent. The roadside test will most likely produce evidence that will be used against you, and upon taking the test, you’re guaranteed that it will be used in court. If you were driving recklessly and speeding, had a blood alcohol content of over .20, caused damage to someone’s property, injured someone, or if a child was in the vehicle with you, your sentence will most likely be worse. During my time, I’ve known very few people that have passed a field sobriety test. There’s no way to ensure that the field sobriety test is being performed properly, so it’s important to remember that it is entirely voluntary, and you do not have to take it. There is no negative effect to refusing to take a voluntary test.
One of the problems with a Breathalyzer test is that there is no way of retesting it; when you blow into a Breathalyzer machine, the sample disappears because you cannot capture breath. This means that there is no way for your attorney to retest it, which is helpful in determining whether or not the test was faulty. With a blood test, on the other hand, the state has to keep your blood in a lab, and then it can be retested. If you take the blood test, your license does not get revoked immediately, and it may not get revoked at all depending on the results of the blood test.
Where to go from here?
You truly want an attorney who knows how to protect your driver’s license. If you have good defenses, you should use them. If it’s your first DUI, we recommend fighting it with a DUI attorney. Don’t just automatically take a plea deal. It’s important to get a good attorney who knows and understands the law.
At The Law Office of Andres R. Guevara, we have a proven track record. We firmly stand by the idea that you are innocent until proven guilty. We are experienced and committed to getting your charges reduced or dismissed entirely. We know that this is a difficult and stressful time of your life, and we want you to be able to move on. We encourage you to reach out to us if you have found yourself potentially dealing with a DUI or DWAI. You deserve the best, and we will work to make sure you get the best.