Colorado DUI laws are complicated and require a knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorney to successfully navigate them. O’Malley and Sawyer, LLC defends against all types of DUI cases throughout the Denver metropolitan area.
Driving Under the Influence Defined
A person who drives a motor vehicle or vehicle under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, commits driving under the influence. Driving under the influence is a misdemeanor, but it is a class 4 felony if the violation occurred after three or more prior convictions, arising out of separate and distinct criminal episodes, for DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI; vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, or any combination of these offenses.
Driving While Ability Impaired Defined
A person who drives a motor vehicle or vehicle while impaired by alcohol or by one or more drugs, or by a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, commits driving while ability impaired. Driving while ability impaired is a misdemeanor, but it is a class 4 felony if the violation occurred after three or more prior convictions, arising out of separate and distinct criminal episodes, for DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI; vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, or any combination of these offenses.
The Difference Between a DUI and DWAI
Denver DUI Laws (DUI) in the state of Colorado define having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. It adds 12 point to your driving record, which, under Colorado law, will result in license suspension.
Driving while ability impaired (DWAI) is the charge for motorists with a registered BAC between .05% and .0799%. This is an 8-point offense, which means your driver’s license will only be suspended if there are other driving violations on your current record.
Colorado’s Express Consent Law
When a person drives any motor vehicle on the streets and highways and elsewhere throughout the state, the person becomes subject to the provisions of the express consent law. Colorado’s express consent law requires a driver:
- To take and complete any test of the person’s blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of the person’s blood or breath when requested by a law enforcement officer having probable cause to believe that the person was driving under the influence or impaired by the use of alcohol.
- A person twenty-one years old or older has the choice to take a blood or breath test if a law enforcement officer suspects that the person is impaired or under the influence of alcohol.
- A bicyclist does not have to submit to a blood or breath test because the express consent law does not apply to a bicyclist.
About Your Driver’s License
When a person is arrested for drunk driving in the state of Colorado, there are two cases involved. The first is a criminal case that is handled in the court system. The other is a civil case that involves the Department of Motor Vehicles and affects your driving privileges.
During a DUI arrest, the police will confiscate a person’s driver’s license when a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher is determined. In the case of a DWAI charge, the DMV will determine if your driving point penalties justify license suspension and a notice will be issued.
A few factors affect driving privileges, such as refusal to take a breath or blood test or whether there have been prior DUI arrests. The one moment that requires immediate action is when notification of a license suspension is received. A person only has seven (7) days to request a DMV hearing so that driving privileges may be restored. If the DMV is not petitioned within those seven days, the driver’s license will go into automatic suspension on the eighth day. While reversing this decision is not impossible, the process can be laborious.
Denver DUI Laws and DWAI Penalties
The consequences of being convicted of a DUI in Colorado depend on a number of factors such as blood alcohol content, whether an accident or other injuries were caused, and if there were prior convictions. Generally, first-time offenders can expect the following:
- Perform community service;
- Attend alcohol education or therapy classes;
- Pay fines and court costs; and
DUI Laws and your future record
The state of Colorado does not allow the expungement of criminal records after probation has been completed and will remain part of a criminal record for as long as the law dictates.