Law enforcement authorities and prosecutors have made significant efforts to prosecute drunk driving criminal offenses harshly. Individuals convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), DUI per se, or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) may face substantial fines on top of restrictions on their driver’s license, probationary periods, public service requirements, and jail time.
Seeking help from a seasoned Denver DUI lawyer could make a massive difference in your prospects of a positive outcome in your case. Once retained, our skilled criminal defense attorneys on the Colorado Lawyer Team could work diligently to protect your rights and interests from start to finish of your legal proceedings.
DUI vs. DWAI Offenses in Denver
Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) §42-4-1301 defines three different drunk driving offenses, each with slightly different criteria that may justify an arrest.
First, a person may be arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if a police officer determines they are substantially incapable in physical or mental terms of safely operating a motor vehicle due to consumption of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two.
DUI per se occurs when an adult operates a motor vehicle when their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is equal to or higher than 0.08%, or when a minor operates a motor vehicle with a BAC between 0.02% and 0.05%.
Finally, Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) occurs when a driver operates a motor vehicle while physically or mentally affected to the slightest degree by any intoxicating substance or when an adult with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08% operates a motor vehicle.
Regarding potential punishments upon conviction, C.R.S. §42-4-1307 treats DUI and DUI per se as equivalent and considers DWAI to be a comparatively less severe offense. However, since subsequent convictions for any type of drunk driving offense allow for increased penalties, it is generally crucial for anyone accused of DUI to have assistance from a Denver attorney, regardless of whether they have a history of related offenses.
When Does Drunk Driving Become a Felony?
There are three specific circumstances under which authorities may prosecute drunk driving as a felony rather than a misdemeanor.
First, anyone who is convicted of four or more DUI-related offenses will have any subsequent drunk driving crimes treated as a 4th-degree felony (F4) offense, meaning they are punishable by 2 to 6 years in prison, a $2,000 to $500,000 fine, and a 2-year revocation of one’s driver’s license.
Second, a person who causes serious injury to anyone else while driving drunk has committed the offense of vehicular assault, which C.R.S. §18-3-205 also defines as an F4 offense.
Third, anyone who causes a fatality in a traffic accident because they were driving while intoxicated has committed vehicular homicide, an F3 offense that could lead to a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison, a $750,000 fine, and a mandatory 1-year license revocation under C.R.S. §18-3-106. A lawyer in Denver could help someone accused of felony DUI.
Talk to a Denver DUI Attorney About Your Legal Options
DUI charges are extremely serious matters regardless of the circumstances under which they arose. The testimony of an arresting police officer carries a lot of weight in a court of law, and if you fail to retain skilled legal representation, you may have a more difficult time getting a favorable final verdict.
A knowledgeable Denver DUI lawyer from Colorado Lawyer Team could work diligently on your behalf to effectively protect your rights and freedom. Call Jenn and Justie at Nicol and the Colorado Lawyer Team today.