Being charged with a DUI or a related offense can be a scary experience. It can leave you worrying about your future and how a potential conviction could impact that future. If you are facing criminal charges or prosecution for driving under the influence, a mountain communities DUI lawyer could help fight the charges against you.
You have a better chance of fighting a driving under the influence charge and reducing the consequences of a conviction when you choose to have a DUI lawyer represent you rather than fighting the charges on your own. A skilled criminal lawyer could protect your legal rights, including your constitutional right to due process, and work to secure an optimal outcome in your case. Let Justie and Jenn fight for you.
There are three major types of DUI related charges in Colorado: DUI, DWAI, and DUI per se. There are also other types of crimes involving being under the influence, such as underage drunk driving, boating under the influence, and even biking under the influence, but a DUI is the most serious charge.
A DUI case involves operating a vehicle (even a parked vehicle) under the influence of alcohol, drugs, medications, or a combination of any of these. Driving under the influence means an individual is intoxicated and substantially incapable of safely operating a vehicle. This is the category of offense for “above the legal limit” or above a 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC), although DUI will be charged even in refusal cases or where there is no actual test of the blood as long as officers think they can prove “substantial” impairment.
A DWAI stands for driving while ability impaired in Colorado. A person does not have to be completely intoxicated to be charged with a DWAI, just unable to operate a vehicle safely to the slightest degree. Even a slight amount of alcohol, drugs, medication, or a combination of those things can render someone DWAI. DWAI is the equivalent of basically a 0.05 to a 0.08 BAC. So… still under the legal limit, but not safe (in the opinion of the arresting officer and prosecutor).
DUI per se specifically applies to situations when a person drives with an excessive alcohol content, and there is a test showing a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher based on a breathalyzer or blood test. This would also apply in cases of marijuana usage above five nanograms of active THC in your blood at the time of your arrest. You will often find DUI and DUI per se both charged as separate counts in the same case.
Even with all of this going on in criminal court, there is also a secondary action being taken in administrative court. The DMV will suspend individual’s licenses if suspected of DUI per se (i.e., there was a test above a 0.08) even if not convicted in court yet. The DMV also has their own special categories for driving offenses involving alcohol, such as persistent drunk drivers.
A mountain communities DUI attorney such as those at Nicol Gersch Petterson are aware of the DMV consequences individuals face in addition to criminal sanctions and can advise clients appropriately. A diligent mountain communities criminal attorney could answer questions about the differences between the three types of criminal DUI charges and how it could affect your case, too.
The penalties for a DUI conviction within the mountain communities depend on whether the conviction is for a first or subsequent offense. The penalties for a first offense DUI or DUI per se include imprisonment in the county jail for anywhere from 5 days to 1 year, a $600 and $1,000 fine as well as community service. A period of probation could also be imposed, as well.
The penalties for a first offense DWAI include between 2 and 180 days imprisonment in the county jail, a $200 to $500 fine, and between 24 to 48 hours of public service. A period of probation could also be imposed at the discretion of the court, and suspended jail for violating that probation is almost a certainty.
The penalties are more severe for second or subsequent convictions of a DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI offense and could involve a lengthier term of imprisonment, a higher fine, additional community service hours, and an extended period of probation. An experienced driving under the influence attorney at Nicol Gersch Petterson could explain the specific penalties associated with DUI-related offenses.
Individuals under 21 years of age could be charged with a DUI or related offense when their breath or blood alcohol concentration is less than 0.08 percent. Persons under 21 years are often charged with underage drinking and driving (UDD) when the breath or blood alcohol content is between 0.02 and 0.05 percent but can be charged with a DUI or DWAI if it is 0.51 percent or higher. A DUI lawyer within the Mountain Communities could help underage individuals fight the charges against them to help minimize the consequences of a conviction.
If you are facing charges for a DUI or a lesser offense, such as DWAI, it is best to seek legal assistance versus attempting to handle the situation on your own. A mountain communities DUI lawyer could advocate for you by fighting to protect your rights and working to achieve an optimal resolution to the situation.
An attorney who is familiar with state DUI laws could also help by preparing a legal defense to the charges you are facing. Contact Jenn and Justie today to schedule a free 30-minute phone consultation.