Driving under the influence (DUI) could have serious consequences in the State of Colorado. DUI arrests are stressful, scary, and intimidating, and you may be unsure what to do following a DUI arrest or where to turn for help. When you are facing DUI or DWAI charges, you may find the help of a Westminster DUI Lawyer highly advantageous to you. A tenacious criminal lawyer at Nicol Gersch Petterson could advocate on your behalf and help you fight the charges.
Colorado Revised Statutes Annotated § 42-4-1301 sets three different offenses that involve impaired driving. Individuals can face criminal charges of DUI or driving under the influence when they have consumed alcohol, one or more drugs, or a combination of these substances to the extent that they are incapable of safely operating a vehicle. This incapacitation due to alcohol or drug use can affect them mentally, physically, or both, and must affect the judgment, physical control, and due care needed to drive safely.
DUI charges can also occur when drivers have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher within two hours of driving. Often referred to as DUI per se, this type of DUI offense does not require any showing of impairment. Therefore, if a blood, breath, or urine test reveals these test results, the prosecution does not have to prove any other element of the crime for a conviction.
Driving while ability impaired or DWAI is another criminal offense under state law. If drivers have consumed alcohol or drugs to the extent that it slightly affects their ability to drive safely, or they have a BAC test result that measures between .05 percent and .08 percent, they can face DWAI charges. As a DUI lawyer in Westminster may advise, DWAI charges also can result in harsh consequences, even for a first-time offense.
DUI and DWAI can be both a misdemeanor and a felony offense. A misdemeanor DUI or DWAI conviction can result in up to one year in jail, fines, a license suspension, community service hours, and more. If the BAC test results show a BAC of .15 percent or higher, drivers can face additional penalties.
Additionally, once drivers have accumulated three previous convictions, whether, for DUI, DWAI, vehicular homicide, or vehicular assault, they will face Class 4 felony charges. A felony DUI conviction may result in two to six years in prison, mandatory parole periods, and thousands of dollars in fines. Drivers may face more prolonged periods of license suspension and the cost of installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device in some cases.
A history of DUI or DWAI convictions can have ramifications for the personal and professional lives of these individuals. They may lose their jobs, be unable to find work due to their criminal records, and encounter significant financial hardships. By enlisting the help of a seasoned DUI attorney in Westminster, persons facing accusations of driving under the influence may be able to confront the charges against them more effectively.
The standards are even stricter for drivers who are under the age of 21 caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. BAC test results of between .02 percent and .05 percent can result in a Class A traffic infraction for minors, which can result in community service hours, alcohol assessments and education, and other penalties. Furthermore, a second or subsequent violation is a Class 2 traffic misdemeanor, which carries the risk of more severe sanctions.
You have rights when arrested and charged with DUI, and a Westminster DUI lawyer can help protect those rights. The stakes are high in DUI cases, as you may lose your ability to drive, your job, and your freedom. You also may suffer extensive and costly ramifications from a DUI conviction well into the future.
Instead of trying to navigate your way through complex criminal proceedings on your own, get the legal advice and help that you need. With a strong legal advocate on your side, you may be able to work toward a more favorable outcome in your case. Call today to schedule a consultation.