If you’ve been arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Ability is Impaired (DWAI), or other DWI-related offenses, you might face jail time even for the first DUI in Colorado. You should be prepared to lose your license for 9 months, attend alcohol education classes, and pay criminal fines. The DWI will also be part of your criminal record.
Defining a DWI or DUI Offense
Though the abbreviation ‘DWI’ is often used as shorthand for various criminal statutes that prohibit driving while intoxicated, Colorado courts use DUI for ‘Driving Under the Influence’, or DWAI for ‘Driving While Ability is Impaired’. According to the Colorado Office of Legislative Legal Services, “The law presumes that every driver has consented to take a blood, breath, saliva, or urine test when requested to do so by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that the person is DUI or DWAI.”
Potential Outcomes of a DUI or DWI
Even without a conviction, if you’re arrested for DWI in Colorado, the arresting officer will keep your actual driver’s license. Then, you will automatically lose your drivers license unless you request a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing within 7 days of the arrest. Throughout the DUI/DWAI process in Colorado, the DMV hearing is separate from the charges you are facing in criminal court. Refusal to take the test is both admissible in court and a basis for revocation of a driver’s license. If someone shows a BAC of .08% or higher, they could face a criminal DUI charge. If someone shows a BAC of .15% or higher, they may be classified a persistent drunk driver, and subject to greater penalties.
Colorado law allows for up to a year of jail time for the 1st DUI offense, depending on the circumstances. If you have multiple DUIs on your record – even if they are in other states – your jail sentence could be even longer. The harsh reality of possible incarceration is in addition to other administrative and criminal penalties you could face, such as losing your driver’s license, fines, and probation.
Driving under the influence of marijuana could result in criminal charges as well. A person who shows a blood THC level of 5 nanograms per milliliter is presumed by the courts to be under the influence – which means you would need to present a particularly strong defense in order to beat the charges. But even without a blood test, if a police officer suspects you’re driving under the influence of marijuana or any other drug, you can be arrested and required to face DWAI charges, along with all the penalties that a conviction might bring.
Why To Hire A DWI / DUI Defense Attorney
The penalties for DWI can be harsh. That’s just one reason anyone arrested for DWI should hire an experienced DWI attorney. Public defenders handle a huge caseload of criminal defendants. Choosing Novo Legal to fight for your rights in court is not a choice you’re going to regret.
If you’re successful, Colorado law allows for drivers facing a DUI to have their driving privileges reinstated before the end of the license suspension. If you’ve served at least one month of the driving suspension, complete the alcohol education course, and allow an ignition interlock device to be installed in your vehicle, the court may allow you to drive.
In some states, the law allows for drivers with a criminal DUI conviction to expunge or seal their criminal record after some number of years without additional convictions. Colorado does not. This is another reason it’s so important you present the strongest defense against any criminal charges you may be facing.
In addition to presenting your case in court, an experienced DUI attorney may be able to negotiate an acceptable outcome with the prosecuting attorney. Before a trial might take place, there are opportunities to show evidence of your innocence, and get a sense of whether a plea deal is appropriate. Most DUI charges don’t go to trial – your personal outcome will depend on the circumstances of your own interaction with the criminal justice system. It’s not a level playing field: the presentation of your case truly matters.
No DWI attorney can guarantee what will happen to you. But you can put yourself in the best position to stay out of jail, and keep your record clean, by hiring an experienced DWI attorney like the lawyers at Novo Legal in Denver.
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.