What is DWAI?
DWAI charges are similar to DUI or DUID charges in one key way: the level of impairment. As you may know, a DUI charge is levied against a driver that has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. In the state of Colorado, a BAC of higher than 0.05, but lower than 0.08 can result in a DWAI charge.
DWAI is defined as “driving a motor vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, which affects the person to the slightest degree so that the person is less able than the person ordinarily would have been, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle”.
The text is very similar to the Colorado Revised Statutes for DUI, with the main difference being “affects the person to the slightest degree”. In the text for DUI, the wording is “affects the person to a degree that the person is substantially incapable”. In other words, if you’re even slightly impaired when you get behind the wheel, you could be charged with a DWAI for use of alcohol or drugs.
It’s an important distinction not only when imbibing alcohol or using recreational marijuana or illicit drugs, but also when using prescription medication (including medical marijuana). Many people are surprised to be charged with DWAI for use of prescribed medications, but if they cause sleepiness, slow reaction times, or other impairment, you could face a DWAI charge for driving while using them.
Penalties for DWAI
A first-time DWAI offense could result in:
Fines of $200-500
24-48 hours of community service
Probation of up to two years
Jail time from 2-180 days
A second DWAI offense could result in:
Habitual offenders will face increasing penalties, with felony offenses charged for four or more offenses. Even if you’re only facing your first DWAI offense, you need to know that conviction can be detrimental and charges can infer cumulative penalties. This is why it’s so important to seek immediate legal counsel to fight DWAI charges.
Contact the qualified professionals at Curtis Law Firm today at 303-625-6894 to get the legal advice and representation you need.