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The Difference Between DUI and DWAI Charges

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Have you ever wondered what the difference is between being charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge and being charged with Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)? The two offenses differ depending on a driver's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Your BAC is the percentage of alcohol running through your blood. A person's BAC can be determined through a breathalyzer, blood or urine test.

According to the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a driver who gets behind the wheel with a BAC of .08 percent may face a DUI charge. Driving with a BAC of greater than .05 percent is a DWAI offense.

DUI charges can also be leveled against drivers who have not consumed any alcohol but are determined to be impaired by marijuana, prescription or over-the-counter medications or any other drugs. Drivers under the age of 21 years old found to have BAC's exceeding .02 percent face DUI charges, and their licenses are automatically revoked.

The legal penalties for both DUI and DWAI in Colorado can be severe. A first DWAI offense may result in eight points toward a license suspension, a $200 to $500 fine, up to 48 hours of community service and even up to 180 days in jail. A first DUI offense triggers an automatic nine-month license suspension, a $600 to $1,000 fine, up to 96 hours of community service, mandatory alcohol education and up to one year in jail.

Ramifications often become more severe with repeat offenses.

It is imperative for your own safety and the safety of those around you that you drink responsibly and never drive while intoxicated. However, if you do find yourself charged with DUI or DWAI, immediately contact the experienced Colorado DUI lawyers at The Orr Law Firm. We can aggressively represent your legal interests in court.