Colorado DUI Laws and Charges

Schmidt Law Group > Blog > DUI arrest > Colorado DUI Laws and Charges

There are three separate Colorado DUI laws that could be charged in a given DUI prosecution.  The standard of proof for each Colorado DUI law is different.  This post explains the three main Colorado DUI laws.  If you or a loved one are charged with DUI, find out more about the state’s burden of proof and potential defenses by reading below.

In addition, if you are accused of DWAI, DUI, or DUI per se, and you are under 21, you may face additional penalties and charges.  The main difference is that you could lose your license for a year and legal limit for alcohol levels could be lower.  Consult a DUI attorney for more specific information regarding Colorado DUI laws relating to minors.

Driving While Impaired by Alcohol and/or drugs (DWAI)

 In Colorado DUI law, DWAI is considered a less serious charge than DUI or DUI per se.  Driving “while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs” means that the consumption of alcohol, drugs, or both had affected a person in the slightest degree so that the person is less able than he/she ordinarily would have been to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in operating the car. Colorado DUI laws do not have a specific blood alcohol level or drug level.

There is a presumption, which means you can infer that a person is NOT impaired by alcohol if the BAC is .05 or les at the time of driving or within a reasonable time thereafter.

There is a second presumption contained with the Colorado DUI laws that if the BAC is over .05 but below a .08 at the time of driving or within a reasonable time thereafter, it can be inferred that the person’s ability to operate a car was impaired by the consumption of the alcohol.  Even with a BAC between .05 and .08, there could be defenses to both the results of the chemical test and the interpretation of those results.  This is a very fact specific and highly scientific, consult with a Colorado DUI attorney to determine your best course of action. 

Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI)

Driving under the influence means that the consumption of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both, affect the person’s ability to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of the car.  Colorado DUI laws require  the government must prove that the alcohol, drugs, or combination of both altered your ability to drive safely.  There are no requirements of a specific alcohol or drug level.

There is a presumption, which means you can assume that a person is NOT under the influence of alcohol if the BAC is .05 or les at the time of driving or within a reasonable time thereafter.  This is a legal defense to a misdemeanor DUI charge contained within the Colorado DUI laws.

There are other defenses to a DUI charges in Colorado. To determine what defenses you may have available to you, contact a Colorado DUI attorney in your area.

Driving with a blood alcohol content over .08% by weight. (per se)

            This is commonly referred to as the “per se” charge.  This Colorado DUI law is for alcohol offenses only.  It is unlawful to drive with a BAC of .08 or more at the time of driving or within two hours of driving.  Although it’s a “per se” charge, there still may be defenses available to you.  If you submit to a blood or breath test, there are specific procedures and safeguards that must be followed, if they are not complied with the test results can be questioned.   For breath tests, the machines accuracy and conversion rates could be challenged.   In addition, the timing of the driving and evidentiary test could call into question the relevancy of any results.

Under Colorado DUI laws, a person can be charged and convicted of DUI, DUI per se, and DWAI at the same time; however, any punishment must run concurrently.  This means you can only be punished one time for all three crimes.  For more information on potential penalties for DUI, DUI per se or DWAI, click here.

Thank you for visiting our site on Colorado DUI laws.  To contact a Colorado DUI attorney, click here or call us at (303) 747-4686.