DUI/DWAI

Patterson Weaver Law is a practice dedicated to providing outstanding representation to Clients charged with a DUI or DWAI at an affordable price. Patterson Weaver Law serves Colorado Springs, Teller County, Pueblo, and the surrounding areas. No matter whether this is your first time charged with a DUI or your fourth, defense lawyer Patterson Weaver can help you get the best outcome possible.

Sometimes that one last drink can lead to disastrous consequences. While nearly anyone, whether a student, teacher, accountant, or member of the military, can find themselves charged with a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) charge, not consulting immediately with an experienced DUI defense attorney can be a serious mistake.

What are the consequences of a DUI conviction and how can a skilled attorney help?

DUI and DWAI convictions often carry serious consequences, including stiff fines, loss of a license, and even jail time. Hiring an experienced criminal and DUI-defense attorney can help you:

  • Reduce or eliminate potential jail time;
  • Reduce required hours of public service;
  • Reduce fines;
  • Obtain a deferred sentence (or even sometimes plea to a non-alcohol related charge);
  • Keep your driver’s license.

Additionally, in some cases, DUIs and DWAIs can be beat altogether. To find out what outcomes might be possible in your case, you should contact an experienced and capable DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

Exactly what is a DUI?

The charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) means:

". . . driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to a degree that the person is substantially incapable, 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.” C.R.S. 42-4-1301(1)(f) (2013).

In layman’s English, DUI means that someone is operating a vehicle when the consumption of some substance or substances has made him or her substantially incapable of safely operating that vehicle.

Additionally, Colorado has a per se limit on the amount of alcohol that can be in one’s system of .08. If you have a “blood alcohol content” above .08 within 2 hours of driving, you are guilty of Driving Under the Influence per se. See C.R.S. 42-4-1301(2)(a). Basically, above that limit the State of Colorado assumes you are substantially impaired, and therefore deems you automatically guilty.

However, just because the police say your blood alcohol content (BAC) was above .08 doesn’t mean your case can’t be defended. Like all scientific tests, Blood Alcohol tests and Breathalyzer tests have a margin of error that can be used to negotiate with the DA or even to win at trial. Additionally, human error in testing blood and mechanical error in breath tests can sometimes cause results to be thrown out. Call attorney Patterson Weaver today for a free case evaluation to see what issues may be present in your case and how you should best proceed.

What is the difference between a DUI and a DWAI?

A “Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol” (DWAI) charge is what is called a “lesser included” charge of DUI. That means that, while someone’s level of impairment may not reach the level of DUI, they may still be guilty of DWAI.

Specifically, DWAI means:

". . . driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, that 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.”

Very simply, someone is guilty of DWAI when some substance (or substances) makes them less able than normal to safely operate a motor vehicle. For example, if your normal ability to operate a motor vehicle can be scored as a 10, and after a drink you are now able to operate a motor vehicle at only a 9.9, technically you are guilty of DWAI.

However, unlike DUI, there is no per se limit for blood alcohol content over which you are automatically guilty. But there is a presumption in Colorado that you are impaired if your blood alcohol content is over .05 but less than 08. See C.R.S. 42-4-1301(6)(a)(II). Regardless however, a BAC anywhere below .08 can be a helpful fact for negotiation, and in some instances it may be possible to plead your case to a non-alcohol charge. You should consult with a qualified DUI defense attorney quickly to see what the potential defenses are for your particular situation.

DUI and DWAI Consequences:

A DUI can carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and another year of jail suspended, in addition to an additional year on probation, and/or up to $1,500 dollars in fines, between 24 and 120 hours of community service, and required alcohol classes and therapy. In fact, even someone with a first DUI must do a minimum of 10 days in jail if their BAC was above a .200. In addition, a DUI conviction results in 12 points against your driver’s license, resulting in a suspension of your driving privileges.

DWAI potential penalties are largely similar, but can carry only up to 180 days in jail and 8 points against your license.

Contact a DUI Lawyer Today

Regardless whether you are charged with a DUI or DWAI, an alcohol-related driving charge can have serious consequences. You should consult with an attorney experienced in defending DUI and DWAI charges immediately in order to help reduce the impact on your life, your finances, and your future.

Don’t leave your future to chance. Contact Patterson Weaver Law today.

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