What is a DUI, exactly?

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. While this substance is most often alcohol, any kind of impairing drugs (like marijuana), or even prescription medications, can make someone intoxicated and lead to a DUI charge.

Additionally, Colorado has a per se limit on the amount of alcohol that can be in one’s system while driving. If you have a blood alcohol content above 0.08 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, Colorado law assumes you are substantially impaired, and therefore deems you automatically guilty.

However, just because the police say your blood alcohol content was above 0.08 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. Contact a DUI attorney in Colorado Springs today for a free case evaluation to see what issues may be present in your case and how you should best proceed.