Many people in Colorado are unfamiliar with criminal law. As a result, when facing criminal charges, they may be unaware of the best response. This may especially be the case for people suspected of DUI or DWAI since such a charge could be the result of an officer’s subjective interpretation of a person’s behavior.

A DUI — or driving under the influence — means the person is accused of being “substantially incapable” following the consumption of drugs or alcohol. If an officer makes this determination, he or she is saying that the accused has insufficient physical control and is unable to safely operate a vehicle. A person in Colorado can be charged with DUI even if his or her blood alcohol content is not .08 or higher as it is based on the person’s perceived level of impairment.

A DWAI — driving while ability impaired — is a less serious charge. A person who is accused of DWAI is believed to have consumed drugs or alcohol, and he or she is unable to exercise the same care and judgment as someone who has not consumed such substances. A person with a blood alcohol content in the range of .05 to .07 could face this charge.

There are many variables that could impact whether a person faces a DUI or DWAI charge. Unfortunately, many of them could be the result of human error. For example, a determination of whether a person can make judgments is subjective. Additionally, breath tests, for example, must be administered correctly for the results to be accurate. Because the consequences of a conviction of these charges vary widely, many people in Colorado choose to seek legal advice as they navigate the criminal justice system.

Source: FindLaw, “Your Denver DUI Case: The Basics,” Oct. 25, 2017

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