Colorado has steep penalties for those convicted of, or who plead guilty to, a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) offense. If you're facing charges because of an alleged DUI or DWAI, you need the help of an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better. Ideally, you won't speak to law enforcement at all after your initial arrest until your attorney is present. Your attorney can review what happened and then provide you with guidance about your next step forward.
It's possible a medical condition contributed to your DUI charge. It's also possible that there were issues with the performance of the field sobriety test or the maintenance of the breath testing unit. Whatever the circumstances, your best possible outcome is usually in the hands of an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands DUI laws.
Colorado's DUI penalties are steep
If you are tested and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, you will most likely be charged with a DUI. If you were driving improperly, swerving or otherwise displaying compromised abilities at the wheel, you could face a DWAI with a BAC of just 0.05 percent. Those charged with a first DWAI will face 2 to 180 days in jail, a fine of between $200 and $500 and 24 to 48 hours of court-ordered community service.
First time DUI offenses carry a nine month loss of your driver's license, 5 days to a year in jail, a fine of between $600 and $1,000 and between 48 and 96 hours of community service. Second offenses for either charge carry between 10 days and a year in jail, a fine of between $600 and $1,000 and between 48 and 120 hours of community service.
Add to that a full 12 months without a license, and it's clear these charges could substantially change your life. Being charged again carries every steeper penalties, including at least 60 days in jail and two years without a driver's license. Sometimes, your DUI or DWAI charge could result in the loss of your job, as well.
An attorney can help you minimize the fallout
When you're facing DUI or DWAI charges, you want an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. Don't try to go through the courts alone or work with an overworked public defender. You need a criminal defense attorney who will advocate for you to the courts. Particularly if you're a first time offender, the right representation may be able to help you divert your criminal case if you complete alcohol therapy or education programs.