Under Colorado law, you can be charged for “driving under the influence” (DUI) if you drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is under the “legal” limit.
A driver with a BAC of 0.08% or higher can be charged with a DUI per se, even if they seem to be driving safely. While drivers with a BAC of 0.05% – 0.08% can be charged with “driving while ability impaired” (DWAI).
Drivers that are found driving with a BAC of 0.20% or more will face more severe punishment, even if it’s their first offense.
What’s the point of the “legal” BAC limit?
Since people get drunk and/or high with different amounts of drugs and/or alcohol, most states have established a “legal” BAC limit at which everyone is considered to be too intoxicated to drive. Which means that even if you believe that you’re still able to focus and drive safely while under the influence, you will be charged for getting caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or more.
What is a DUI per se?
A DUI per se is a type of DUI that you can get if you are caught with a BAC of 0.08% or higher within two hours of driving. Drivers can be charged with both a DUI per se and a regular DUI.
What is a DWAI?
“Driving while ability impaired” (DWAI) is a less severe type of DUI that you can get if you are caught driving with a BAC of 0.05% – 0.08%. You may only feel buzzed, but you’ve heard it on TV: “Buzzed driving is drunk driving.”
How does law enforcement test if I’m driving while intoxicated?
Once a law enforcement officer believes that you may be under the influence, everything is a test. Any difficulty retrieving your license, registration, and proof of insurance is going to be interpreted as a sign of intoxication.
Asking whether you’ve consumed any alcoholic beverages is one of the first tests an officer can try, but you do not have to answer. In fact, it may be within your best interest to respond, “I am not going to answer that question” and leave it at that. Admitting to consuming just 1 alcoholic beverage, is likely enough to give an officer probable cause to ask you to submit to a blood or breath test.
Officers will also look for bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, and the odor of alcohol.
If an officer thinks you exhibit any of these signs of intoxication, they will likely ask you to complete a field sobriety tests, including (but not limited to) the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one leg stand.
If an officer thinks that they have enough probable cause to believe that you are operating a car either while under the influence after the field sobriety test, then they can also ask you to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test.
What are the punishments for impaired driving?
Why Choose Martin Conti Law?
In short, because Martin Conti Law is the complete opposite of other law firms. Where our competitors seem to only value their clients’ money, we pride ourselves on valuing our clients as individuals. In order to get an idea of what makes each client tick, we often meet clients in their own homes. Our concierge-level service makes navigating the legal system effortless and efficient, from our initial phone consultation to our Clio client portal.
Not to mention that between Matt’s empathetic and tenacious nature, even after all of the years he spent fighting to protect his client’s civil rights, and Shawn’s charismatic “closer” attitude—there’s nothing that the attorneys of Martin Conti Law can’t get done for you.