Either Way, You’re Under the Influence: Colorado DUI and DWAI

Colorado DUI and DWAIDid you know you can be convicted of drunk driving even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal, per se limit?

In Colorado and other states across the U.S., there are different designations for DUI or DWAI that are based on the BAC of the offender or the understanding that the driver is otherwise impaired by drugs, medications or controlled substances. These different terms and criteria allow law enforcement to remove a dangerous driver from the road, even if they don’t meet the standard definition of an impaired driver.

DUI per se is defined in each state as meeting or exceeding the BAC limit of .08 percent.

A Colorado DUI charge or conviction occurs when a person demonstrates they are driving dangerously. Typically, a BAC of .08 is considered a DUI.

“Driving under the influence” means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs 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.

A Colorado DWAI charge or conviction occurs at a lower BAC limit (.05 – .079 percent) along with the observation of dangerous driving.

“Driving while ability impaired” means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs, 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.

In either case, alcohol does not have to be present, either, as long as there is proof of drug use or controlled substances in the person’s system. If you’re driving erratically, you run the risk of a Colorado DUI or DWAI when you’ve also been drinking or using drugs. You face criminal penalties, a possible ignition interlock and the risks to yourself an others on the road. The easiest choice is to not take the risk and always have a safe way to get home if you’re under any sort of intoxicating influence.

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