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The Impact of a Conviction for DUI or DWAI in Colorado

There have been many reports discussing sobriety checkpoints throughout the Denver metro area during the Labor Day weekend. As law enforcement winds down its summer DUI enforcement campaigns, those who are facing charges may have questions about what will happen next. Often, a DUI is the first time that a person has ever received the attention of law enforcement, and might not understand how a conviction will impact things.

One of the first questions that people may have surrounds the difference between DUI and DWAI. DUI, driving under the influence, is the more serious of the two charges. Motorists that have a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or under the influence of drugs could potentially be facing DUI charges.

Colorado law defines DUI as a person being "substantially incapable, mentally or physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle." Potential penalties include jail time as well as high fines. They may also see their driver's license suspended, and need to take special traffic classes before it will be reinstated.

Driving while ability impaired, or DWAI, is when a motorist is only under a slight influence of drugs or alcohol, and that a person is less able to drive than normal. This gives police wide discretion, because if an officer believes that a motorist is impaired, the officer may make an arrest.

While penalties for DWAI are less severe, these charges can have a significant effect on a person's driving record. Knowing what options are available can help allow an individual to make decisions that allow for a minimal impact upon normal day-to-day tasks.

Source: Colorado Drunk Driving Rules

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