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Think you can't be charged with a DUI if your BAC is below .08?

Under Colorado law, driving under the influence (DUI) charges usually fall into one of two categories: DUI and DUI per se. What many people don't realize is that there are some very really differences between these two types of DUIs -- particularly when it comes to a driver's blood-alcohol-content (BAC) level.

For instance, a DUI is simply defined as when someone drives a vehicle after consuming alcohol and drugs, and this consumption impacts them to such a degree that they are "substantially incapable" of safely operating their vehicle or exercising clear judgment or control. Conversely, Colorado law states a person commits DUI per se when they drive a vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or more.

So, while there is a permissible inference that you are under the influence of alcohol if your BAC is .08 percent of more -- meaning you will likely face a charge of DUI per se -- this BAC level is not required for a DUI charge.

In fact, regardless of your BAC level, you can be charged with DUI so long as the police believe your alcohol consumption has substantially impacted your ability to drive safely. This is true even if you are below .08 percent.

However, while you can technically face a DUI charge even if your BAC level is less than .08 percent, it is important to note that this rarely occurs. It is far more likely that a driver will be charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI), which usually applies to drivers who have BACs above .05 percent but below .08 percent.

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