Over 10,000 Criminal Cases Handled in the Denver Area

Determined Denver DWAI Lawyers

In Colorado, motorists can face charges if officials determine they were driving while ability impaired (DWAI). While this offense is technically less serious than driving under the influence (DUI), it can carry severe consequences of its own. Moreover, the threshold for DWAI charges is lower – you can receive them if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is as low as 0.05%.

Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C. has spent over a decade defending Colorado residents against DUI charges and has experience with DWAI cases as well. Not only will we fight for you, but we will also help you understand what is at stake. We are here to answer any questions you may have in regard to DWAI charges.

Frequently Asked Questions About DWAI Charges

What’s the difference between DUI and DWAI?

The biggest difference between DUI and DWAI is related to BAC. DWAI in Colorado is a lesser offense when compared to a DUI. In Colorado, a driver who takes either a blood or a breath test and has between a 0.05% and 0.079% BAC is presumed to be DWAI. By contrast, a DUI conviction would require a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

According to Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1301, driving while ability impaired occurs when a driver of a motor vehicle has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs (or a combination of both) that affects the person to the slightest degree so that they are less able than they ordinarily would have been, either mentally or physically (or both), to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.

What are the penalties for a DWAI conviction?

While DWAI charges usually result in less punishment than DUI charges, both crimes can result in similar penalties, including fines, jail time, community service, driver’s license points and/or license suspension.

Repeat offenses have even harsher penalties, such as:

  • A DWAI conviction in Colorado will require a mandatory minimum sentence if you have had a prior DUI or DWAI in your lifetime anywhere in the United States.
  • A second DWAI charge and conviction can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days in jail and a maximum sentence of up to one year in the county jail.
  • A third or subsequent guilty finding on a DWAI in Colorado will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 days in jail and up to a maximum sentence of one year in the county jail. The mandatory minimum on a third or subsequent offense may not be served via in-home detention (ankle monitor).

Will I have to fight to keep my driver’s license?

Fortunately, a driver who has a BAC of less than 0.08% will not have to fight their case at the DMV. The DMV only gets involved if the BAC is higher than 0.08%, which means, barring a bad driving record or previous points on your motor vehicle record (MVR), you should be OK.

However, please make sure you do your due diligence. Too often, our Denver DWAI defense lawyers have heard someone say, “I am fine; I have no other points on my record.” To be sure, we have pulled the client’s MVR and, sure enough, have discovered points on their record from prior offenses they had forgotten about.

So, if the DMV doesn’t care that I got a DWAI, do I still have to fight my case in court?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. You might not have to fight your case at the DMV, but you still must fight it in criminal court. A first offense does not have a mandatory minimum sentence, but you could potentially still face between two days and six months in county jail.

As mentioned above, if you have repeat offenses or other aggravating factors, DWAI penalties can be nearly identical to DUI penalties. As such, you need to fight for your freedom and hire attorneys who regularly or exclusively handle these cases.

How do I fight against a DWAI charge?

You start by hiring our attorneys. When we take any drunk driving case, we begin by closely examining the evidence as well as how it was obtained. We may be able to argue that:

  • The traffic stop was illegal because the officer had no reason to pull you over.
  • The field sobriety tests were administered or interpreted incorrectly.
  • The breath-testing device needed service and calibration and, therefore, yielded an inaccurate result.
  • The officer deviated from protocol in administering the test, leading to unreliable results.
  • Your rights were violated in some other way.

The specific approach we take will depend on the details of the case. Suffice it to say, however, you likely have more options than you realize.

So, it looks like DWAI cases in Colorado are just as harsh as DUI cases. Do I have hope and a prayer?

Despite the mandatory sentences imposed under Colorado DUI and DWAI laws, there is still hope. Through our experience handling alcohol-related driving cases for over 20 years combined, we have found that not every district attorney and judge in Colorado handles DWAI cases equally. Some courts are willing to use discretion and give you a break, whereas other courts may not be willing to be as flexible.

Free Consultations For DWAI Clients

Don’t take chances if you have received DWAI charges; reach out to Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C. immediately. To discuss your case with one of our DWAI lawyers in Denver at no cost, complete our online form or call us at 720-407-2582.