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What is a DUI and a DWI in Colorado?

Driving Under Influence (DUI) and Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) in Colorado State are traffic violations that involve the use of alcohol, controlled substances, and other kinds of intoxicants. Generally, the Colorado Department of Public Transportation handles traffic violations and assesses penalties on such offenses. DUI and DWAI are criminal traffic offenses. The traffic courts of the state’s Judicial Branch penalizes persons guilty of such violations.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Colorado?

DUI and DWAI offenses in Colorado are serious traffic offenses that both attract severe penalties. Under the state laws, DUI violations happen when a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and it negatively affects their judgment and operation of a motor vehicle. DWAI involves the use of intoxicants that affect the driver’s capability to operate or control a vehicle to the slightest degree. DWAI is a lesser offense than DUI and attracts lesser penalties. Drivers are guilty of DUI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or more, while the BAC for DWAI is 0.05 percent or more.

What happens when you get a DUI for the First Time in Colorado?

Drivers arrested for DUI offenses in Colorado must request a hearing date with the DMV within seven days, or they will lose their driving privileges automatically. First-time DUI offenders can have their license suspended for nine months and accumulate twelve points on their driving records. If found guilty in court, first time DUI is a misdemeanor violation that results in a penalty of five days to a year imprisonment. Defendants can also be fined between $600 to $10,000 and observe public service between fourth-eight hours to ninety-six hours. However, defendants can choose to contest DUI charges. Such persons can hire traffic lawyers to assist them.

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Colorado?

In Colorado, it is very likely for persons who commit their first DUI to be jailed. Under the state’s DUI laws, a first-time violation is a misdemeanor and can result in incarceration. Generally, criminal offenses, including DUI, are usually punishable by imprisonment.

What are the Typical Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Colorado?

Typical penalties that individuals will face upon a DUI conviction include:

  • Imprisonment/Parole: Upon a DUI conviction, an offender can be sentenced to a jail term in court. Usually, the duration of incarceration depends on the severity of the violation or repetition of the offense. First-time DUI offenders can face up to a year in jail, while offenders with more than three DUI violations can face a maximum imprisonment sentence of six years and parole for three years.
  • Fines: DUI convictions are punishable by fines. Offenders will have to pay a particular amount as sentenced by the court. The first DUI attracts a fine of $600 to $1000. Fines for second and third DUI offenses are between $600 to $1500.
  • License Revocation: The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles issues this penalty. DUI can cause a temporary loss of driving privileges. First-time DUI is punishable by license suspension for nine months. If a driver has two DUI convictions within five years, it can result in a year of license revocation. Further convictions will have an offender’s license revoked permanently, but such persons can apply for reinstatement after two years.
  • Public Service: The court can order DUI offenders to carry out public service as a penalty. First-time offenders can perform forty-eight hours to ninety-six hours of public service, while further DUI convictions can result in up to 120 hours of public service.
  • Points assessment: Colorado practices the point assessment system that allocates some points to traffic offenses. For any DUI conviction, offenders accumulate twelve points on their driving record.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Colorado?

In Colorado, DUI convictions are available on an individual’s criminal records for life. DUI on a driving record only lasts for five years. The state laws make no provision for interested persons to expunge DUI from their records. If there was no conviction by the court, interested individuals might expunge DUI arrest records given that they have no criminal convictions ten years before the time of expungement.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Colorado?

DUI checkpoints/sobriety checkpoints are legal in Colorado State. Usually, DUI checkpoints involve law officers setting a road blockage to check and recognize drivers impaired by the influence of alcohol or drugs. Law enforcement officers can perform a series of tests to identify impaired driving. However, sobriety checkpoints must adhere to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Regulations for Sobriety Checkpoints.

Which is Worse; a DUI or DWI?

Following the Colorado Alcohol and Drug Offenses statute, the severity of DUI and DWAI usually depends on the number of convictions. However, first-time DWAI offenders receive lesser penalties from litigation than a first time DUI. Also, the CDOT assesses fewer points to DWAI than DUI. The first DWAI does not lead to license revocation, unlike DUI that causes suspension of driving privileges for nine months.

What is an Aggravated DUI in Colorado?

While DUI in Colorado results in certain penalties, some factors can constitute aggravated DUI with more severe punishments. These factors include:

  • High blood alcohol content (BAC): While the BAC limit in Colorado is 0.08 percent for a regular DUI conviction, offenders can receive a more severe penalty if their BAC is 0.17 percent higher than the limit.
  • Prior DUI convictions: The penalties for a DUI offense worsens if the offender has previous convictions within five years from the most recent violation.
  • DUI vehicular assault/homicide: While DUI convictions are usually a misdemeanor offense, it becomes a class 4 felony if the DUI accident causes death or serious bodily injuries.

What Happens When You Get a DWI in Colorado?

Following a DWI in Colorado, alleged offenders appear before a court where they choose to either plead guilty or not to the DWI violation. The court sentences individuals that plead guilty, considering the damages of the offense and any aggravating factors. Typical penalties include a jail term, fines, and public services. Also, the CDOT can impose administrative punishments that usually result in the suspension of driving privileges. DWI cases may proceed to trial if a guilty plea is not entered. Usually, defendants can employ the services of a traffic lawyer to help defend them in hearings.

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