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Colorado DUI Laws

In Colorado, an individual who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol could be prosecuted for potentially violating one of the three following criminal misdemeanors; (1) driving under the influence [“DUI”] , (2) driving while ability impaired [“DWAI”] , or (3) being a habitual user.

To be convicted of [“DUI”] the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that an  individual (1) was driving a motor vehicle, (2) had consumed alcohol and/or drugs, and (3) was substantially less capable than a reasonable person in operating a motor vehicle. However, if the evidence presented is inadequate to prove the third element of substantially incapable, one may still be convicted of [“DWAI”]. To be convicted of DWAI, the third element the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that one was (3) less able than a reasonable person in operating a motor vehicle. However, the exact elements that must be proved to convict an individual of driving while being an habitual user are unknown.

If convicted of driving under the influence [“DUI”] or driving while ability impaired [“DWAI”] in Colorado, an individual will be sentenced to a period of imprisonment, a period of probation, a fine, and public service. In addition, the individual is required to immediately surrender their license upon conviction. The period of imprisonment will range from a minimum of 2 days to 1 year imprisonment. However, if an individual has previously been convicted of a DUI or DWAI the period of imprisonment could range from a minimum of 60 days to a year. After a DUI/DWAI conviction the minimum period of probation will range from nothing to 2 years dependent upon an individual’s past DUI/DWAI record. And finally, a fine ranging from $200 to $1,500 will be imposed in addition to 48 to 120 hours of public service. Although the specific details of an individual’s conviction cannot be known, a range can be determined based upon DUI/DWAI conviction history, blood alcohol content [“BAC”], and other factors the judge may find relevant such as character, remorse, and ties to the community.


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