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Colorado DWAI Lawyer

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Facing DWAI Charges? If You Were Charged With DWAI in Colorado You ONLY Have 7 DAYS to Request A DMV Hearing Before Your License Is Suspended.

Colorado is nationally known for having strict DUI laws. People who drive while impaired due to alcohol or drug use are especially likely to face unforgiving penalties. If you are charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI), you deserve to know your rights so that you may dispute any unwarranted charges against you. By seeking legal representation from an experienced DWAI lawyer, you can minimize damage to your driving record and secure the best possible outcome with your DWAI case.

When should I call a Colorado Springs DWAI lawyer?

As soon as you possibly can. Acting quickly is critical because you only have a limited amount of time to avoid suspension of your license. If you were arrested in Colorado for DWAI, you only have seven days to request a DMV hearing. If you miss this deadline, the state of Colorado will automatically suspend your license.

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What is the difference between DUI and DWAI?

The primary difference between DUI and DWAI is the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). In Colorado, if a driver’s BAC is 0.08 percent or greater, the driver is guilty of DUI. If your BAC is between 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent, the offense is typically categorized as DWAI.

There are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, a driver who exhibits signs of impairment but has a BAC of less than .05 percent may still be charged with a DUI. While this type of scenario is rare, it illustrates the importance of fully refraining from alcohol and substance consumption prior to driving.

“Even if your BAC is less than .05 percent (DWAI limit), you can still be charged with a DUI if you show signs of impairment. The only absolute way to ensure you are safe to drive is to have a BAC of zero.” – Colorado Department of Transportation

It is important to note that DWAI BAC thresholds are more stringent for younger drivers. For drivers under the age of 21, the BAC limit is tightened to 0.02 percent, leaving younger drivers increasingly likely to face charges.

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What are the penalties for DWAI?

If you are charged with DWAI in Colorado, you may be subject to a variety of unpleasant consequences. The severity of your penalty will depend on your past history of DUI or DWAI. In general, repeat offenders typically receive steeper penalties. For instance, they face longer jail sentences and costlier fines. Plus, they are required to place an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles to prevent them from starting their car following alcohol consumption. Here is a look at the potential penalties you may face for DWAI:

  • First-time offenders: Up to $500 in fines and up to 180 days of jail time.
  • Second-time offenders: Up to $1,500 in fines and up to one year of jail time, plus a 12-month license suspension and mandatory IID.
  • Third-time offenders: Up to $1,500 in fines and up to one year of jail time, plus a 24-month license suspension and mandatory IID.

The length of time an offender is required to keep an IID on their vehicle depends on the driver’s record and the severity of the DWAI charge. While second-time offenders with relatively minor charges may only have to keep an IID installed for four to 12 months, repeat offenders with serious charges may be required to keep the IID installed for up to five years.

Finally, Colorado is among the states that have no limit on their “look back” period for alcohol-related driving offenses. Unlike some other states that have relatively short look-back periods of five to seven years, Colorado has harsh look-back laws mandating that any and all previous DWAI and DUI offenses will remain on your record for a lifetime. Given the severity of Colorado’s laws, it is especially important to seek legal guidance to help avoid having a tarnished driving record for a lifetime.

How can a Colorado Springs DWAI lawyer help you?

A DWAI lawyer is the key to securing the best possible outcome with your case. A top Colorado DWAI attorney will review the details of your DWAI charges and determine the best course of action to take. Here are some specific ways a DWAI lawyer can help you with your defense:

  • Determine whether the enforcement officials were justified in pulling you over
  • Review the circumstances of your arrest to see if it was illegal
  • Ensure that your DUI test complied with all pertinent regulations
  • Screen for noncompliance with Colorado DUI Toxicology Laboratory Certification Standards
  • Help minimize penalties and damage to your driving record

We encourage you to reach out to one of our Colorado Springs DWAI lawyers today to discover how we can help you maximize your chances of a favorable outcome in your case.

Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or

    Arrest or

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of

    Advisement of

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /

    Pretrial Conference /

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment


    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness

    Pretrial Readiness

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing


    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

What is the sentence for misdemeanors in Colorado?

  • Class 1

  • 6 to 18 months in county jail, and/or
  • $500 to $5,000 in fines
  • For extraordinary risk class 1 misdemeanors, the maximum jail sentence is 24 months.
  • For 3rd-degree assault (CRS 18-3-204), the maximum sentence can be 48 months if the victim was on duty as a:
    • Peace officer,
    • Emergency medical provider,
    • Firefighter, or
    • Mental health professional at the Department of Human Services.
  • Class 2

  • 3 to 12 months in county jail, and/or
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines

What are Colorado felony penalties?

  • Class 1

  • Life imprisonment
  • No Colorado crime carries the death penalty.
  • Class 2

  • 8 – 24 years in Colorado State Prison, and/or
  • $5,000 – $1,000,000
  • 5 years of mandatory parole if the offense is a crime of violence. Otherwise, 3 years of mandatory parole.
  • Class 3

  • 4-12 years in prison
  • Fines of up to $750,000 but not less than $3,000
  • 3 years of parole
  • Class 4

  • 2 – 6 years in prison, and/or
  • $2,000 – $500,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 4 felonies, the maximum sentence is 8 years in prison.
  • Class 5

  • 1 – 3 years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 2 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 5 felonies, the maximum sentence is 4 years in prison.
  • Class 6

  • 1 – 18 months years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 1 year of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 6 felonies, the maximum sentence is 2 years in prison.



Ask A Criminal Defense Attorney

At Right Law Group, we understand the stress you are under. Our Criminal Defense Law Firm is here to guide you down the right path to your legal challenge. Whether you are facing your first DUI, a drug charge, need a restraining order, or are facing another type of criminal charge, our firm is committed to your well-being and protecting your rights the right way.

How bad is a DWAI?

DWAI charges, while not as serious as DUI charges, can still come with severe penalties and have an impact on your future. A DWAI may or may not impact your employment opportunities the way a DUI can depending on the job, but it is still a blemish on your driving record, so if you drive for a living it could be a problem.

Is a DWAI a felony in Colorado?

In Colorado, a first-time DWAI conviction would not be considered a felony. In order for a DWAI to be a felony, it would need to have happened after someone already has multiple DUI or DWAI convictions on their record.

How long does a DWAI stay on your record in Colorado?

In Colorado, a DWAI will stay on your criminal record forever, but will only be visible on your driving record for 10 years. It is important to keep in mind, however, that Colorado has no “look-back” period, meaning that even if you get a DWAI or DUI 11 years after a previous DUI or DWAI (in any state), it will still be considered a subsequent charge. This is important to remember since any DUI or DWAI charge that happens for the 4th time in a lifetime will be a felony.

Experienced DWAI Lawyer

Colorado Springs DWAI Lawyer Near You

When you’re charged with DWAI in Colorado, you need a lawyer who is familiar with the laws and knows how the court system works. DUI attorneys work with you to help you establish a strong defense. Even if you believe that a conviction is inevitable, a DWAI lawyer can help you fight for a lesser charge, a reduced sentence, or another more favorable outcome. Contact us right away for a free case consultation.