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DWAI is a Serious Charge

Denver Driving While Ability Impaired Lawyer

What's the difference between DUI and DWAI?

Did you know that Colorado law allows for an intoxicated driving arrest even if your blood alcohol level is not higher than the legal limit of .08? While DUI refers to the criminal offense of driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) applies if the perpetrator's BAC level is under .08 but over .05 percent. A DWAI is not as severe in level orpenalties as a DUI but it is still a criminal charge that can result in conviction and penalties. Furthermore, the standards for evidence are lighter for prosecutors charging someone with DWAI; the officer simply needs to show that the driver was impaired, even to the slightest degree, at the time of the stop.

The penalties for first-time DUI and DWAI offenses vary, and they include the following:

  • 1 st DWAI – 2 to 180 days in jail, up to 2 years probation, fines of $200 to $500
  • 1 st DUI – 5 days to 1 year in jail, up to 2 years probation, fines of $600 to $1,000

Repeated offenses of DWAI will result in the increase of penalties, much like other DUI charges. A second conviction of DWAI could run the risk of between 90 days and a year in prison, a yearlong license suspension and up to 120 hours of mandatory public service. A third conviction could result in registration as a habitual offender and the loss of your driving privileges for five years.

The primary difference between DWAI and DUI offenses is that the punishments for a DWAI offense are slightly less severe than those of a DUI offense. However, the penalties for both DWAI and DUI increase with each consecutive offense. In either situation, the offense can put your driving privileges at risk.

More Information About DWAI

DWAI lawyer as soon as possible. By getting them involved at the onset, you can be confident that your case will be cared for in every way possible. The right attorney will be able to help answer your questions, whatever they may be, whether you are curious aboutfield sobriety tests, blood or breath tests, vehicular assault or out of state drivers. Attorney Chris Cessna understands how confusing a criminal charge can be, especially if it's your first, and he is dedicated to ensuring that your answers are answered and your rights are being protected to the very best of his ability.


Contact us today for a specialized DWAI defense.


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  • Over 20 Years of Experience

  • Each Case Handled With Personalized Service

  • NHTSA Certified Instructor in Field Sobriety Tests

  • Former Law Enforcement Officer and Prosecutor