When people discuss laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol, they often discuss a “BAC limit.” “BAC” refers to a person’s blood alcohol content, generally measured by mass per volume – in the United States, the most common unit of measure when discussing BAC is grams per deciliter, or g/Dl. When you refer to a person who has a BAC of 0.01, it means that they have .01 grams of alcohol per every deciliter of blood in their system.
In the legal context, BAC is often used to provide an objective measure as to how intoxicated a particular person is at a given time. As a result, BAC is often a critical piece of evidence in Denver DUI cases that prosecutors use to establish that a driver was under the influence of alcohol. People who are accused of DUI in Colorado should be aware that BAC evidence is not incontrovertible, and in many cases a skilled DUI lawyer can raise legal defenses even in cases where a driver’s BAC was measured at a particular level. As a result, anyone facing a DUI case in Colorado should contact a Denver DUI attorney as soon as possible to retain legal representation.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT), more than 26,000 are arrested for driving under the influence in Colorado every year. There are high-profile public initiatives in order to try and curb the incidence of drunk driving, which meet with varying degrees of success. Still, many people are surprised to learn that there is no one “bright line rule” regarding a driver’s BAC and DUI in Colorado. Some of the distinctions that the law draws are detailed below.
Per Se DUI
Colorado, along with the 49 other states that make up the U.S., has a per se BAC limit of 0.08 for drivers. This means that if an individual is caught driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, he or she is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) even if no other evidence of intoxication exists. Because alcohol affects everyone differently, it is very possible that while one person is noticeably intoxicated at 0.08, another may seem perfectly sober. The law makes no distinction between the two, and both could potentially be convicted of DUI.
Impairment to a Substantial Degree
Colorado law also makes it illegal for a person to drive when their ability to do so is impaired to a substantial degree due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol. Importantly, no BAC evidence is required to establish such impairment, and the state may try and make its case solely based on the observations of the law enforcement officer that investigated your case.
Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)
Colorado has a lesser offense that involves drinking and driving known as Driving While Ability Impaired, or DWAI. Colorado law allows a permissible inference that a person’s ability to drive was impaired if their BAC at the time they were driving was between 0.05 and 0.08.
Under 21 DUI
Drivers who are under 21 are subject to a significantly reduced BAC limit of 0.02, a limit so low that it is often referred to as “zero tolerance.”
Contact a Denver DUI attorney today to schedule a free consultation
People who are convicted of DUI in Colorado can face stiff penalties, including fines, probation, the installation of an ignition interlock device, and even jail time. Fortunately, there are many potential defenses that a Denver DUI defense lawyer can raise in a Colorado DUI case that may invalidate the state’s case against you. In other cases, an attorney may be able to make a deal with the prosecutor handling your case that can significantly reduce the penalties you may be facing. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call the Tiftickjian Law Firm today at (303) DUI-5280.