Heartsick in Colorado After a Valentine’s Day DUI?

Sunrise. Enjoying a glass of champagne at Ortely Beach on the Jersey Shore.

Did your Valentine’s Day date leave you heartsick as the result of a DUI or DWAI on the way home from a restaurant or bar? With more Coloradoans driving to special occasion destinations and enjoying red wine, pink champagne, and other legal spirits and substances, there is the risk of a DUI or DWAI charge.  Conviction for either charge can do more than spoil a romantic night out. Fines and penalties, driver’s license suspension, community service, compulsory attendance in alcohol and drug education programs, and even jail time are all very real possibilities. Your sweetheart will miss you if you are incarcerated, and at the very least date night will be seriously compromised by a driver’s license suspension or revocation.  For all these reasons, and for your reputation and your future, you have a strong interest in defending against the charges. To mount the strongest defense possible, contact a skilled and experienced Colorado DUI defense attorney.

The Difference Between a DUI and DWAI is Level of Blood Alcohol Content

In Colorado, there are two types of drunk driving charges: DUI, and DWAI. DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence, and DWAI stands for Driving While Ability Impaired. DWAI is a lesser charge to DUI, but both charges are a factor of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). BAC measures influence in terms of the ratio of blood to alcohol in one’s body. As in most states, the BAC threshold for DUI is .08%. In other words, drunk driving is driving with a BAC of .08% or higher. Colorado prosecutes and punishes drunk driving especially harshly, perhaps because its mountain roads and frequent snowfall make for challenging driving even when one is stone cold sober. As such, even a .05% BAC measurement is grounds for the charge of DWAI in the state.

It would help everyone if it was 100% clear on consumption of how many alcoholic beverages results in a .05% or .08$ BAC measurement.  Unfortunately, at least for DUI and DWAI discernment, the human body is too varied and complex to allow for that. Gender and body weight are primary factors in the relationship of the number of alcohol drinks over time it takes for BAC to reach .05% or .08%. For example, while four drinks for 180 pound male corresponds with a BAC of .08%, four drinks by a 140 pound female corresponds with a BAC of .13% — way over the legal limit. So, depending on your gender and weight, the way your personal BAC compares with a friend, significant other, or spouse could be quite different.  

Finally, it is important to note that DUI and DWAI charges can result from consumption of substances other than alcohol, including marijuana and prescription drugs. Testing and legal limits are different for alcohol, but the charges and penalties for conviction are the same. Whatever the circumstances of your DUI or DWAI charges, you need to contact a skilled and experienced Colorado DUI defense attorney today.  

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