Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) is a lower level offense than Driving Under the Influence (DUI), but still carries significant consequences. Like a DUI, DWAI is a major traffic offense and is punishable by jail time and under certain circumstances, may result in loss of your driving privilege.
“Driving while ability impaired” is defined as driving when your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is impaired even to the slightest degree. The legal definition of “driving” is actual physical control. A person can be in actual physical control of a vehicle even when the vehicle is not in motion. There are specific legal factors that determine whether a person is driving within the meaning of the law. Careful legal analysis is important in these situations. “Motor vehicle” also has a specific legal definition.
In Colorado, if a driver’s BAC is 0.050 or more, it is presumed that the driver was impaired. This means the law assumes you were impaired absent evidence to the contrary. There is no similar presumption in drug cases for impairment.
The possible penalties for Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) are:
- 180 days in jail
- $500.00 fine
- Two years of probation
- 48 hours of community service
- Mandatory alcohol treatment
- Victim impact panel
The penalties for an alcohol related DWAI and a drug related DWAI (DWAID) are the same. Even though the possible penalties for a DWAI are less than the possible penalties for a DUI, a DWAI conviction is still considered an alcohol or drug related driving offense for purposes of your driving record. A prior DWAI convictions are treated the same as a prior DUI conviction. Even if you are charged with a DWAI rather than a DUI, if you have any prior alcohol or drug related driving convictions, there may be mandatory jail time and a lengthier probation sentence.
Each of our defense attorneys is a former prosecutor. Prosecution experience is invaluable when defending a case. We know what to look for to provide zealous representation, whether looking for legal issues, evidentiary weaknesses or negotiating with and persuading the prosecution and court to be lenient to minimize the consequences.