You probably are aware that it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Colorado. But there are many specifics to the laws that are not obvious.

For example, there is a difference between DUI and DWAI charges. DUI offenses involve driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You may face DUI charges if a breath or blood test shows you have a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08. DWAI offenses occur when alcohol or drugs impair your ability to drive. You may face DWAI charges if your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08.

Colorado has an “implied consent” law, meaning that the law assumes that you consent to take a breath, blood, urine or saliva test when a police officer requests you to do so if he or she has probable cause to believe you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you refuse to submit to a test, the Colorado Department of Revenue has the right to revoke your license.

There are numerous administrative and criminal penalties for these offenses. A first DUI offense is punishable by a 9-month license suspension, 12 points on your driving record, one year in jail, a $1,000 fine and 96 hours of public service. A first DWAI offense is punishable by 8 points on your driving record, 180 days in jail, a $500 fine and 48 hours of public service.

According to the Colorado Office of Legislative Legal Services, you may be able to reduce your DUI or DWAI penalties by undergoing treatment or entering a plea bargain.

While this information may help you understand more about Colorado’s drunk driving laws, it does not constitute legal advice.