The Difference Between DUI and DWAI

Criminal Defense

What is a DWAI?

Most people recognize the acronym “DUI” and know that it stands for “driving under the influence.” Fewer people recognize the term “DWAI” which means “driving while ability impaired.” In Colorado, DWAI is the lesser offense to DUI. From a BAC (blood alcohol content) perspective, DUI is any result .08 or higher. The range for DWAI is .05 – .08.

What are the differences in sentence?

To summarize simply, the penalty for a DWAI is not significantly less than the penalty for a DUI Your ultimate sentence will likely depend more on the circumstances of your case than the actual charge.

 

The sentencing range for a first-offense DWAI is:

Jail Term Range: 2 days – 180 days, no mandatory jail

Probation: Up to 2 years

Fines: $200-$500

Useful Public Service: 24-48 hours

 

The sentencing range for a first-offense DUI is:

Jail Term Range: 5 days – 1 year, no mandatory jail

Probation: Up to 2 years

Fines: $600 – $1,000

Useful Public Service: 48 – 96 hours

 

Note that if you have prior alcohol related driving offenses, the sentence is dictated by the date of your prior and/or the number of prior offenses you have. Either a DUI or a DWAI will qualify as a prior offense for purposes of sentencing.

If you face an alcohol related driving offense, we highly recommend you contact one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Kalamaya | Goscha.

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