While many states maintain a legal blood alcohol content limit of 0.08%, Colorado drivers receive penalties for BAC of 0.05% or higher when operating a vehicle. This latter charge, driving while ability impaired, carries the same penalties as driving under the influence, except for the first offense.

Explore the potential consequences of DWAI and DUI so you can protect your interests if you are facing these charges.

First-time DWAI conviction

Drivers convicted of DWAI receive a mandatory minimum jail sentence of two days with a maximum sentence of 180 days. They must also pay $200 to $500 in fines, and complete between 24 and 48 hours of community service. This charge carries a nine-month license suspension and a mandatory ignition interlock device for eight months after license reinstatement.

First-time DUI conviction

When an initial DUI arrest includes a BAC measurement of at least 0.08%, penalties increase to between five days and one year in jail with fines from $600 to $1,000. Drivers convicted of this crime must complete between 48 and 96 hours of community service. The license and ignition interlock requirements are the same as for a first-time DWAI.

Multiple DUI and DWAI offenses

If you receive a second DUI or DWAI conviction within five years of the first, you may receive a sentence of 10 days to one year in jail, with fines starting at $600 and increasing to a maximum of $1,500. Community service requirements increase to between 48 and 120 hours. You will receive a one-year license suspension, after which yous must use an ignition interlock device for two to five years.

Third offenses have those penalties plus a mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail and an indefinite license revocation. Penalties may also increase based on extenuating circumstances such as reckless driving or bodily injury.

You may receive increased penalties if you refuse a breath test. This offense includes a mandatory one-year license revocation. Procedural issues and other irregularities may sometimes result in a decreased sentence.