In Colorado, you can be arrested due to your blood alcohol content (BAC) or the notice of your impaired driving ability. It is separated into two different charges, depending upon your BAC and each has its own legal consequences. A blood alcohol level of at least .05%, but less than .08% is a DWAI or Driving While Ability Impaired charge, while a BAC of .08% or higher is charged with a DUI. Depending upon which drunk driving charge you are under, the punishment is different.
First Offense DWAI
If you are arrested for a DWAI for the first time, you will not lose your license, but it will get you 8 points on your license. You will be sentenced to 48 hours to 180 days in jail and will have to pay a fine of an amount from $200 to $500. In addition, community service will be mandated of at least 24 hours, but not more than 48 hours.
First Offense DUI
If you get a DUI, rather than a DWAI, you will have even more severe legal trouble. You will get your license suspended for at least 9 months and will have to spend anywhere from 5 days to 1 year in prison, depending upon your sentence, and the deal that your lawyer and the courts come to an agreement to. Community service will be required and this period can be between 48 to 96 hours. Fines for a first offense DUI can be as low as $600 or as much as $1000.
Second Offense DWAI
A second DWAI conviction will cause you to lose your license for a period of 1 year and you will get 12 points on your license. In addition, you will be incarcerated for a period of 90 days to 1 year and will be responsible for fines from $1000 to $1500. Community service may be required as well for 60 to 120 hours.
Second Offense DUI
If you are convicted of a DUI the second time you will lose your license for 12 months and you will add 12 points onto your license. You will be in jail for at least 90 days and up to 1 year and will be made to do community service of anywhere from 60 to 120 hours. A Fine of $1000 to $1500 will be levied against you and if your DUI is within five years of your last DUI, you will be responsible for the cost of installing an ignition interlock device onto your car as well before you can have your license reinstated.
Third Offense DWAI
A third conviction of DWAI will result in a loss of your license for two years and 8 points added to your license. Jail time will be anywhere from 45 days to 1 year and community service time can be levied as well. A fine of $600 to $1000 will be required as well.
Third Offense DUI
A third DUI will come with very several legal consequences, including a mandatory 70 days in jail, as well as a license suspension of 2 years. You will have to pay $900 to $1500 in fines and will be responsible for at least 56 hours of community service.
While a DWAI is not as serious as a DUI, if you combine the two or have several of them, you will find that the legal consequences can be very severe. A lawyer can give you advice in DUI and DWAI law.