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Greeley Criminal Law Blog

The difference in DWAI and DUI charges

Most people do not try to endanger themselves and others by driving impaired. However, it happens regularly more times than some may think.

For those facing DWAI or DUI charges, they must understand what they are up against. There are a few things to understand about the two charges, as well as their differences.

Drunk driving, a new Colorado law and the IID

In Colorado, you may hear the term “DUI per se,” which refers to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

Also, a recent change in Colorado law affects the designation of Persistent Drunk Drivers. For cases involving either DUI per se or PDDs, there comes the probability of a court order for an ignition interlock device.

Important facts about restraining orders in Colorado

There are a few different reasons people pursue restraining orders. While they are in place to protect citizens, they can inadvertently endanger not-guilty parties.

In fact, some people may find themselves facing domestic violence charges in relation to a restraining order. For those in such situations, it is important to understand a few key facts about the order.

Colorado's open container law

If you drive with an open alcoholic beverage in your car, you violate Colorado's traffic laws. Even if you are not under the influence, it is still against the law. There are few exceptions to this law. 

Additionally, it is also illegal to drive with an open container of marijuana. Here is an overview of the law to help you understand its prohibitions, exceptions and penalties. 

How would losing your driver’s license affect your life?

Like most of us, you probably take driving for granted. However, if a law enforcement officer arrests you on suspicion of DWAI or DUI, you face suspension of your driving privileges.

How long will you be without a license? How will this affect your daily life? How will you get around?

What counts as disorderly conduct in Colorado?

Colorado statutes outlaw disorderly conduct. The goal of outlawing disorderly conduct is to protect the safety and peace of the community in public places such as movie theaters, shopping centers, restaurants and places of worship. 

Each state has unique definitions and penalties for disorderly conduct. It is important to know what behaviors constitute a disorderly conduct offense in Colorado and the punishments you may face.

Intoxicated driving may be riskier in rural areas

If you grew up in Weld County, you know how fun it can be to drive on the rural roads around Greeley. After all, few things are better than seeing distant mountains through miles of fields. Still, regardless of where you choose to drive, alcohol and motor vehicles do not mix. 

Like most of your Northern Colorado neighbors, you would never attempt to drive after a night on the town in Denver’s Lodo neighborhood. When the bars close, Denver police officers line the streets near Union Station. Even though Weld County is mostly rural, you must apply the same logic to driving around Greeley. That is, you must not let a rural setting lure you into a false sense of invincibility. 

A red license may help you get through suspension

If you have made a few mistakes on the road and found yourself on the receiving end of a license suspension, you may feel stuck. Without a driver's license, you have to rely on carpools or public transportation to get you where you need to go.

There is the possibility that you can obtain a temporary license even during a suspension. This probationary driver's license, or PDL, is also known as a red license in the state of Colorado. How do you get one of these temporary permits, and what does it do?

Control the damage from your legal situation

So, you may have made a mistake with legal implications. What happens next? The first thing you should know is that you have rights. You could probably do many things when faced with having to go through the criminal justice system in Colorado.

You should also know that making decisions about the law is not about immediate concerns. It is about consequences, penalties and costs over the long term. The best possible thing you could do in most situations is to take a step back and review your case from this perspective.

Can you refuse field sobriety tests in Colorado?

Colorado police officers have the right to administer field sobriety tests. They can conduct the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. During this test, you must follow an object with your eyes. The officer looks for any jerking in the eyeballs that would imply you are under the influence of alcohol. There is also the walk-and-turn test where you must take several steps from heel to toe, turn around and take several more steps. Again, the officer looks for anything that would imply intoxication. 

Having evidence you should not drive gives the police officer sufficient reason to place you under arrest. Even if you did not say or do anything inside the vehicle to suggest intoxication, then a field sobriety test can provide that reasoning. However, you actually do not have to submit to them. 

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