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The difference in DWAI and DUI charges

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Posted By | October 13 2019 | DUI, DWAI, Firm News

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.


The courts define a driving under the influence offense as a party driving after consuming alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two, and being mentally or physically incapable of exercising proper judgment and due care to properly operate the vehicle. The party’s blood alcohol content plays a large part in determining if a party receives a DUI charge, with a BAC of at least 0.08 being the benchmark.


Similar to a DUI charge, a driving while ability impaired charge applies when a party has impaired judgment due to the use of drugs, alcohol or both. However, this infraction applies for even the slightest impairment. A BAC between 0.05 and 0.79 may result in a DWAI offense.

Both serious

Considering that both offenses can result in others’ endangerment, the courts take both DUI and DWAI offenses seriously. For this reason, many of the penalties are the same, as detailed in Colorado’s drunk driving laws. Some of the common penalties include:

  • Added to the party’s driving and criminal records
  • Probationary term
  • Require treatment and monitored sobriety
  • Payment of court costs
  • Public service
  • Additional fines

A DWAI charge may require less time or financial responsibility. However, its addition to a party’s record can still have the same lasting effects as a DUI.

Understanding the differences between a DUI and DWAI charge is only the beginning of fighting an offense. Defendants should work with their attorneys to build a strong defense.

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