In Colorado, you will be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 to 0.08. To convict you, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you drove or had control of a vehicle when you consumed enough alcohol to affect you to the slightest degree so that you are less able than you ordinarily would have been to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation on of a vehicle.
You can be found guilty of DWAI even if your blood or breath alcohol content is less than 0.05. However, if your BAC was 0.05 or less, the jury must presume that your ability to operate a vehicle was not impaired. If your BAC is more than 0.05 but less than 0.08, there is a rebuttable presumption that your ability to drive was impaired. That means that the jury will presume that you were impaired, but you can overcome that presumption to convince the jurors that they cannot convict you. You should consult with an attorney about effective ways to present your defense if you believe that you were not impaired but still had some level of alcohol in your blood.
Penalties are more severe for a subsequent conviction (a conviction after a previous conviction for DUI, DUI per se, habitual user, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, driving under restraint, or DWAI). The higher penalty includes mandatory jail. At times it can be difficult to determine whether you have a previous conviction. If you think that you may have a previous conviction you should consult with an attorney to determine whether you do and how it might be addressed.
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