Driving after alcohol consumption can result in two separate alcohol-related charges: Operating a Vehicle While Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI) or Driving While Under the Influence (DUI)
Recent changes in Colorado law have legalized the possession and use of marijuana. However, it remains illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana or any other drug. Being convicted of driving under the influence of drugs carries the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol.
It’s not a valid defense for a DUI/DWAI charge to claim that the drugs affecting the driver’s ability to operate their vehicle were prescribed lawfully. The only requirement for the State is to demonstrate that you consumed a particular drug or drugs and that it impaired your ability to drive. Whether the drugs are legal or illegal doesn’t matter in relation to their impact on your driving ability.
The State must establish the same elements as in alcohol-related DWAI or DUI cases, but they won’t rely on preset blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, as is the case with alcohol. There are no established drug levels that the State can use to prove drug impairment. Instead, they must rely on other evidence to demonstrate impairment, typically involving the arresting officer’s testimony about your behavior and ability to drive safely. Blood and urine tests might also be utilized to detect the presence and levels of specific drugs in your system.
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The terms DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) are often used interchangeably, but their exact definitions vary by state. In some places, they may refer to different blood alcohol concentration levels or different substances like drugs or alcohol.
Penalties for a first-time DUI offense typically include license suspension, fines, mandatory alcohol education programs, and possible jail time, depending on your jurisdiction and the circumstances of the case.
Expungement or sealing eligibility depends on your jurisdiction and the nature of the offense. Some states allow for expungement after meeting certain criteria, while others may not offer this option for DUI/DWI convictions; consult an attorney for guidance on your particular situation.
Penalties for drug-related DUI offenses may include fines, license suspension, probation, and even imprisonment, with severity depending on the specific drug involved and the jurisdiction’s laws. An attorney can assess your case and provide guidance on the potential consequences.
A lawyer can challenge the evidence, question the legality of the traffic stop, and work to negotiate reduced charges or penalties for a drug-related DUI, which can be complex due to varying state laws and substances involved.