What Happens if You Get a DUID/DWAI?

If you are using drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both while driving, you can get into deep trouble with the law. A police officer has several options with which to charge you, including a DUI (driving under the influence), DUID (driving under the influence of drugs), or DWAI (driving while ability impaired).

While the more common known offense is the DUI, getting a DUID or DWAI can also happen if you’re using drugs of any sort and/or drinking alcohol. So what’s the difference between a DUID and DWAI?

What’s a DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs)?
According to Colorado law, you can get a DUID when you have consumed enough drugsoralcohol/drugs to make it so you are “substantially incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.”  What does “substantially incapable” mean? According to a police officer, it means that you cannot safely perform the necessary requirements, both physically and/or mentally, that you need to when operating a motor vehicle. The officer bases his determinations on his observations, which will include the reasons you were contacted and all interactions with the officer.

What’s a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired)?
A DWAI is what is known as a “lesser offense” to a DUI. Getting a DWAI means that you have consumed at least one drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol, and you are showing symptoms of impairment even to “the slightest degree.” A police officer can notice anything off with your behavior and give you a DWAI if it can be linked to drugs or alcohol. Usually, a DWAI is not charged directly, but can be negotiated by your attorney as it has less serious consequences. If you are charged with DWAI, it is usually because you tested below the legal limit of .08 BAC, but were above .05 BAC.

What Are the Penalties for a DUID/DWAI?
Getting a DUID/DWAI will result in the same penalties, even though they are slightly different offenses. The penalties are a bit less than a DUI for the first offense, but after a second or third offense, the penalties are the same as a DUI.Liberty Law will break down the penalties for DUID/DWAI here:

First Time Offense Penalties for DUI
Jail: 5 days to 1 year
Fines: $600-$1000
License Suspension: 9 months
Ignition Interlock Device: 8 months
Community Service: 48 to 96 hours

First Offense Penalties for DUID/DWAI
Jail: 2 days to 180 days
Fines: $200 to $500
Community Service: 24 to 48 hours

Second Offense Penalties for DUI/DUID/DWAI
Jail: 10 days to 1 year
Fines: $600-$1500
License Suspension: 1 year
Ignition Interlock Device: 2-5 years
Community Service: 48 to 120 hours

Third Offense Penalties for DUI/DUID/DWAI
Jail: 60 days to 1 year
Fines: $600-$1500
License Suspension: Indefinite period
Ignition Interlock Device: 2-5 years
Community Service: 48 to 120 hours

As you can see, while the DUID/DWAI penalties start a little lower at first offense, they are the same at the second and third offense as DUI.

What Should I Do if I Have Been Given a DUID/DWAI?
If you have been charged with a DUID/DWAI, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as you can, because you may be able to get the charges dropped or altered. A professional criminal defense lawyer will help you navigate the court system and help you spend less time, money, and worry than doing so on your own.

Contact Liberty Law Center to get legal advice about your situation today! Don’t hesitate—because you have 7 days after getting charged with a DUID/DWAI to find legal counsel and appeal the charge before the DMV takes legal action against your license!