Casey A. Krizman, a criminal defense attorney in Denver, Colorado, explains the difference between being charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) versus a DWAI (driving while ability impaired). If you need a personalized and relentless criminal defense, call (303) 529-2677 or visit today. #colorado #dui #dwai

Video Transcription

I get a lot of questions about DUI and DWAI here in the state of Colorado. Mainly, “What’s the difference?”

DUI is driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Oftentimes, if there is a blood alcohol content, it involves a BAC of above a 0.08. But also, the jury instruction reads that a person can be guilty of driving under the influence if they are “substantially incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely.”

DWAI is technically a lesser charge. The BAC in those cases are often between 0.05 and 0.08. And the jury instruction in those cases is whether or not the person was “impaired by alcohol or drugs to the slightest degree.”

The big thing to know about DUI and DWAI is that DWAI (driving while your ability is impaired) is actually a lesser included offense to DUI. That means that if your case goes to trial, and even if a jury decides that you were not substantially incapable of operating a motor vehicle, they could still decide that you were impaired to the slightest degree. Therefore you could be found not guilty of DUI but still be found guilty of DWAI.

So then the question is: what’s the difference in terms of penalties? When you’re looking at a first DUI versus a first DWAI, you obviously want to try to get a DWAI if you can. Oftentimes this will be done through plea negotiations. The reason why a DWAI is better is because it doesn’t automatically trigger a point suspension with the DMV. It also has lower penalties in terms of suspended jail, the possibility of jail, and lower fines and court costs. You may also have fewer community service hours to do based on the facts in your case.

Frequently Asked QuestionsFAQ: What’s The Difference Between DUI & DWAI?