Coloradans who are dealing with a first-offense for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) should know what to expect in terms of potential penalties. Because the state takes it seriously when people who are under the influence and impaired are behind the wheel, the laws and the penalties reflect that attempt to dissuade people from taking part in the activity. Knowing the penalties that can come about if there is a conviction is key to deciding a defense strategy.

When there is a conviction for DUI, the person will be imprisoned for a minimum of five days and up to one year. The five days are mandatory. However, this can be suspended if the person takes part in alcohol evaluation and completes the financial obligations for a Level I or II program. There can be a fine of a minimum of $600 and up to $1,000. The court can suspend the fine. There will be a minimum of 48 hours of community service and a maximum of 96 hours. This cannot be suspended. Should the person’s blood-alcohol concentration be 0.20 or above when driving or within two hours of driving, the minimum jail sentence will be 10 days.

Penalties for DWAI differ slightly from those for DUI. For DWAI, the person will be imprisoned for at least two days and up to 180 days. There can be a fine of a minimum of $200 and up to $500. There will be at least 48 hours and up to 96 hours of public service. The driver can be placed on probation for up to two years.

Simply because it is a first-offense does not mean that the case will be taken lightly. Those who are dealing with these charges should pay strict attention to how severe the punishments will be if they are convicted. It is important to make sure to have legal assistance from the start of the case as an acquittal or reduced charges are better than a conviction. A law firm with extensive experience in defending people arrested for DUI/DWAI can help.