Colorado allows officers to charge DUI for driving under the influence, and DWAI for driving while ability impaired. These laws require a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, or .05% or higher, respectively. Becoming familiar with some defenses can help you assess whether it is wise to challenge your charges.
Defenses to DUI and DWAI
There are a few defenses that you can use if charged with a DUI or DWAI.
- Illegal Stop: In Colorado, a law enforcement officer cannot stop you unless he or she has probable cause. This means that the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you engaged in criminal activity. Officers cannot pull you over to chat, or because some anonymous person reported that you were driving drunk. The officer must have probable cause that she or he witnessed to stop you. If probable cause does not exist, you can challenge the legality of the stop and potentially get all damaging evidence suppressed. Once that happens, you are in good shape to either get the case dismissed or downgraded from a DUI to a much less serious charge.
- Breathalyzer or Blood Test Problems: These tests have very strict procedures that the administrator must follow. If there is a glitch in either the administration of the test or in the equipment used, then your lawyer can move to suppress the results.
- Field Sobriety Tests: These tests are not always accurate. There are many physical limitations that can affect the outcome of FSEs. For instance, if you are over 65, have a bad back or bad feet, are overweight, or have a medical condition that affects your balance, you may have an explanation for a poor performance that does not include intoxication. A skilled attorney can look at the circumstances of your FSEs and challenge them in court if they seem suspect.
A detailed examination of your arrest requires an attorney’s experience. If proper grounds exist, you may get your case and the threat to your immigration status dismissed.