Confronting Your First DUI or DWAI Allegation


5 Things you should know


At The Law Office of Ryan Peterson, LLC, we specialize in DUI and DWAI cases and are here to build a strong defense for you. Don’t face the legal process alone!


Distinguishing DWAI and DUI Charges in Denver, CO


In Denver, Colorado, it is important to understand the difference between DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) and DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charges. These two offenses are distinct and carry different legal consequences.

DWAI: Under Colorado law, DWAI is charged when a person operates a vehicle while impaired to even the “slightest degree.” This means that their physical or mental abilities are compromised, making them less capable of safely driving. In Colorado, the threshold for impairment is typically considered to be a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level exceeding .05%.

DUI: On the other hand, DUI is charged when a person operates a vehicle with a BAC level of .08% or higher, which is considered the “legal limit” in Colorado. This offense indicates a higher level of intoxication and is associated with more severe penalties compared to DWAI.

Understanding the distinction between DWAI and DUI charges is crucial when facing a drunk driving allegation in Denver, Colorado. It is recommended to consult with a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney who can assess the specific circumstances of your case and provide you with effective legal representation.


First DWAI or DUI Offense


Facing a first-time DUI offense in Denver, Colorado can have serious legal consequences. In Colorado, a first DUI offense is typically considered a traffic misdemeanor crime, but aggravating factors can elevate it to a felony offense with more severe penalties, including potential imprisonment in a state prison if the driving results in serious bodily injury or death to another. The specific circumstances of the case, such as prior convictions or injuries, play a crucial role in determining the potential consequences.

To navigate through the complexities of a first DUI offense, it is essential to seek professional legal assistance from a reputable law firm specializing in DUI defense in Denver. They can provide expert guidance, protect your rights, and help you understand the applicable laws and penalties specific to Colorado. By working closely with an experienced attorney, you can develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your situation and aim for the best possible outcome in your case.


Is it Possible to Have a First Offense Dismissed?


Absolutely! The dismissal of a first offense DUI is indeed possible, but it requires the expertise of a law firm well-versed in both the legal aspects and scientific intricacies surrounding drunk driving cases.

Certain circumstances, such as violations of your rights or procedural errors, can potentially qualify your case for dismissal. We fight tirelessly on your behalf. We thoroughly assess all the relevant information and procedures related to your case, diligently searching for any grounds that may support the dismissal of your charges.

Having a first offense DUI dismissed can significantly impact your future, sparing you from the severe consequences associated with a conviction. Contact our firm today, and we will work diligently to protect your rights and explore every avenue available to secure the best possible outcome for your case.


Are there alternative forms of sentencing?


In the case of a first-time DUI charge with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) below 0.20, the legal penalties remain consistent, and we are usually able to take the right legal steps and negotiate to avoid a jail sentence. However, if the BAC surpasses 0.20, the judge loses the ability to suspend the jail component of the sentence. Fortunately, the judge does have the discretion to replace jail time with alternative forms of sentencing.


Potential alternatives and sentence components may include:
  • Alcohol Education and Treatment Programs: Completion of alcohol education classes or substance abuse treatment programs can be a viable alternative to jail time. These programs help individuals understand the risks associated with alcohol or substance abuse and provide support for recovery.
  • In-Home Detention: Instead of serving time in a traditional jail setting, individuals may be eligible for in-home detention. This involves wearing an electronic monitoring device and abiding by specific restrictions while serving the sentence from the comfort of their own home.
  • Sobriety Monitoring Programs: Sobriety monitoring programs utilize technology such as continuous alcohol monitoring devices or regular check-ins to ensure individuals maintain sobriety during their probationary period.
  • Community Service: A judge may order community service hours to be completed. This allows individuals to contribute to their community while fulfilling their sentence.
  • Probation: In certain cases, probation may be granted, allowing individuals to remain in the community under certain conditions, such as regular check-ins with a probation officer and compliance with court-ordered requirements.

Particularly for a DUI charge involving a BAC above 0.20, it is essential to promptly contact The Law Office of Ryan Peterson, LLC. Having a strong legal team by your side enhances the possibility of exploring alternative sentencing options.

Avoid navigating the intricate legal system alone. We are here to provide you with the necessary assistance!





Under Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1301 (1)(g), C.R.S., a DWAI charge is issued when you operate a vehicle while being impaired to even the “slightest degree.” In the context of Colorado’s DWAI law, this means that your physical or mental abilities are compromised to a point where you are less capable of safely operating a vehicle.

Typically, in Colorado, impairment is considered present if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) exceeds .05%. However, if your BAC is above the “legal limit” in the state, which is .08%, you would instead face a DUI per se charge.

Colorado DUI Laws

Even after only one or two drinks, some people may be close to or exceed Colorado’s DUI and DWAI limits.

  •  05 Percent BAC for DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired)
  • 08 Percent BAC for DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

Even if your BAC is less than 0.05 percent, you can still be arrested for a DUI if an officer notices signs of impairment. The only absolute way to ensure you are safe to drive is to have a BAC of zero.

When considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs, a DUI can add up to more than $13,500.

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BAC Factors

When calculating your BAC, you may find your level of impairment increases or decreases based on these factors:

  • Number of standard drinks
  • How quickly you drink
  • Gender
  • Body weight
  • How much food you’ve eaten
  • Body type
  • Fatigue
  • Hydration


Why You Need to Hire a Lawyer


Facing a first offense for drunk driving can evoke fear and uncertainty. Navigating the complex laws and comprehending your rights can feel overwhelming. Nevertheless, a first offense presents the optimal chance to construct a strong defense.

Subsequent drunk driving offenses entail more severe penalties, which have the potential to significantly impact your life. Therefore, it is crucial to enlist the assistance of a proficient DUI defense attorney when dealing with your initial DUI or DWAI charge, protecting your future and well-being.

At The Law Office of Ryan Peterson, LLC, we possess the expertise and experience required to offer you an exceptional defense.


Minimize Assisting the Prosecution


It’s important to be aware that any details you disclose to a police officer can be utilized by the prosecution to build their case against you.

In fact, it is advised not to divulge any information to law enforcement regarding your consumption of:

  • Alcohol
  • Illegal substances
  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • Food




Confronting your first DUI or DWAI charge can be a daunting experience, but with the right knowledge and legal representation, you can navigate through the process effectively. Understanding the distinction between DWAI and DUI charges in Denver, Colorado is crucial, as they carry different legal consequences. Seeking the assistance of a qualified DUI defense attorney can make a significant difference in building a strong defense for your case.

While the penalties for a DUI offense can be severe, including fines, license suspension, and potential incarceration, there are alternative forms of sentencing available in certain circumstances. These alternatives, such as alcohol education programs, in-home detention, sobriety monitoring, community service, and probation, may provide an opportunity to avoid or reduce jail time.

It is important to remember that you have the right to consult with an attorney and avoid assisting the prosecution by divulging unnecessary information. The Law Office of Ryan Peterson, LLC is here to guide you through the complexities of your case, protect your rights, and fight for the best possible outcome.

Don’t face the legal process alone. Contact The Law Office of Ryan Peterson, LLC today for a free consultation and let us provide you with the dedicated legal representation you need during this challenging time.