It seems drunk driving is always in the news—and for good reason, since its consequences can be severe for the victim or the driver. Police authorities, legislative bodies and advocacy groups over the years have advanced policies to lower the incidence of drunk driving. The most recent effort is to lower the blood alcohol content limit in Colorado and in every other state in the country.
The National Transportation Safety Board is advocating for states to lower the blood alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05 in order to reduce drunk driving accidents and associated injuries and fatalities. According to CBS Denver, the NTSB claims lowering the blood alcohol limit could reduce thousands of deaths and injuries every year.
How the push relates to DUI law in Colorado
Colorado law already prohibits a person from driving a vehicle while the person's ability to drive is impaired by alcohol or drugs, so a driver behind the wheel with a 0.05 blood alcohol content can already be arrested for impaired driving. However, the advocated change in the law would change the per se standard of when a driver would be identified as being illegally intoxicated. Under the per se standard, no matter the person's level of physical intoxication, anyone who is measured to have a 0.08 blood alcohol content is legally intoxicated.
According to CBS News, a man who weighs up to 160 pounds would reach 0.05 after two drinks and a woman who weighs less than 120 pounds would reach the limit after just one drink. If the per se standard was changed in Colorado, the Colorado District Attorneys Council does not anticipate an increase in case loads. It's not clear whether state lawmakers are considering changing the law.
Penalties for DUI in Colorado
Regardless of the potential change, being convicted of driving a vehicle under the influence or driving while ability impaired is serious and comes with hefty penalties both legal and non-legal. A person convicted of either his or her first DWAI or DUI faces fines, jail time and public service. A driver convicted of his or her first DWAI offense faces between two to 180 days in jail, a fine of $200 to $500 and between 24 to 48 hours of community service. A driver convicted of his or her first DUI faces five days to one year in jail, $600 to $1,000 and 48 to 96 hours of public service. The driver may also be required to install an ignition interlock device. Moreover, a person convicted of DWAI or DUI faces non-legal penalties. The individual will likely confront an increase in his or her car insurance rate and the creation of a criminal record, which can potentially impact future employment opportunities.
IF you have been arrested for DWAI or DUI in Colorado, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and be your advocate through the legal process.