The Law Firm of Starzynski Van Der Jagt, P.C.
A Professional Corporation of Attorneys & Counselors at Law in Colorado and Wisconsin
What is a DUI or DWAI

In Colorado, driving drunk is known as driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two (DUI) or while ability impaired ( DWAI), where the drivers blood alcohol level (BAC) is .05 or higher.

Colorado drunk driving (DUI / DWAI) arrests can relate to driving under the influence, or an alleged violation of the "per se" laws. Driving under the influence means driving a vehicle when the driver has consumed intoxicants which affect the driver to such a degree that the driver is substantially incapable, mentally or physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or exercise due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.

Per Se is a Latin phrase that means "by itself." Per se drunk driving laws state that someone is guilty of driving under the influence if their blood alcohol content is at a certain level (.08 in all 50 states). Drivers with a BAC at or above .08 are intoxicated in the eyes of the law and no additional proof of impairment is necessary to obtain a conviction.



Please note: Laws change frequently and thus the information provided should not be relied upon as legal advice. To be certain, contact one of our criminal defense attorneys for a legal assistance.

Example: In 2011, legislation to make medical marijuana use per se DUI or DWAI failed to pass the Senate because there was insufficient research to support the nexus between the proposed statutory limit of toxicity required to impair the drivers ability. This failure, however, does not mean that one cannot be arrested and convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence of medical marijuana. There are a number of other Field Sobriety Tests that officers use to determine whether the driver can exercise clear judgment.

Currently, the DUI per se charge is brought against those arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol if the defendant voluntarily provides a breath or blood alcohol sample of .08% or higher. In these cases, it does not matter what the driving pattern was like, or whether the driver perfectly performed the Field Sobriety Tests . It is a charge that is based purely on body chemistry.


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