Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous and can be potentially life-threatening to not only the driver, but also other drivers and pedestrians on the road. That being said, if you were recently pulled over and charged with a DUI or DWAI, it’s important to know what happens next. In part one of this series, we discussed the difference between a DUI and a DWAI, as well as what happens if this charge is your first offense. As we continue with part two of this series, we will go into more detail about what happens after you’ve been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence.
If you’ve been charged in Fort Collins or the surrounding areas, the team at Roselle & Breitigam can provide you with the legal counsel you need. Our DUI attorneys have years of experience defending people just like you, and we know how to help you get the best possible outcome for your situation. If you are interested in learning more about our services, give us a call to request a meeting with one of our DUI attorneys today. In the meantime, continue reading below to learn more about what happens next.
What Happens Next
Once you’ve been pulled over for a suspected DUI or DWAI, the officer will ask you to take a breathalyzer and/or a blood test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Depending on your BAC at the time of arrest, here’s what could happen next:
Criminal vs. Administrative Penalties
If you’re arrested for a DUI or DWAI, you will face both administrative and criminal penalties, so it’s important to understand the difference. Administrative penalties are imposed by the Colorado Department of Revenue. These penalties will determine what happens with your license and whether it is suspended or revoked and for how long. Criminal penalties, on the other hand, are imposed by the court and include fines, imprisonment, and required public service.
As we mentioned above, your license suspicion falls under the category of administrative penalties and are determined by the Colorado Department of Revenue. The number of months your license is suspended will depend on whether this is your first offense, if you’re under 21, and what your BAC was at the time of the arrest. For example, if an adult over the age of 21 was arrested for a DUI with a BAC of at least 0.08% and it was their first offense, their license would be suspended for nine months. However, if a minor under the age of 21 is pulled over and has a BAC of at least 0.02%, their license will be suspended for 3 months for the first offense.
Ignition Interlock Device
In addition to having your license suspended, all first-time offenders must also have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in their vehicle for at least eight months. If the driver had a BAC of 0.15% or higher and refused to take a breathalyzer test, they must have the IID installed for two years.
An IID is a device that is essentially an in-car breathalyzer. When installed, the driver must test their BAC using the IID before they can even start the ignition of the vehicle. If their BAC is 0.02% or below, the car will turn on. However, if the driver’s BAC is above 0.02%, the IID will stop the car from turning on.
Fines and Jail Time
On top of suspending your license and installing the IID, drivers who were arrested for a DUI or DWAI may also face fines, jail time, and public service, which we will talk about later. For a first-time DUI offender, the driver faces between five days and an entire year in jail, as well as between $600 and $1,000 in fines. A first-time DWAI offender, on the other hand, only faces between two and 180 days of jail time and between $200 and $500 in fines. However, in both cases, jail time can be suspended if the offender completes an alcohol and drug evaluation and treatment program.
Both first-time DUI and DWAI offenders must complete the required public services hours in addition to any of the penalties mentioned above. For a DUI offender, they must complete between 48 and 96 hours of community service. For a DWAI offender, they must complete between 24 and 48 hours of community service. The number of hours you are required to complete will depend on your conviction in court.
Find the Right Legal Counsel for You
At Roselle and Breitigam, we’re proud to offer our services to residents in Fort Collins and the surrounding areas. If you’re in need of a DUI attorney to help you with your case, we’re the team to help. We have years of experience, and we can help you get the best outcome for your situation. Learn more about our services by exploring our website, and give us a call to request an appointment with a DUI attorney today!