Some people may have a few drinks and feel okay to drive afterward. They don’t know that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels surpass Denver’s legally intoxicated limits even though they feel sober. If they get pulled over and their blood alcohol level is too high, the police will arrest them.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, you’re probably overwhelmed and scared. You didn’t mean to break the law, but now you have to face the consequences of driving while under the influence. Getting arrested for drunk driving is easy when you don’t know your state’s BAC limits. Continue reading to learn about the legal limits for drunk driving in Denver, CO.
What’s the BAC Limit In Denver, CO?
The BAC limit in Denver is different depending on the criminal charge. For example, the BAC level threshold for drinking while under the influence (DUI) is higher than the BAC range for driving while ability impaired (DWAI). The legal limit for underage drunk driving (UDD) is also the lowest.
Here are the different BAC limits for drinking while driving in Colorado.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
If caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you can be charged with a DUI. It’s important to note that even if you don’t feel drunk, you can still be prosecuted under Colorado DUI laws. If a police officer pulls you over for speeding and notices you’ve had a couple of alcoholic beverages, they might administer a blood alcohol test. You could then be arrested without necessarily being an unsafe driver.
Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)
A DWAI differs from a DUI in that it accounts for impairment due to more than one drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol. DWAIs are lesser offenses than DUIs but also have a lower BAC limit (0.05% to less than 0.08%). If you are on prescription medication that may impair your ability to operate a vehicle AND have an alcoholic drink, for example, you may be charged with DWAI.
Underage Drunk Driving (UDD)
A UDD is when an underage person is caught drinking and driving. This charge has the lowest BAC range of 0.02% to less than 0.05%. The range for this charge is so low because underage drinking is illegal when a guardian in a private location doesn’t supervise the minor. This BAC limit should discourage drivers younger than 21 from drinking and driving. A small amount of alcohol—even one alcoholic drink—can raise your BAC level to 0.02 percent. Regardless of your charge, a criminal defense lawyer can represent you in court and help you navigate the legal system.
Factors that Affect BAC Levels
Several factors affect BAC levels, so it’s difficult to say how many drinks will put you over Colorado’s limit. For example, height, weight, and sex can affect alcohol tolerance. A person who weighs more and is taller can consume more drinks than someone who is shorter and weighs less while having a lower BAC level.
Food consumption can also change your BAC level. If you eat heavily before drinking, the rate at which your body absorbs the alcohol is slower. Your body absorbs less alcohol than someone who didn’t eat before drinking.
How quickly you consume alcohol can also affect your blood alcohol content. If you consume one drink an hour, your blood alcohol content will be much lower than if you were drinking faster within the same time period.
Colorado Penalties for Drinking and Driving
In Denver, CO, driving while under the influence is a serious crime as it’s dangerous to you and other people on the road. The penalty for DUIs depends on various factors. A first-time offender may face up to a year in jail and up to $1000 in fines. Meanwhile, a second-time offender can receive up to $1500 in fines plus an ignition interlock device (IDD), which requires you to take a breathalyzer test before starting your car.
Testing BAC Levels
A police officer can always pull you over whether or not you’re sober. If they suspect you have slurred speech or other signs of drinking, they can use a chemical test to see if you’re intoxicated.
There are many ways a police officer can test your BAC levels once they pull you over, such as:
- Breathalyzer or breath test
- Blood testing
- Urine testing
- Field sobriety tests
Remember to find a safe ride home instead of driving yourself if you’ve been drinking. A little extra precaution can help you avoid major legal issues.
Need a Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Drinking and driving can be a mistake that leads to severe consequences. Being arrested for drunk driving can be a stressful situation. Before driving, maybe you felt sober, but now you’re worried about going to jail, having a criminal record, and paying high fines. Knowing the BAC limits in Denver, CO can help you avoid this situation. However, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights in court if you’ve been charged with a DUI or a DWAI.
At Chaput Law, we’re here to help people convicted of drinking and driving. We’ll advocate for you and provide you with quality service. Call one of our criminal defense lawyers to schedule a free consultation today if you’ve been arrested for drinking and driving in Denver, CO.