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What is the Penalty for DWAI in Colorado - First Offense

If you have been charged with a DWAI in Colorado, it is important to understand what the penalties are for a first offense and how to best defend yourself. From fines, community service, and potential jail time, learn everything you need to know about DWAI charges in the state of Colorado.

Understand the Offense.

Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) is considered an alcohol related driving offense in the state of Colorado. It occurs when a person drives a motor vehicle while their ability to do so is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both to the slightest degree. The difference between DWAI and DUI in Colorado is that DUI applies to drivers who exceed the legal blood alcohol concentration limit of .08%, whereas DWAI applies to drivers whose blood alcohol concentration does not exceed this legal limit.

Consider the Potential Penalties


The potential penalties for being charged with DWAI in Colorado for a first offense include fines up to $600 and a jail sentence of two days to one year. You may also face additional penalties such as evaluation or treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, the loss of your license for up to nine months, 48 hours of public service, and attendance at an alcohol education program. Additionally, there may be consequences in your personal life with employers and other associations if convicted.

Prepare a Defense Strategy.

To best defend yourself against a DWAI charge in Colorado, it's important to consider all the possible consequences and develop a plan before going to court. You can consult an attorney or public defender familiar with DUI defense strategies, examine the legal process ahead, gather evidence related to your case, and find any resources that can support your defense. Knowing how to best prepare for what's ahead of you will ensure that you're never taken advantage of during this difficult time.

Probation and Treatment Programs.

Generally, a first-time DWAI offense in Colorado can result in community service, probation, and a treatment programs. Additionally, certain fines and court costs may be issued along with these punishments for violating Colorado's DWAI laws.

Community Service or Fines For DWAI in Colorado - First Offender.

If a court finds that a person has committed their first offense of driving while ability impaired in Colorado, they may be sentenced to community service and/or pay fines as punishment. This can range from 24 hours at an approved community service station up to 48 hours if the judge determines that this severity is appropriate. Similarly, the court or DMV can levy fines of up to $600 for a first offense violation. These fees must be paid in addition to any other ruling or punishment the court orders.

Penalty Chart