While states have a blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08 for driving under the influence, Colorado has stricter laws in place. Anyone operating a vehicle with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 can face arrest for driving while ability impaired. Additionally, many other countries in the world make it illegal for drivers with a BAC higher than 0.05 to drive a car.
A common misconception is that it is perfectly alright to drive a car with a BAC lower than 0.05. You may assume if you blow a 0.04 on a breathalyzer you cannot face arrest. However, that is not necessarily the case. For example, people under the age of 21 cannot have any alcohol in their system. Commercial drivers are also held to a higher standard than most drivers. There are other instances where police can, in fact, arrest someone with even trace amounts of alcohol in his or her system. In the latter case, all a prosecutor has to do is show that the driver was not able to safely drive the vehicle.
The driver has notable impairment
The police will pull any driver over who displays reckless endangerment on the road. The police will likely suspect the driver is under the influence of alcohol and request a breathalyzer test. If the motorist has a BAC of 0.03, the police can presume that the driver was not impaired. However, the driver could still be charged with DWAI or even DUI, provided that the police believe that the driver was not able to operate the vehicle safely.
Alcohol affects everyone differently. A BAC of 0.04 may not impair one person, but it can make someone else a danger on the road. If the prosecutor can prove you were impaired while driving, then a DWAI charge or even a DUI charge is a possibility.
BAC goes down over time
A person's BAC will lower over time. Therefore, if the police pull you over and find you have a BAC of 0.04, which is right under Colorado's legal limit, then they could arrest you under the belief your BAC was over the limit when you drove earlier. It is up to the officer's discretion, but it is vital to fight the charges, especially when part of the evidence hinges on the officer's assumptions.
After reading this blog post, one thing should be clear. There is no such thing as a "simple" DWAI or DUI. Every drunk driving case has complicated elements that need to be carefully analyzed. The results of the analysis could enable a defense attorney to successfully attack the prosecutor's case.
If you have been arrested for DWAI or DUI, get legal help as soon as possible.