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Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / DUI / Common DWAI and DUI Defenses in Colorado

Common DWAI and DUI Defenses in Colorado


If you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) in Colorado and ultimately arrested, it is important to know and explore a range of defense strategies to avoid a conviction. Convictions for drunk driving and drugged driving can be severe. Although DWAI is a less serious offense than a DUI, even a first DWAI offense can result in a misdemeanor conviction that can result in a significant fine and jail time, and depending on your history of DUIs, a DWAI can sometimes be a felony offense. With a DUI conviction, you will face a suspension of your driver’s license, serious fines, and the likelihood of jail time. Accordingly, it is essential to work with an experienced Denver DUI defense lawyer to build the strongest defense possible.

What are some common and successful defense strategies to fight a DWAI or DUI? Consider the following possibilities.

Improperly Administered Breathalyzer or Blood Test

 There are many situations in which a breathalyzer or blood test may be improperly administered. In some cases, the officer administering the test might not have been properly trained to conduct the test or to read the results. In other situations, for example, the conditions surrounding the testing may not comply with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment rules and regulations and render the test unreliable.

 Improperly Conducted Field Sobriety Test 

There are many situations in which a field sobriety test may be improperly administered or interpreted. In some cases, the officer administering the test might not have been properly trained to conduct the test or to read the results. In other situations, for example, the administration of the tests might be so inconsistent with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards that the results of the test are invalid.

Fourth Amendment Violation 

In order to be stopped and searched — in the case of a DWAI or DUI, the term “search” can refer to a breath or chemical test to determine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), a search of your vehicle, or a search in the context of field sobriety tests — the police officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop and probable cause to search. Otherwise, the stop and search in a DWAI or DUI case can amount to a violation of your rights under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Miranda Violation 

If you were not informed of the Miranda warnings before being arrested for a DUI or DWAI and questioned, your Miranda rights may have been violated, and this violation could amount to a defense in your case. The US Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona (1966) clarified a person’s fifth amendment rights and the types of procedural safeguards that are required before an interrogation.

Rising Blood Alcohol Concentration 

When a person consumes alcohol, they typically have a lower BAC at the time of initially consuming the alcohol, and then the BAC rises as the alcohol is processed by the body — also known as a rising BAC. If you were stopped on suspicion of a DWAI or DUI and the officer did not conduct a breathalyzer for a lengthy period of time, you may be able to argue that your BAC was below the legal limit (either below .05 percent for a DWAI or below .08 percent for a DUI) at the time you were actually driving.

Contact Our Denver DUI Defense Lawyer 

Anyone who is facing DWAI or DUI charges should seek advice from a lawyer as soon as possible in order to begin building a defense strategy that is tailored to the facts of their case. The experienced Denver DUI defense attorney at DeChant Law can speak with you today to learn more about your arrest and the facts surrounding your case, and to begin working with you on a strong defense strategy.





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