Penalties for receiving a DUI are much harsher for commercial drivers and the consequences may reach far beyond losing your license and paying a fine. Commercial drivers are subject to stricter standards because their job requires them to operate vehicles that can contain toxic waste or precious cargo—it is a matter of public safety that these drivers be as safe as possible. Driving drunk while operating a company vehicle puts the company as well as the public-at-large at risk.
A DUI arrest results in two separate legal proceedings against you: the criminal case and an administrative license revocation hearing through the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. If your BAC is confirmed through chemical testing to be .08 or above, or if you refused to submit to a breath or blood test, you will be subject to a license revocation through a civil administration hearing.
There are two different alcohol related offenses that can result from driving after you have consumed alcohol. Whether you are charged with one or the other depends on the amount of alcohol in your system. The charges are: “Driving While Ability Impaired” – DWAI and “Driving Under the Influence” – DUI.
Recent changes to Colorado law have made it so it is now legal to possess and use marijuana. However, it is still a crime to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana or any other drug. A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs will lead to the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol.
It is not a defense to a charge of DUI/DWAI that drugs affecting the driver’s ability to operate their motor vehicle were lawfully prescribed. All that is required of the State is they prove you consumed a certain drug or drugs, and that consumption of those drugs affected your ability to operate your vehicle. Whether the drugs are legal or illegal is irrelevant to whether they affected your ability to operate your vehicle.
The State will have to prove the same elements as it would in an alcohol DWAI or DUI case, but will not have the presumptive BAC levels that are used in those types of cases. There are no set drug levels the State can use to show you were affected by a drug in your system. Instead, the State will have to prove its case using other evidence to show your driving ability was impaired. Generally, this involves the arresting officer’s testimony about your behavior, and ability to safely drive your motor vehicle. Blood and urine tests may also be used to show the presence and levels of specific drugs that have been consumed.