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What’s the Difference Between OVI, DUI, DWI, and OMVI in Colorado?

Posted on May 29, 2024 in

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal because it puts others at risk. Colorado code makes that clear and outlines some specific terminology that all drivers should know before they get behind the wheel of a car after having a few drinks. Consider the following commonly used terms and what they mean:

  • OVI: Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated
  • DUI: Driving under the influence
  • DWI: Driving while intoxicated
  • OMVI: Operating a motor vehicle while impaired

If you are charged with any type of driving under the influence claim or suspected of doing so, you must obtain the legal guidance you need from a dedicated DUI defense attorney from the Law Offices of James L. Finegan, P.C.

What the Differences Mean and Refer To

A DUI is one of the more commonly used terms. It embassies a broad range of types of driver impairment. A person is driving under the influence of something – that could include alcohol, heroin, marijuana, or some types of prescription drugs. Police officers will search for symptoms of impairment based on sight, smell, and sound to determine what that intoxication is. An OVI is the same as a DUI but is the more “official” term for it.

DWI, or driving while intoxicated, is similar. However, the main difference here is that with a DUI, the focus is on your blood alcohol level. A DWI, instead, focuses on your ability to operate that vehicle. You can be charged with either of these claims based on the evidence in the case.

An OMVI refers to operating the vehicle while impaired. The difference between “operating” and “driving” may not seem like much, and under the law and penalties in Colorado, it is not. However, the term operating is more inclusive than driving, meaning that a person does not have to be on the road driving the vehicle but otherwise operating it somehow.

These Specifications May Not Matter

Ultimately, if you are charged with any form of driving under the influence of a substance, it is critical to protect your rights by hiring a trusted, experienced attorney immediately. Each of these terms can result in similar punishments, including:

  • Jail time requirements
  • Loss of license for a period of time or even long-term suspension and revocation
  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Requirements for using an ignition device
  • Treatment for a substance use disorder, if necessary

These DUI charges can be worrisome in many situations because they could impact your ability to drive to and from school or work. If you drive a vehicle for work purposes for any reason, that could mean you lose your source of income if you lose your license.

Because of the potential consequences associated with these cases, you must prepare yourself. Hire an attorney to gather the information related to your specific charges, such as what type of activity you were doing and what type of substance you were charged with using. This could impact your case outcome.