December 9, 2023
While most of us have been bundling up, putting out the appropriate decorations, and generally getting ready for the holidays, Colorado law enforcement has been gearing up for big DUI busts.
Why? Because as the holidays approach, the streets will become filled with more drunk drivers and, naturally, more drunk driving accidents.
Law enforcement hopes that by arresting more people, they will be able to prevent more drunk driving accidents. To that end, the Colorado State Police host a campaign each year called The Heat Is On, which hopes to “turn up the heat” on impaired drivers.
In short, police send out more law enforcement officers around the holidays to make sure everyone is driving safely and sober. If not, they’ll “get burned” with a DUI arrest.
This year, it’s already started, and the police have made not just lots of arrests, but hundreds. The first big crackdown occurred around Halloween.
Halloween’s Big Bust
Last year, Colorado law enforcement made 269 arrests during the state’s The Heat is On Halloween campaign. A pretty big number.
This year, more than 300 drivers were arrested.
All of the drivers charged with DUI face serious consequences, including a year in jail, the loss of their driver’s license for nine months, and heavy fines. And those are just the potential consequences for someone who has not been previously convicted of DUI.
Not to mention the fact that insurance rates will skyrocket for anyone who has been caught driving under the influence. All told, a DUI charge or conviction can cost you thousands.
Those 300-plus drivers are likely just the beginning. As of this writing, the numbers are not in for Thanksgiving this year, but the days surrounding the turkey-centric holiday are well-known for leading to a lot of drunk driving accidents and arrests. Last year, the additional officers that Colorado law enforcement put out on the roads over the five days of the Thanksgiving holiday made 283 arrests for drunk and impaired driving.
This year, the additional officers were on the roads for 10 days instead of five, from November 18 through the 28th. With twice as many days as last year, we may be seeing some big numbers on the news in the near future.
What This Means for Christmas and New Year’s Eve
With more big holidays coming up in the near future, there is no doubt that more DUI busts will be making headlines in the coming weeks. Christmas and New Year’s Eve tend to be big holidays for DUI accidents, and if trends continue, DUI arrests could reach the thousands by the end of the holiday season. It is a depressing milestone that area police almost reached this past Labor Day.
Obviously, no one wants drunk drivers on the road. They are dangerous to themselves and everyone else trying to get from point A to point B. The problem with this type of heightened enforcement, though, is that it can lead to over-eager policing where rights are abused, corners are cut, and mistakes are made.
Don’t assume that there is no way out if you have been charged with a DUI. You still have a chance to avoid conviction and walk away with a clean record and your driver’s license intact. There are a number of defenses that you may be able to use, but the only way to know which one is most likely to work in your case is to reach out to a Colorado DUI lawyer as soon as possible to start building your defense strategy.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.