Colorado Holiday DUI Enforcement: The Heat is On

During the holidays, there are more people on the road traveling to visit family and friends or attending holiday parties and gatherings. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year. But with all the celebrating, it’s also the time of year when far too many people get in their car and drive under the influence of alcohol.

Typically, the holiday season is seen as starting with Thanksgiving – the most traveled weekend of the year – and continuing through New Year’s weekend. During this time, DUI arrests are at their highest.

Colorado is no exception. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, law enforcement arrested 269 people for drunk driving throughout the state. In order to cut those numbers, Colorado is taking action its The Heat is On campaign, designed to make the roads safer for anyone who will be out and about this holiday season.

What Exactly Is The Heat is On?

The Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado State Patrol, and 80 local law enforcement agencies are working together to resume a statewide DUI enforcement campaign. The Heat is On is Colorado’s campaign to increase DUI enforcement and provide education efforts to make the public aware of drunk driving and its consequences.

This DUI campaign, which is funded by grants from the Colorado Department of Transportation, involves 12 enforcement periods throughout the year. This week the campaign is kicking off specifically for holiday office party enforcement. The final enforcement period for 2015 will take place over New Year’s weekend.

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There are two driving offenses you can be arrested and convicted of in Colorado if you’ve been drinking.

DUI. You can be arrested for a DUI – driving under the influence:

  • If you are “substantially incapable” of driving a vehicle due to consuming alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication.
  • If your BAC or blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or above.

DWAI. You can be arrested for a DWAI – driving while ability impaired:

  • If your driving ability is impaired by the “slightest degree” due to alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication
  • If your BAC or blood alcohol concentration is as low as 0.05.

If your blood alcohol concentration is 0.17 or more, you will be identified as a persistent drunk driver (PDD) and sentenced as severely as if you were a repeat DUI offender – even if it’s your first offense.

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The Cost of a Holiday DUI

Getting a DUI at any time is a serious matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Drunk driving charges can come with severe criminal penalties, but even supposedly minor offenses can make a major dent in your wallet. In Colorado, the average cost of a DUI is $10,270. This estimate includes:

  • $455 for detoxification fines
  • $90 for the chemical testing fee
  • $143 to have your car towed
  • $2,500 for an experienced DUI defense attorney
  • $800 for a first conviction fine
  • $970 for an ignition interlock device rental
  • $95 for your driver’s license reinstatement
  • $3,000 for your car insurance increase

These are just some of the costs and fees associated with getting a DUI. So as you can see, getting a DUI over the holidays – or at any point – can cause a lot of financial stress.

What if I’m Convicted of a DUI Offense?

Along with the high costs, if you are convicted of a DUI offense, you will have a number of other consequences to face along the way:

  • You will have a criminal offense on your record for life.
  • You could lose your driver’s license and/or have an ignition interlock device installed in your car for up to 2 years. An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer for your car to determine if your BAC is too high to drive.
  • You could spend up to 1 year in jail.
  • You may have to take court-ordered alcohol education classes and treatment for up to 9 months.
  • You may have to do between 48 and 96 hours of community service.

A DUI conviction extends beyond your wallet. Your current job and future career plans could be in jeopardy. You could lose your freedom.

If you are arrested and charged with a DUI this holiday season, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified DUI criminal defense attorney. With the help of a top attorney who’s had success in DUI cases like yours, you could get the charges reduced or even dismissed altogether.

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.