Holidays are a time to enjoy and make merry. More people go to parties, consume alcohol, and unfortunately, engage in drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) points out that in 2018, 1068 deaths caused by drunk drivers occurred across the U.S. and twenty-four of these deaths occurred in Colorado. According to the Colorado State Patrol, the number of deaths resulting from drunk drivers increases from Thanksgiving to New Years, with the most-traveled holiday period in Colorado being Thanksgiving weekend. As such, DUI arrests are highest between Thanksgiving and the end of the New Year’s weekend.
Many Colorado drivers do not realize the impact of even a small amount of alcohol in their system which can impair a person’s ability to drive and indeed, statistics reveal that each day, nearly 60 people are arrested in Colorado for drunk driving.
Driving under the influence is a serious crime in Colorado with severe penalties. If you face DUI charges, you should contact a Denver DUI attorney immediately. An attorney will help you understand your legal options and how best to fight the DUI charges. The DUI penalties in Colorado depend on a driver’s prior DUI convictions and the BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) level. A first-time DUI offense is a misdemeanor whose potential consequences are:
You can face a DUI per se charge if you drive with a BAC of 0.08% or more. However, you may still face charges even with a lower BAC as depending on the police’s observations, you may receive charges for DWAI (driving while ability impaired) even if your BAC does not exceed the allowable limit. The penalties for DWAI may be lower compared to a standard DUI offense:
Every subsequent DUI offense that you commit will attract a harsher penalty than the previous one. Don’t overlook the importance of hiring a Denver DUI attorney even if your charges seem minor. An attorney goes a long way in determining the outcome of your case.
During holidays, law enforcement agencies across Colorado increase their patrols to remove impaired drivers from the road. The officers set a lot more stops to conduct alcohol checks with patrols aimed at identifying DUI cases. The Colorado State Patrol also sends out more troopers during holidays to spot impaired drivers and take action.
As a preventative measure, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) introduced the Take Some Time campaign to create awareness regarding how long it takes a driver’s BAC to return to zero after alcohol consumption. As most people mistakenly believe they are good to drive after one or two beers, the campaign aims to change how people view one pint, shot, or glass of alcohol, and helps drivers understand just how long it takes to get sober again after drinking.
More than 32% of fatal car crashes in the U.S. involve an intoxicated driver. If your social plans involve alcohol, take measures to prevent drinking and driving:
If you face an arrest due to drunk driving, contact a Denver DUI attorney who will explore several defenses to your charges, including:
Do you know that more people travel during the Thanksgiving break during the Christmas holiday? A recent report revealed that during Thanksgiving, long-distance trips increase by 54%, more than double the 23% increase during the Christmas period.
Traveling during Thanksgiving in Colorado typically entails encountering wet roadways during winter, presenting challenges for you and your vehicle and making it essential to maintain a safety-first mindset as you embark on your trip. Below we provide simple yet critical tips for a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving road trip.
Ensure that you get enough rest before you set out for a road trip. Driving while tired impairs your ability in the same way as intoxication. According to the CDC, drowsiness affects concentration and coordination and reduces your reaction times. Resting will help you remain alert throughout the journey.
Also avoid consuming alcohol the night before your road trip which could result in the morning-after impairment. In Colorado, it is an offense to operate a vehicle with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. As long as you’re impaired, you can face DUI charges, even if your BAC is below 0.08%, with some of the potential penalties including fines, probation, jail time, and public service.
While you are on the road, focus on driving and avoid distractions. Engaging in careless or reckless driving is an offense in Colorado. According to Colorado law CRS 42-4-1401, reckless driving entails operating a vehicle with a disregard for other road users’ safety. Meanwhile, a driver may be guilty of careless driving if they don’t exercise sufficient regard for their surroundings.
Reckless driving is more severe than careless driving. A reckless driving conviction in Colorado is a Class 2 misdemeanor. A first offense is punishable with a fine ranging between $150 and $ 300 and a jail time between 10 and 90 days. A repeat offense may attract a jail time of up to six months and a fine of up to $ 1,000.
Distracted driving involves engaging in any activity that may shift your attention from the road. Common forms of distracted driving include using a mobile phone or eating while driving. In 2009, the state of Colorado passed a law against texting while driving but this law extends to other mobile phone activities like sending tweets or emails while driving.
The anti-texting law in Colorado applies to all drivers. This law prohibits drivers younger than 18 years from using a cell phone while driving. Violating the anti-texting law is a Class A traffic infraction. A first offense may attract a fine of $50, while a second offense is punishable by a fine of up to $100.
Leave early to eliminate anxiety about arriving late and you won’t feel tempted to speed. According to Colorado law, a violation of 1 to 24 mph above the posted speed limit is a Class A traffic infraction. A violation of 25mph or more is a Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense.
You may also face Class A traffic infraction charges if you fail to reduce the speed to a practical level while operating a vehicle under hazardous conditions. It’s also advisable to leave early during Thanksgiving Day considering the heavy traffic and challenging weather likely to occur.
Traveling for Thanksgiving? Don’t let a car crash ruin your holiday. Use the above tips to remain safe. If you or a loved one experiences a car accident due to speeding, reckless or careless driving, or DUI in the Denver area, contact an experienced local attorney. Speak with a knowledgeable criminal and traffic attorney at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC. Call today at (303) 635-6768 for a free consultation.