blog DUI Avoid DUI Penalties: Be Home for the Holidays

Avoid DUI Penalties: Be Home for the Holidays

By Colorado Attorney-at-law on December 23, 2021

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for people under the age of 54. Last year, over 42,000 Americans died in car crashes according to the National Safety Council, an increase of about three thousand deaths over the previous year. We are happy to report that traffic fatalities went down by 2.4% in Colorado last year, and we would like to see this trend continue.

Colorado is a beautiful state, and it’s particularly festive during the holiday season with so many places to visit and things to do. During this season of joyful family gatherings, office parties, and other occasions where alcohol may be served, we would like to take a moment to remind you to plan ahead so you can stay safe. If you plan on drinking, remember to arrange for sober rides, take a cab, or make plans to have a place to spend the night. Just a few minutes of planning will not only ensure your safety, but also help you avoid run-ins with law enforcement over the holidays.

Holiday Patrols Mean More DUI Arrests

The Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol, and local law enforcement agencies are working together to keep our roads and highways safe, and that means strictly enforcing drunk driving (DUI) and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) laws. Over the holiday season, additional law enforcement officers are on duty to keep impaired drivers off the road. Strategies include sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols that provide a large number of police patrols in specific areas, particularly at times and locations where alcohol-impaired driving crashes are more common. In 2019, 100 participating law enforcement agencies arrested 572 impaired drivers during the holiday season in Colorado.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Colorado

When stopped by a law enforcement officer, a defendant can be charged with drunk driving in Colorado if their blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds 0.05. Drinking degrades a person’s judgement, and drunk drivers often don’t realize the extent of their impairment. The effects of alcohol include:

  • .05 BAC—Reduced coordination, limited ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, slower reaction time.
  • .08 BAC—Significantly impaired speech, vision, balance, reaction time, and hearing. Judgement, reasoning, perception, and self-control are all significantly reduced.
  • .10 BAC—Slurred speech and considerable deterioration of reaction time, coordination, and control. Reduced response time and limited ability to maintain lane position.
  • .15 BAC—Major loss of balance, substantial impairment of judgment, and reduced reaction time and attention to driving task in addition to fundamentally degraded auditory and information processing.

There are strict penalties for drunk driving in Colorado:

  • First offense: Up to 180 days in county jail, up to $500 in fines, suspended license, and mandatory community service.
  • Second offense: Up to a year in county jail, up to $1000 in fines, suspended license, and mandatory community service.
  • Third offense: At least 60 days in jail, up to $1500 in fines, suspended license, and mandatory community service.
  • Fourth offense: At least 2 years in state prison, up to $500,000 in fines, and three years of parole following mandatory incarceration.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Driving under the influence is typically associated with alcohol, but drinking is not the only activity that can result in a penalty. Driving under the influence of marijuana is another serious offense that will be prosecuted in Colorado. Under state laws, a person can be charged with DUID if their blood contains more than 5 nanograms of Delta-9 THC (the active substance in marijuana). Although people may underestimate the danger of driving under the influence, in one year there were 49 cannabis-involved traffic fatalities in Colorado with drivers who tested positive for 5ng or greater of Delta-9 THC.

Have You Been Arrested for a DUI or DUID?

If you have been arrested for a DUI or DUID in Breckenridge, you need someone who will stand by you every step of the way.

At Whitaker & Penix, LLC, we are experienced criminal attorneys who understand the law and we know how to defend your rights. We’ll provide the strongest possible defense and advocate for your interests throughout the legal process. Call (970) 368-0602 today for a FREE phone consultation.

Posted in: DUI