Remember last St. Patrick’s Day?
If not, you’re not alone. On St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Colorado’s pubs, bars, and private homes flood with partiers dressed in green, celebrating the holiday with copious amounts of drinking. Over the course of one St. Patrick’s Day weekend alone, police arrested 471 drivers in our state on the suspicion of intoxication. According to reports, the highest number of arrests were made by the CSP (96), followed by the Denver police at 45 arrests, and the Colorado Springs police at 41 arrests.
As a holiday, St. Patrick’s Day has become synonymous with green costumes, Irish heritage pride, and lots of drinking. Unfortunately, for many, drinking has become the most important part. While St. Paddy’s Day presents a wonderful occasion to celebrate with your friends and family, problems arise when heavy drinking enters into the picture, because all too often this leads to DUIs. For an unacceptable number of Colorado residents, St. Patrick’s Day has ended in a humiliating DUI or—even worse—a tragic injury or fatality.
In response to this problem, police officers across the state and nation are ramping up DUI enforcement on St. Patrick’s Day. If you want to help prevent a repeat of last year’s 400+ drunk driving arrests and avoid a DUI, it’s important to plan accordingly and behave responsibly during this year’s festivities. Below, we’ve listed tips for avoiding a DUI and staying safe on the road this Saint Patrick’s Day.
Keep close. You can eliminate the possibility of a DUI entirely by leaving your keys at home and heading to bars near your house. On foot, you’ll be spared the hassle of finding a parking spot in packed areas and having to drive on roads crowded with drunk drivers. You’ll be able to enjoy yourself more when you don’t have to worry about how you’ll get home or whether or not you are within the legal limit. Just make sure you keep an eye out for others who are behaving in a reckless manner – especially drivers – and try to stay clear.
Find a designated driver. If you do need to drive to your St. Patrick’s Day destination, find a designated driver who won’t be drinking for the day. It’s highly unadvisable to get behind the wheel, even if you only plan on drinking a little. Remember, cops will be pulling over hundreds of drivers in their effort to crack down on intoxicated driving. Just because you think you’re okay to drive doesn’t mean a breathalyzer will agree.
Use alternate transportation. Denver and many other cities have public transportation and no shortage of cabs. The last few years have witnessed the emergence of many new alternative forms of transportation, including ride sharing and sober ride services. These services are generally safe and relatively inexpensive.
Don’t overdo it. Alcohol impairs judgment, which is why so many drivers mistakenly believe they are all right to drive home. If you plan on drinking this Saint Patrick’s Day, make sure you know and can recognize your limit. Never drink on an empty stomach, and try to drink a cup of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. If you have even the smallest doubt as to whether you are sober enough to drive, don’t risk it.
Don’t smoke and drive. Remember, marijuana can significantly impair your driving ability as well, and cops are just as likely to arrest you for drugged driving as they are drunk driving.
And if you do find yourself in trouble with the law this St. Patrick’s Day, contact a Colorado DUI lawyer. A DUI is a serious charge, and you’ll need the strongest defense possible if you want to avoid jail time, fines, and license revocation.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing atThe Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.