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Operating a motor vehicle when you’ve had too much alcohol is against the law. But does that mean you can’t go out and drink with friends and family this 4th of July? Of course not – as long as you know where to draw the line.

The consequences for being caught drinking and driving are extensive. You can face jail times, fines, lose your driver’s license, and even have to complete alcohol education. Plus, it costs a lot of money, which most people want to avoid.

The good news: there are simple tips you can use to help keep 4th of July fun without the DUI worry. Here are some ways to help you avoid DUIs in Colorado this Independence Day—and all the time.

What Is a DUI in Colorado

DUI stands for “driving under the influence”. It occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit, which is 0.08 percent.

It’s important to note that, even if you don’t have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent when the police pull you over, you can still get slapped with an offense such as “driving while ability impaired” (DWAI). This can occur if your blood alcohol level is below 0.08 percent and above 0.05 percent.

DWAIs may be less serious than DUIs, but they still have some hefty penalties, such as jail time and probation. They also dock points against your driver’s license. Lose enough points, and the DMV may take away your driver’s license.

Tips to Avoid DUIs in Colorado

The best strategy when it comes to DUIs and DWAIs in Colorado is to avoid them. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t go out and have fun. If you cannot find a designated driver for your outing, consider taking a rideshare to get you home safely.

Some other great tips to keep you and everyone else safe this holiday include:

Eat Before You Drink

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is a bad idea. When your stomach is full, alcohol is absorbed more slowly. But on an empty stomach, a rapid increase in blood alcohol level soon follows.

Being dehydrated also encourages alcohol to absorb faster into your bloodstream, spiking your levels. So, you might be able to imbibe a certain amount of alcohol on a full stomach without it affecting your driving—but the story may change if you drink on an empty stomach.

Make sure to have a good meal if you’re going to drink, one that includes complex carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Think: meat and cheese sandwich or an old-fashioned PB&J.

Pace Yourself

Experts say that the average person can handle about one drink per hour. One drink is defined as one shot of liquor, five ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.

The more you weigh, usually, the more you can metabolize, too. But it’s important to note that many factors go into how your body handles alcohol, so pace yourself if you plan to drive later.

Spend the Night

Denver DUI Lawyer

If you’re out at a friend’s house, enjoying the drinks, then simply stay there. Good friends will have no problem setting you up for the night so that you aren’t a danger to yourself or others on the road.

Have Fun in Other Ways

Who says you have to drink to have fun? Stick to soda or water and just enjoy spending time with people you care about. An occasional night where you’re the designated driver is good for you!


About the Author:

Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The 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 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state.  Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.



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