Last Halloween, a shockingly high number of Coloradans were arrested for drinking and driving. With the holiday right around the corner again, everyone needs to be aware of how tough Colorado’s DUI laws are, and how police crack down over Halloween.
In this post, we’re going to detail the prevalence of drinking on this holiday, break down the law, and explain what you can do if you find yourself caught up in DUI enforcement.
Colorado Halloween DUIs: The Numbers
Here are some recent Halloween DUI stats that may surprise you:
- In October 2017, 375 drivers were arrested on suspicion of DUI over Halloween weekend. That number was up from 325 in 2016.
- The police have an enforcement period corresponding with fall festivals. From Sept. 15 through Oct. 23, police made an average of 47 daily arrests for DUI in 2017, totaling 1,837 arrests. That figure is 22 percent higher than a similar period in 2016.
- Police departments in Denver and Colorado Springs, along with the Colorado State Patrol, made the most DUI arrests.
Because these numbers have been increasing, police will be searching for more suspected cases this year.
What to Know about Colorado DUI Laws
Colorado has tough laws on DUI violations. It’s listed among the 20 harshest states for penalties upon conviction.
Since DUI arrests are common during Halloween, it’s important to understand the Colorado DUI laws and penalties in case you are arrested.
Blood alcohol concentration
Colorado sets a 0.08 percent limit for blood alcohol concentration. If you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.17 percent or more, you could face charges for aggravated DUI. Underage drivers who drink and drive are subject to even lower limits of between 0.02 and 0.05 percent.
You are permitted to refuse a blood or breath test when you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI. However, under Colorado law, the arresting officer has the right to immediately revoke your driver’s license for up to 12 months.
A first-time conviction for DUI in Colorado will result in the suspension of your driver’s license for nine months. A second offense will result in a 12-month suspension, and a third or subsequent offense will result in a two-year suspension. If you have four or more DUI offenses, you will face felony charges.
You may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a repeat offense. The device disables the vehicle’s driving operations if your blood alcohol concentration is higher than the set level during various intervals of driving periods. This device is mandated for a refusal to take a breath or blood test, and it will be in place for eight months.
A first-time offense may also result in five days in jail, and a second offense may require 10 days in jail. You will pay a fine of at least $600 if convicted and you should expect to pay much higher vehicle insurance rates for at least two years. You may also be required to attend an alcohol treatment program if the judge deems it necessary. In some cases, your vehicle may be impounded.
Next Steps If a Colorado DUI Makes Your Halloween Even Scarier
With penalties this severe even for a first-time offense, it’s essential that you consult with a knowledgeable Denver criminal attorney as soon as you are allowed to do so. In the meantime, exercise your right to remain silent and do not agree to any field sobriety tests – they are not required, and can only hurt your case.
Remember, a charge is not a conviction, and there are a huge number of possible defenses that you might be able to use to fight back.
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” 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.