‘Tis the season for more days off from work, more holiday parties, and more family celebrating.
Unfortunately, it’s also the season for more drinking and driving. The U.S. Department of transportation reports an average of 27 fatalities every day in December due to drunk driving.
Closer to home, nearly 60 arrests for impaired driving occur each day in our state alone, and 500-plus Colorado drivers were arrested during this year’s Thanksgiving DUI enforcement period. That’s nearly double last year’s total.
As a part of an ongoing The Heat Is On campaign to enforce Colorado DUI and DWAI laws and reduce the number of accidents across the state, December 7 marked the beginning of the Holiday Parties DUI enforcement period, and the New Year’s Eve effort will end this year’s program.
Don’t let the last thing on your 2018 to-do list include “hunt for a Denver attorney experienced in DUIs.” Keep your holidays merry. Avoid costly – potentially life-threatening – situations by choosing one of these alternatives to getting behind the wheel after drinking.
Make any arrangements necessary to avoid drunk driving in advance. Don’t get caught tipsy – or worse – with no safe way home. Know whether there will be alcohol at your event, decide ahead whether you will drink, and if you do plan to imbibe, include a safe ride home.
The Hard Pass
The easiest way to avoid a DUI is to simply pass on the alcohol. If this is already part of your plan, consider participating in the Tie One On for Safety red ribbon campaign. Otherwise, pro-tip: volunteering to be the designated driver in your group can help you avoid any flak from friends for just saying no.
Get a Ride
Next best thing to being sober? Designate your driver. If a friend isn’t willing, line up a rideshare. Coors partners with RTD-Denver for a free rides program around the Denver area during the holidays. Search for something similar in your neighborhood.
Uber is always an option, too, and yes, you’ll need to plan for a price surge. It’s frustrating, but it’s a small price to pay to ensure your safety. Also remind yourself of the cost of getting a DUI – surge or no, rideshares are way less expensive.
Another option is to give yourself a gift: celebrate where you’re staying! Turn your company Christmas party into an overnight staycation by booking a room within walking distance. There’s nothing better than a short walk to a hotel suite after a long night of good cheer, and you can even extend the celebration with a brunch invite the morning after.
Wait it out. If there’s absolutely no way around driving after drinking this holiday season, do yourself a favor and just wait it out. Keep in mind though, the “one drink an hour” rule of thumb isn’t always reliable, and getting DUI charges dismissed can be more complex in Colorado than you think.
Simply being deemed “substantially incapable” of operating a vehicle is vague, but it’s enough. Consider downloading a breathalyzer app like Drinker’s Helper, BACtrack, or instaBAC. Many of them estimate your actual BAC, explain the consequences, and tell you how long to wait.
We want you to enjoy this holiday season – but do it safely. Don’t spend your holidays learning firsthand what happens after a Colorado cop arrests you for a DUI.
If you plan to drive, don’t drink. And if you plan to drink, please, don’t drive.
Play it safe, and have a happy holiday season!
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.