Colorado enforces its DUI statutes all year long. However, some people believe that law enforcement seeks out those suspected of DUI in the summer season more than others. But is this assumption correct? Is there an increase in DUI arrests in the summer season compared to the winter? We will examine the drinking and driving summer statistics, along with some ways you can avoid a DUI this summer.
If you are facing DUI or DWI charges, contact a Colorado DUI defense lawyer right away. As the sole practitioner of Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., I have decades of experience representing clients against Colorado prosecutors. Contact my office today to start your free initial consultation.
Drinking and Driving Summer Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) prepares an annual report that analyzes alcohol-impaired driving. A driver is considered “alcohol-impaired” when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above .08%. According to the 2020 NHTSA alcohol-impaired driving report, more fatal car accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers occurred in June, July, and August than in any other months.
According to the Traffic Safety Facts 2019 report, approximately 465 fatalities occurred in 2019 over the Memorial Day weekend, 37% of which happened in an alcohol-impaired crash. Over the 4th of July weekend, 515 fatalities occurred, and 38% of those involved an alcohol-impaired crash.
These statistics might help demonstrate why there’s an increase in DUI enforcement in the summer season. An increase in accidents and fatalities typically results in more preventative measures.
There is often an increase in DUI enforcement when major holidays like the 4th of July are approaching. In many cases, law enforcement will announce this extra enforcement ahead of time. Additionally, summer signals an extended break for school and college-aged kids. This can result in more free time and more time to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks.
As you can see, a number of different factors contribute to the increase in DUI enforcement during the summer season. If you are facing a DUI charge, contact my office right away. I have represented numerous clients facing DUI charges, and I look forward to helping you through this challenging time.
Colorado’s DUI Laws
Colorado Revised Statutes § 42-4-1301 prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Colorado, “under the influence” means:
- The driver’s blood-alcohol level (BAC) is 0.08% or higher; or
- Their ability to drive is substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol.
If your BAC was below 0.08%, but above 0.00%, you’ll likely face charges of driving while ability impaired (DWAI or DWI) instead of DUI charges.
Colorado considers a DUI a misdemeanor. A first-time DUI conviction includes a variety of consequences, such as:
- Between five days and one year in jail,
- License revocation for up to nine months,
- A fine of up to $1,000,
- Up to 96 hours of community service, and
- Substance abuse education classes.
You could face additional penalties if your BAC was above 0.15% at the time of your arrest.
Ways to Avoid a DUI in the Summer Season
Especially in the summer months, law enforcement officers might pull someone over and immediately assume they are drunk driving. Unfortunately, this can result in improper DUI charges. You can avoid this result by following a few simple guidelines.
Pull Over and Cooperate with Law Enforcement
In a moment of panic, some people consider eluding officers instead of pulling over. This is not the right decision. Eluding the police is a felony and will likely lead to more serious charges than a DUI conviction. After you pull over, cooperate with the officer’s requests and do not try to instigate a confrontation.
Remember Your Right to Stay Silent
Cooperating with law enforcement does not mean you need to provide unnecessary information to the officer pulling you over. Many police officers try to make small talk when they pull someone over. They might ask you where you are coming from and if you took any medications earlier in the day. These may seem like innocent questions to you, but rest assured, this is not the case. The officer is trying to get you to talk.
And if you do, any information you provide will be used against you if you face criminal charges. You do not have to answer any questions the officer asks about your day or your activities. You might think your answers are innocent and could not possibly get you into trouble—but you would be wrong. You have the right to remain silent, and it is wise to take advantage of this right as it is meant to protect you.
Refuse Standard Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests give law enforcement authorities the chance to make subjective observations about the drunken state of the driver. You do not have to perform field sobriety tests. If an officer asks you to do a field sobriety test, politely refuse and ask to speak to your attorney. In many cases, an officer will not advise you of your right to refuse. Remember, roadside maneuvers are completely voluntary.
If the police find other evidence that you’ve been drinking—like an open beer can in plain view—they can arrest you on suspicion of drunk driving even if you refuse to perform field sobriety tests.
Contact Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein
With nearly 25 years of experience as a defense attorney, I have defended a variety of different DUI cases. My experience gives me an advantage over other DUI lawyers. I know how aggressive Colorado prosecutors are when it comes to DUI defendants, but I am prepared to defend you.
I know the ins and outs of the Western Colorado legal system, along with a majority of the prosecutors in the area. Some lawyers might pressure you to take an unfavorable plea agreement just because they do not want to go to trial.
I have handled numerous criminal trials and am not afraid to fight your charges until the end. After all, I believe that every criminal defendant deserves aggressive, effective legal representation, and that is what I can offer you.
Contact my office today to begin your free consultation.