Advice from Colorado’s Trusted DUI Defense Attorney
The holidays are about getting together with family and friends, enjoying great food, and sometimes having a holiday cocktail (or two).
It is also a time where law enforcement initiates DUI checkpoints and is on full alert – looking for potential drunken drivers.
Even if you feel fine after your second cocktail, reconsider driving this holiday season. After all, there is no worse way to start off the New Year than in jail, losing your driver’s license, and facing a permanent criminal record.
So, whether you are visiting with family, going to a work party, or enjoying the festivities at your neighbor’s holiday bash, make sure you follow these tips to stay safe and avoid any DUIs.
What Are the DUI Laws in Garfield, Colorado?
To avoid a DUI, you need to know what constitutes a DUI in Colorado. Like most states, you can still be arrested for a DUI when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is under 0.08 percent; therefore, do not solely rely on BAC levels.
In Colorado, a DUI is driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, but you may also be arrested for a DWAI (driving while ability impaired) with a BAC of 0.05 percent or more.
Anyone under the age of 21, the legal drinking age, can be arrested for a DUI with a BAC of 0.02 percent or more.
Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, and it can come down to your body’s chemical composition, size, and age. Therefore, just because you can have two drinks does not mean your friend can have two drinks without reaching the legal limit.
Tips for Avoiding a DUI this Holiday Season
A first-time DUI is just as detrimental as subsequent offenses. While subsequent offenses carry harsher penalties, you could still serve several days in jail, lose your driver’s license, and have a permanent criminal record. Therefore, do not assume a first-time DUI is minor by any means.
Avoid the hassles of a criminal record entirely by considering these tips.
Behave at DUI Checkpoints
DUI checkpoints are legal, and law enforcement has the right to stop every vehicle at the checkpoint and see if the driver is intoxicated. While it is a hindrance on your night and takes up a few minutes, you must be on your best behavior.
Do not harass officers at the checkpoint, do not be aggressive, and avoid any combative behavior. Even if you are a passenger, you could be arrested for obstruction. Do not complain about any violations of your rights, because checkpoints are legal and doing so will just draw more negative attention to you than necessary.
Set Up Alternative Transportation Before Going Out
The best way to avoid a DUI is not to drive – even if you have had just one drink. Set up alternative transportation, such as having a designated driver for the evening. If you do not want to put that burden on a friend or family member, consider using a taxi or ride-sharing service. Realize that most of these services will need to be booked ahead because they will be busy on the holiday – especially New Year’s Eve.
Do Not Refuse a Breathalyzer or Chemical Test
You can still be arrested for refusing to take the chemical test, so do not think denying would get you out of a DUI. In fact, your refusal could be used in court to argue that you are guilty of a DUI – because why would an innocent person refuse?
Furthermore, implied consent laws of Colorado require that you submit to these tests. If you refuse, you have an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension for your first refusal. For each subsequent offense, it is an additional year.
Use a Drink Tracking App
It is easy to get carried awhile while having a good time. Luckily, there are DUI apps that can tell you how intoxicated you are, track your drinks, and give you an idea of whether you would be over the legal limit. DrinkTracker is one app that estimates your BAC based on how many drinks you have had, while Intoxicheck makes you go through a series of tests to measure your intoxication level.
Never Rely on the One Drink Per Hour
Some people think that drinking only one drink per hour will keep them under the legal limit. While this might apply to some, others have different metabolisms, which means one drink per hour could quickly compound and put you over the legal limit.
Book a Nearby Hotel
If you plan to hit up the local bar scene for New Year’s Eve, book a nearby hotel so that you can easily walk from the bars to your hotel and sleep off the alcohol for the night. Staying at the hotel takes away the hassles of finding alternative transportation or putting the burden on a friend.
Remember Prescriptions Count
It does not matter if you had a cough medicine or drink, you could still be arrested if your prescription medications are affecting your ability to drive safely. Being under the influence of drugs, including legal drugs, is always a crime.
Law enforcement might do a drug swab test during the DUI checkpoint, so if you have consumed any prescriptions, you will be asked to disclose them.
While marijuana is legalized in Colorado, it is still a crime to drive under the influence of THC-containing products. Therefore, do not be surprised if law enforcement tests for THC at the DUI checkpoint this holiday season – and do not drive if you have had any THC product.
Call a Lawyer if You Have Been Arrested for a DUI
If you were arrested for a DUI over the holiday or any time of the year, do not think you can make a deal or argue your way out of it. Instead, contact an attorney.
A DUI is a severe charge that could lead to a permanent smear on your criminal record. Criminal records can prevent you from getting a job, qualifying for housing, or even receiving government funding.