Colorado arrests 8,000 in DUI enforcement efforts during 2014

Enforcement officers in Colorado increased impaired driving arrests by 23 percent in 2014 and are aiming to increase these numbers even more in 2015. Such efforts can translate to false allegations of drunk driving.

Colorado enforcement officers arrested almost 8,000 drivers for driving under the influence, or DUI, during the Heat is On campaign of 2014. This translated to an increase of impaired driving arrests of over 23 percent, according to Colorado's Department of Transportation. The agency also notes that enforcement officers are arresting in high numbers during the early weeks of 2015, reporting 329 arrests for the year as of January 5.

Although the goal of reducing alcohol related traffic fatalities is noble, increasing enforcement officer presence, setting up sobriety checkpoints and running saturation patrols can also lead to false allegations of drunk driving.

Penalties for DUI and DWAI in Colorado

Those who are charged with a DUI or DWAI (driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs) should take the charges seriously. Penalties for a conviction are harsh and can include the following:

  • License suspension: A driver's license can be suspended for 9 months with a first offense and BAC of 0.08, 12 months for a second violation with a BAC of 0.08 and 24 months for a third.
  • Jail time: A first DWAI can result in 2 to 180 days imprisonment, a first DUI can lead to 5 days to 1 year imprisonment and a second DWAI or DUI with a previous conviction can lead to 10 days to 1 year jail time.
  • Monetary fine: A first DWAI results in a fine ranging from $200 to $500, a first DUI costs $600 to $1,000 and a second offense costs $600 to $1,500.
  • Public service: A first DWAI leads to a required 24 to 48 hours of public service. A first DUI leads to 48 to 96 hours and a second offense leads to 48 to 120 hours.

These are just some of the penalties that can apply. The severity of penalties can increase depending on the details of the charges. Factors such as previous convictions or an accident that led to another's injury or death may be considered.

Legal counsel can help

It is important for those who are facing charges to know that defenses are available. Enforcement officers are required to follow proper protocol when making a stop and cannot pull over a driver without probable cause. A DUI defense lawyer will review the details of your case, including the circumstances that led to the stop, to determine if your rights were violated. If violated, the charges could be reduced or dropped.

Contact an experienced Colorado DUI lawyer to discuss your options and better ensure your rights are protected.

Keywords: criminal defense DUI