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Castle Rock / Denver, Colorado
DRUNK DRIVING IS SERIOUS! COLORADO DUI LAW
alcohol-related accidents and fatalities in Colorado have steadily decreased
over the past two decades, drunk driving is still seen as a serious problem in
our community. Despite the numerous enforcement programs by police agencies
around the state, including the well-known Heat is On campaign, which targets
drunk drivers en masse, it has been estimated that half of all traffic deaths in
the state of Colorado are still alcohol-related.
Defining the Crime:
Colorado has two levels of alcohol-related driving offenses and both are
partially, but on entirely, based on the measurement of blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) in the body.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI): A DUI is the more serious
offense of the two and has consequences that are extremely costly both to your
wallet and to your diving privileges, and could potentially result in serious
jail time. In July 2004, Colorado inched down the DUI BAC limit from .10% to
Driving While Ability is impaired by Alcohol or Drugs (DWAI): Although this is a
lesser included offense of DUI with a BAC of at least .05% but less than .08%,
there are still hefty fines and penalties.
Rolling the BAC Dice:
Simply put, blood alcohol concentration is how much alcohol is pulsing through
your blood giving you the feel-good high of inebriation. It is possible
(especially if you endured college parties) that you have been in those
situations where some showoff who has pounded 10 kamikazes, eight beers, four
gin and tonics, and a martini to boot, will claim they are not a bit
Despite the fact that a BAC test might show them legally deceased, they claim
they could get behind the wheel and drive 200 miles easily. You usually see
these sorts on the 10 o'clock news.
While there are numerous factors affecting BAC, scientists have come up with a
few basic averages. Cresting the .08% BAC level would require a 170-pound guy
with an empty stomach to imbibe around four drinks in one hour. To match this, a
woman hovering around 140 pounds would need to have three drinks in an hour on
an empty stomach.
So, the variable is based on body weight, metabolism, time frame vs. amount
consumed, and time elapsed between drinks. As far as alcohol content per drink,
a glass of wine, one beer, and one shot of liquor all carry about the same
amount of alcohol.
DWAI First Offense―8 points toward license suspension (12 points in 12 months
results in suspension); $200 to $500 fine; two to 180 days in jail; 24 to 48
hours community service, alcohol education and therapy and victim impact panel.
DUI First Offense―Automatic revocation of license for 9 months; $600 to $1,000
fine; five days to one year in jail; 48 to 96 hours community service; alcohol
education and therapy and victim impact panel.
(A minimum-mandatory jail sentence of ten days will be imposed on a first
offense where the BAC is 0.20 or greater.)
The penalties increase substantially for repeat offenses, including mandatory
jail. In cases of first-time driver’s license revocations of nine months,
drivers can resume driving in a restricted status after one month without
driving. You will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your
car, which means your car won't even turn on if the device detects any alcohol
in your breath.
If you fail the roadside sobriety test for DUI, which could entail anything from
standing on one leg while answering a barrage of questions to touching your nose
and walking a straight line, you will be arrested—handcuffs and all.
You will be transported to jail or, if you are too drunk for jail, to a detox
A tow truck will take your car and impound it.
A chemical test will be offered and, if you refuse it you will lose your license
for at least one year WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF A PROBATIONARY OR RESTRICTED
You will probably not be released until you post bond or someone does it for
you. Bond amounts vary from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on circumstances such as
your past criminal history. While you are sitting in jail, a whole series of
events could be set into motion affecting your employment, your financial
stability, and your family.
The Cost of Keeping the Keys:
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) calculates
that the average alcohol-related fatality in Colorado costs $3.6 million: $1.1
million in monetary costs and $2.5 million in quality of life losses. Also,
motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol set the state back an astounding $1.9
billion in the year 2000.
So, one death equals $3.6 million, but what is the cost to your conscience? How
can that cost be measured, or a monetary settlement be put on a family that must
grieve a lost member?
CDOT offers a line item assessment in an informative brochure of what a first
offense costs the individual charged with a DUI. The total comes to a whopping
$9,481 and includes lawyer fees, rising insurance rates, fees to get a license
back, probation supervision fees, all the way down to the brain injury surcharge
and court costs. This figure is based on the minimum fine! Of course, this does
not include a possible job loss and the strain on loved ones. It is easy to see
that drinking and driving is not worth any cost.
Laws on the Book:
Express Consent Law: By operating a motor vehicle in the state of Colorado you
are automatically giving "express consent" or granting permission to be
administered a chemical test by breath or blood to measure your blood alcohol
content. If a law enforcement officer requires you to take a test because of
suspected drinking and driving and you refuse, your license will be revoked at
that point for one year. Testing over the DUI limit of .08% results in a minimum
Zero Tolerance: Drivers under 21 with a BAC
between .02% and .08% face automatic revocation of their license.
Buy and Possess: If you are under 21 and get
caught with alcohol in the vehicle, you will have your license revoked.
Anthony J. Fabian, P.C.
|Attorney and Counselor At Law
CONVENIENT OFFICES IN CASTLE ROCK AND DENVER
510 Wilcox Street
1660 South Albion Street
|Anthony Fabian Criminal Defense Trial Attorney in the state of Colorado
covering Castle Rock, Douglas County, Elbert County, Arapahoe County, Jefferson County, Adams County, Denver County, Boulder
County, El Paso County, Pueblo County, Larimer County, Weld County, the entire Rocky Mountain Front Range area including the greater Denver Metro Area,
Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, and Greeley.
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