Articles Posted in Drunk Driving/ DUI

Thanksgiving means holiday fun with family and friends, but it can also mean a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) if you’re stopped on suspicion of drunk driving. Police throughout Colorado increase their enforcement of DUI laws and other traffic laws during the holidays, but you can protect yourself by planning ahead for a sober trip home.

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Some ways to protect yourself and others from a DUI charge this Thanksgiving include:

  • Plan ahead. Before you head out to a party, set up a sober way to get home, whether that’s a designated driver, a taxicab, public transportation, or make plans to stay the night at your host’s place. That way, if you decide to have alcohol with your Thanksgiving dinner, you won’t face the risk of a DUI.
  • Help others as you help yourself. Write down the numbers for local cab companies or program them into your cell phone. Not only will you have access to an alternative route home if you need it, but you’ll also be able to call a cab for anyone else who doesn’t look like they can drive safely. You may be able to prevent more than one DUI charge this Thanksgiving.
  • Show your designated driver some love. Make sure he or she has access to favorite non-alcoholic drinks and Thanksgiving treats.

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supreme_court_2567543.jpgThe U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that tackles the question of whether police must get a warrant before requiring a person suspected of drunk driving to provide a blood sample.

The case involves a Missouri driver who was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). The driver allegedly refused to take a breath test to measure his blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

The officer arrested the driver and took him to a local medical laboratory, where the driver’s blood was drawn for testing without a warrant and in spite of the driver’s objections. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that, in most cases, police should get a warrant for any intrusive bodily search, including a DUI-related blood draw.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal from the Missouri prosecutor, who argues that requiring police to get a warrant before drawing blood in a suspected drunk driving case will destroy evidence by giving the suspect time to “sober up.” The driver in this case, however, argues that the Fourth Amendment gives U.S. citizens protection against searches like blood draws that are performed without a warrant.

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The state forensics lab that tests blood samples taken in drunk driving and other criminal cases recently announced that many of the tests had been done incorrectly, according to an article in the Colorado Springs Independent.

The lab estimates that at least 1,700 blood tests may have been performed incorrectly. In order to have any confidence in the results, the lab says that the tests should be run again under the correct testing conditions.

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Defense attorneys throughout Colorado were displeased with the news. Colorado criminal defense attorney Timothy Bussey was no exception, noting that the “precision, accuracy, reliability, and transparency” of scientific evidence like blood test results is of paramount importance in a criminal trial in order to avoid convicting people who are actually innocent. Questionable results call not only a particular test into question, but an entire forensics laboratory.
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Colorado law imposes separate sets of penalties for people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) or driving while their ability is impaired by alcohol or drugs (DWAI). Because a DWAI charge or conviction is based on different facts than a DUI charge or conviction, it helps to know a bit about the difference between the two.

In Colorado, a DWAI charge requires a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 percent to 0.08 percent. BAC is typically tested using a breath or blood sample, which is most often collected at, or just before, an arrest. A first DWAI conviction includes penalties like eight license points, up to $500 in fines, up to 180 days in jail, and up to 48 hours of community service.

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dui-9167018Small.jpgThe rate of charges for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) in Colorado have dropped over the past three years, according to a recent article in the Denver Post.

The report is based on a study of DUI/DWAI filings throughout Colorado from 2009 to the present. Overall, filings have dropped 17.5 percent, according to law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agencies credit increased penalties for DUI and DWAI in Colorado, as well as increased use of sobriety checkpoints and additional media coverage that warns drivers ahead of time to find sober routes home.
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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety checkpoints don’t violate the federal Constitution. Each state has made its own decision about whether checkpoints violate the state’s constitution, however, and each state handles sobriety checkpoints within its own borders a little differently. Here are some key points of Colorado sobriety checkpoint law.

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First, Colorado courts have ruled that sobriety checkpoints within the state are allowed by both the state and federal constitutions. In 1990, the Colorado Supreme Court held that the state’s constitution ought to be considered “coextensive” with the federal constitution when it came to sobriety checkpoints.
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Law enforcement agencies across Colorado are participating in the state’s “100 Days of Heat” campaign to crack down on suspected drunk drivers, according to a recent news report from CBS Denver.

police_tix_7270593.jpgThe campaign is timed to cover the three major summer holidays – Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day – as well as the summer weekends, when the rates of drivers suspected of drunk driving on Colorado roads increases. Law enforcement agencies have committed both to putting more traveling patrols on the road and to increasing the number of sobriety checkpoints.

A sobriety checkpoint is a stationary location, usually on a well-traveled road, staffed by one or more police officers. Cars are stopped either randomly or in a pattern at the checkpoint in order for police to speak to the drivers and check for signs of drunk or drugged driving, examine licenses and registrations, or look for other things that might raise their suspicions.
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car_2273424.jpgDrivers who are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) often find themselves confused by the tangle of rules and laws that apply to a drunk driving arrest or conviction. The criminal courts, laws, and penalties are involved, and so is the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

When you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, the DMV has the power to suspend your CO driver’s license. You have the right to notice of the suspension and to ask for a hearing, which you must do within 7 days. At the hearing, you can challenge whether the suspension should be imposed and for how long, and you may have a knowledgeable Colorado DUI defense attorney represent you if you choose.
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drink_drive_4294490.jpgCinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby fell on the same day this year. Since both events are often celebrated with alcohol use, law enforcement agencies in Colorado and other states stepped up their enforcement of laws that prohibit driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

Law enforcement agencies are also planning to increase enforcement during other summer holiday events, like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Some increased enforcement methods that all drivers should know about include:
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Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) can result in serious car accidents. It can also result in a run-in with Colorado’s DUI laws, which make drinking and driving illegal in most situations and which come with serious penalties for an arrest, charge, and/or conviction. Many people see one brush with the law as a wake-up call: they need to do something about their relationship with alcohol before even more serious consequences – such as their own death or the death of someone else – result.

CO Alcohol AddictionAlcohol addiction treatment can be very effective in protecting the lives and health both of those who drink and of others on the road, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). It can also help a driver avoid being pulled over, arrested for, charged with, or convicted of DUI, and thus avoid the potential Colorado DUI penalties, such as jail time, heavy fines, and other personal and professional costs related to a DUI arrest or conviction.
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