Hundreds of arrests in Colorado DUI crackdown, more to come in 2014

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New Year’s Eve is one of the most festive holidays of the year. For many revilers, New Year’s is the perfect time to relax, celebrate the accomplishments of the year and tip back a few cocktails.

But, in a New Year’s mindset, it can be easy to get a little out of hand and find yourself facing a DUI arrest. Preliminary reports on Colorado’s New Year’s Eve DUI crackdown this year indicate that hundreds of drivers were taken into custody. As 2014 continues, there is little doubt that heavy DUI enforcement will continue – including enforcement for “pot DUI” as Colorado’s new recreational marijuana law is implemented.

New Year’s just portion of total arrests from 2013 drunk driving enforcement campaign

The New Year’s Eve drunk driving crackdown, put on as part of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s The Heat Is On campaign against impaired driving, took place between Friday, Dec. 27, and Thursday, Jan. 2. Over this period, preliminary reports indicate that 431 arrests were made.

The New Year’s DUI enforcement campaign is just one of 12 drunk driving crackdowns that occur throughout the year as part of The Heat Is On campaign. Each period of heavy enforcement focuses on a national holiday or a large public event. Over the entirety of 2013, The Heat Is On is credited with 6,989 arrests throughout Colorado. The initiative will continue in 2014.

“Pot DUI” also likely to receive more attention in 2014

Most commonly, a DUI charge comes about because a driver has allegedly consumed alcohol. However, with Colorado’s new recreational marijuana law in place for 2014, motorists should also expect heavy enforcement for “pot DUI.” Under state law, the legal limit for driving after marijuana consumption is 5ng of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) per ml of blood.

A DUI stop related to alleged marijuana consumption begins like one related to alleged alcohol consumption. An officer pulls a vehicle over after observing erratic driving or a traffic violation then looks for signs of impairment. The officer may ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test, like walking a straight line or standing on one foot while counting (the driver can refuse to perform such a test without consequence, and if the driver does perform the test, the results can be used against him or her). Then, if the officer believes his or her suspicions of impairment have been confirmed, a chemical test is administered.

For a pot DUI, the chemical test is a blood test (for alcohol, it could be a breath or blood test, but there is no breath test for THC currently in use in Colorado). A driver may refuse the chemical test as well. However, refusing the chemical test does carry a consequence: an automatic driver’s license suspension.

Pulled over for allegedly driving while impaired? Contact a Colorado DUI lawyer immediately

If you have been arrested for impaired driving, the most important thing you can do to protect your rights and avoid the most serious consequences of a DUI charge is to contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible. Ideally, you would contact a DUI defense attorney when you are pulled over. But, even if you have already been arrested, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better.

With all the DUI crackdowns in Colorado, your chance of facing arrest is high. But with the right legal help, you can do everything possible to keep a DUI arrest from ruining your future. Contact a Colorado defense attorney today about your DUI case.