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St. Patrick's Day: DUI info in Colorado

St. Patrick’s Day: DUI info in Colorado

It is easy to understand why Colorado makes its highway safety grant allocations a high priority; it is a festive place to be. For example, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations often involve heavy drinking in Denver, Colorado, and the surrounding areas. Understandably, Colorado drivers face severe consequences for driving under the influence (DUI), even where there are no fatal accidents involved.

The team from Bell & Pollock discusses these concerns below while encouraging this year’s revelers to practice safe driving at all times.

Statistics About DUIs on St. Patrick’s Day

Many people choose to visit bars or clubs to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every year. The state of Colorado keeps track of traffic statistics on this day each year, including information about arrests on St. Patrick’s Day. State figures reported:

  • 486 DUI arrests in 2013
  • 471 DUI arrests in 2014
  • 505 DUI arrests in 2015
  • 455 DUI arrests in 2016

Traffic police arrest hundreds of Colorado drivers on this holiday, with some drivers causing traffic crashes and others not making it past the various DUI checkpoints.

Penalties for DUIs in Colorado

Whatever the reason, violating the law in this way puts drivers in Colorado in line for several legal penalties if the court convicts them of a DUI. Depending upon the facts surrounding the case, drivers may face:

  • Jailtime
  • Fines
  • Driving restrictions

Colorado applies harsher penalties for repeat DUIs. However, even a first-time DUI offense may have serious legal repercussions.

Colorado’s DUI Laws on St. Patrick’s Day and Throughout the Year

In the interests of highway safety, Colorado does not change its regulations on driving under the influence for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Drivers still face several charges based on blood alcohol level (BAC) at the time of their arrest:

  • A BAC at or above 0.08% incurs basic DUI charges.
  • Some drivers face a charge for Driving While Ability Is Impaired (DWAI) instead of a DUI charge; typically, when the BAC falls between 0.05% and 0.08%.
  • Drivers under the age of 21 can face DUI charges if their BAC is at or above 0.02%.

Individuals under the age of 21 are not legally allowed to drink alcohol in Colorado. The lower BAC level restriction matches these requirements and calls for caution in newer drivers.

St. Patrick’s Day and Express Consent

Can a driver refuse a BAC test when stopped by traffic authorities on St. Patrick’s Day? The short answer is no. The state of Colorado requires that drivers provide “express consent” each time they drive with a license (which means the individual agrees to take a chemical BAC test when requested to do so by law enforcement).

So, Colorado’s police officers can legally request a breath or blood test in these situations. Refusal to take the test could lead to legal repercussions.

Speak to Bell & Pollock About Your DUI Accident in Colorado

Has there been an incident on the roads in Denver, CO? The Bell & Pollock legal team fully understands the importance of highway safety and the dangers posed by drunk drivers.

Contact the Bell & Pollock team at (303)795-5900 today for advice on how to proceed with a personal injury or liability claim in Denver, Colorado.

Now a Word from Gary Bell

By Gary Bell of Bell & Pollock Injury Attorneys

You’ve had too much to drink and it’s time to go home. By now you know better than to get behind the wheel of a car but did you know that in many states, including Colorado, you can also be charged with driving under the influence (“DUI”) while operating a bicycle? Colorado’s DUI statute (C.R.S. § 42-4-1301) specifically includes bicycles in its definition of “vehicle.” Therefore, operating any vehicle, including a bicycle, with a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) above .08% can lead to you being charged with DUI or DWAI (driving while ability impaired) for a BAC above .05%. You can also be arrested for DUI for operating a bicycle or other vehicle under the influence of marijuana or other drugs.

Riding a bicycle while intoxicated may seem like it’s not harmful to anyone other than the rider but don’t tell that to someone who veered off the road to avoid a drunk bicyclist and stuck a tree. Drunk bicyclists can also injure pedestrians on sidewalks and cause accidents between other vehicles on the road. In addition to finding yourself criminally liable, you may also be held civilly liable if you injure someone when operating a bicycle while intoxicated and/or negligently.

If a judge and, ultimately a jury, believe your conduct was “willful and wanton” you could be on the hook for punitive damages that your insurance probably won’t cover. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter conduct that the offender knows is dangerous but does anyway with a reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer, as opposed to compensatory damages, that have the primary purpose of reimbursing the victim for the harm they’ve suffered by the actions of the negligent party. Compensatory damages include reimbursement for medical bills and lost wages, as well as, compensation for pain and suffering.

If you’ve been injured by the carelessness of any another or by the negligence of an intoxicated driver, contact one of our experienced lawyers at the Law Firm of Bell & Pollock to go over your options and establish a Legal Game Plan.™

To Learn Even More . . .

Visit our website to listen to the show on this subject and all of our other radio shows on various legal topics.

If you have any questions about the topics discussed in today’s newsletter, or questions on other legal issues, give our office a call and one of our attorneys would be happy to talk with you.

More Information

Get more information about your rights and options following an accident by checking out one of our helpful BOOKS: THEY ARE FREE.

  • Don’t Get Hurt Twice in the Same Accident – This enlightening guide dispels some of the most common (and harmful) myths about car crashes, insurance companies, attorneys, and financial recoveries.
  • The Essential Guide to Car Insurance in Colorado – This guide helps all drivers better understand car insurance. If you’ve ever had a question about a claim, dispute or car insurance in general, this is a must-read.
  • Cowards of the Street: Hit & Run – This book uncovers the facts about hit and runs and how to financially recover from these crashes. It also shares about what you can do to protect yourself before and after a hit and run accident occurs.
  • Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation: The Ultimate Guide – This insightful book reveals everything you need to know in order to protect your rights as a worker – and to position a Colorado workers’ compensation claim for success.
  • Legal Game Plan – This educational book helps you better understand insurance company’s hidden game plan…and come up with one on your own!
  • Motorcycle Accidents (or How to Go Full Throttle Against the Insurance Companies) – This informative read will help motorcyclists come up with a plan of action to combat the insurance agencies. If you ride a motorcycle, you need this book.
  • 18 Mistakes You Could Make to Destroy Your Injury Claim – Found within is a precise guide regarding a trove of detailed mistakes one should avoid when pursuing a successful resolution to ones case. This work helps answer questions and details advice to protect oneself from common pitfalls and perils associated with a compensation claim.
  • Distracted Driving and Your Injury Claim  This comprehensive work assists all drivers in understanding the dangers of distracted driving and its relationship to your injury claim.
  • Premises Liability (Landowner Responsibility and Injury Recovery) – This definitive piece renders the details behind the history of the Premises Liability Law in Colorado and highlights examples of responsibility which further offers a practical guide for injured victims.

Call our office to request copies of our books. THEY ARE FREE. You can also request a copy of any (or all) of these books on our website. You can download a free electronic copy anytime. And be sure to tune in to our weekly radio show to learn more about a variety of legal topics.

A Colorado law firm that puts people first. Your case matters

We’re ready and eager to tackle whatever tough personal injury issue you’re dealing with in Denver and all of Colorado. Your case matters here.


(303) 795-5900


Bell & Pollock, P.C.

7555 E Hampden Ave #200
Denver, CO 80231


(800) 559-5920

Steamboat Springs:

Bell & Pollock, P.C.
505 Anglers Dr #104
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487


(970) 870-8989

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