In an effort to reduce drunk driving on our streets and highways, Colorado officers are participating in the Heat Is On Program through September 2 nd. A similar initiative was observed last year. According to the Journal-Advocate, the 2012 program resulted in over 1,400 arrests for impaired driving. This program is specifically designed to allow Colorado law enforcement officers to crack down on drunk driving.
A key component of the effort is increased police visibility. Head of the Colorado State Patrol, Colonel Scott Hernandez, recently told the Journal-Advocate that visibility alone can reduce the risk of fatalities from car accidents linked to the use of alcohol by up to 20 percent. Additional measures that will be used include sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.
Basic information on use of checkpoints in Colorado
DUI checkpoints are used as a means to check drivers for possible impaired driving. Everyone driving through the checkpoint is required to have brief contact with a law enforcement officer. If alcohol use is suspected, the law enforcement officer can request the driver to perform tests to determine the level of intoxication. These tests are voluntary, so it is important to know your rights before participating in these roadside tests. Based on the evidence the officer develops, drivers can be arrested for DUI/DWAI. Colorado chooses to use these stops as a tool to aid in deterring drivers from operating their vehicles when impaired.
Tips on what to do if charged with a DUI in Colorado
Those charged in Colorado with a DUI/DWAI should take the charge seriously. If the charge becomes a conviction, harsh penalties can include steep monetary fines, enrollment in an alcohol treatment program, community service and jail time.
Various defenses may be available that can help reduce, or even result in dismissal of the charges. In order to determine which defense is best for your situation, have your case analyzed by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
There is typically no “bad driving” when passing through a checkpoint. The officer must have a reasonable belief the driver is intoxicated before he can arrest the driver and require the driver to provide a blood or breath test. Often probable cause is developed when the driver voluntarily participates in roadsides. Without probable cause, the court will dismiss the case.
Did the officer administer a breathalyzer? If so, it is important the officer operating the device provide proof of proper training. It is also important the device was properly maintained and calibrated. If these steps were not followed the results will not be admissible in Court.
Determining which defenses are available depends on each unique situation. If you are charged with a DUI in Colorado, it is important to contact an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney to ensure your legal rights are protected.