The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), in conjunction with the Colorado State Patrol, recently announced that their Halloween “Heat Is On” campaign will be in effect this week. The latest DUI enforcement initiative is take on the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” safety campaign, and is a federally funded program aimed at keeping drunk drivers of the road.
According to a report by the Sterling Journal-Advocate, law enforcement agencies made 447 DUI arrests statewide during last year’s Halloween Heat Is On initiative. The program appeared to make a difference in fatal accidents caused by drunk driving. In October 2011, 10 people were killed in alcohol related accidents, while 17 perished in 2010. In 2009, 26 such fatalities occurred.
For those caught with a BAC over .08 while behind the wheel, a drunk driving arrest can be an expensive proposition. Driving while alcohol impaired (DWAI) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $500 fine. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is also a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1000 fine.
Drunk driving also comes with severe administrative penalties, as your drivers’ license may be suspended for nine months. Increased insurance premiums must also be considered, as DWAI offenders will likely be required to purchase SR-22 insurance for a certain amount of time.
Keep in mind that these are penalties for first time offenders. The consequences are much stiffer for repeat offenders.
Nevertheless, being charged with DWAI (or DUI) is not the same as being convicted for drunk driving. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights and options in defending drunk driving charges.
Source: Journal-Advocate.com: Colorado Department of Transportation, State Patrol planning special DUI enforcement for Halloween, October 29, 2012