The Fourth of July is a favorite summertime holiday filled with fireworks, friends and family. The three-day weekend this year will for many people include travel to getaway spots, meaning our highways will be clogged with vehicles – including police cars and officers strategically placed to detect and arrest motorists for DUI.
It’s all part of the annual DUI crackdown program known as The Heat is On. Law enforcement agencies across Colorado will be participating, including here in Denver and surrounding communities.
Throughout the year, law enforcement agencies conduct a dozen Heat is On campaigns that involve high-visibility DUI patrols, sobriety checkpoints, increased police presence on heavily used highways and so on. Many agencies pay officers overtime during the holiday period to get as many law enforcement personnel on the streets as possible for the crackdown.
On a state website devoted to DUI information, CDOT tells motorists what will happen to them after an arrest for drunk driving. The very first words can be for many people, chilling: “The process following an alcohol or drug-related DUI or DWAI arrest is complicated and challenging.”
What’s so complicated? Well, for one thing, after a DUI or DWAI (driving while ability impaired), the officer initiates two legal proceedings: one is criminal and the other administrative. That means there are two processes for the arrestee to understand, follow and participate in. The criminal process takes a person into county court and the other pushes the person into the Division of Motor Vehicles.
The county court determines if you are to go to jail, pay fines, court costs and participate in mandated rehabilitation/education programs.
The DMV process determines whether you retain or lose your driving privileges.
Even if one of the two processes is dismissed, the other continues. They are completely independent of each other.
It can be a bewildering pair of processes that typically calls for the assistance of a DUI attorney.
Source: Colorado Department of Transportation, “Alcohol and Impaired Driving,” July 2, 2014