Measures put into place in Colorado to prevent the spread of COVID-19 closed restaurants and other nonessential businesses and significantly reduced traffic levels on the state’s roads, but drunk driving arrest rates have remained consistent. The Colorado Department of Transportation’s “Heat Is On” campaign tackles the impaired driving problem with a combination of high-visibility law enforcement and public awareness campaigns, and police departments in the state are gearing up for a major DUI initiative over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Police officers in Colorado take about 60 motorists into custody each day on suspicion of DUI, and that figure tends to be higher when days are long and temperatures are high. The CDOT hopes that its “Heat Is On” campaign will prevent accidents and save lives over the upcoming holiday weekend by deterring drivers from getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs. Police officers will also be deployed in large numbers to apprehend motorists who ignore the warnings. Traffic accidents statistics reveal that about one in three deaths in Colorado during the summer months involves a drunk driver.
About 300 drivers in Colorado were charged with DUI during the Fourth of July celebrations in 2019, and police officials expect a similar number of arrests in 2020 despite the pandemic. A recent “Heat Is On” drunk driving crackdown that lasted for 10 days and was launched while travel restrictions were in place resulted in about 600 drunk driving arrests.
Blood alcohol concentrations in drunk driving cases are usually established by conducting breath tests. While the equipment used by law enforcement is quite sophisticated, it may be unreliable if it is not serviced and recalibrated regularly. When service logs reveal that breath-testing devices have not been maintained properly, experienced criminal defense attorneys may be able to challenge toxicology evidence and seek to have DUI charges dismissed.