When a Colorado resident sees blue and red flashing lights in their rearview mirror while driving, it can elicit a number of responses. Sober drivers may walk away from the exchange with a police officer’s business card in his or her pocket, but a driver who is under the influence of substances or alcohol might end up having a life-altering experience.
There are a number of reasons why driving under the influence is a common occurrence in the state. First of all, a number of tourists flock to the area in both winter and summer seasons and often get behind the wheel without thinking of the consequences. Secondly, it can be said that there is a heavy substance use problem within residents and visitors.
Police officers recognize this, and approach drivers in the hope of engaging in polite conversation in case they are lost. However, if the circumstances demonstrate that the driver is driving under the influence, then the consequences can be very serious. For example, officers make vehicle in motion observations; the reasons for the traffic stop. This means cars can be pulled over for weaving, driving at extreme speeds or reacting strangely, such as stopping at red lights. After this, officers try to ascertain causes for the abnormal behavior during the personal contact phase. For example, slurred speech or the smell of alcohol could indicate DUIs. If the officer believes that the driver is intoxicated, then they can be asked to take a standard field sobriety test.
There are a number of legal procedures that then kick into place if someone is arrested under suspicion of driving while intoxicated and in Colorado, penalties can range from five years to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Penalties can increase depending on the number of previous convictions and aggravating circumstances. This is why it is beneficial to know what one’s legal defenses to DUI arrests are.