A Safe Halloween Weekend: Navigating DUIs and Colorado’s Laws

As Halloween approaches, many of us are gearing up for a weekend of revelry, filled with delightful food, spooky drinks, and ghoulish celebrations. But in the midst of the festivities, it’s crucial to plan for a safe ride home, especially if your night includes alcohol.

Denver, Colorado The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), in collaboration with the Colorado State Patrol and 70 local law enforcement agencies, is initiating a Halloween DUI enforcement period, commencing from Thursday, October 26, through Wednesday, November 1. The objective is to ensure a safer and more enjoyable Halloween season for all Colorado residents and visitors.

In the prior year, the Halloween enforcement period resulted in 134 impaired driving arrests, underscoring the need for increased vigilance during this holiday period.

CDOT’s latest statistics for 2022 reveal that there were 134 impaired driving arrests during the Halloween enforcement period. Thus far in 2023, there have been a total of 4,258 DUI arrests during various holiday and special event enforcement periods. Tragically, 169 roadway fatalities have occurred due to crashes involving impaired drivers this year.

Col. Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol, issued a stern reminder to the public, saying, “Don’t ruin your holiday or all the ones coming soon by changing the direction of your life with a DUI. If the thought of risking the lives of others isn’t a motivator to stop driving intoxicated, the cost and inconvenience of a DUI could be. Plan a safe ride before you start; it’s poor choices, like driving impaired, that can haunt you. Take responsibility.”

As Colorado enters the Halloween season, all residents and visitors are encouraged to make responsible choices, designate a sober driver, or utilize alternative transportation options to ensure the safety and well-being of all road users. The collaborative efforts of CDOT, the Colorado State Patrol, and local law enforcement agencies aim to reduce impaired driving incidents and save lives.

For more information on the Halloween DUI enforcement period and ongoing road safety initiatives, please visit the official website of the Colorado Department of Transportation at www.codot.gov.

Colorado DUI Laws: What You Need to Know

In Colorado, driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense, and the state’s laws are designed to protect everyone on the road, particularly during holiday weekends like Halloween.

  • Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limit: If you’re 21 or older, Colorado’s legal BAC limit is 0.08%. For those under 21, even a BAC of 0.02% or higher is considered illegal.
  • Zero Tolerance for Under 21: If you’re under 21, Colorado enforces a zero-tolerance policy, meaning any detectable BAC level is grounds for a DUI.
  • Penalties: The penalties for a DUI conviction can vary but often include fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education classes, and, in severe cases, the possibility of jail time.
  • Implied Consent: When you hold a Colorado driver’s license, you’ve already consented to a BAC test if a law enforcement officer suspects you’re driving under the influence. Refusing to take the test can lead to an automatic license suspension.
  • Enhanced Penalties: For repeat offenders and those with high BAC levels, the penalties become more severe.

Colorado DUI Checkpoints: What You Should Be Aware Of

DUI checkpoints, also known as sobriety checkpoints, are a vital tool used by law enforcement agencies to deter and identify impaired drivers.

Common Areas DUI Checkpoints in Colorado:

  • Urban Centers: Major cities like Denver, Colorado Springs, and Boulder often have DUI checkpoints in and around downtown areas and busy nightlife districts.
  • Highways and Major Routes: DUI checkpoints can also be set up on highways and roads leading to popular Halloween party destinations.
    • Denver: The Mile-High City boasts a vibrant nightlife and numerous Halloween events. Party destinations like LoDo (Lower Downtown) and the 16th Street Mall are easily accessible from major routes like I-25 and I-70.
    • Colorado Springs: This city, located along I-25, hosts various Halloween gatherings. Old Colorado City and downtown Colorado Springs are known for their spooky events and parties.
    • Boulder: Situated close to Highway 36, Boulder offers a unique blend of college town festivities and Halloween celebrations. The Pearl Street Mall is a hub for Halloween events.
    • Fort Collins: Near the intersection of I-25 and Highway 14, Fort Collins offers a mix of college parties and community events, especially in the Old Town area.
    • Breckenridge: If you’re up for a mountain Halloween experience, Breckenridge is reachable via I-70 and provides a charming setting for Halloween parties and parades.
    • Aspen: For those traveling along Highway 82, Aspen’s high-end resorts and lively nightlife provide an upscale Halloween experience.
  • Holiday Hotspots: Locations known for hosting large Halloween events or parties may have DUI checkpoints nearby.
    • Denver: The capital city is a hub for Halloween fun, with events like the “Glow at the Gardens” at the Denver Botanic Gardens and the famous “Fright Fest” at Elitch Gardens. Downtown Denver also hosts lively costume parties and haunted house attractions.
    • Colorado Springs: The city offers a haunted history tour, a zombie crawl, and the “Emma Crawford Coffin Races” in nearby Manitou Springs, where participants race down the street in coffins.
    • Boulder: Known for its vibrant atmosphere, Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall transforms into a lively hub for Halloween celebrations, featuring costume contests, live music, and spooky decorations.
    • Fort Collins: Old Town Fort Collins hosts events like “Treatsylvania” for kids and the “Halloween Enchanted Garden” at The Gardens on Spring Creek.
    • Morrison: Just west of Denver, the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre often hosts Halloween-themed movie nights and concerts.
    • Estes Park: The charming mountain town celebrates with a “Halloween at the YMCA of the Rockies” event, featuring family-friendly activities and a costume parade.
    • Telluride: This picturesque mountain town often hosts costume contests, haunted houses, and pumpkin festivals for visitors of all ages.
    • Glenwood Springs: You can take a spooky tour of the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park or explore the haunted history of the town on a guided ghost walk.
    • Durango: This southwestern Colorado town offers Halloween-themed train rides on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, taking passengers through the beautiful fall scenery.
    • Aspen: Known for its upscale atmosphere, Aspen hosts glamorous costume parties, haunted house events, and even a Halloween parade.
  • College Campuses: Areas around college campuses, where many young adults celebrate Halloween, are often targeted for DUI checkpoints.
    • University of Colorado Boulder: Known for its spirited atmosphere, CU Boulder hosts a range of Halloween parties, costume contests, and themed events. The Hill neighborhood adjacent to campus is particularly popular for Halloween festivities.
    • Colorado State University (CSU) – Fort Collins: CSU in Fort Collins is famous for its Halloween-themed student gatherings, including costume parties, haunted house tours, and pumpkin carving contests.
    • University of Denver (DU): DU’s campus in Denver offers various Halloween events, including student-organized costume parties and themed social gatherings.
    • Colorado College (CC) – Colorado Springs: Located in Colorado Springs, CC students often celebrate Halloween with themed parties, haunted tours, and costume contests.
    • University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS): The UCCS campus, also in Colorado Springs, hosts Halloween events, including student-run parties and haunted house attractions.
    • Colorado School of Mines: Students at this Golden, Colorado campus enjoy Halloween-themed festivities, including costume parties and pumpkin decorating contests.
    • Fort Lewis College: Nestled in Durango, Fort Lewis College students often celebrate Halloween with on-campus events and parties in the downtown area.
    • Mesa State College (Colorado Mesa University): Located in Grand Junction, the campus hosts Halloween gatherings and costume parties for its students.

The Consequences of a DUI in Colorado

Driving under the influence in Colorado comes with significant consequences, both legally and personally. These consequences may include:

  • Fines: For a first-time DUI conviction, you may face fines ranging from $600 to $1,000. Repeat offenders often receive higher penalties.
  • License Suspension: A DUI conviction can lead to a driver’s license suspension for up to one year, with the possibility of restricted driving privileges after a certain period.
  • Jail Time: Depending on the circumstances, DUI convictions can result in jail time, especially for repeat offenders or those with high BAC levels.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: In some cases, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which mandates a sober breath sample before starting the car.
  • Alcohol Education and Treatment: DUI convictions often come with mandatory alcohol education and treatment programs, which can be both time-consuming and costly.
  • Insurance Premiums: Expect your auto insurance premiums to increase significantly after a DUI conviction.
  • Permanent Record: A DUI conviction leaves a lasting mark on your criminal record, potentially affecting your future employment opportunities.

Alarming Statistics in 2022 – 2023

So far, in 2023, 169 people have tragically lost their lives in crashes involving an impaired driver, and 4,258 individuals have been arrested during DUI enforcement periods associated with holidays and special events. These figures serve as a stark reminder of the very real consequences of impaired driving, not only for the individuals involved but also for their families and communities.

In the 2022 Halloween DUI enforcement period, law enforcement agencies throughout the state apprehended a total of 134 individuals for driving under the influence, as disclosed in the official statement. The Colorado Department of Transportation has shed light on the harsh reality that first-time DUI offenders typically face an average financial burden of $13,530 when they appear in court. Furthermore, they must invest a minimum of 170 hours addressing the aftermath of their DUI conviction. This underscores the importance of responsible decision-making and designated drivers during Halloween celebrations to avoid these substantial penalties and consequences. ( More )

Conclusion: Make Safe Choices This Halloween

As we approach Halloween weekend, it’s essential to balance fun and safety. Plan your night with care, designate a sober driver, or use rideshare services. Never consider driving under the influence – the risks are simply not worth it. By making responsible choices, you can ensure that your Halloween weekend is truly spooktacular and free from legal complications. Remember, your choices can save lives and protect your future, so let’s keep the night safe for everyone on the road.