Maybe New Year’s Eve festivities won’t come soon enough for you today. The end of one year, the dawn of the next. Here’s Your Boulder’s wish for you: we want you to avoid walking (or stumbling) into the New Year with a DUI on your record.
Boulder is a sleepy town for crime. We like our bar fights and hate the bike thieves. Doors to homes around town are left unlocked because we know and trust our neighbors and love our neighborhoods. That means our police department doesn’t have much to keep it busy — a blessing and a curse. We honor those who dedicate their lives to public service on the police force, protecting our homes, businesses, and families.
But we’ll be honest — we don’t really want to contribute to the revenue side of the whole serve-and-protect thing. DUIs are big business in Colorado. Before you even contemplate drinking and getting behind the wheel of a car — or even IN a car with someone who’s been drinking, how about a few sobering facts about the penalties for DUI in Colorado?
We thought you weren’t too fond of the 1%. According to BoulderColorado.gov, there were 708 DUIs in Boulder County in 2012. When population statistics hover around 99,000-100,000 people, DUIs are approaching 1 for every 1000 residents. For a community that sure likes to talk smack about the 1%, here’s a 1% you don’t want to join.
What it takes to get a DWAI or DUI. The legal limit in Colorado is a BAC content of 0.08%. For some people, that’s 2 drinks in an hour. For others, it’s 3 to 4. Our bodies handle alcohol differently every day. Here’s what you can count on: If an officer thinks you’re operating a vehicle in an impaired state, they will (without doubt) demand that you submit to testing to verify. And guess what? You can’t refuse in Colorado. Well, you can, but refusing is an automatic suspension of your license for one year. We know you love the Boulder bubble and the Hop, Skip, and Jump, but seriously — why not skip the drama?
What a DUI costs in Colorado. As we said, they’re big business. First, you have to get out of jail. Got bail money? Hope so, because posting bond is nonrefundable. At least bail money can be applied to your fines. Then you’ll have to get your car out of impound. Cash. Attorney fees will run you between $5,000 and $10,000. Then there are state surcharges (yeah, good luck getting out of these) in the range of $1,500 from the State of Colorado — and that’s in addition to any fines you might be required to pay. Then (the list keeps going, doesn’t it?), you’re going to have to take some classes for a few months. More cash. Oh, and then there’s the in-house arrest period that you could be required to comply with, complete with ankle bracelet. To top it all off, you could be required to place an interlock device on your car. This means you get to pay to have a breathalyzer installed on your ignition and you have to blow to start your car and periodically while driving to continue operating your vehicle. You get to pay for this device yourself and pay the monthly fee for the privilege of having this device on your vehicle. This is all sounding super sexy, isn’t it?
For a full, unfiltered look at penalties and expectations if you’re pulled over, here’s a Colorado attorney with a solid list of realistic resources. Bottom line? We hope you have between $5,000-$12,000 lying around. How’s that walking or hotel thing looking now?
We just want you to be safe. $5,000 to $12,000 can go a long way. In Boulder, we have a higher cost of living so that money is pretty precious. So when you’re out and about — tonight or any night — just think about what a DUI or DWAI could cost you. The New Year is the time for things to go right and Boulder — well, Boulder isn’t that big at all, is it? Walk. Wait for a cab in the freezing cold. Tell a doorman, bartender, waitress (hell, tell anyone) that you need a cab and to please get one to you. Maybe you’ll wait an hour. But it sure beats waiting a year to drive your car and it’s definitely better than potentially killing someone because you “were okay to drive.”
Stay safe on New Year’s Eve, Boulder, and raise however many glasses you’d like — responsibly. Your community thanks you.