STATEWIDE – New statistics from the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) indicate 96 percent of impaired driving suspects have their driver licenses revoked, regardless of whether they are ever convicted of a DUI in court. With increased enforcement efforts in place for the holidays, this finding underscores the consequences Colorado drivers face if they attempt to drive impaired.
NoDUIColorado – a combined effort of several state agencies – found that last year, the DMV processed 20,559 DUI cases in Colorado. Of those, only about 800 drivers were able to avoid revocation of their driver’s license. That’s a 1-in-25 chance that drivers would get to keep their license if arrested for a DUI. Drivers arrested for DUI in Colorado have their licenses immediately revoked, but may request a hearing with the Department of Revenue Hearings Division. If the hearing determines there is enough merit to dismiss the case, the revocation can be lifted. As the data shows, that outcome is rare.
DUI stats for DUI/DWAI charges filed in the San Luis Valley counties are:
Alamosa County 93
Conejos County 23
Costilla County 15
Mineral County 7
Rio Grande County 47
Saguache County 18
What many Coloradans may not know is that the Department of Revenue hearing process happens independently of the criminal process. Drivers can have a case dismissed in court, or be found not guilty, but still be subject to license revocation per state statute. NoDUIColorado wants drivers to consider the potential loss of their driver’s license and what that means for their family, career, and social life before getting behind the wheel.
One more thing to think about is the idea of refusing breath or blood testing after an arrest. According to DMV data, one in four drivers arrested for a DUI in Colorado refused to participate in these tests in 2016. Saying no to breath or blood tests after you’ve been arrested – what’s called “refusal” – automatically qualifies a driver as a Persistent Drunk Driver (PDD) according to Colorado law. That’s the same designation, and results in the same sanctions, given to drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .15 or greater and those with one or more priors.
Bottom line…if you think you might have a drink or consume marijuana, don’t take your car with you. Use an app or call for a ride, take public transportation, or plan for a sober driver.
NoDUIColorado is an effort of the Colorado Persistent Drunk Driver Committee which is comprised of the Colorado Department of Human Services, State Judicial Branch, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Revenue. For more information on preventing impaired driving, and the state’s impaired driving laws, visit NoDUIColorado.org.