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2018 'The Heat Is On' campaign saw fewer DUI arrests than 2017

Over the past holiday season, motorists in Colorado may have noticed an increased police presence on the roads. Every year, the Colorado Department of Transportation undertakes what it calls "The Heat Is On" initiative. Throughout the year, 14 separate high-visibility drunk driving enforcement periods are established, for example, there is one on New Year's Eve. The purpose of the initiative is to stop motorists from driving under the influence.

In 2018, the number of DUI arrests during these enforcement periods went down compared to the number of arrests in 2017. CDOT reports that there were approximately 7,700 arrests for drunk driving through 2018's "The Heat Is On" initiative, although this number may rise slightly as some departments are still compiling numbers from the New Year's Eve initiative. In 2017, that number sat at approximately 10,350 arrests.

How can paternity be established in Colorado?

Absent neglect or abuse, children in Colorado generally benefit from having a meaningful, supportive relationship with both of their parents, even if their parents are no longer in a relationship with one another. However, if unmarried parents have a child and later split up, paternity needs to be established before the father can pursue parenting time with the child or before the mother can seek child support. In Colorado, there are three ways paternity can be established.

One way to establish paternity is through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. This is a form that states that the parents both believe the man is the child's biological father and must be signed in front of a witness. This form can be signed at the hospital when the child is born, or it can be signed at the Office of Vital Records and Statistics after the child's birth.

'Gray divorcees' may face different issues than younger couples

It may be surprising to people in Colorado when a friend or relative who has been married for decades announces they are ending their marriage. However, "gray divorces" -- that is, divorces among those age 50 and older -- are becoming more common, and, in fact, the rate of such splits has increased two-fold since 1990. Those going through a gray divorce may face different issues than their younger counterparts.

For example, those going through a gray divorce may be on their second or subsequent marriage and, thus, have divorced in the past. According to one report, the divorce rate for those age 50 or older who are in their second or subsequent marriage is 2.5 times greater than that for couples in their first marriage. That being said, the decision to divorce among older couple is not often an impulsive one. Those of any age who decide to divorce may come to that decision after many months or even years of contemplation and attempts to resolve their marital issues.

How are misdemeanor traffic offenses penalized in Colorado?

Being pulled over by the police can be embarrassing, but, more importantly, it can result in significant penalties. A person in Colorado can receive a traffic ticket for various reasons. Certain offenses, such as driving above the posted speed limit in a construction zone, operating a motor vehicle without automobile insurance and careless driving are considered misdemeanors and will be penalized accordingly.

There are two types of misdemeanor traffic offenses in Colorado: Class 1 offenses and Class 2 offenses. The minimum sentence for a Class 2 offense is 10 days in jail and a fine of $150, while the maximum sentence is 90 days in jail and a fine of $300.

Those growing marijuana in their home can still face drug charges

Marijuana cultivation, subject to limitations, has been permitted in Colorado for several years now. This has been beneficial to many Coloradans, especially those who use the drug medicinally. However, residents can still face drug charges involving marijuana, particularly with regard to the amount of the drug they grow in their own home.

According to an investigation performed by Rocky Mountain PBS, there is still a black market for marijuana in Colorado, even though the drug was legalized for home use in controlled amounts. Reportedly, charges for felony drug crimes involving marijuana, including cultivating or possessing large amounts of marijuana, have increased seven-fold in 2017 from 2014. Moreover, in the past four years, the number of marijuana plants taken by authorities via federal search warrants went up nine-fold.

Parallel parenting can be an option following divorce

Some parents in Colorado who are divorced are still able to get along well enough to co-parent. However, to successfully co-parent, parents need to be able to communicate effectively, reach agreements together regarding the child's upbringing and even be able to attend important events together with their child. Ultimately, while co-parenting can be a positive thing, oftentimes parents are simply unable to communicate without fighting, have lingering animosity or anger following their divorce or simply want to have as little contact with one another as possible. In the end, co-parenting is not an option for everyone.

However, parents who are unable to co-parent following their divorce do have another option: parallel parenting. Like co-parenting, those who choose parallel parenting put the child's needs first. Parents make major decisions regarding the child's life together, but that will be the extent of their decision-making with one another. They will each make their own decisions regarding the child's day-to-day care when they have parenting time with their child.

Colorado man charged following woman's death

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, they will have to make the difficult decision of how they want to treat the disease. Some people in Colorado may choose traditional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation. However, others might want to explore alternative cancer treatments. If that is the case, should those who administer alternative cancer treatments be held criminally liable if their patient dies?

A 61-year-old man is facing criminal charges following the death of a Colorado woman from cancer. The man was treating the woman for the disease prior to her death. He chose to administer alternative treatments, including ozone therapy and cesium therapy.

Financial issues play a major role in some divorces, study says

Spouses may come into a marriage with very different attitudes regarding their finances. For example, one spouse may be a saver, setting money aside for a rainy day, while the other spouse may be a spender. This can cause friction in a marriage that could ultimately lead to divorce.

Experian conducted a study in 2017 examining the role a couple's financial situation played in their decision to end their marriage. The study found that nearly 60 percent of respondents reported that financial problems were "somewhat" of a factor in their decision to divorce. Moreover, 20 percent of respondents reported that financial problems were a "big" factor in their decision to divorce. Currently, across the United States, around 40 to 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce.

Identifying drugged drivers in Colorado remains a challenge

Recreational marijuana use is legal in in our state, but too much can still impair one's senses. However, is drugged driving as serious as drunk driving? One study by the U.S. Department of Transportation suggests perhaps not. The results of this study determined that drunk motorists were more apt to speed, weave into other lanes of traffic and in general engage in riskier behavior while behind the wheel compared to motorists who had used marijuana. Per the study, generally motorists operating a vehicle after using marijuana did not speed, stayed within their own lane of traffic and kept a greater distance between their vehicle and other motorists.

But, that does not mean that police will not pull a motorist over on suspicion of drugged driving. That being said, devices that can analyze how much marijuana is in a motorist's system are not available to many officers, and those devices that exist can detect that marijuana was used days before the traffic stop, which makes it difficult to determine whether a motorist's erratic driving was due to marijuana use or something else. Thus, police generally rely on field sobriety tests to determine if a motorist is too high to drive.

Colorado victims of abuse may fear for their child in a divorce

When a parent in Colorado is the subject of domestic abuse, they may be concerned for the safety not just of themselves but also that of their child. Therefore, seeking a divorce when you are the victim of domestic violence and neglect can be challenging, especially if children are involved.

First, while some couples can resolve their divorce legal issues through mediation, depending on the circumstances, mediation may not be the best choice in divorces involving domestic violence. While mediation can be less costly than litigation, it is possible that the victim of abuse will feel intimidated by their abuser, making any negotiations inherently unfair. Moreover, the abuser may feel like they are able to bully the victim into accepting a settlement that is not in their favor. Especially when children are involved, sometimes domestic violence victims may want to turn to the courts to decide on their divorce legal issues such as child custody, rather than trying to mediate a settlement out-of-court.

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Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC

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