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.
Do these numbers mean there are truly fewer drunk drivers on the road? Possibly. However, CDOT reports that a reduction in funding has led to fewer officers on the roads and subsequently fewer DUI arrests.
So, while "The Heat Is On" initiative may not have seen as many arrests in 2018, motorists in 2019 should note that there will still be periods of high enforcement throughout the year. Being arrested and charged with DUI can have serious consequences. A conviction could result in fines, jail time, the suspension of one's driver's license and other penalties. However, even if one is not convicted of DUI, a mere arrest could still have a negative effect on one's personal and professional reputation. Therefore, those facing charges of drunk driving will want to seek the legal advice they need to make informed decisions regarding their defense.