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Over 26,000 people face charges of DUI annually in Colorado

In the state of Colorado, more than 26,000 people face charges of driving under the influence every year. In addition, over 150 people are said to lose their lives in accidents related to DUI annually. The Colorado Department of Transportation has also reported that a third of traffic-related deaths throughout the state involve alcohol.

A sheriff's deputy in Larimer County was recently called the county's drunk driving top enforcer. He has made over 750 arrests for driving under the influence, with over 200 of them being made in 2015. He said that even when he is not on duty, he will call in to report an alleged incident of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Colorado's drunk driving laws have become stronger since this top DUI enforcer began working with his police department full-time back in 2010. The state currently has a statute that addresses driving while one's ability is impaired. This statute considers a blood alcohol level that is higher than .05 to be illegal. Last August, Colorado also enacted a law dealing with felony drunk driving, which enables prosecutors to charge individuals who have four-plus arrests for driving under the influence with a felony. A felony conviction could result in six years behind bars as well as fines totaling $500,000.

A person facing a DUI charge has the right to proceed to trial to defend his or her innocence. Before anyone can be convicted of drunk driving, the prosecution must prove the formal accusations beyond a reasonable doubt -- a standard that exists with the goal of preventing innocent people from being convicted of crimes. The criminal defense is entitled to challenge the validity of any field sobriety tests, breath tests or blood draws administered in connection with a drunk driving arrest in Colorado.

Source: coloradoan.com, "Meet Larimer County's top DUI enforcer", Alicia Stice, June 22, 2016

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